Totems and taboos

When the IRS strikes, my favorite john wants to kiss me and my boyfriend refuses.

Published November 18, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

Nov. 18, 1999

Friday, September 25, Later

Surely, if my body got me into this predicament with the IRS, it
can get me out: I offered Milt a deal he couldn't refuse -- or so
I thought -- in exchange for his generous advance. Better than any
rate a bank would charge me for a five-figure loan: "I'll pay
interest," I suggested. "I'll throw in an extra session -- but no
German shepherds, poppers or chandeliers!"

He cocked his head and glanced at my art deco ceiling lamp.

"You've never given me a real kiss," he said. "That's what
I really want."

"What?" I was caught off-guard and he noted my sudden frown.

"If you don't like it, we'll never do it again," he added, "but you
have to admit, it's not such a bad deal. Better than prime rate."

"I ... don't know," I replied slowly.

Real kissing? That's one thing I would never do for money. I
didn't know what to say.

"Think of it as my gram of flesh," he said, playfully.

"It's more like a kilo!" I exclaimed, hoping to sound just as
playful -- but the words made me feel clumsy. Milt's unkissed lips
formed a gentle but confident smile; I looked away, blushing
deeply. "I'll consider it," I said, as he picked up his briefcase.
Then I ushered him out of my apartment, silently cursing him.

I've never kissed a john in my life! Other girls marvel at how I
get clients to come back again and again hoping to crack my
unbreakable code. But now ... do I have a choice?

Eileen thinks I'm on the IRS's To Do list, and Jasmine says the girls who
owe back taxes are in the worst position. Would I risk jail time rather than
kiss a john?

Monday, September 28

A session this morning with Jack, whom I see perhaps twice a year.
He's one of Allie's regulars, so I was surprised when he called.
In bed, Jack was nervous, quietly trying not to come too fast. As
he was dressing, he opened up -- sort of. "If you see Allison,
don't talk about me. I don't want her to know I'm seeing other --
that I've seen you," he said, a furtive look on his face.

I hesitated. "I won't talk about you to anyone," I said politely.
"I'm not a gossip." It was the only way to avoid sounding disloyal
to Allie. "Is everything OK?" I added.

"Pretty much," he said, adjusting his tie. "I got a phone call this
weekend from a guy who claims to be an IRS agent. My wife

A chill went through me.

"I told her to take the message. And when I called back this
morning --"

"What was his name?"

"Windsor? Winters ... He wants me to answer some questions about
Allison -- he's auditing her. Do you know anything about this,

"Jesus," I sighed, shaking my head. "What did your wife say?"

"She thinks it's about one of my brokers -- and I hope to God she
always will." Jack's a partner in a commercial real estate firm
and his wife's family owns a few midtown office buildings -- the
ultimate merger.

"Have you told Allison?"

"I don't want to upset her. You know how temperamental she is."

"But you have to tell her!"

He shrugged me off. "Anyway, I'm going to see this guy --"

I lost my cool completely. "When?" I demanded.

"Today," he said, as if he wished he'd never brought it up. "I
don't want him calling my house again."

"Are you bringing a lawyer?"

"For Christ's sake," he replied. "Do you know what I do all day? I
don't need a lawyer to talk to some schmuck from the IRS."

I'm tempted to tell Allison -- but if she knows I've seen her
favorite client, won't she be jealous? That's the last thing I
need! I finally understand why so many people hate Mondays.

Friday, October 1

Last night, my personal phone rang at 2 a.m. -- while I was curled up
asleep with Matt.

"You're the only person who had this information! I should have
known," said a drunken female voice.

"Allison?" I whispered, trying not to wake my exhausted boyfriend.

"How else could he know all these things? How else could he know
that Fred came over to my place on Tuesday May the 4th? Or the name
of the girl who sent him? You hypocritical fucking bitch!" she
wailed in a raw, high-pitched voice.

I sat up fast and moved away from Matt, hoping he had not heard

"If you can't calm down, I'll have to hang up," I said quietly.
"What are you talking about?"

"Don't play innocent with me! I'm talking about Tom Winters, who I
never should have seen today --"

"Allison! What did you tell him? I warned you!"

"How dare you!" She stopped suddenly and I heard a deep sob. "HE
KNEW EVERYTHING! My clients, my prices, he even knows I charge
extra for -- for --" There was a muffled, humiliated whimper that
made me cringe. "So, when did you turn me in? July? August? You
must have Xeroxed my book!"

"Please calm down," I begged as her accusations grew clearer.
"Listen to me --"

"Listen?" she cried. "Are you listening to ME? I'm not as stupid as
you and Jasmine think I am! You think you can use me to get out of
your own mess because I'm too dumb to notice? You won't get away
with this. I've got stuff on you, too! It was YOUR idea to sell my
book! You didn't want a commission because you were setting me up!"

I couldn't believe this was happening. When I hung up, I was

"What time is it?" Matt demanded angrily. "Who WAS that?"

This morning, he was in a terrible mood. "Why are all your friends
either IN trouble or causing trouble?" he railed. "What is wrong
with you? Do you have even one normal girlfriend?" How much did he
hear last night? When he refused to kiss me goodbye, it felt like
a slap in the face.

The most I could manage to eat today was a few spoonfuls of muesli.
Everything else makes me queasy. I should have told Allison about
Jack's visit, about his meeting with Winters. WHY didn't I warn
her? Why?

By Tracy Quan

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