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Batman with a Wistful Boner

I take Western from it’s uppermost point at Los Feliz down to Melrose then back up to Santa Monica going west to La Brea up to Sunset and back to Western where I start over. I see a girl over by the do-it-yourself car wash and I make a U-turn and ask...
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Κείμενο Scot Sothern
17.6.13

Scot Sothern is a Los Angeles–based photographer and a big prostitute fan. He has been interacting with and photographing hookers since the 1960s, and his images have been widely exhibited in galleries in the US, Canada, and Europe. Scot's pictures evoke such a visceral reaction in the viewer and raise so many questions, we decided to give Scot a regular column aimed at getting the story behind the photo. The idea is simple: we feature an image from Scot’s archive along with his explanation of just exactly what the fuck was going on when he took it. Welcome to Nocturnal Submissions.

I take Western from it’s uppermost point at Los Feliz down to Melrose then back up to Santa Monica going west to La Brea up to Sunset and back to Western where I start over. I see a girl over by the do-it-yourself car wash and I make a U-turn and ask her if she wants to take a ride. She says sure and climbs aboard and before introductions or negotiations she wants to know if it’s OK to plug her iPhone into the lighter socket.

“Of course, sure. What’s your name?”

“Becky. Hold on, I’ll be with you in just a minute.” She’s plugged in and texting, probably telling some fuck-wad she just got in the car with an old white guy. She finishes up and leaves the phone charging. She buckles up her seat belt. “Sorry, hi. What do you want to do?”

“You’re pretty cute. I want to take your picture.”

“Would you want to take my picture if I wasn’t cute?”

“Yeah, probably, but it’s a plus. Have you got a place to go?”

“You just want to take pictures? Pictures of my face? I know a motel.”

“Yeah, pictures of you all over. Does the motel have hour rates?”

“Yeah, baby. Twenty dollars. How much you going to pay me?”

“Forty bucks.”

“Baby, I get $200 for an hour, but if it’s just pictures you can give me $60.”

“Let’s call it $50 'cause I gotta pay for the room.”

“OK, baby. You gotta turn up here. You want to take pictures of my tits and ass?”

“Absolutely.”

“How’d you like to feel my tits and ass? Won’t cost a whole bunch more.”

“I imagine I’d like it quite a bit, but I’m gonna do without.”

“That’s a big camera you got.”

“Yeah, well, it’s not the size that counts.”

“You know who you talk like?”

“No, who?”

“Batman, all whispery and shit.”

“Cool.”

We go to an unnoticeable motel I’ve never noticed before. The parking lot is busy with guys coming and going, a brown hooker in a blond wig smiles at everyone from the doorway of room three.

Becky tells me the hooker is not a real girl.

“Yeah, well, duh.”

“Most guys don’t know it.”

“They just pretend they don’t know it.”

“That’s the truth.” A car has pulled into the lot ahead of us. “Look at those two dudes.” She says, “What do you think they’re doing here?”

“Getting acquainted, I guess.”

There are two open parking slots, they take one and we take the other. The driver stays in the car and the other guy goes into the little corner office. I undo my seat belt and Becky asks me to leave the key in the ignition.

“What? Why?”

“Charging my phone.”

“I figured you’d come with me.”

“Not in the office, baby. They won’t rent you no room if you got me with you.”

“Oh, uh, yeah, all right. Don’t drive away.”

“You think I’m going to drive away?”

“No, I don’t guess I do.”

I hoof it to the little office and the manager tells me no more rooms, this other guy got the last one. I tell him bummer, fuck, damn, and go back to the car. Becky’s face is lit up by her phone, her fingernails are dancing across the alphabet. She looks up and smiles at me.

I tell her no more rooms but I got a good spot we can go to, not far, a little park and a walking tunnel.

“A park?”

“Yeah.”

“I got heels,” she says. “I can’t walk in the park, get all mud and shit on my heels.”

“That’s all right. We’re going to the tunnel, it’s better than the park.”

“You gonna take me into a tunnel?”

“Yeah, it’s cool, goes under the Hollywood freeway.”

“We going in a tunnel, baby, maybe you can give me the money you were going to give that motel.”

“Yeah, all right.”

A few minutes later, when we get to the park I tell her look over there, they got the sprinklers on, you want to go take a run through the sprinklers?

“You’re crazy, baby. You go out there and run all you want. I’ll wait here.”

“Yeah, well, that’s OK. There’s our tunnel, up there.” It fits snugly into the high wall that edges the Hollywood freeway. It’s got a thick gloppy coat of white paint and above its open mouth "1950" is embossed. It’s darker than the last time I was here—the lights at the entrance are out.

“It’s dark in there,” Becky observers. “You know that guy in Miami Beach, ate some bitch’s face off? That looks like someplace he might be. You better promise me you’re not crazy. I don’t need none of that shit.”

“I promise, no problem. It is kinda dark, but I can see lights in there. Let’s go check it out.” I sidle up next to a red curb and twist the key.

The tunnel is fairly well lit and clean. We take some pictures and we enjoy it. Back in the car I watch her buckle up and tell her she has beautiful skin and I look at her a little longer than I need to.

“What’s the matter, Batman? You got a big hard-on?”

“Sort of, maybe, I don’t know. I’m just being wistful.” I drive her back to her spot and sigh as I watch her walk away. I still have money so I go back to the motel and take pictures of the blond hooker in room six.

Previously - Another Dumpy Motel Room

Scot’s first book, Lowlife, was released last year and his memoir, Curb Service, will be published in July. You can find more information on his website.