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January 9, 2014

Do you like this?

Officer Alex offers cold comfort to the ladies of the street

It was the whores I was worried about.

Temperatures were dropping to alarming levels, as low as five degrees in the next 48 hours, and the tightening of my jaw was nearly audible in the team office. 

“Sweet Jesus,” I said. “My hookers!”  

I was neither a participant nor a profiteer in the skin trade, but I had taken it upon myself long ago to be the guardian of our town’s whores. Most of my brothers and sisters shied away from them as a rule, but even in my earliest days I knew that these wretched specimens were in dire need of a champion.  

As a member of the “COPS” television crew once objectively pointed out, the city of Chattanooga has, by far, the ugliest prostitutes in this great nation of ours. And I’m not talking about unattractive here, I’m talking ugly: The kind of ugly that could make a Happy Meal cry, or Barack Obama lose hope. The kind of ugly that makes a pillow cry in advance... I’m talking pure horror here.  

As such, these ladies would have a hard time getting a date at the Humane Society. Couple that with some high-metabolizing addictions and a cargo ship container full of daddy issues and you have an entire demographic that needs looking after, and not with a lot of interested parties to do so. So I knew that the first time I had to choke back both tears and vomit on a chance meeting during training years ago that I had found my niche.

And no, not as some kind of Robin Hood of Pimps; nothing trashy like that. I just knew that I was to be The Whore King.  

My ladies of the walking dead range from 16 to 60, and while they are usually adept at finding regular shelter, I still make my rounds as best I can. All hookers have a preternatural gift for disappearing into thin air upon an attempted second viewing by anyone who wasn’t sure on the first viewing if they just saw a whore or not. But that doesn’t mean there is always room at the inn for these ladies, and it’s even more dangerous with temperatures this low combined with rain, because of the predilection some folks have for running close to the curb to splash a wall of water on them from the gutter, because hey, “Wet hooker!” 

Funny stuff, granted, but they’ve already given every ounce of body fat to that sweet, sweet mistress, methamphetamines, so they’re just not in much physical condition to deal with that kind of thing in general.

“Whore blankets,” I said. “Come on, guys, got any blankets?  Like those old wool Army ones they’d give out now and then?”  

I was actually talking about some old civil defense blankets they’d gotten out of an old Cold War-era emergency operations center below the jail for just this kind of occasion, but who cared? A blanket’s a blanket at five degrees when you still have shorts and sandals on (and a set of dirty tracked-up knees and feet between them). I got no response.

“What’s with you and the prostitutes anyway, man?” I received instead from a 20-something who’d been on our shift a few weeks now.  

I closed my eyes and began speaking before opening them. “They’re not called ‘prostitutes’, Thompson. These are hookers.” I probably had to have this talk with someone every few weeks. 

“Prostitutes are attractive. Pricey. Decent folks,” I went on. “These girls around here?  These are hookers. Prostitutes are hot, and they aren’t considered ‘hookers’ until they are found dead. These girls? Already dead. Well, practically. Get it straight.” I paused to regain my composure.

“Whore coats and whore blankets, folks. Keep an eye out for me, will ya?” A few heads nodded, and that would just have to do.  

I pulled the rare toboggan onto my head (I don’t like things touching my head, much less hugging it—go easy on me) and headed out into the world to begin my rounds.

Everybody needs a champion.

The whores had me, and that would just have to do.

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