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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)

TITLE: The Brothel
By Marilyn Schnepp


Jimmy knocked on #211's door.

"Yeah, whadda ya want?" came a voice through the door.

"I wanna see the boss."

The door opened and Jimmy was escorted into Big Sam's office. "What's up, Man?" Sam asked as he offered the old bellboy a chair.

"I've got troubles, Sam, big troubles."

"Trouble? What kind of trouble? The girls threatening to strike again?" Sam laughed aloud.

"No, Sam, nothing like that. It's a copper named Karl who's ..."

"Whoa, hold it right there, Jimbo," Sam interrupted, "I'm just a bookie in the numbers racket, not a cop killer!"

"I know that, Sam; I just need you to sabotage a romance that's going on between this cop and a desk clerk downstairs. He's always hanging around, bringing her coffee, sitting in the hotel lobby, and as long as he's visible the Johns won't come in, and the girls can't work. He's ruining my business!"

"Yes, I see." Sam lit a cigar. "Have you tried hush money?"

"No way, Boss, this cop is clean; but something's got to give, and soon! Business has dropped down to zilch, zero, nada, since he's been hanging around that girl. You gotta do something!"

"Okay, Jimmy, I'll look into it. She's the green-eyed brunette, right? We'll concentrate on her, forget the cop."

Sam walked Jimmy to the door just as Gopher came in like a whirlwind. "Cripes," he gasped, "I almost got busted with the bag money! That big cop and his girlfriend got on the elevator with me, but he was more interested in her than me, thank goodness!" Gopher was sweating.

"Sam patted Jimmy on the back, "Don't worry, Jimmy, I'll handle it," and quickly closed the door.

Karl's beat was the Woodward and Grand River area, downtown. The 6'4" Traffic Cop knew every inch of his turf including the six story Whitfield Hotel with its 6th floor brothel, a numbers racketeer on second and a Lounge in the basement.

However, Karl's job was to keep downtown traffic flowing smoothly and leave the illicit trafficking to the Vice Squad.

Every salesperson, parking attendant and shop owner knew and loved the tall, good natured cop guarding their turf. Karl had no enemies. In fact, the first time I laid eyes on him, I fell head over heels for him too, literally! I missed the step off the curb and landed on my derriere right at his feet.

Helping me to my feet, he directed me to the destination where the Want Ad said they were looking for a Hotel Clerk, and wished me Luck. When I got the job and a free room to boot, I was so ecstatic that I had to stop by and tell the nice policeman the good news.

My knight in blue shining armor with badge, white gloves, and black boots stopped by every day to check on me. However, I had no idea that our budding romance was putting a strain on the Brothel's finances. But I was about to learn...the hard way.

First, a bartender's bankroll was planted in my locker, making the Lounge Manager think I was a thief. Then anonymous calls to Vice reported I was accosting and soliciting, causing me to narrowly miss being arrested; not to mention the numerous break-ins and trashing of my room.

Harassment I could handle, but Karl, bless his heart, had too much to lose. His career, reputation and future were at stake, and he was constantly getting mixed up in all this mess by standing by me. What to do?

When the Final Curtain came down it wasn't pretty:

The green-eyed brunette, a.k.a. TROUBLE, split the scene; Sam was paid handsomely for ending the romance; Jimmy's business was again thriving; And, oh yes; Karl was heartbroken; but later married, and after thirty years retired from the PD with Honors.

It's dusk, now. My favorite time of the day - for soon I'll be witnessing a touch of romance as heaven bids the earth "good night". I'll watch God pull down His evening shades, turn on His night light, and tuck the sun 'neath the blue horizon, and once again fill my fading green eyes with stardust as I remember the thrill of an old romance when I was young...

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Member Comments
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Jan Ackerson 04/29/07
Wow, a romance set in a brothel--that was brave of you! The writing was good, kept drawing me onward, that's for sure. But I was hoping for redemption of your character through her romance with the cop, so I felt slightly let down at the ending. You definitely made me care about her, and I wanted to know more about how she had spent her life after Karl.
Julie Arduini04/29/07
What a brave take on romance. I was surprised by the ending, but this was a real life ending, and very well written.
Sara Harricharan 04/30/07
Oh, this is sad! You pulled me in and didn't let go to the end. A wonderful read.
Stevie McHugh04/30/07
This is a great story. It would be even more enjoyable, I think, without the word count limitation. I suggest drawing it out as a novella or screenplay.
Jacquelyn Horne05/01/07
Very different approach to romance. You captured it well. Like many others this week, there was not enough space for more detail. I especially liked the line (as heaven bids the earth "good night"). Very picturesque!
william price05/02/07
Great stuff here ole friend. A bold approach to the topic and real life feel to it. Super job. God bless.
Edy T Johnson 11/25/07
Another one of your titles pulled me in for a read. Sorry I missed this before now! I'm definitely voting for more on this story. How about a made-for-tv movie? What a scenario! And, what a poetically perfect ending. I love this, Friend!