"This is the book of life I should have read before leaving university in London.
It's got it all.
Sex, sex tourism, drugs, alcohol, alcoholism, prostitution & suicide.
In my search for sex and sobriety I travel from London to Amsterdam; to San Francisco, California; to Bangkok & Pattaya in Thailand and to Manila, Angeles City & Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Don't end up a loser like me.
Read this book."
- Paul Pisces
Chapter 20: Californication
I have settled in at Buzzsaw. They seem to like me or at least put up with me. I think they view me as lazy, money-oriented but very good. Most of the permanent staff put in free overtime but then they have got stock options and will be millionaires by Christmas. I don't work for nothing. Period. Occasionally they authorise me to do paid overtime but only when they have an urgent requirement.
One evening a week the social secretary for Buzzsaw (there really is one) organises a gathering at one watering hole or another around San Francisco. I usually go along but try to remain sober. It's not easy. After a while I get bored. One Friday night I go out drinking alone. I get a bit merry and decide to locate a strip joint I have heard of called 'Shooters'. I am drinking in a tourist area of San Francisco called Pier 39. By the way it is miles from Pier 38 where I live. I have no idea where 'Shooters' is so I go along to the taxi rank.
"Shooters, yeah I know it," says the young man driving the taxi. "So you're
looking for girls, eh?"
"Yes, I suppose I am," I reply.
"Well, Shooters is OK but it's just a titty bar, you won't see any pussy."
"Oh." I'm not really that bothered - I just want to go somewhere, look at pretty girls and buy them a drink. I'm sad aren't I?
"I could take you to O'Farrell Street in San Francisco's Tenderloin."
"Well, there's a couple of full strip joints, plus I hear the girls will play with you if that's what you like. They're not allowed to sell alcohol but there are bars nearby so you can have a drink first."
"O'Farrell Street it is" I say.
After a couple of drinks in a bar, I approach the cheapest of the strip joints. It is called the New Century. $20 gets me in and I get another $20 in one dollar bills for tipping the strippers. It's 9-30pm and pretty quiet. There's just one girl, who has large false boobs and is not my type at all, stripping on a stage and a few punters sitting around. The record she's dancing to seems very appropriate; it's 'Californication' by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I sit at the back and order a sprite. The girl finishes her routine, puts her panties back on, and another dancer comes on the stage. The first girl, still in just her panties, walks straight over to me.
"Would you like a private dance? Sixty dollars," she says as she strokes
the inside of my thigh.
"OK." I don't know what you get here for $60 but I might as well find out. She leads me into a corridor, which has a lot of small rooms leading off it. Heavy curtains make up the door to each of these rooms. In one of the rooms I find out what you get for $60. Not a lot. Much like what you can see on the stage, only close up. I don't fancy her anyway.
"For another sixty dollars you can touch my pussy," she says.
"No thanks." I have already paid her so I return to the stage area. Wow! There are girls everywhere and a lot of punters. It's around 10-30pm now and, from somewhere or other, girls and customers have just materialised. There's still only one girl on stage at a time but other girls tartly dressed (or undressed) wander around asking members of the audience if they want a private dance.
I find out later that 10pm is the time the majority of the girls start work. Mostly they are freelancers who pay the club a fee to work and make their money from tips and private dances.
I sit at the back again to watch for a while when a gorgeous, very dark,
black girl sits beside me.
"Come in the back. Twenty dollars. I promise you won't be disappointed."
I've now only got forty dollars left in my wallet. There is an ATM in the club but there are limits as to what I want to spend looking at pussy. Twenty dollars, though, that's a good deal and she is gorgeous.
As she writhes naked on the very small bed in front of me, she plays with
my crotch. I am very stiff.
"Can I kiss your pussy?" I ask.
"OK, but it's another twenty dollars," she murmurs.
Without another word I go down on her shaven mound and labia. She tastes as sweet as honey. She is moaning softly. God I could do with a fuck. I think again about the ATM but settle for her phone number. Her name is Patra.
It's October and Marcia tells me that she still hasn't got her green card. She agrees to visit me again in San Francisco - same routine as before but this time she can only spend three nights with me. She's been a bit distant on the phone recently and I can't wait to see her in person.
