Jonathan Ferrini was born and raised in Southern California and lives in San Diego. He's a graduate of the MFA Program in Film and Television at UCLA.
The Four Friends Escort Agency
Wendy Kim worked up a good sweat at her Saturday morning Zumba class. She bought her favorite Boba drink, wrapped herself in stylish sweat gear, jumped into her red convertible Mercedes SL63, and rushed to a manicure and pedicure appointment at “Miss Vu’s Nail Emporium”. Wendy was excited because she had a first date tonight and wanted her “French” manicure and pedicure to be perfect and Miss Vu never failed to deliver the expert trim and veneer Wendy demanded. Wendy had everything a girl could want in life: a wardrobe of designer labels and shoes; expensive townhouse in a fashionable neighborhood; and expense account to wine and dine her clients. However, Wendy was lonely and her life felt incomplete because she wanted a husband and children. Even in a city the size of Los Angeles, it was difficult for Wendy to find a man who met her intellectual, physical, financial and romantic criteria. Wendy was thirty and knew that her desire to have a family was becoming elusive. She was pretty, fit and shapely. Her hair was long and kept in a bun while at work but she let it down on the weekends. It wasn’t difficult to attract men but Wendy wasn’t the sort to “settle” or engage in promiscuous sex. Wendy’s parents were proud of her academic and professional achievements but eagerly anticipated a wedding and grandchildren. Her date tonight was with another Caucasian man from a long list of men who were either divorced with children, harbored an “Asian fixation”, or simply didn’t meet her expectations. It was Saturday night and Wendy was likely to “kiss another frog” but she was persistent in her quest to find the man of her dreams.
Wendy was the only child of Korean immigrants who lived above the market they owned in the “Korea Town” neighborhood of Los Angeles. She was an excellent student, accomplished tennis player, excelled at the violin, and won a scholarship to both an Ivy League college and law school. Wendy was the editor of the law review which earned her a coveted partnership track position with a prestigious law firm which represented film, television, music, and sports figures. Although Wendy worked long hours and was paid very well, she felt that she hit the “glass ceiling”. Wendy worked in the highly competitive, white male dominated world of entertainment and sports law and she was the wrong gender and race to advance quickly. Wendy didn’t doubt that she would make partner because she was an Asian woman with impeccable legal credentials in a firm dominated by white men which needed diversity amongst its partner’s ranks. However, Wendy was delegated to drafting contracts behind the scenes and she longed for the opportunity to negotiate the contracts on behalf of the firm’s “A list” clients. In an effort to appease Wendy, the firm provided her with a stable of up and coming “B” list clients to represent. Wendy found a parking spot in front of Miss. Vu’s and entered the bristling establishment.
My name is Reg and your narrator. I’m one of those thirty something sandy haired athletic men who are native to Southern California and grow up surfing and staying fit. I’m the kind of guy men resent and women can’t resist. I’m 6’2”, 190 pounds, and my physique is described as being “ripped, lean and chiseled”. I played football in college and also played pro football. I met Sandy because her law firm represented me during my contract negotiations with the pro football team. I lasted only four years as a professional player before the rigors of the game wreaked havoc on my body and I couldn’t compete with younger players. Sandy told me to save my money and not worry about a career after football because my rugged good looks would be marketable as an actor or model. When I’m not auditioning, I take acting and dance classes while maintaining my physique. Sandy is a good lawyer and agent. She keeps me busy with bit parts in movies, TV, and modeling gigs which pay my bills but aren’t making me rich. Before you make any assumptions about me and Sandy, you should know that I choose to remain “in the closet” so as not to frustrate my goal of becoming a leading man one day. I’ll see you again later in the story.
