Short Story Saturday: Please Call Me Daddy

Short Story Saturday: Please Call Me Daddy - Photo by Eric Michael on Unsplash
Photo by Eric Michael on Unsplash

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Please Call Me Daddy. Please enjoy.

“Looking for a good time?” He wasn’t really. All he wanted to do was rest his head for the night. When he booked the hotel room online, he knew he wasn’t making reservations at a four-star resort. The myriad of reviews that gave it one star made that quite clear. However, he still didn’t expect to hear those clichéd words or encounter someone like her during his vacation. This certainly wasn’t part of the brochure, the man thought to himself. He supposed it was one of the unadvertised surprise perks.

After the initial surprise wore, though, he supposed it should have been expected. He was in the the outskirts of the City of Sin, after all, standing on the sidewalk of a street frequented by various vagrants including drug addicts, homeless men, and perhaps the occasional felon or two trying to escape from the law. Some of whom were actually using the hotel’s gray-bricked dilapidated walls as a makeshift urinal. Sadly, that was some of the more pleasant smells that filled the air around him. It was the last time he’d agree to attend a wedding at the same time as the NBA All-Star game. He now realized what it truly meant to get what you pay for.

Then again, it wasn’t as if he had spent much time there. Since flying in that early morning, he had spent most of his day and evening with his friends which included the soon-to-be betrothed at The Strip. The actual wedding was two days away. Despite the excesses offered by the desert’s bright neon lights, he managed to keep his indulgences in check, drinking moderately and only gambling what he could afford to lose. He thought he had adequately resisted all temptations, then, at least for one day. However, it had become evident there was one last one awaiting him before he checked in for the night.

The thought had crossed his mind several times throughout his life especially in the years after his divorce. It was the last time he had any sort of relations of that kind. Still, even despite the drought, he did have standards. Most of the ladies of the evening offering their wares to prospective customers in front of his hotel weren’t worth a second look.

One certainly was, though, the woman whose melodic voice offered her services via the aforementioned cliché. Hearing those sultry words escape those rose-colored lips nearly overwhelmed him with lust. He so loved a Nordic accent or perhaps it was southern. He was never good with identifying accents. He just found them sexy. Seeing that the owner of the voice had azure eyes, long-flowing flaxen hair, alabaster skin, and long smooth legs, revealed by a slit in her gold sequined dress, not to mention the ample bosom on an otherwise slender frame, made his engine run wild. It was nearly enough for him to submit to his base impulses. That’s when the internal debate began.

Perhaps she was plagued by venereal disease. Doubtless a woman as attractive as she had been with a countless number of men, both as a professional and in her spare time. He figured it was unlikely that she had engaged in safe sex every time. What he based that on was pure speculation dashed with a bit of cynism. Even if she did, though, he wondered whether modern forms of protection were completely effective. He truly had no idea but suspected they were not.

Still, he figured that if he wrapped it well enough it would be of little concern. Besides, a woman like her undoubtedly could be and was very discerning when it came to her clients. It may not have completely eliminated the chance of being inflicted with an infection or virus but it certainly reduced the odds quite a bit. Thinking about it further, he wondered whether a beauty like her was worth that kind of risk anyhow.

Then his mind went in a more nefarious direction. Perhaps she was a victim of human trafficking. Women in the world’s oldest profession often are forced into it by truly monstrous individuals. This thought reverberated in his skull. He definitely did not wish to purchase the services of the woman before him if it implicitly encouraged those heinous acts. However, he suddenly rationalized that she couldn’t be a victim of human trafficking generally as only children are victims of that heinous act.

Though she was hardly what one would call old, she was also not particularly young. She was in her mid-20s at the youngest and the man wouldn’t have been surprised if she had already eclipsed 30. For that matter, none of the other three women with her that night looked especially young either. Quite the contrary as the trio looked significantly older. Again, human traffickers only go after underage girls, he told himself. That’s how this works. He convinced himself of that.

His mind then went to a less nefarious but to a more plausible, at least in his mind, line of thought. Perhaps she was a drug addict who needed the money to get another fix. Sometimes it was why women go into such an illicit business in the first place. The three other women were almost certainly afflicted with addiction. It wasn’t outside the realm of reason that the current object of his eye might suffer similarly if the four were friends or at least acquaintances.

Yet, his potential paramour for the night did not exhibit any outward signs of drug abuse. She did not appear to have any needle marks on her arm. Though thin, she wasn’t skinny. She was the healthy kind of thin, the fit kind. Her eyes were lustful, not despondent. Her mannerisms were calm and collected. She had an air of refinement and class. If she were desperate for the needle, she hid it incredibly well.

He then thought of more movie-esque reasons why she might be on the streets offering herself in exchange for money. Perhaps she was a single mother struggling to feed her starving children. The woman’s figure was hardly indicative of a woman who performed childbirth but with modern medicine, such is impossible to tell at a glance.

Still, even if she was, he justified such a transaction by considering it a charitable contribution of sorts. It would be a little more insalubrious than the typical donation, though considering the state of charities in the modern day, such an exchange may not be as atypical as it would initially appear. Regardless, surely it would not be inappropriate to receive something in return for so-called altruism. They give away tote bags on public television, after all. He would certainly last longer than those bags, an entire hour at least.

Yet another horror story crept into his mind. Perhaps she was subjugated by a wrathful pimp. A lot of women go into the business because they believed that the pimp was someone who cared for them and someone they could trust, as naïve and ignorant as such a conviction might be. Sometimes he gets her hooked on drugs and she’s dependent on him to satiate the addiction. If not that specifically, he’ll use another form of conditioning that makes her reliant on him. Sometimes, he even makes her think that the two are in love. It is cruel, manipulative, and truly one of the most evil actions one can do unto another human being.

