On the nights when I am alone, I go looking for her. It is harder to find her these days.

I’ve heard things over the years from people, about girls crying, real things you could sink your teeth into. Those days are gone, people tell me, long gone. No secrets anymore, everything gone underground.

Sometimes I search for hours. You can still find her, but when you do, It’s mostly unexpected, a wonderful surprise, happy early birthday.

When you find her, she is a self-made mess. It was her lucky day to make such a stunning amount of money in such a short period of time. I wonder what she needed the money for.

The magic moment generally comes early: The dawning realization that you are in over your head, discomfort, panic, terror even, if you are really lucky.
Coupled with it, another realization- that you did it to yourself, orchestrated your own doom. Some stranger waved candy in your face and you followed him down the rabbit hole, silly girl. It was only what you do with boys anyway, with the eye of a camera trained on you, such a small difference. But the man with the candy isn’t like the boys in your dorm.

Sometimes there are two magic moments; the shock, and then the split, the girl’s eyes glazing over, the thousand-yard stare, I’m not here anymore, wake me up when it’s over. It’s hard to decide which of these moments are better.
Only exceptional videos have this quality, a kind of rightness that cannot be staged. When the rightness isn’t there, it sounds like nails on a chalkboard. I can hear that it’s not right within seconds of the video starting, but on occasion I am fooled, the girl such a consummate actress that it’s only right at the end you realize you’ve been had, the girl’s mews of distress turning into pleasure, shutting the page like you’ve been scorched, your arousal wilting.

Sometimes I’m too tired and disappointed to try again, searching from scratch, the upward climb from disappointment to orgasm an impossible Everest.┬áIf you find the right one you can sometimes extend your pleasure by finding her elsewhere. Often these girls are never seen again, but occasionally they dig in their heels and become stalwarts of the industry. You can track their decline by seeing the evolution of their public persona, the films they star in, the ink on their bodies. Staring defiantly at the camera, at us, hardened, each year hollowing out their eyes.

Magic.

I have seen you watching me, as I quietly go about my chores. You may think you are unnoticed, but I have been noticing everything about you, filing the facts away in my head for later, writing them down in my journal, a catalogue of your traits, a profile of you that no one knows exists.

At night, when I am alone, I parse out our interactions, examining them piece by piece, from every angle. I have seen your eyes sliding over my body, and know that you long to get away from the drudgery of the everyday: your job, your boring colleagues, your life that you keep wishing would finally begin instead of slipping away unmarked by anything but time.

I smiled sweetly at you the last time I was in your home. Did you notice? I’m fairly certain you did. I was just finishing up for the day, gathering up my belongings, and I caught you staring. I practice my smile every day, so I know it is sweetly beguiling; it used to belong to a girl I dated, but I stole it from her, so now it is mine. I have practiced it many times in front of a mirror, till it was just right, till it said everything about me that you needed to know.

People have a way of trusting you when you have a nice smile, a pretty face; they shouldn’t, but they do.

Perhaps soon you will find a way to catch me alone, off-guard. You will imply that I owe you something, that my performance has been lacking and there are only so many ways of redressing the situation.

And I wonder: when we finally meet in the dark, which girl will I be? The one who gives you what you want, or the one who takes everything away?

I was sitting having a coffee. Looking back, I can’t think why he came up to me. I don’t think I looked any different from the other women there.

How much, he said. I must have looked confused; this seemed to afford him some sort of satisfaction. He smiled, though not kindly. Spoke again: I know a whore when I see one.