Wendy entered the storefront nail salon which was filled with customers. The salon is small, cozy, and decorated in a tropical motif which is Fung Shui “correct”. Ceiling fans keep the place cool and aquariums create a Zen like atmosphere. There are a dozen reclining massage chairs with foot baths attended to by young, hard working Vietnamese manicurists. The clientele is diverse but mostly Asian women. The proprietor is a sixty something Vietnamese woman named Vivian Vu. Vivian is short and slightly built but all business. She has long silver hair which is braided. Vivian is one of those people who never forgets a face or a name and has a lively personality. She speaks fluent Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Cantonese in addition to having a working knowledge of Korean, Japanese, Tagalong, French, and Hindi. Vivian runs the salon like a general commanding her troops and the employees admire and respect her. Vivian owned a popular bar in Saigon called “V’v’s”. Vivian doesn’t talk about her life prior to opening “V’v’s” but rumors amongst the manicurists suggest Vivian toiled as a Saigon cocktail waitress while saving money to open to “V’v’s”. The rumor includes a love affair with a married French diplomat and “love child” resulting in Vivian’s near death at the hands of a back alley Saigon abortionist. When Saigon fell to the Viet Cong, Vivian married the first GI she met and moved to the United States. The marriage didn’t last long because her husband was abusive and a drunk. Vivian couldn’t have children and divorced. She moved to Southern California penniless and began working as a manicurist seven days a week and taking business and English language courses at night school. She worked hard, saved her money, and opened her own nail salon twenty years ago. In Southern California, nail salons are plentiful but Vivian’s vivacious personality, customer service skills, and business acumen make her salon a huge success and women book appointments weeks in advance. The many years of inhaling the fumes from nail products and the physical demands of her work took toll on her small body causing her to ponder selling the salon and pursuing an alternative business venture but Vivian was ambitious and retirement not an option.
Wendy found a massage chair and was quickly attended to by the manicurist who placed her feet in the warm water tub and began massaging her feet. Wendy took a deep breath, began to relax, and reviewed emails on her smart phone. Vivian approached, handed Wendy a cool, tall glass of cucumber water and said, “Hello Wendy, how are you darling?” Vivian placed her firm hands on Wendy’s shoulders and massaged them. She asked, “Big date tonight, honey?” Wendy replied, “I hope so, Vivian. He’s forty, a banker, divorced and has no kids”. Vivian was happy for Wendy and said, “I hope he is the one, darling. Will you have the usual?” Wendy leaned back into the massage chair, pushed the button for “Swedish Massage”, and replied, “Yes, Vivian. French pedicure and manicure”. Vivian commanded the manicurist to provide Wendy with the expert attention Wendy and other customers have come to expect from the popular salon.
Sitting in the chair next to Wendy was a beautiful East Indian woman in her forties. She was dark skinned, tall, thin, and was wearing an expensive gold silk sari. Wendy noticed the woman was wearing a silver Cartier tank watch, gold diamond encrusted bracelet, and magnificent pear shaped wedding ring dwarfing her long graceful finger. Wendy concluded she was from the “Brahmin” caste within India which is the equivalent of “blue bloods” in Europe and America. She was receiving a foot massage while typing into her tablet and wearing a headphone attached to her smart phone. The smart phone alerted the beautiful Indian woman to an incoming phone call and she adjusted the headphone speaker closer to her mouth and answered, “Dr. Pandit speaking”. Wendy couldn’t hear the other voice on the line but presumed it was an urgent medical call. “Repeat the Vasodilator regimen and call me immediately if there are any changes in vitals”, Dr Pandit ordered and completed the call. Dr. Pandit was disturbed by the phone call and began to weep covering her tears with the sleeve of the sari. Wendy was moved and leaned into the woman and whispered, “Are you alright, Doctor?” Dr. Pandit wiped away her tears and replied, “I apologize for the phone call. I know we’re all here to unwind”. Wendy held the doctor’s hand saying, “Please don’t apologize, I’m Wendy Kim”. The doctor gently gripped Wendy’s hand saying, “I’m Sandy