Yet, a woman of her elegance, with her poise and stature, would surely not allow herself to be dominated by any man. Independent escorts do exist, the man forced himself to believe. Surely, there was no one so charming or shrewd that could convince the woman before him to perform acts outside her desire.

He reached into his wallet. It was a harmless activity between two consenting adults. The man didn’t have a wife or girlfriend or lover or mistress so there was little reason not to give in to this temptation. Even legality was not a concern because he was in Las Vegas. Whatever happens there, stays there, or so he was always told through the televised barrage of advertisements. The man didn’t have the cash on him to pay the woman but his hotel surely had an ATM within, for gambling purposes and other illicit activities such as the one he was about to find himself engaged in. If nothing else, he knew the woman would guide him to one if he asked nicely enough.

He was about to, very nicely, in fact. However, just as the first word of the question was about to escape his lips, a terrible image flashed into his head. He had only thought about her in passing for years now. Yet, suddenly, she was at the forefront of his mind.

A little girl no older than six, pale and freckled, with bright red hair tied into pigtails then suddenly supplanted the face of the woman who was to be his companion for the evening. It was his daughter, someone he had not seen or even truly thought about in almost three years.

Not too long after the divorce, not too long before he stopped going to his obligatory visits, the man and his daughter discussed what she wanted to be when she grew up. She was actually the one who brought it up on the mostly silent car trip. The man was preoccupied with his bitterness towards his wife and their crumbled marriage.

“An astronaut, daddy,” she said. “I wanna be an astronaut. I wanna be with the stars.” A lofty aspiration to be sure but one even he was able to encourage. He suddenly recalled how they spent the rest of that Saturday night together gazing at the stars and telling her the names of the constellations he was able to identify. He then told her of the planets in our solar system. She told him she wanted to visit each one someday. He wondered about the kinds of dreams the woman in front of him must have had as a child.

He tried to close his eyes and then look away, elsewhere, anywhere. There was no escape. Wherever he looked, his daughter stared back at him with her wide, gap-toothed smile.

Would he be happy if his daughter wound up here? Would he be happy with her if this was her chosen profession? Would he be happy if she gave up her dream and turned out like this?

It was legal in the City of Sin. Some might argue it should be legal everywhere, especially since it’s not immoral. After all, they are autonomous women capable of making their own decisions. With enough stretch of the imagination, a person might even be able to convince themselves of that and often do.

Yet, as the man asked himself that night, was this the kind of future we want to build for our daughters, the kind where such an alleged profession is considered as acceptable as a doctor, lawyer, or astronaut? Should we not aspire for our little girls to do more?

Then again, should such a man even be allowed a say? He was never a particularly devoted father. His concerns always took priority. It was not just work, which, were it his only priority, may not have been laudable but would at least be understandable. Hobbies, social outings with his friends, watching television shows, even conversing online, everything seemed more important to him than his own flesh and blood. It was one of the primary reasons for the divorce.

The man used his separation from his wife as an excuse for his most recent actions. His wife’s announcement that Wednesday morning was made while he was getting ready for work. Hearing it shook him to his very core, metaphorically, of course, but almost literally as well. The man had missed all signs of such inevitability.

His resentment toward his ex-wife had been unfairly projected onto an innocent little girl who had nothing to do with what happened between them. He didn’t express them but instead, bottled them up and as a result, acted cold and unresponsive. She just reminded him too much of his once beloved. Not just in terms of facial features, which is to be expected, but even in behavior and mannerisms even at that young age. He realized at some point he was being unfair. Therefore, not wanting to treat his daughter unfairly, then, became a convenient excuse for his absence.

Yet, deep down he knew even that, as reasonable or unreasonable as that might have been, was not the true cause of his neglect. In truth, he simply did not want to make the effort necessary to visit her. It was simply too much of a hassle.

These memories were locked up in the backdoor of his subconscious in the recesses of his mind. Seeing those women somehow opened the doors and allowed an invasion of these memories to enter his conscious mind as well as his conscience mind. The man now could think of little else.

He put away his wallet. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m not interested.”

“Your loss,” she replied with a shrug.

The man moved past her into his room on the bottom floor. He turned on the light and checked his watch. It was already 2:30 in the morning here which meant it was also 2:30 in the morning in Tacoma, Washington.  With a sigh, he pulled out his cell phone anyway. He needed to make the call now lest he lose the courage to do so forever. Butterflies danced in his gut as the phone rang.

A sleepy voice answered. “Hello?”

“Hi, sweetheart. It’s me, Daddy.”

The little girl sprung awake. Her voice was practically a shout. “What? Really? It’s you?”

“It’s been a while, to say the least, hasn’t it? Would you mind if we talked a little bit tonight?”

If you enjoyed this story, then perhaps you’d be interested in reading more by pressing the “short story” tag below or clicking this(short story) link or this(genre and tags) link or this(story list) link. I would also urge you to share this story with others and comment below. Please check out my books page as well by pressing here. Thank you for reading my story.


2 thoughts on “Short Story Saturday: Please Call Me Daddy

  • An excellent story with a few subtle digs at society. Very well done in exploring the thinking process of this man. Nice epiphany to round it out. Very enjoyable.

    • Thank you very much. It was a story that initially had a lot of proselytizing but I quickly realized it wasn’t necessary and removed it so that the message could be a lot more subtle. This time, for once it seems when I write a story like this, I trusted the reader to come up with the conclusion I am trying to reach. Thanks again!

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