Cast of characters




















Dame + Donna      




“Had ol’ Freddy charged at the cop shop…”












* Will the charge on Fred hold?! *




Rose guffawed. “Oh come on. You’re not serious? How can you waste the police’s time with that silly incident? You brought that entirely on yourself.”




Dame realized he wasn’t preaching to the converted so he dropped the subject.





He pulled off his T-shirt and the skin on his upper body goose-bumped from the cool, conditioned air of the Hollywood Inn room. “Massage please.”




“I can only give you five minute version. And no funny business!”








Several blocks away, Donna was cautiously ascending the stairs of Coffee Lady’s cafe. She’d never been to a dive like this.





She rarely drank coffee anyway, so why would she go to a coffee shop?




She did find the quaintness kind of cute though, but the feeling faded as she considered the working conditions of the ladies here.





Like something out of the nineteen fifties. Or eighteen fifties for that matter.




In the same breath, she realized how lucky she was to be highly educated and gainfully employed.





Nearing the top of the stairs, she quickly poked around in her bag for the envelope filled with Damion’s airfare (a ‘pay advance’ from Miss No) and was already thinking ahead to what she’d do after this hopefully short meeting.




* Do you think their meeting will be a short one? *




It was Monday night and there was a feature film on TV tonight.





It was about a North Korean woman terrorist who’d planted a bomb in a Korean Airlines Jet in 1987.





She’d been captured by South Korea but then been forgiven and released into South Korean society. She had become an enigmatic if not reclusive celebrity.








As Rose’s muscular hands and long, sculpted fingers kneaded Dame’s back and neck, the foreigner was finally slowing down from an alcohol-fuelled, sleepless night.




“I think the whole problem last night was you were just plain tired,” Rose commented. “It threw your judgment off and you ended up getting into trouble.




“Why don’t you live a more regular lifestyle – you know, work in the day, play in the evening, and sleep in the night?”





“Why don’t you respect your body? You will age quickly if you don’t.”




“I do work and play in the day – but my day is after dark. And I will sleep. Someday.”




“You look pie-eyed. Big bags under your eyes. And you slobber when you speak. And …”




She put her hand up to her mouth to clear her throat in embarrassment. “You … well a little bit … stink.”





“All the more reason for us to jump in the shower together…”




“Ayeesh! Ayeesh!” She broke off her massage and slapped him playfully but the slaps were hard and infected with contempt.




Dame could feel the revulsion. He recoiled and collected himself.




“I’m smarter than the average guy my age. I’ve lived a couple of extra years with all the nights I’ve stayed up and not slept away like most people.”




Rose gazed into space. “I love sleep,” she said soothingly.




“You Koreans love sleep too much,” Dame said. “As we waygooks say, You snooze you lose. Sleep when you die.”




While finding this new foreigner unique, Rose was mildly alarmed by how he mistreated his body, especially the amount he drank.




She didn’t like drinkers – indeed, her father had been one and her mother had turfed him out of the house when Rose was young, because – speaking of sleep – he’d arrive home late every night and disturb the children by being noisy.





Rose was convinced this is why she did so poorly in school – she was tired all the time.




When she related anecdotes about her alcoholic father to others, she was often asked if he’d been violent but the answer was no.





In fact, Rose’s mother – the inimitable and incorrigible Cleaning Lady – could easily have manhandled him if they’d ever come to blows.




Moreover, Cleaning Lady had ingrained in Rose a sense of self-respect and she’d never tolerate any man – client or boyfriend – as much as raising a hand to her.





If worse came to worse, Rose didn’t need this escort job to live or eat.




She did it to bring home a little more cash for her mom who’d raised Rose and her brother alone without a single complaint.





Rose respected her mom and everything she stood for – true independence.




Rose’s life story had lulled Dame to the verge of sleep.





Doing his best to keep one eye pried open and looking at the clock, finally he requested, “Rosie-O, wake me up in 15 minutes. I have an appointment with my sister. I can’t miss it.”




Easier said than done. Once Dame fell asleep, he was very difficult to awaken.





As a result, at the 15 minute mark Rose tapped on his shoulder to no avail. “Mr Damion, time to wake up. Yah! Yah!” He didn’t budge.




“Get up. Mr Damion, get up!” He was out like a light.




* Is Damion going to miss his meeting with his sister? *








Tomorrow: Dame rushes his way to Coffee Shop Max.