By Armando Huerta © 2002
As a senior in high school I was well familiar with what a hooker was and how she went about her business. That’s not to say that I experienced the pleasures of the flesh with one, just that I was savvy. After all, in my corner of the world, Sao Paulo, Brazil, it wasn’t considered too bizarre for a father to take his son to a whorehouse when he became of age. In this case, usually, that meant 16. Sometimes it wasn’t even a brothel, sometimes they had a willing (or rent desperate) secretary who would do the trick. Needless to say, it made for some interesting lunch-time conversations.
Anyway… back to the hookers on the street… This school, as most American schools overseas do, had grades kindergarten through 12th grade. The school was pretty much divided by elementary, middle and high so you rarely saw the little tykes running around, pissing on themselves or eating paste. That was until you rode the school bus. Those buses, Mercedes Benz with curtains and wood paneling, were a hodge-podge of children crying, minor petting and us seniors in the back trying to steal a smoke without the driver noticing. The curtains helped a lot. On our route home we’d always pass by the Jockey Club.
Now, the Jockey Club itself is an extremely elegant and prestigious club, unfortunately the same cannot be said for the street it’s on. Being that there are no cross streets down the whole length of the Jockey Club, hookers, or roda bolsinhas (purse twirlers) as they are called locally, loved to ply their trade by parking themselves by the jacaranda trees that lined the street at regular intervals. Traffic being horrific in Sao Paulo, every now and then the bus would be stopped in front of these ladies and pandemonium would break out. Surprisingly, it wasn’t us seniors with our alleged maturity but the children who’d react the most. The minute they sensed the bus would slow down they’d pull open the windows, lean their arms out and start to pump them while chanting "Puta! Puta! Puta!". The equivalent of "Whore! Whore! Whore!". Mind you, most of these kids did so in horrid accents and with their blond hair swaying much to the amusement of the hookers. The bus driver, however, was not as easily amused. He’d try anything to get the bus moving again, from honking his horn repeatedly to bumping the car in front.
One day a hooker, well known to us by now, decided to give us a treat by pulling up her blouse and showing her sweater steaks for all to see. Normally this would have been greeted by screams of encourgement, instead, in this instance it was greeted by blood curdling cries of terror. It seems the trade was a bit rough in those days because the prostitute felt the need to protect herself by carrying around a gun in the elastic waistband of her powder blue micro skirt. When one kid screamed "She has a gun! She’s going to shoot," the bus almost tipped over with all the kids rushing to the other side to escape the expected rain of bullets.
The driver, meanwhile, was dead white and honking like his life depended on it. (or at the very least his job if one of the kids were to become target practice for a weary hooker). The poor tart, however, was perplexed. She thought she was doing us a favor and was probably not used to having her goods disparaged in such a manner. The next day the driver found a new route, 20 minutes longer and not nearly as interesting.
Armando Huerta is originally from Brazil. He will be residing in Athens, Greece.