Publish Novellas 28 December 2022
EPISODE 8 – CONTINGENCIES
Luna’s refusal to be defeated requires her to plan a new future despite obstacles in this series finale.
Recalling her martial arts training, Luna tells herself, “I’m only defeated if I let myself be conquered. Become greater than the obstacle. I can be resourceful with the lingerie the camera stylists left behind.”
Two hours remain until checkout. Believing this is the only possible career for her, Luna decides to monetize her plush hotel suite.
She writes her suite number on a napkin, as Rex earlier suggested. Then the new seductress goes to the restaurant, looking for sharp dressed men. Making alluring eye contact with the most handsome one she sees wearing expensive accessories, she slides the napkin to him.
Luna heads back upstairs to wait. After a knock, she opens the door, practices her new profession, and counts her earnings when he leaves.
Phoning the front desk, she requests a late checkout. Luna repeats her napkin routine three more times. With each john, she raises her fee and her confidence. Having 45 minutes remaining, she entertains one more for a thousand dollars.
Three of the five men have interest in becoming regulars. She shares the number on the prepaid phone she purchased earlier.
Calculating how much she can make, Luna realizes that she can earn a decent living without Rex. By charging her maximum, with regular turnover, she can cover the cost of a swanky hotel like this within four hours. The rest of the day and evening would be pure profit. To save herself any embarrassment at her current job, she phones her boss to quit.
She could hang around the bar for a few hours after checkout to earn more. Preferring the home-field advantage though, Luna decides not to go into strangers’ hotel rooms.
A knock on her door interrupts Luna’s thoughts. “Who’s there?” she asks cautiously.
“You don’t know me. I’m Trisha. Can we talk?”
Luna cautiously opens the door, still wearing lingerie and a robe. “What can I do for you?”
“Your prior visitor gave me your… napkin. I rather not discuss business in the hallway.”
Luna reluctantly allows the attractive woman to enter, wondering if she might be an undercover police officer. “What do you want?”
“I understand your are worth every bit of your thousand-dollar fee? What’s included with full service and how much time do I get for that?”
Shocked, Luna replies, “But you’re… a woman!” while thinking to herself that she is beautiful enough to get her desires fulfilled anywhere without paying.
“Excellent powers of observation. Surely that’s not a problem for a professional like yourself.” Trisha shows Luna cash money.
Hoping she doesn’t incriminate herself if this is an officer, while maintaining a professional reputation for a possible client, Luna replies, “Of course it isn’t a problem…. At the moment…, my schedule is full… with gentlemen.”
Looking around at the empty suite, Trisha replies, “I don’t see any other clientele here but myself. Is there something wrong with my money? Oh…, you charge more, for ladies…? What’s your price?”
Luna is totally unprepared for this lucrative opportunity. In the past two days, she sank as low as she thought she could go. Now she is getting referrals that press her to decline further! This is the ultimate line to cross.
Trisha tries to loosen Luna up. “I have many friends who could grow your business beyond paper napkins… with a good referral from me…. Are you going to say… anything?”
Luna continues to sit immobile, reasoning that perhaps it’s best to stall. So she responds, “You’re beautiful… but I’m sorry. I’m checking out… of the hotel, for another appointment. If you’ll be here next week, I can give you a call… or you could take down my number.”
“Here’s 1500 dollars. You have 30 seconds to accept. For every 10 seconds you hesitate, my offer drops 500 dollars….” Trisha then sets the stopwatch on her phone…. “Now you’re down to 1000 dollars….”
Luna begins wheezing from the stress.
“You’re at 500…. I’m walking out the door…. So much potential gone to waste…. If you can’t adapt, you’re in the wrong line of work.” Trisha says before opening the door.
Luna thinks about Rex making tough choices during negotiations. Her throat tightens while considering many questions. With a dry mouth and squeaky voice, Luna shouts at the distant footsteps beneath the perfect hip sway, “Wait! Let me explain.”
Following that unexpected encounter, Luna makes some tough choices. With wealthy clientele at this upscale hotel, Luna maxes out her credit card for reservations next week. Rebounding from her mistakes, she is mentally accepting her new career choice.
