Monday, September 29, 2014


I was at the time teaching at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a class called Subject A ("Bonehead English") a course designed to give one last chance to students who had failed the English Composition entrance exam. So, at 8 in the morning, there's a young lady in my office who looks as if she hadn't had any sleep, but perhaps some bedtime, since a party the night before: black cocktail dress, with a large golden crucifix (!) in the valley between breasts supported by a masterpiece of bra engineering. She is on the verge of crying: tears and cleavage--magic keys the world over. She sobs, "I have to, just have to get a passing grade in your course." She breathes deeply (to widen the valley?) "There is NOTHING I won't do," leaning back as if she were ready to do that NOTHING right there. So many options for this young, always-horny would-be professor. Well,there seemed no challenge in the cliched solution, so I said,"I will guarantee you a "B"--but you must stay way from me completely, attend all sessions, and do the best you can with the assignments." She looked relieved, as if she had escaped an unspeakable horror. I admit that part of me had hoped that she would look disappointed. I think she was new at that particular quid pro quo, a technique she evidently hadn't needed in the first place: she earned an"A" on her own.

Responding to frantic knocking on my door, at four in the moning, with the outside temperature around 40, I open it to a probable teenager, a blatant female wearing only a smile, some wiggles, and just enough fabric to keep her from being illegal. She smiles. I think even her belly smiles, and her left knee. In an absurdly giggly voice, she asks, "Are you interested in sex for money?" I look at her in a conspicuously appraising way. She smiles, all over. I say, "That sounds interesting." She smiles. I say, "How much do you pay?" She stops smiling. She stops wiggling. And this octogenarian, feeling strangely triumphant, goes back to sleep.

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