How Much to Let Me Touch You?

The power of money when you don’t have any

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I got a text from Steve.

“Got a guy here, he wants to see you naked. He’ll pay you 200 bucks.”

Steve was one of those people who texted with decent grammar. I showed my girlfriend. She laughed.

“Do it,” she said. I shrugged, but couldn’t text a shrug, so I texted back, “where?”

“At my home.”

I knew where it was. I’d been there the week before. He’d given me 100 dollars to have a chat with him about doing solo porn for his website. I’d said I’d think about it. I needed money. I worked at a mall kiosk so I had nothing. I’d also met Steve at that kiosk where we worked together, so where he got one-hundred dollars, God only knows–no, I think maybe God doesn’t have an interest in this sort of thing.

“Wait in the car?” I asked my girlfriend.

She shrugged, “I’ve seen you naked.”

I knocked on the edge of the door, it was one of those metal-mesh screen doors that always seem to have a split in them, somewhere.

Steve came up, he was wearing sweatpants; he didn’t look at me.

“This way,” he said. I followed. To the back. A hall, a door at the end. Steve leaned on the door frame.

“Uh,” he said, still not looking at me. “So, my friend left.”

It is quiet.

“So what am I doing here Steve?”

He shrugged. “Would you do it for me?” he mumbled.

I smiled, softly. “Sure, Steve, sure.”

I walked past him, into the room. There was a bed. I stood next to it. Steve stepped into the room, only slightly. He shuffled his feet, like a child being punished. I started taking off my shirt.

“You alright, Steve?”

He nodded at his own hands. I turned my clothes into a folded pile on the dresser. I scratched my arm; it didn’t itch. I frowned.


He looked up. He looked me up and down. I scratched my leg this time.

“What do you want me to do?” I asked.

He didn’t respond right away, he didn’t look at my eyes. He hadn’t shaved in a while, I noticed. He was thirty but looked older. His eyes looked sad, sunken.

“I have this thing about power,” he whispered. “I like to control people with money,” he said, even softer.

I nodded, the back of my ear itched–even though it didn’t. I waited.

“Can I touch you for four-hundred dollars?” he blurted out.

I stepped back a little. “My girlfriend is kind of waiting for me, Steve.”

“Just a moment.” He stepped closer. I shrugged. “Okay.”

I thought he’d be warm, but he wasn’t–his hand wasn’t. He put it on my chest. I could feel his breath. It was warmer than his hand.

“I’m sorry,” he said; his breath really was quite warm. He stepped away.

He turned his back while I dressed. When I was dressed, he turned back around. He put four-hundred dollars in my hand.

“Thanks, Steve,” I smiled. He didn’t.

He let me out the split metal-mesh door. I never did see him again.

Columnist and author. My writing is like a bunch of people at a party trying to tell different jokes at the same time.

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