In response to M’s weekly story starter prompt of “It was all an illusion hidden by the lack of light.” I did this as a kind of stream of consciousness kind of thing. No planning, just waffle with no real purpose other than to get back to putting letters on the page after a while away. To be fair you can just about swap the word prostitute for any profession. Maybe clowns. Or accountant. Maybe not female jockeys or darts players. meh…
“Prostitutes. That’s what I miss. Prostitutes.”
“What? What are you talking about.” Came the reply. After a short pause the voice continued, heavy with the air of resignation and the agitated realisation that had he not replied, then he could have avoided the conversation all together. It was seemingly too late now though. “Why are you talking about prostitutes?”
“Well you asked what I miss the most, and having given it some thought I have decided that I miss prostitutes. More than anything.”
A long sigh punctured the silence that followed. There was a vague recollection of a question some when ago. Certainly not recently. Maybe a lifetime ago. Many lifetimes? It was very hard to tell really.
“Dare I ask why, ” the second voice asked, “in a world of infinite possibilities you have decided that the thing that you miss the most, is prostitutes.”
“So, are you asking?” Said the first voice, a measure of something nearing excitement in his tone. Perhaps it was the talk of prostitutes, of even just any talk at all, but after what seemed an awfully long time it felt good to get it off his chest.
“Fine, Yes, I’m asking. Why prostitutes? It’s not like we’re going anywhere is it,” said the second voice. “I shall indulge you this once but then it’s back to saying nothing. Understood?” A moment, or something akin to a moment. It may have been longer, passed before he continued. “And to be certain, you don’t miss your wife or children? Your parents? Maybe your dog? Did you have a dog?” He wondered whether he himself might have had a dog. He thought maybe he might have. He remembered throwing sticks. Or were they spears. Maybe both.” You are absolutely certain that here in this place, a forever away from anywhere, the single thing you miss above all else is a prostitute.”
“Well not just any prostitute.” Said the first voice, now fully engaged with the conversation and his mind firmly fixed on the idea of prostitutes. “A very specific prostitute. With a very specific set of skills.”
Fully expecting a question as to a description of the very specific set of skills the first voice waited until the second voice reluctantly relented.
“Skills?” he asked, his efforts to seem even slightly interested falling very short, but it was all encouragement the owner of the first voice required.
“Oh yes. She was very gifted. She spent time in Mesopotamia apparently, and you know what they say about those Mesopotamian girls.”
The second voice did not know what they said about Mesopotamian girls at all. Or in fact where Mesopotamia was. or is. Or will have been.
“Oh yes” he replied, obviously lying, “they say that …” his voice trailed away.
The first voice laughed loudly.
“You have no idea do you! You’ve never had a Mesopotamian girl have you!”
The second voice sighed again. This time a little louder. If it was possible to muster a passive aggressive sigh without being absolutely certain of the exact state of one’s nose, then this was a sterling effort.
“Oh they are the best. the very best! By far. I knew a trader who swore by the Greeks you know, and once met a Babylonian sailor who could often be found hanging out of the back of an Egyptian, but no, I told them both no, no way at all were they able to compare to the carnal delights of a Mesopotamian prostitute.”
A short time passed, and somewhere in the distance there was the sound of a siren. Or was it a horn. Probably a horn.
The owner of the second voice was trying to remember if he had a dog still, and was now certain that in fact there were spears and not sticks he had been throwing. A dangerous thing to mix up he thought to himself when you have a dog. If you have a dog.
He really wanted to remember.
“Are you listening?” asked the first voice. “Did you hear what I was saying. about the prostitutes?”
The horn sounded again.
“Did you hear that horn?” the second voice asked.
The first voice laughed loudly, his voice now full of memories and longings. “Ill tell you about a horn allright! There was this time in Meso…”
“Shut up!” said the second voice, “”Listen. there’s a horn. I think it might be time.”
“Time? Time for what? Prostitutes?” His laughter roared into the darkness.”
“No. Time. Time to go.”
“Did you pay no attention at all when you got here. You don’t remember what they said?”
The first voice felt a suddenly ache in his back and reached for where, an eternity ago, he vaguely recalled a searing pain .
“Everything okay?” Said the second voice. “You remembering now are you? What they said? Where we are. Why you’re here.”
“Fucking prostitutes!” the first voice exclaimed violently, “fucking Mesopotamian prostitutes!”
“Aah so you do remember,” said the second voice. “All coming back to you is it. Well if that came as a shock you might want to prepare yourself because I don’t think this next bit is going to be pleasant at all…we are fucked though, if that’s any consolation”