Pandit, pleased to meet you Wendy. I’m a pediatric cardiologist and on call today. What type of work do you do, Wendy”? Wendy was impressed with Sandy and replied, “I’m a corporate attorney specializing in entertainment law”. Sandy was equally impressed replying, “You must find your work very stimulating, Wendy”. Wendy reached for a sip of cucumber water, sighed, and said, “I enjoy it Sandy but I must admit it’s just a lot of deal making and nothing as meaningful as your work”. Sandy wiped away the remaining tears, sat back into her massage chair, and pushed the “Shiatsu” button on the massage chair while remarking, “My work is very rewarding but filled with heartache because I can’t save all of the babies. The little one I was referring to on the phone call is suffering from Aortic Valve Stenosis and won’t survive. It breaks my heart and I suffer not only for the baby but the parents. Are you married, Wendy?” Wendy starred into the nearby aquarium which reminded her of the “fish bowl” she lived within as a successful, single, female Asian lawyer within the misogynistic entertainment business saying, “No, still looking and kissing a lot of frogs. You would think in a City the size of Los Angeles there would be at least one eligible man but I haven’t found him yet, Sandy”. Sandy shot back, “At least you have the opportunity to choose your husband. My marriage was arranged”. Wendy heard about the horrors of arranged marriages from her Korean parents and empathized asking, “How long have you been married, Sandy? Sandy took a deep breath, siged, and struggled to articulate, “Twenty years, Wendy. We married in India and moved to the States to earn our computer science degrees”. Wendy was curious about the challenges of balancing a professional career and family, asking “Do you have children, Sandy?” Sandy stared at the ceiling fan imagining it as a metaphor for her married life. She saw it whirling around and around but going nowhere. She mustered the courage to say, “We had a baby girl who died of SIDS”.
Wendy concluded that her single and childless existence was not so bad compared to Sandy’s life remarking, “I’m sorry to hear that, Sandy. Did you try to have another baby?” Wendy adjusted the Shiatsu button selecting “high intensity” and replied, “We tried, Wendy but couldn’t. My husband and I were software engineers and worked day and night shifts which permitted one of us to stay home with the baby. My husband was very ambitious and we invested our incomes into motel properties. Our first motel was also our home. Our financial plan was to purchase, live in, manage, and continue acquiring motels. I’m grateful for our motel investments because practicing medicine is a luxury not a necessity”. Wendy was a frustrated entrepreneur and knew that entering the legal profession would provide her with a comfortable lifestyle but never make her rich. Wendy was always interested in knowing how others created wealth and asked, “Why did you become a doctor, Sandy”? Sandy didn’t hesitate to answer as if getting a monkey off her back responding, “I blame my husband for our baby’s death since it happened while he was at home and I was working. My husband is very frugal and refused to hire a nanny despite my pleadings. In addition to watching the baby, he was managing our motel. He rushed to the front desk to check in a guest, forgot about the time, returned to the crib and our baby wasn’t breathing. It was too late when the paramedics arrived. I demanded a divorce but he begged me not to divorce as it would cause shame on our families. I had to channel my heartache and grief in a productive manner so I told him I wouldn’t divorce but would attend medical school and devote my life to pediatrics. He agreed and supported me throughout my medical education. I don’t want to be alone with my husband so I work long hours and devote my spare time to female physician’s professional societies. I’m fortunate because this large network of women provides me with the emotional support I can’t get from my husband. I must admit, Wendy, I’m not certain I can continue to tolerate the emotional pain medicine entails and I loathe the specter of a loveless marriage”. Wendy knew she hit a nerve with Sandy but was curious about the challenges of a loveless marriage, asking “Can you and your husband reconcile?” Sandy adjusted herself within the massage chair, reached for her glass of cucumber water, stared at the ceiling and said, “I haven’t forgiven him and no longer love him. We sleep in separate rooms. I consider him nothing more than a business partner and roommate”.
