Hey, sailor,” I called to the young guy creeping along the walk in his Beamer. This one’s a big money client, so I pulled out all the stops, lifting one rainbow stockinged leg up onto the guardrail next to the road, giving him a glimpse up my skirt. “You know what they say, boy, if you can fuck a clown, you can do anything. Whaddaya say?”
I leaned forward, squeezed the bicycle horn hidden in my bra and winked. Aawoooga. He looked me up and down and shook his head. That’s when Mimi raised her head from his lap, shooting me a smug look, black and white makeup smeared all around her mouth. That mime bitch was always stealing customers from our part of the walk. Her head slipped back below the window and the guy grinned as he drove off.
Aawoooga. I honked my tit again and flipped the bird as the car turned off the walk, and stepped back to where Dottie was leaning against a lamppost.
“Mimi again?” She asked.
I nodded. “I hope she chokes on an invisible dick.”
She laughed and lit a cigarette. Dottie was the ringleader of the Bang’um Bailey Girls, Vaudeville’s longest running prostitution syndicate. I’d been a card-carrying member for a little over eight years, and I couldn’t ask for a better family.
“Don’t worry about it,” she said. “She’ll get what’s coming to her. All those bitches will.”
“Sooner than later, I hope,” I said. Rent was already past due and the heat wave was bad for business as it was without someone moving in on our territory.
Mimi was the hottest new recruit of our biggest rivals, the Pantymimes. The customers couldn’t seem to get enough of those mute bitches. Before that bastard Rowan Atkinson revived the popularity of mimes in the nineties, the Bang’um Bailey Girls were the biggest game in town. We ruled every intersection, overpass, and alley. The Whorlequins ran the French district, and respected our boundaries. We worked east of the bridge, they worked the west, and when needed, we looked out for each other. The Cuntortionists ran the brothels, stayed out of our hair and only catered to a specialty clientele. The only other gangs in town were the Jesticle Boys and the Cockrobats, but they weren’t in the same market as us and kept their rivalry between themselves down by the ravine.
To kill some time I pulled a few condoms out of my bag, blew them up and twisted them into a balloon horse with a giant cock.
Dottie grabbed it from me, squeezing the dick until it popped.
I rolled my eyes at her. “Jesus, that’s some grip. No wonder you’re so popular on this block.”
“Well I would be if there was anyone hiring tonight,” she laughed. “For real, though, this is ridiculous. Next car that comes by with A/C I’m getting in, invited or not.”
A set of headlights flashed around the corner, and Dottie kept her word. It was a blue Honda, driven by Doug, the creepy loner who announced the horses down at the track. He was really into saddle play. Every time he picked me up I got more and more worried about those poor animals he worked with. Thank god Dottie took him this time.
I’d been out on the walk for hours at that point, my white face paint greasy with sweat and dripping down past my tits. I knew I looked like hell, but stopped caring hours ago. Three more cars passed by without slowing down before I got my first job—A tourist from Arizona. Middle aged, married, no kids. Unfazed by the heat. The guys with a hardcore clown fetish almost exclusively marry girls with coulrophobia. They were easy money, with that much pent up sexual frustration they just about always came as soon as I put my big red lips on them. Since tonight was so slow I gave him an encore to make it worth his while, and still made it back to the walk before Dottie. I laughed picturing her racing around Doug’s shit hole apartment on her knees making pony sounds for him.
I wanted to pick up another job before calling it a night, but if I couldn’t, at least the tourist had given me just about enough to get the landlord to lay off for a few more days. I smoked half a cigarette and chewed a piece of Fruit Stripe to get that sweaty dick taste out of my mouth. My stomach growled for solid food. I could spare a few bucks for a bite once Dottie got back.
Another car drove up and stopped. This one was a geeky high school kid who’d just gotten his license, desperate to get his first blowjob. Ended up being too nervous to achieve or maintain a hard on long enough for me to even touch it. He mumbled a string of apologies and handed me a few bucks for my time before he drove off.
One of our other girls, Gina, came by looking for Dottie. She was still a rookie hooker, a juggler before she ended up here. Dottie took good care of the new girls, helped them stay safe and turn a buck. She had taken me in when I was seventeen, stupidly trying to make it on my own. Business was slow for anyone outside the gangs, though. Vaudeville was primarily a shtick town, a popular destination for sex tourists with a sideshow fetish. Formerly known as Fairview Valley, when the coalmines ran dry the town council had to come up with something to keep the town alive. How exactly they came to the conclusion that a clown themed cesspool of legalized prostitution and gambling had been the most viable solution, I’ll never know. But damned if I didn’t hitch a ride out here from the city to see what all the fuss was about just like everyone else. The difference was I never left.
When Doug’s blue Honda brought Dottie back, Gina was trying to teach me how to juggle using all four of our oversized clown shoes. I never did get the hang of it, but we were having a good laugh.
“Damn, girl,” Dottie said. “You’re fucking terrible. Stick to sucking dick.”
I threw one of the shoes at Dottie but missed. I never was coordinated.
“Gina, you manage to pull a job yet tonight?” She asked.
“Yeah,” she said. “A couple small ones. Nothing to write home about, that fucking mime girl stole one of my regulars, though.”
“Seems to be a recurring theme around here,” said Dottie.
“Wanna call it a night?” I asked.
“Oh god, yes,” said Dottie. “My knees are killing me from Doug’s floor. I think the carpets in that place are made of sandpaper. I need a drink.”
It was close to one when we walked into the Snake Oil Hotel and Bar, where most of the Bailey girls took our regular customers. Old man McGill owned the place, and charged next to nothing for a room so long as we brought business into the bar. Frances and Midge were already well into a pitcher when we sat down. Midge was trying to touch up her makeup in the reflection of a steak knife, and Frances had already given up for the night, rainbow wig thrown to the ground beside her stool.
