Feature Piece

Talent Scout

by Barney Drabek

I had to send my first appointment home. No papers, no tryout. That’s the first rule, and it’s the most important one. Especially if you look young. If you say you’re eighteen, and you look like you might be only seventeen or maybe just barely eighteen, you have to prove it. No risks. No chances.

Destiny she said her name was. Look, I told her, I don’t care what your real name is, but for your interview with me I need your real name. Your real name and the papers that go with it. I’m sorry but I just can’t take any chances, I told her.

She said she would be back tomorrow. She won’t. She won’t be back tomorrow. Some come back, but in a few months usually, never tomorrow. They know what they need to have for the interview, but most assume they can flirt or charm or maybe even use pity to get over on you. Low cut tops. Short skirts or regular skirts hiked up a bit. Biting the bottom lip, that’s a big one. They think that one works.

Destiny was a low cut top. Can’t blame her. She had the goods. If you have the goods, show them you have the goods, they think. Makes sense. Beautiful girl, too. She had that smooth skin you only see in commercials for getting smoother skin. That’s hard to come by. Beautiful blonde hair. Fake blonde, but it don’t matter if it’s fake. Blonde is blonde, fake or not. Some prefer it fake. They say it looks better.

I’m gonna see it all anyway. Necessary part of the job. Thousands are gonna see it. So why do they think stuff like skirts and low tops will make a difference? First impressions and that idea of almost showing, I guess. I guess that’s what they think. Still, papers or nothing. I learned my lesson a long time ago.

These girls used to really get me going. Sometimes, with the ones I really had a thing for, I would talk them into doing a quick tryout right here in my little office without any camera or anyone else around. Look, I told them, if you impress me and do me right, I can almost guarantee you’re in. It’s good money. Think about it. Think of it as your first tryout. It actually worked sometimes.

The ones without papers, it worked with them almost all the time. If they looked young or spoke with a strong accent, I knew my chances were pretty good. No papers, I’d say, I’m sure we can work something out. Then I would wink at them or give them a good smile. That way they would know. That way I wouldn’t have to say it.

But this one time it got me in trouble. This girl looked young, so I knew I had a good shot. Looked a little rough, like the streets were starting to close in on her, but she still looked good enough to me. Sparks is the name she gave, but I know now her real name is something like Melissa or Marissa. Like I said, she looked a little rough. So I just went over to the couch and unzipped my jeans. Show me what you can do with your mouth, I said, and I smiled at her. Think of it as your first tryout. She did. Not too bad either.

But then stuff went wrong. The company I worked for, they didn’t like her. Said she looked like an addict. They said if she cleaned up a little bit, then maybe. But not now. Not looking like that. I didn’t think nothing of it. But this chick got pissed when she found out. She said I promised her she was in. Said I was in big trouble. Empty threat. Just a girl getting upset.

Then I got in big trouble. Cops came and arrested me at work and everything. Statutory rape and something about sexual assault and coercion and all kinds of shit. It all happened so damn quick. I knew the chick probably wasn’t eighteen, but I didn’t think nothing could come of it. I did some time for that. I would have done a lot more time, but this chick wasn’t exactly the most perfect and innocent victim. Ended up having to plea out. Did almost two years in county. Lost my job and everything.

That’s how I learned my lesson. Got out and didn’t have a job. I liked my old job, but they wouldn’t take me back. Not after what I did, they told me. But that’s all I knew how to do. I liked seeing all the pretty girls. I was good at my job.

So I started my own small business here in my apartment. Turned my living room into a kind of office and everything. Haven’t been doing so well though. Only have a digital camera and a pretty old video recorder. Quality isn’t that good, but I didn’t have a lot of money. Have to save what I have until I start making some good money.

I like it though. I run the whole show. I’m the whole business. Girls have to tryout with me before they get the work. I tell them there are other people in the company, but it’s just me. I’ll put in a good word with the others, I tell them.

I sure hope that Destiny comes back. She was a real piece. I bet she could jump start things for me. She has the goods and isn’t afraid to show them. She is confident. That’s important, confidence. And now that it is just me in the company, I can promise her that she’ll get the work. It’s my say. I’m the only one who makes decisions. I won’t tell her that, but it can keep me out of trouble. I’ll still ask for papers, but even if she don’t have them, I won’t get in trouble. I can guarantee the work so she won’t get mad. If she comes back, I’ll tell her we can work something out. She can turn things around for me.

Barney Drabek is a writer and an aspiring human in Seattle, WA. He currently works as an editor, and he is a writer and a copy-editor on a freelance basis. He holds a BA in creative writing, and “Talent Scout” is his first published piece.


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