Appearances > Truth

The first time I did it was at Elon, the fancy private college I went to after High School. I’d blown through most of my college savings on heroin the summer before. My parents still didn’t know I was a full-fledged heroin addict so I couldn’t ask them for drinking / drug money. Still leading that double life as my friend Erica would say.

I was too nervous to put my own ad up so I responded to a couple on the “casual encounters” section of Craigslist. “Hey I am a college student trying to make some extra money would you be able to help me out with tuition?” I thought I phrased it cleverly in case there were undercover cops lurking in the men4men section. I don’t remember the name the guy gave me, but I’m sure it was fake. I told him my name was Zack, the name I’d always wanted. He gave me an address 20 minutes from campus to meet him at the following day.

This was during the Spring of my freshman year, and I had begrudgingly agreed to pledge for Sigma Pi. Their reputation aligned with what I wanted people think of me- smart but drug and alcohol loving – clever but fun. My psychologist in Pittsburgh called this low hanging fruit, but it’s not like I ever listened to his advice.

As a pledge I was required to attend study hours in one of the brick ivy-covered buildings that had been there since the first World War. I told the monitor that I had an interview for an internship that summer. Oddly no one questioned why I had an interview at 7 p.m. in the evening. I got in my black eclipse and put the address in my GPS. I was nervous while driving but also weirdly excited. There is nothing like selling sex to make you feel alive. Not that I told anyone about it. I saved the guy’s number in my phone under a girl’s name in case anyone tried to sneak a peek at my text messages.

I was disappointed when I pulled up to a drab apartment complex. We had agreed on the price of $150, so I was not expecting opulence, but at least a two story brick home by the water. My stomach felt like a snow globe as I climbed the concrete steps, and when I knocked on his apartment door it was to the tune of Jingle Bells.

The man who answered was overweight, balding, and middle-aged. Luckily my expectations of his appearance were even lower – this was a job in my mind and I wouldn’t have cared if you had no arms. The only real worrisome aspect about the situation was his apartment. It was fastidiously clean without a single decoration. Even the tiny dorm room I shared with the homophobic Texan had posters taped to the walls. Clearly this man was a serial killer and any minute he was going to sedate me and roll plastic over his sterile floors. I saw a blue iPod on the kitchen counter and considered pocketing it to pawn for cash before I made my escape.

It was then I realized that the man’s eyes were on the floor and he was stuttering; he was even more nervous than I was. Let’s get this over with. I asked him for the money first because that’s what I’d seen people do on TV. He handed me a sweaty wad of bills, and I led him into the sparsely furnished bedroom. I undressed quickly and jumped on to the bed, and he followed. He kissed me wetly, too wetly, and I made a mental note to specify no kissing to any future clients. His dick was tiny and after sucking on it for about 30 seconds he whispered that he was going to cum. I jerked my face away and finished him off with my hand. “Well that was easy” I thought to myself as I pulled my Abercrombie jeans my mom had bought me back on. I tried to make small talk with the man as we made the short walk to the front door. “Call me anytime” I said as his pale hands shut the door.

As I pulled back onto campus I thought of my father. “I can’t believe I’m spending all this money for you to go to a goddamn country club” he had said last year when he dropped me off. When I opened the door of my dorm suite I saw that my roommates were playing Halo and drinking warm Natty Ice. “Idiots” I thought to myself. The honors business program I was in kept me busier than my roommates, but it also allowed me to feel superior. I heard Mark whisper something as I ducked into my room. Did they know what I had just done? I dismissed the paranoia and decided to reward myself with the last of the Klonopin I had scammed off the school psychiatrist. The Econ paper I’d been putting off sat on my desk, next to the untouched bottles of antidepressants. Fucking Econ. I knew this meant a trip across campus to buy dexedrine from creepy Ned, but first a shower was in order. I could still smell the man’s cheap aftershave on my skin.

As I sat on the floor of our shared shower, I mentally tallied how many men I would have to sleep with to buy a used BMW. It didn’t seem impossible, besides everyone at Elon had a BMW. Freshly clothes in loose-fitting gym clothes I texted Ned and dialed my parents house number for the obligatory weekly check-in. “I love you and everything is going really well”.

I was going to make the dean’s list again, and really that’s all that mattered.