The boy wandered. Starry eyed. San Francisco. He had arrived. That very morning. First visit. USA.
He wandered. Union Square. Boutiques. Food trucks. And he searched. Barnes & Nobles. His dream.
He walked into an alley. Desolate. Even in noon. He walked. Leisurely. An alley. Connecting two roads.
He stopped by shops. Shut. Read the signboards.
A signboard glowed. “Massage Parlor”. He thought. Perhaps. A foot-massage. As he had. In Saigon.
There was a bell. By the yellow door. To press. He did.
A voice from nowhere. Asked. He replied. The door opened. Briefly.
The stairs were dark. He walked up. A bright lit room. A registration-desk. 20 Dollars. He paid.
He was shown his room.
On a couch he sat. Nervous. Excited. Till the door opened.
She smiled. “We do showers. We do bathtubs. Different rates.”
And she unbuttoned. The top button. Her. First. Then his.
He stood up. He was shaking. In fear. In an unknown land.
She laughed. Other girls. Swung the door. Someone opened the tap. Of the tub.
“The water is warm.” And they giggled. He shook. In fear. In an unknown land.
“Let me go.” She said “No. Stay. 100 dollars for shower. 250 for the tub.”
“But I just arrived. Today morning. I have no money. Forgive me.”
They laughed. “But…”
“I came for a foot massage. Please.” He was shaking.
She buttoned. His top button. First. Hers. Then.
“Go. Before you faint.”
He ran. Out of the room. On the stairs.
She said “Wait.” And handed him a 20-dollar bill.
He said, “No. It is ok”.
She said, “For we have done nothing to be paid”. And kissed him on his cheek.