Her face has more wrinkles than a crackhead’s last dollar bill, but her legs are slim and tight and she has alluring feet with painted toenails like pink little Tums. She has a detonation of naturally blond foliage on her head, unruly enough to camouflage her face. Her hair goes well with her fake boobs which, 15 years ago, were her 34th birthday present to herself. Dodi once went to the Four Corners up in Utah and she stood in Utah but her boobs were in the other 3 states.

She sits in her cab in the university area, wondering how she ended up there. I drive up

and park next to her. I roll down my window.

“I’m better than this,” she says. “What are we doing with our lives, Matt?”

“I don’t know, Dodi.”

Dodi’s been short on cash lately. She’s a real human being and she doesn’t like getting

old. She has a daughter who’s in the Navy and she’s always bragging about her baby in the Navy. But she hasn’t seen her daughter in years.

So many people look sad when you see them sitting in their cars alone at a red

light. Dodi’s not the only one.

Dodi likes sex and she figured, why not get paid for it? She signed up at an escort

agency, Touch of Paradise. The first night, she was sitting in her taxi when her phone rang.

“Susanna?” a woman’s voice said. That was her stage name: “Susanna.”

“Yes,” Dodi—Susanna—said.

“We’ve got someone for you,” the voice said, “over at the Quail.”

The Quail was a cheap hotel on Miracle Mile.

“Room 212,” the voice said, and hung up.

Dodi went into the bathroom of the Chevron gas station and primped her big blond

hair in the mirror. She looked at herself and didn’t like her face. She squirted perfume on her neck and walked back out.

She pulled her taxi into the parking lot of the Quail, which was seedy and getting

seedier. A couple of young toughs leaned against the hotel’s office door. She found room 212 and walked her high heels up the stairs. She had on a very short blue skirt and a tight white sleeveless shirt. She always dressed like this, even before deciding to become a part-time hooker.

She knocked on the door and a man opened up. He looked a little nervous. He was not

much taller than her, 5’8” with a lean build. He wore blue jeans and a green polo shirt.

“Hi,” Dodi said. “I’m Susanna.”

“Bill,” he said, shaking her hand. “You look great.”

“Thanks,” Susanna said.

There was a moment of silence as they both stood there looking around. The room was

barely disturbed. There was a suitcase on the chair and the bathroom door was open with the light coming out. The place was slightly steamy because of a recent shower. Bill’s hair was wet.

“So,” Susanna said, “I guess I should ask you if you’re a cop.”

“Okay,” Bill said.

She looked at him and waited.

“Well,” she said, “are you a cop?”

“No,” Bill said, smiling. “I came to town for the football game, you know, tomorrow

night. USC is playing the Wildcats.”

“You’re from California?” she said.

“L.A.”

“I’m moving to L.A. in a year or so,” she said.

“The more the merrier,” he said.

She sat down on the bed and crossed her legs and waved a foot at him. She

dropped her purse gently and seductively to the floor

“It’s $200 an hour,” she said. “And I need the money up front.”

Bill went to the dresser and got his wallet. He walked over and opened it.

“You’re under arrest, Susanna,” he said, showing her the badge.

They took her downtown and she called June, our boss at the cab company. June went

down and bailed her out. She was driving her taxi again the next night.

“I can’t do anything right,” Dodi said to me while we sat there in our cabs.

A good-looking college girl walked by, laughing into her cellphone. She walked in front of Dodi’s cab and Dodi gave the horn a quick punch. The college girl jumped and dropped her cellphone. She scowled at Dodi, bent down, picked up the phone, and hurried away. Dodi and I laughed for a bit, and I lit a cigarette. Then we were quiet and sat there waiting for fares.

***

For all installments from 6 to 6, click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Traveling Mercies
  2. Next Time, Take Skyline
  3. Suicide Lane
  4. Morenci in My Rear-View Mirror
  5. A Spiritual Adventure
  6. Sonja’s Ring
  7. A Pair to Draw To
  8. Grocery Day
  9. A Day with Melanie
  10. The Hot Light
  11. Drano
  12. The Cab Knows the Way