A car horn blared outside the salon interrupting the conversation and brought activity within the bristling salon to a halt. Vivian rushed to the front door, waved to the occupant in the back seat, and bowed. Vivian turned, faced her staff, and clapped her hands twice commanding them to stand at attention by their chairs in formation as if awaiting a general. Wendy and Sandy strained to catch a glimpse of a beautiful white Bentley double-parked with its Asian chauffer opening the door for his passenger. Vivian stood at attention just inside the door awaiting her VIP customer. An elegant, seventyish Asian woman gracefully entered the salon. Vivian bowed and in Mandarin said, “Welcome Mrs. Chang. It is my pleasure to serve you again”. The woman smiled and replied in English, “Hello Vivian. I’m happy to see you again as well”. Vivian led Mrs. Chang to the massage chair adjacent to Wendy and each of the manicurists bowed respectfully as they passed. Wendy represents VIP’s of the entertainment world but was impressed by the respect Mrs. Chang commanded and the way Mrs. Chang walked gracefully as if gliding on air. Vivian held Mrs. Chang’s hand as she began to sit within the massage chair and completing a partial pirouette as she sat. Vivian carefully removed each of Mrs. Chang’s exquisite black “Manolo Blahnik” shoes embroidered with gold and silver roses. She carefully placed Mrs. Chang’s feet into the warm bath. Within seconds, one of Vivian’s staff arrived with a glass of champagne in a Waterford flute atop a Reed & Barton silver serving tray. Wendy knows fashion and recognized Mrs. Chang was wearing couture Christian Dior satin crème dress with subtle images of blossoms. Mrs. Chang placed her black alligator Hermes handbag with solid gold hardware close to her massage chair. She sat back and selected “Thai” massage on the chair before reaching for the flute of champagne, taking a graceful sip, and saying in Mandarin, “Ah, Dom Perignon White Gold, my favorite! Your attention to detail is your virtue Vivian, my dear”. Vivian responded in Mandarin, “Only the best for my favorite client and friend, Ping”. Wendy knows jewelry and was impressed by Ping’s “Marquise” wedding ring which she estimated to be ten carats and her jade and diamond bracelet in the form of a coiled serpent, the trademark of Bulgari, Wendy was convinced the luster, size, and color of the pearl earrings and necklace Ping was wearing were “Akoya” pearls by Mikimoto. The driver of the Bentley positioned himself just outside the door to the salon implying he was not only a chauffeur but a body guard.
There was a commotion at the front door. The chauffer was demanding a “pat down” of a young parcel delivery driver dragging a dolly loaded with boxes of nail supplies. The delivery man was resisting and demanding entry. Wendy noticed Ping make eye contact with her driver, wave her hand and the chauffer permitted the delivery man to enter. Wendy was impressed with the soft, elegant power Ping commanded and wished she could exercise similar power within her law firm. The delivery man was the regular route driver, smiled and waved to the staff as he unloaded the packages at the checkout counter. Vivian looked up from massaging Ping’s feet, and motioned to one of her staff to take a step ladder and light bulb to the driver. The manicurist asked the driver if he would replace a burnt out bulb on the ceiling fan directly in front of Wendy, Sandy, Vivian, and Ping. The driver was happy to oblige. Each of the ladies in the salon watched intently as the driver placed the step ladder below the fan and carefully climbed each rung of the step ladder. As he reached the top step and stretched to reach the bulb, his brown uniform shirt rose out of his short pants, revealing a hairless six pack abdomen. His muscled calves and “bubble” butt tensed as he slowly and carefully screwed the new bulb into the socket. He gripped the bulb for one final tightening and the muscles of his forearm and bicep tensed. The light came to life casting a warm, sensual glow over Wendy, Sandy, Ping, and Vivian. A feminine sigh was uttered from somewhere within the salon. He carefully stepped off the latter and asked “may I help you with anything else”? Vivian didn’t miss a beat and said in English, “Not at this moment but I’m sure I’ll think of something”. The salon erupted with laughter. The clueless delivery man was handed a cool drink of cucumber water in a paper cup and Ping’s chauffer stuffed a large bill into the delivery man’s shirt pocket. As soon as the delivery man left and the salon returned to business, Ping said in English, “I wonder if he dances”? The salon erupted again in laughter. Vivian whispered to Ping, “You’re a naughty girl, Ping” as she massaged Ping’s feet. Ping turned to Wendy, extended her hand, and said, “Hello. I’m Ping Chang”. Wendy was smitten by the overture from Ping and replied, “I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, Ping. I’m Wendy Kim”. Ping then turned to Sandy, introduced herself and Sandy reciprocated. Ping remarked, “You beautiful young women must be preparing for exciting plans this evening”? Wendy answered first saying, “First date, tonight, Ping”. Ping then turned to Sandy and asked, “How about you my dear”? Sandy disappointingly replied, “I’m on call at the hospital tonight”. Vivian knew that Ping was reserved with strangers because of her wealthy and powerful station in life and was happy to see each of her three successful clients beginning to bond.