“I-I… I tell ya, Midge,” she slurred. “If that f-fucking bitch takes o-one more of my guys…” she stopped to chug another half pint. “POW!” She almost fell from her stool from the effort she put into punching the air.
“Mimi?” I asked.
Frances hiccupped and glared. “Y-yeah. I… W-we, we should kill her.”
“Yeah!” Midge interrupted, stabbing the knife into the tabletop. “She ain’t got no business being on our walk! She got every one of my targets tonight. We oughtta teach her a lesson.”
Gina brought another pitcher over and more glasses for the three of us.
“Patience, girls.” Dottie said. “Let Karma do its job.”
I should have been more suspicious than I was. Dottie was the last person in Vaudeville to put any stock in an abstract idea like Karma. In my short time on the streets with her alone I had seen her castrate a man who raped one of the Bailey girls, stab another who had tried to get off without paying, and take a thumb from one of our girls who was selling information to the Pantymimes. She wasn’t the type to sit back and wait for God to sort it out. If God exists, she often said, he’d be wise to stay the hell out of Vaudeville.
We spent some time at the Snake Oil, got some food in our bellies and drank away most of our troubles. A couple of the Whorelquin girls, Ruby and Simone, walked in, and Dottie waved for them to join us. They too were lamenting the appearance of Mimi in the French District that night. Goddamn did that bitch ever get around.
Just after last call, the door swung open, and in walked Doug, saddle in hand.
“Oh, fuck,” I sighed. “Weren’t you enough for him tonight, Dottie?”
She said nothing, but smiled and shook her head.
“Oh, Hell no,” shouted Frances, pointing at the door.
We all saw her then, standing behind Doug. Mimi.
“This is our bar, bitch. You better get out of here while you still can,” yelled Midge.
Dottie held up her hand, silencing our group.
“Ladies, have some class,” she said. “We all clocked out early, remember. Mimi here earned this one fair and square. Leave it be.”
We all grumbled, halfheartedly admitting Dottie was right, as usual. Mimi blew a flippant kiss over to our table and the two of them walked through the bar to the hotel entrance.
“Doesn’t it feel better,” Dottie said after a few moments, “to be the bigger person?”
Not one of us answered. Dottie was going soft. We could all see it. A year ago she would have started a brawl with less provocation than that. The rest of us exchanged scowls while she sat there sipping her beer and staring at the bar’s lone TV. It was the weather channel. No break from the heat in sight.
Another ten minutes passed before she spoke again.
“Ladies,” she said. “Let’s go some place where we can enjoy ourselves.”
We gathered our things, not keen on giving up our claim on the Snake Oil so easily. We followed Dottie outside, where she ducked into the alley behind the hotel. As we rounded the corner after her, Dottie pressed a finger to her lips, staring at Frances who was drunkenly giggling about nothing in particular. Frances shut up. I shared a confused glance with Ruby and Simone, and watched as Dottie began to climb the fire escape. She motioned for us to come along. We stopped on the third floor, and Dottie took a key from her pocket, unlocking the door and filing us all inside. At a door on the right, she stopped, turned the knob and walked in quietly. Inside was Mimi, naked but for a pair of black and white striped panties and the saddle, on her hands and knees, throat deep on Doug’s cock.
“Aw shit, Dottie,” he said. “Ya couldn’t let me finish first?”
Mimi’s face turned to us, any sign of her former smug self had been washed away in fear. Doug thrust his dick into her mouth one last time, and unbuckled the saddle from her waist.
“A damn shame,” he said as he walked out the door. “Good mouth on that one.”
Ruby bolted the door behind him and Mimi continued to cower on all fours next to the bed, shaking. As she climbed to her feet, the Whorlequin girls removed their pointy hats and masks, and the rest of us ditched our frilly cuffs and collars. Midge cracked her knuckles, and Frances laughed.
“You have anything to say for yourself?” Dottie asked.
Tears welled up in Mimi’s eyes as we closed in on her, and her smeared black lips pursed tightly.
“That’s what I thought,” Dottie said.
She put up a fight, I’ll give her that. Tried to defend herself with an invisible baseball bat. She managed to knock out two of Midge’s teeth, and gave Simone a black eye, but she didn’t stand a chance against Dottie’s real knife. Gina and I held her down as the tongue was cut from her mute mouth, a spray of blood crossed Frances’ face, but she was too drunk to notice and continued to laugh by herself. Mimi’s face contorted as her own tongue, guided by Dottie’s hand, slid across her eyes, down her chest and into the front of her panties.
“Not the tastiest piece of meat on the block anymore, are we, Mimi?” Dottie asked, handing me her knife as she slid her hands around Mimi’s skinny white neck. As she strangled Mimi, the blood pouring from her mouth reminded me of crimson paint being squeezed from a tube. It seemed like it would never run out. I suddenly felt very ill, watching Mimi die, and slipped into the bathroom. To distract myself from my nausea, I turned on the sink and began to wash the blood off Dottie’s knife. I wondered if maybe this whole situation with Mimi had gotten blown out of proportion. I was the new girl once, too. What if someone had killed me for being a dumb kid? As I dried the knife on a towel, I noticed the engraving on the blade: Karma.
Mimi’s death did answer one of life’s most pressing questions, however. If a mime dies in a cheap hotel room, at the hands of seven inebriated prostitutes in clown costumes, it doesn’t make a sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kelly Archibald is a part time writer, full time illustrator and retired punk rock singer. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with twice as many cats as children, and is rarely seen in public.