stools and a large wraparound sofa. Not allowed to drink before work (the
clients gave them enough during the night), theywere all sitting on
the sofa laughing and sipping orange juice. Like many Czechwomen, they
were stunningly beautiful, with long legs, high cheekbones, full lips and
perfect breasts. (Steffi attributed the breast size of Czech women to
the fact that chicken farmers load the birds with growth hormones -- I've
yet to corroborate that fact.) Magdá quickly pulled me onto
the sofa between the giggling foursome, and as I put my arms around her
and Terezá, I felt like Hugh Hefner and began to question my reasoning
in accepting cash for services instead of trade.
our lessons right away. The girls were better students than those I had
at the university, even if they couldn't understand a lot of what I said.
After all they didn't need to know why they should call British clients
"daddy," and Americans "soldier," they just needed to know
the vocabulary. At first, they were worried about their accents and wanted
to practice pronunciation, but I put a quick end to that, reminding them
of the famous, thick-accented Czech Ivana Trump.
lessons we learned cute euphemisms for the male anatomy (General Patton,
Mr. Churchill, Uncle Wiggly) and for bodily functions (tinkle, wee-wee
and No. 2), as well as old-time flirt lines like "Is that a rocket
in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" (Let me tell you,
readers: There is nothing sexier than that line delivered by a pretty Czech
with a heavy accent.) And, of course, I taught them all the bad, naughty
words to use with those clients looking for a whore in bed rather than
a mythical virgin.
The girls were
quick learners, and by the end of a month, they had mastered most of their
lessons. Steffi thought that two classes a week would be sufficient, but
also offered me another job as a limited partner. For every client I steered
or brought to the club, she would give me half of her 50 percent take.
Considering my fixed income at the university, I thought I'd give it a
try and see if the old adage, "The harder you work, the more you get,"
would pay off in buldging profits. I took her up on the offer. She
handed me 100 Steffi's Club business cards, and I went to work.
Up to this
point, I had kept my moonlighting at Steffi's a secret from my friends
and colleagues. Now I figured: Why not do them a favor? To a degree,
I figured I was performing a public service for some. First there was Cleve,
an American teacher in the Pedagogical Department who was in his 50s, foolishly
trying to pass as 30 in a desperate attempt to pick up students. He became
a regular. Then there was Lowell, a young Irish kid on the law faculty
who had been complaining to me for months that his German girlfriend wouldn't
come to visit him. The girls and I fixed him up. The clientele increased
logarithmically. After a few weeks, I was getting surreptitiously pulled
aside by my Czech colleagues, who wanted to know prices for (and details
of) Steffi's girls. Never underestimate the poor sex lives of those
starting to pour in at such a brisk pace that I started to get greedy,
recruiting tourists at the local clubs and hotel bars. I tried to be extremely
selective about who I chose to send to Steffi's, and in general theclients
were always polite and they tipped well. The only major fiasco occurredwhen
I got drunk with two Southern rednecks who worked as engineers at an American
military base in Germany. Big John was from Alabama, and Billy Bob was
from Georgia. They would come into Plzen about every other weekend to pick
up girls and drink up a storm. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have given them a
second thought, but after they plied me with single malt scotch for a couple
of hours, I invited them over to the club.
went immediately for Lenká, as she was the tallest and skinniest
of the four. Billy Bob chose the redheaded Terezá while I took
a seat at the bar to chat with Steffi. Things seemed to be going along
fine in the bedrooms. Big John had busted into a raucous version of "The
Love Boat" tune, keeping time with the screeching bedsprings.
screams started coming from Terezá's room. I leaped from the sofa,
grabbed a truncheon that Steffi kept behind the bar and burst into the
room just in time to rescue Terezá from Billy Bob who was standing
in the open window wearing nothing but Terezá's floss underwear.
days after the episode with Big John and Billy Bob, I had the unshakable
feeling that it was a bad omen. Then one night it happened. I was walking
up the alley behind Steffi's to catch a late-night tram when Tony appeared,
brandishing a long, thin stiletto. Tony hadn't bothered me when I was simply
teaching the girls English, but my new status as Steffi's limited partner
was obviously the last straw. He came running at me like a lunatic, but
too fast for his little legs with the crippled foot, and I quickly stepped
aside, tripped him up, and sent him in a somersault to the pavement. Then
I high-tailed it out of there.
though, would not be denied. Two days later, I unexpectedly faced him
in a vacant rest room inside the Hlávní Nádrazí,
the main train station). This time he had one of his goons with him, an
obese, greasy-looking Gypsy with long stringy hair. It wasn't looking good.
I imagined that the rotund Gypsy was going to pin me to the wall with his
immense belly while Tony kicked me in the shins until something snapped.
Then the little shit would laugh demonically while I pulled myself along
the floor to seek help.
help arrived sooner than I could have hoped when suddenly Stepan the Russian
loomed large, and miraculously, in the doorway. He began screaming
at the two gypsies in fearsome Czech. What he actually said, I don't know,
but after the two slunk away he told me reassuringly, "Tony won't be
bothering you again. He knows next time I toss him in front of tram, I
won't miss. You need drink?" I nodded, wondering how did I ever get
Stepan was suddenly deported without apparent reason. Though he told us
not to worry, that he would be returning "toot sweet" (one of
the many phrases I taught the girls), we all began to feel a little
nervous about losing our Russian guardian. Steffi decided that since summer
was fast approaching, she would
close shop for a month to give the girls a break before the busy tourist
season began. And I, having escaped jail and bodily injury, decided it
was a sign to cut out while ahead. The university had not renewed my contract
due to "budget cuts," though rumors of my moonlighting activities
had been circulating awhile. And, after spending three years abroad, I
was becoming tired of European life, and looking forward to returning to
the States. So, one last time, I climbed the stairs to Steffi's Club to
give the girls a farewell English lesson.
first appeared in SALON. D.A. Blyler is the author of two books of poetry,
"Shared Solitude" and
of a Seducer." His satirical articles have appeared in such publications
as SALON, G21, EXQUISITE CORPSE, and the Prague based magazine THINK. He
has recently completed his first novel, "Steffi's Club," which will be
serialized on-line next month at Friction Magazine (www.frictionmagazine.com).
D.A. Blyler is presently living in Thailand researching the sequel.