Vivian wanted Ping to be comfortable with Wendy and Sandy interjecting, “Wendy is a corporate attorney and Sandy is a cardiologist, Ping.” Ping was impressed and commented, “You are both so fortunate to be young, beautiful and brilliant. I envy you both.” Wendy asked, “Ping, do you have plans tonight?” Ping seemed disappointed and answered, “I do, Wendy. I’m attending a Ball this evening”. Vivian noticed Ping was becoming melancholy and wanted to remind her friend of her lofty status remarking, “Ping is the wife of a Chinese diplomat and successful businessman”. Vivian lifted Ping’s spirits causing Ping to reach for Vivian’s hand and saying, “Vivian is too kind. My husband is Honorary Consul General of China in Los Angeles and is also the President of a real estate investment firm based in Shanghai”. Wendy was attracted to power, influence, and business. She was intrigued by Ping and eager to know more saying, “I’m certain you and Mr. Chang will have a wonderful time at the ball tonight. Where is it being held”? Ping reached for the flute, took a sip of the champagne, placed it on the silver tray, and replied, “At the Mayor’s mansion but my husband is in Shanghai on business so I’ll be going alone”. Vivian knew Ping was disappointed about attending the ball without her husband and said, “Ping is a professional dancer”. Wendy remarked, “I knew you were a dancer because you completed a partial pirouette as you sat, Ping”. Ping’s mood was improving and replied, “Vivian is too kind. I was with the Shanghai Ballet in my youth”. Vivian knew her friend was too modest and added, “Ping was the principal dancer with the National Ballet of China. Tell them how you got started, Ping”. Ping took another sip of champagne and said, “As a little girl growing up in China, I watched Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movies and dreamed of dancing in elegant ballrooms dressed in beautiful gowns but I was only a peasant girl living on a farm in the country. I practiced my dancing day and night at school, competed for and won a scholarship to the Beijing Dance Academy. Upon completing my dance studies, I auditioned for and won a position with the National Ballet but that was many years and memories ago. I miss dancing dearly. It’s so romantic. Do you ladies dance”? Wendy muttered, “The only men I meet who want to dance are gay, Ping”. Sandy was quick to follow saying, “I miss dancing with a man I love but my husband and I are estranged. I’d rather dance with a gorilla”. Ping reached down to brush Vivian’s cheek asking, “How about you my dear friend?” Vivian remembered her youth in Saigon, smiled and replied, “I could really cut the rug up as a young chick in Saigon but haven’t danced in years, Ping”. Wendy’s smart phone vibrated alerting her to an incoming call. She recognized the phone number and said, “Excuse me ladies, It’s my date. I have to take this call”. Wendy excitedly answered the phone saying, “Hi William, our dinner reservation is at seven”. Wendy paused to listen to the caller and became upset before continuing, “You should have thought it through before we made plans. I can’t help you with your ex and your mid life issues. Let’s say goodbye and leave it at that”! Wendy hung up and wiped a tear from her eye. Sandy reached for Wendy’s hand and said, “Are you all right Wendy”? Wendy took a deep breath and replied, “My date called to cancel. He said he still has feelings for his ex wife and isn’t certain about inter-racial dating. Can you believe it? Every man I meet is an asshole!” Sandy was disappointed for Wendy and became agitated replying, “Your right, Wendy. We wipe their asses as children and again as grown men”.
