Thursday, 29 November 2007

The Goings-On at Number 28

You never really know your neighbors, do you? When I saw a young woman with a latte in hand going into a house around the corner from ours a few weeks ago, I assumed she was a student. "Ah," I said to myself. "She must be going to a tutorial in the home of a kindly old Oxford don. Or perhaps she is an exchange student working on her English."

"Working on her English." Yeah, I suppose you could say that. The lack of books should have been a tip off. For the woman was apparently engaged in the world's oldest profession, and no, I don't mean Amway.

The tipoff came courtesy of an anonymous flier that blanketed the neighborhood last week: tucked under windshield wipers, scattered on the sidewalk. There is a brothel at No. 28 Middle Way, it announced. Perverts are coming into our neighborhood. Something must be done.

And something was done. Yesterday around 2 p.m. the police burst into No. 28. According to the Oxford Mail: "Inside they found three prostitutes and a middle-aged man who were all quizzed by officers. [An aside: 'Quizzed'? As in, 'Who won the 1977 EuroVision Song Contest?'] A woman was arrested on suspicion of assisting in running a brothel and was last night in custody."

"Sex for Sale in 'Much Loved' Suburb" read one of the headlines in the Mail, which, incidentally, carried an advertisement for the brothel. Sasha & Friends it was called. There was even a web address which I, die-hard investigative journalist that I am, checked out.
"The offers on this and following pages are for time and companionship only," the site says. "If anything else happens it is a matter of coincidence and choice between consenting adults."

What a coincidence! I gave you 70 pounds and now you're having sex with me!

My Lovely Wife was walking the dog when the raid occurred yesterday. We'd been surprised by the flier (this place is literally halfway down the block and around the corner from us) and so were extremely curious. We'd look at the recycling No. 28 put out as we walked past, trying to decide what it meant. Hmmmm, prostitutes drink a lot of bottled water. And they don't care to separate glass from plastic.

Yesterday Ruth called me from her walk and I rushed over there to rubberneck. I stood on the sidewalk across the street. There wasn't much to see. The employees had already been removed and a half-dozen cops milled about near three police vehicles. I watched as two elderly women walked down the pavement towards me. As they drew near one said to me, "Should we ask what's going on?"

A brothel's just been raided, I answered.

"Ohhhhh," she said, in that Monty Python-in-drag voice that all English old ladies possess. And then the pair toddled on.


cktirumalai said...

The Washington Madam accused of running a prostitution ring has been in the news for some months (her clients included one self-confessed United States Senator, a former Rhodes Scholar). Her defence is that her operation was entirely a matter of sex in fantasy (or thought) and that if matters advanced beyond that to the actual she is not to blame.
The reaction of the two ladies to news of the raid speaks volumes about the English temperament.

suburbancorrespondent said...

Well, their former clients can always try

Anonymous said...

The old ladies blasé attitude is funy. But some people in your neighborhood aren't so relaxed. After all, they're worried about perverts who want to have sex with adult women.

Henry said...

Golly. What a fascinating story. What I don't totally understand is, if prostitution is illegal why wasn't the guy arrested Or did he say he'd come to read the gas meter?. Or is the rule, selling sex is illegal but buying it isn't?
(By the way, the 1977 Eurovision song contest was stolen by the French from "Rock Bottom" by Lyndsey dePaul and Mike Moran.)

John Kelly said...

The Guardian today had a story on how the government is going to be looking into the issue of prostitution in the UK. They're concerned about human trafficking, since most of the workers come from Eastern Europe. And I certainly wouldn't want a brothel in my neighborhood. The paper quoted one local resident as saying she couldn't walk down the street in high heels without getting ogled. Strangely enough, this is the SECOND brothel busted near a house we've lived in. The same thing happened around the corner from our old house in Silver Spring, Md. It's not me, I swear.

Leigh Russell said...

"coincidence" made me laugh out loud! Not sure about your characterisation of old-lady-speak in the UK... I must listen to myself sometime...

Thanks for the entertainment. Have you published a collection of your articles? If your journalism is as pithy and amusing as your blog, I'd like to buy myself an anthology for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Unless we are thinking of differnt houses, it wasn't around the corner, it was on the other side of the Beltway.

Anonymous said...

"self-confessed United States Senator, a former Rhodes Scholar"

I think you will find few Senators who try to hide that fact.

John Kelly said...

I mean our old, old house, the one at Four Corners. That was where the whore house was. I always wondered why there were landscaping trucks pulled up there. It was guys stopping there on their way home from work.

I'm not sure what you mean about the former Rhodes Scholar US Senator, unless he was busted somewhere.

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