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.