“I can’t deny a willingness to sell my body. People are paying me all this money to make them feel as amazing as I do. Where’s my complaint?
While standing before a full-length mirror, she does some squats before popping out her butt. “I can’t get over this obsession of looking at my body. All the years of toning have turned it into a money maker! Whatever becomes of the photos I gave away doesn’t matter. By lowering my standards, Rex elevated my potential.”
As Luna puts on clothes to leave, she washes up again. Admiration for her own breasts turns into a self exam. “Discovering a lump could derail my new career!” She begins poking and making circular motions.
By next week Luna must have better responses to all inquiries. Luna realizes she may receive requests that she is not prepared to provide, so plans to limit available options.
“If someone gets too physical, I should be able to defend myself. There’s a chance I could get kicked out of the resort or arrested for prostitution. I must put some bail money aside and retain a lawyer. The money earned today will go towards clothing that befits my new profession.”
In California, prostitution, solicitation, and agreeing to engage in prostitution are misdemeanor offenses. (Penal Code 647b PC) The possible penalties, if convicted, are: Jail time of up to 6 months (or more for repeat offender). Fines up to $1,000.
“Instead of using table napkins, I should print up some calling cards with just my name and number. Oh, I need a good hooker name. I can’t use the one Rex trademarked. Something like Trixie is too common. An edible name has obvious marketing advantages. I like Ginger Delight.
The cards should look rich, perhaps embossed like a boudoir pillow with gold accents suggesting ginger. She orders a cologne called Serge Lutens Five O'Clock Au Gingembre that contains ginger. She wants to spray this on her calling cards and herself as a trademark.
Reflecting on how her conversation with Rex went, Luna tells herself while alone, “As a verbal sparring partner, you seemed to have the upper hand, But I made a comeback for a decisive win!” While packing up to leave, her phone buzzes. It’s an email reply from Rex. “No, no no, no! What did I do?!” she shouts. With her heart beating out of her chest, she clicks on the email.
“I did something that will make you angry, which is why it seemed best to leave before breakfast. Everything I told you is true—including the fact that stars lack privacy. This morning I was reviewing video of us… together. To further your career, I will leak the video in tandem with the website launch. It will go viral.
“The video is not meant to belittle you, but I understand there may be some embarrassment. Try to ignore it like all the tabloid slurs that come with being a star. To me, you’re not a whore. But sex sells.
“In your email, you expressed a desire to change professions. Don’t make such a hasty decision in response to my absence—especially since, as your agent, I receive 25 percent of your earnings, regardless of the source. When you cool down, we should talk.” —RL
Luna must now decide if she can trust Rex to make her a star. She reasons, “Since he hasn’t had access to the room this morning, the cameras are still in place. Perhaps he has not yet viewed this morning’s footage. He’ll soon see me doing everything I objected to. Regardless of whether he watches, it’s obvious that Rex has no respect for my privacy.
“Technically, Rex warned me everything he’s done would happen. So is he testing me or taking advantage of me? If he had sent this email before I slept with half the men in this hotel, perhaps I could rationalize the video.
“There’s an unlikely possibility of a monetary windfall from becoming a star without any acting background. However Rex spins it, I can’t deny my actions and words in the viral video. I was the puppet and he was the ventriloquist. I rather be my own woman.
“With either profession, I must be willing to offer myself to strangers. I can earn near seven figures of income per year by continuing with my plans. Involving Rex as a procurer would require me to work 10- or 12-hour days, and give away much of my earnings! How do I get out of a contract that I haven’t even seen?
“Rex has a black belt in negotiation. What’s the point of a verbal rematch? He pummeled my emotions into submission. I should bow out in the same manner as Sarah did after my match with her. Plans for next week are already set—with potentially three repeat customers. If Rex publishes any videos, Ginger Delight will use them to her advantage.”
How far would you go to become a star? Did attraction to Rex’s charisma and her desire for riches cloud Luna’s judgment? Could the hotel have provided a summary of charges that Rex actually did pay? Did Luna overreact? Do you agree with her conclusion?