Vivian remembered her marriage to a drunk and wife abuser and was quick to agree saying, “Men are like dogs. They’re concerned only with food and fucking”. Ping knew Wendy was hurt and disappointed and attempted to cheer her up saying, “He’s not worthy of you, honey. You’re young and the right man will come along”. Wendy began to sob saying, “I’m thirty, Ping. I’m educated, well mannered, physically fit, and nobody wants me. My parents are pressuring me to marry and have children. I want a husband and children but I refuse to settle! I lay awake at night thinking I may be single forever and will have my baby through IVF”! Ping reached for the bottle of champagne, refilled Wendy’s flute, and said, “Listen to me, ladies. My life has taught me to never to give up. I was a penniless peasant but followed my dreams of becoming a dancer. As the principal dancer at the Beijing Ballet, I was courted by the most powerful and influential men in China. I danced for President Nixon and Chairman Mao. I had my pick of any man but waited for the right one who begged me to marry him. This peasant girl married a rising star within the Politburo. I was his dutiful wife and stood by his side as he rose through the Communist party and was rewarded with stewardship of a multibillion dollar investment fund. I rarely see my husband who is based in Shanghai and I’m told he has concubines throughout Asia. There is no longer love or romance in our marriage. We have no children and I no longer have living family members. I’m alone in America. Despite my situation, I have learned that women in America control their destinies and can have anything they want. If you’re unhappy, do something about it”! Ping’s words provided the necessary pep talk successful career women require from time to time and each of the four women formed an intimate bond and a shared destiny which would soon be revealed.
Sandy got up from her chair, grabbed the champagne bottle by the neck, took a long drink from the bottle and said, “Ping, you’re right. We don’t have to settle. We can be in control and determine our own destinies!” Wendy’s mind was racing. Wendy stared at her smart phone and the many app’s competing for a position on the small screen and whispered, “Wouldn’t it be nice if women could simply press an app and request the man of their dreams when they wanted him and for as long as they wanted him? I’m not talking about sex, ladies. We all know we can get sex anytime we want but I’m talking about romance, intellectual conversation, and adventure”! Wendy had the attention of each of her three friends and saw the yearning for romance in each of their eyes. Wendy knew she might be on to something but couldn’t make it out just yet. Vivian clapped twice and motioned for one of the manicurists to bring another bottle of champagne and telling her to purchase a dozen spring rolls at the corner Thai restaurant.
As the afternoon waned, the four new friends’ sipped champagne, nibbled on spring roles, and enjoyed their manicures, pedicures and conversation. The ‘buzz” from the expensive champagne loosened each of the women’s inhibitions and one by one each of the four ladies spoke about the men of their dreams. Ping talked about the movies she watched as a young woman in China with handsome leading men and dreamed of dancing with such a man while tightly held in his embrace. Wendy had a crush on Kung Fu fighters she saw in the movies as a teenager. Her ideal man would have their athleticism and good looks but would be a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Vivian spoke fondly of French Saigon and the handsome, sophisticated French men who frequented “V’v’s”. She was drawn to their savoir faire, elegant evening attire, and knowledge of wines, cognacs, and champagnes. She fantasized about being swept off her feet and taken to Paris with one of these dashing expatriates. Sandy was the last to speak and was reserved. She was still mourning the loss of her baby but the trust and tenderness of each of her three new friends enabled her to open up. She spoke of the handsome Sikh guards patrolling the wealthy neighborhood outside the gates of her family estate in India. She was attracted to their tall stature, manicured beards, tightly bound turbans, and manly good looks. One day she saw a Sikh guard remove his turban and his long hair fell to his shoulders and the way in which he carefully braided his hair and tied the turban with his strong hands turned her on. She fantasized of bathing, washing, and braiding his hair after love making. Her Sikh lover would be a UN official charged with the health, safety, and nourishment of children. Sandy took a deep breath and reached for another sip of the champagne.
