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Please Don’t Ask About Martha

7:13 a.m. 10: 14 a.m. 2:20 p.m.

The calls usually stopped around 3:30. Why? Because nobody wanted to be late for the early bird special at Blue’s Diner. Then there would be a last minute straggler or two around 6:15. By 7, most of her clients would either be in bed or watching a rerun of Seinfeld. Even by the standards of the trade, Martha’s clients were a bit off.

But then Martha was a specialist.

It was around oneish and she was right in the middle of People’s Court when the phone rang. Martha picked it up. It was one of her regulars and so they both knew the drill. What do you want me to look like? Sex or no sex? Sex? Okay. Missionary, doggie style, oral, hand job? Come on, you know I stopped doing anal a long time ago. Give me a break! Okay. I’ll be there in about forty five minutes.

Martha hung up the phone, clicked off the television and walked into a massive clothes closet; racks and racks of everything, a layout that Amelda Marcos would have found enticing. She peeled of her robe and stood before a full length mirror, admiring her nakedness. Not bad for an old broad. She still had it. Martha pulled on sensible panties and bra. She moved to the back of the closet and began poking around. This was a section that had not seen much play in a while. She pulled out a ruffled, long sleeved full dress that would fall close to mid calf when she put it on.

It was kind of a June Cleaver/Leave It To Beaver get up. Martha laughed. This guy was not a perv. But he definitely had a kink or two.

She made her way to the garage and hoped into a very big and very sassy convertible, the kind with the top perpetually down. Martha smiled at the compound guard as the gate swung open. She passed through and was immediately driving leisurely down an expanse of Florida real estate. High priced condos to the left. Breezed tossed sand and ocean front on the right. Life was good.

This would be an easy job. Minor small talk. Then down to it. He wanted Missionary but, most of the time, he had a hard time getting it up and then it was hand job city. On the rare occasion that he could get hard, he was usually off in less than ten strokes. Which, if she thought about it, was pretty much the capabilities of all her clients.

Martha turned into a meandering driveway that led to a stop in front of a guard shack and big iron gate. The guard knew her by now and so the key to the kingdom was merely a smile and a wave. Inside, the road continued to twist and turn; past will groomed, lawns, well manIcured shrubbery and drab colored, cookie cutter bungalos. She spotted the familiar driveway at a nondescript house near the back of the complex and came to a stop. Martha stepped to the front door and hit the doorbell.

A slow and grating ‘ding dong’. Yes it was one of those. After what seemed like an eternity, a slow, cracked and labored voice came from inside.


“Yes, it’s Martha.”

“Door’s open. I’m in the bedroom.”

Martha walked in. Instinctively she turned and locked the door behind her.nbsp; This guy was just too damned trusting. She walked through the very 70’s decor and down a darkened hallway. Where she spotted the man of the moment.

He was standing within the door frame. Slightly hunched over. He occasionally moved spazmodically; the result of a fall some years ago. He was naked and so he was grotesque. Man boobs the size of silos jiggled. An ever increasing mountain of body fat hid his genitals. She gave him that come hither look while, in her thoughts, she reminded herself that this was why she got the big bucks.

He stepped aside and Martha walked into the bedroom. Things had not changed much since her last visit. Everything was rumpled. Everything smelled like old. You could almost tell by the collective physical and mental decay how long this John had been without a woman in his life. But that’s not my problem.

He had wanted straight sex but now he did not feel quite up to it (thank God!). Jerking him off would do. Martha obliged; reaching down underneath the folds of fat and getting his tiny Johnson off in a matter of seconds. She washed up, made some more useless small talk and turned to leave. As was the custom, an envelope with the cash would be given her as she went out the door. But as she was about to receive the cash, the man suddenly stopped in mid motion and pulled the envelope back.

Martha did not like where this was going.

“Let me tell you about Janet,” he said in a€pitiful, plaintive manner.

God how she hated this. One look into those weepy, forlorn eyes and she knew what was coming next. A knot expanded in her stomach. Before she could make an excuse, a flood of ancient history was upon her.

“Janet and I met in high school,” he slowly stammered. “We were each other’s first. We were in love.”

Martha stared blankly at the old man. occasionally nodding to give him the idea that she had not tuned out.

“We married very young. Then I was drafted. Went to The Nam. Everybody around us said it would not last. BUt everybody did not know Janet. She was kind, loving, one hell of a woman.”

Martha felt a tug. She knew this was coming. Those damned heartstrings!

“Had a bunch of kids. Had a good life. Oh we had our moments. But we were in love.”

Martha was ready to bolt. But the best she could do was momentarily turn her head away so that he would not notice her wiping away a tear.

“Then Janet got the cancer.”

Martha could not hold it iN any longer. The fat, lonely old man had found her spot. The place where memories live. She burst into tears, heaving sobs racked her body. But the old man was not about to let it go.

“She hung on for a while,” the old man recalled, his tone matter of fact. “I was at her bedside night and day. I held her hand the night she died.”

Martha could not stand it any longer. She reached out and gave the old man a prolonged hug. She cried uncontrollably. The man’s mind was thinking ‘Tomorrow’s trash day.”

He handed Martha the envelope. She could not leave the house fast€enough.

“See you next time,” the old man said to her back as the door slammed shut.

Martha drove home in a daze. Damn it! It was always easier when their memories were gone. But the ones who were senile or in mid state Alzheimers, you never knew what was going to pop out of their minds and mouths. You never knew what was going to hurt.

Martha collapsed into her comfy couch and tried to lose herself in late afternoon television. But Maury Povich wasn’t doing it. Oprah wasn’t doing it. Even the 3 o’clock news could not shake the sadness that the old man had brought bubbling up in her mind…and in her heart.

Almost as an afterthought, she reached for the phone. A kindly male voice picked up on the second ring. They both knew the drill. How did she want him to dress? Did she want sex? Not sure yet. But I want to talk. Yes, I know that costs extra…

But I want to talk about Robert.


Marc Shapiro is a published book author, comic writer and journalist.  He does this for a living. Don’t tell the authorities.

Read more stories by Marc Shapiro


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