When she arrives something's not quite the same. She spends a lot of time on her mobile phone and isn't very talkative. Especially about coming to stay with me permanently. She tells me she has no money but dresses expensively (and sexily) and carries a lot of credit cards in her wallet. Gold ones too. She uses my laptop to access her email but she is very secretive over her messages. She's still a good fuck and I am still in love with her but I am suspicious.
I decide to break into her email. I download off the internet and onto my laptop some free software that will invisibly record the keystrokes made on the keyboard. Yes this stuff exists and the CIA use it too. The next time she accesses her email, her password is recorded. Bingo.
Reading back through her email messages, I soon have the answer. She doesn't have an aunt in Virginia but another boyfriend. I confront her and she reluctantly admits the truth. She loves me (apparently) but she loves the other guy more. He is young, black, in the navy and he has promised to marry her as soon as she is free. Marcia seems to like young, military men. Game over. She leaves me to my fate in San Francisco and flies to Virginia. I am left counting how many fucks I got for flying her to her boyfriend. Fourteen last time, only seven this. Not a bad deal I suppose.
I console myself with Patra. She is expensive at $300 a fuck but she is
worth it and I am earning a fortune. Her shaved pussy is exquisite. She
lets me fuck her without a condom as long as I don't come inside.
"I'm very fertile" she says.
I can believe it. I am extremely happy as gobs of my spunk spatter onto her very dark almost jet black complexion and her pouting lips covered in bright red lipstick. She has sensibly closed her eyes. She giggles as I hand her a box of tissues.
"You are a naughty boy," she says.
Before our sex sessions I feed Patra on champagne and she brings her own pot to smoke. I am not sure what else she's on but whatever it is I think it costs her a lot of money. She's only 23 and probably ruining her life. But what can I do. If I don't fuck her, someone else will. It's simple economics.
It's after Christmas and the NASDAQ still hasn't recovered. In fact it's got worse. Buzzsaw begin making layoffs but I survive the culls because they still need changes to the marketplace. It still isn't live yet and quite honestly I don't think it ever will be. The Ariba marketplace software is fairly well written but the system isn't flexible enough. We are having to make too many changes to it and Dave and Mike just aren't as good as they think they are. There are holes in the system. Huge holes. No one asks for my opinion and I don't give it. I am making $3000 a week and the meter is still running.
Patra is costing me $600 a week and I am one month from end of contract. It's Friday February 25th and Patra is on her way. She gets the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) train over from Oakland, then catches the metro to the Pier 38 stop. I meet her there. We go for a drink, then back to my place where I already have the champagne chilling in the fridge.
Tonight I have decided to come inside her wearing a condom. After some foreplay on the couch in the lounge, she is naked, on her knees in front of me and expertly sucking my dick as I look out of my apartment window and survey the lights twinkling out in the bay. I have a view of Oakland on the other side of the bay and I wonder whereabouts exactly this enchantress lives. Oakland's a rough area. I've been there a couple of times. I know Patra carries a knife - she showed it to me.
I slip on a condom and lead her to the bedroom. I spread her legs apart
and, after a bit of cunnilingus, I begin banging her. I am a little rough.
I am about five strokes from orgasm when she says "I need to go to the
"OK," I say. Damn. Just five more strokes. I lie on the bed and rest. I like Patra. I wish I could help her but I don't see how. She doesn't love me - she wants my money. It's the economy, stupid. I hear the apartment door slam. I get out of bed and check the bathroom. No Patra. The living room is empty. I check my wallet. Empty. She's taken all the money except for a single $20 note.
She's rolled me for about $600 but she hasn't taken my credit cards. I'm
pissed off. I ring her number and leave a message on her answering machine.
"I'm calling the fucking police," I rage. In the end I don't. Half the money she had nearly earned anyway and maybe I was being too rough. I actually feel rather guilty. I think I should have tried harder to help her.
The contract is coming to an end, Buzzsaw don't want to renew and I've had enough. The layoffs are continuing and the marketplace software is due to go live any day now. I hear later that it does go live but is pulled from the site about a month afterwards. "Too many holes in the system and not enough customer interest," I hear on the grapevine.
I look out of the aircraft window and see San Francisco below me receding
into the distance. I am on the plane back to London. I now have twenty
thousand pounds in the bank - maybe I'll take a year off and finish writing
that book I started ten years ago. Or maybe I'll find another contract. But
first things first. I summon the airline stewardess.
"Whisky on the rocks, please. A large one."
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