It was late in the afternoon and the salon was empty except for the four friends and a few manicurists. Ping glanced at her diamond encrusted Chanel wrist watch and said, “Oh my, it’s later than I thought. I must return home and prepare for the ball.” Wendy spoke up, “Ping, you shouldn’t have to attend the ball alone. Is there anybody you can call to be your escort”? Ping replied, “I never thought of an escort, Wendy. I don’t know many people in Los Angeles and I’m a married woman which would make an escort awkward.” Wendy clarified by saying, “I’m referring to a gentleman who will accompany you to the ball, dance with you, and give you the beautiful evening you deserve”. Ping agreed and said, “That sounds wonderful but how do you find a gentleman escort?” Ping, Sandy, and Vivian stared at Wendy anticipating her reply. Wendy reached for her Smart phone, pushed the “Contacts” app, and thumbed through the many profiles of her handsome male acting, modeling, and athletic clients. She arrived at the profile of your narrator which included my photos. Wendy handed the smart phone to Ping and said, “Check out my client Reg, Ping. He also dances”! Ping was impressed by my good looks and shirtless pose which highlighted my chiseled physique. Ping sighed and muttered, “Oh my, Wendy. He is a God”, Ping handed the phone to Vivian and Sandy who swooned at my photos. Vivian giggled and said, “I want your job girlfriend”! Wendy was all business and determined to find an escort for her new friend remarking, “Ping, would you allow my client to accompany you to the ball if he is available”? Ping pondered for a moment, perked up, and said “I see nothing wrong with having an escort”. Vivian was happy for her friend saying, “Right on, Ping” and Sandy followed with “Bravo”! Wendy dialed my number. I had just finished showering and was admiring my physique in the floor to ceiling mirror when the phone rang. I recognized the caller as Wendy and answered. It was a curious phone call because I’m accustomed to Wendy’s no nonsense business voice but she was pensive and apologetic. Wendy said, “Hello Reg, I’m sorry to call you on Saturday. I have a gig for you. It’s short notice and not exactly a acting or modeling gig”. I was curious and asked her what it was? Wendy raised the volume on the speaker phone so the three ladies could hear but motioned to them to remain silent. Wendy told me, “I have a VIP client who is attending a black tie ball this evening and requires a chaperone, interested?” This was an unusual request from Wendy and it was Saturday. I’d have to cancel my bar hopping plans but was curious about the gig. I asked Wendy to elaborate and she replied, “You’ll be escorting a beautiful Chinese wife of a diplomat to a ball at the Mayor’s Mansion. You’ll be dashing in your tux and you’ll be able to put those dance lessons to work. Interested?” It sounded like an easy gig and I needed the money and wanted to make some contacts so I asked what time and how much was the pay? Wendy muted the phone and asked Ping what time I should arrive. Ping was excited and said; “Tell him to meet me at 7:30 just inside the lobby to the Mansion. His name will be on the guest list. I’ll be wearing my red John Galliano ball dress with red Christian Louboutin pumps”. Wendy told me to be prompt at 7:30 and to look for the beautiful Chinese woman dressed in red. I asked Wendy again about the pay and was told, “I don’t know, Reg, what do you require?” I assumed it would be a short evening and told her $500. Wendy held up her five fingers and mouthed the words “five hundred cash”. Ping nodded approvingly and whispered, “Tell him I’ll pay a $500 bonus if he is a good dancer!” Wendy came back on the line and told me, “You’re on, Reg. Heads up, buddy; there may be a bonus if you’re a good dancer”.
Wendy hung up the phone and Ping was radiant like a high school girl going to the Prom exclaiming, “I’m so excited. I have to rush home and get ready. I’ll wear my blood red ruby pendant with my outfit!” Ping motioned to her chauffer to retrieve the car and said, “Thank you, Wendy. I’m giddy! Girls, it’s been my pleasure meeting all of you. I’ll tell you all about the ball over tea. Schedule it with Vivian. Ciao!” Ping practically ran out of the salon and was driven away. Wendy’s disappointment with her cancelled date was replaced by the satisfaction in knowing she brought joy to Ping and the pieces began to fall in place as she noticed a “what about us?” look on Sandy and Vivian’s faces. Wendy thumbed through the hundreds of handsome male clients on her smart phone and her mind for business, legal training and stable of client’s screamed opportunity. Wendy knew there were legions of successful lonely women in Los Angeles who would pay for the company of her handsome clients. Ping, Vivian, and Sandy’s network of female friends, clients, and colleagues would provide the start of a professional escort business. Wendy looked up from her smart phone, placed an arm around Vivian and Sandy and said, “Ladies, I have an idea. Let’s talk.”