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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

캐치 - 22 (Catch - 22)

The small storefront is crammed into a nondescript strip mall. Nothing too suspicious about it –but that’s the intent. It blends and conceals the actual trade being bartered for within. “Everything?” You wouldn’t even notice it if you were grabbing a donut and coffee from the bakery next door. The windows are dark and the door clicks open, with a small bell that swings back against the glass and rings like a pet you lost regardless.

The patrons approach from random directions, conspicuously ambushing the seedy building, attempting to attract as little attention as possible. What kind of store is that? Inside there’s a row of doors with locks on them and if you listen closely you can hear the whimpers, mechanized cries of ecstasy, and flesh slapping flesh for a price.

She’s from Korea and was promised the world. She’d receive papers and live in America; food, shelter, and her family would be safe. She was smuggled across the Canadian border by traffickers…but she didn’t know them as that then. They smiled and wanted to help her. Now she sits on a small mattress, watching a 14” TV and waits for the next one to come in from the street for relaxation.

Gardeners, businessmen, and construction workers. She’s hardly a masseuse -she’s a human turnstile. No scrubs or slippers, just a tight negligee that hugs her bony waist and strains against her bolt-ons –free with her papers. Her tools aren’t aromatic oils or lotions…just a bottle of KY she has to use too often and a hat.

She works off her passage to the US and lets the mongers smuggle their fantasies inside her; 3, sometimes 15 times daily. She often pulls a card in her mind while they rut away on her body and draws a blank, but is forced to play the hand anyway. She plasters a smile on her face like a seductive clown; suggestive and supple she aims to please. They say they love her big brown eyes when she’s at work.

Her handlers take most of what she makes for working, but she’ll be lucky to get out of debt and survive. The visitors don’t care. They pop and leave, spread the story of her performance to fellow mongers and soon she’ll have more strangers to spread, bend and squat for.

She’s heard of raids across town. Police are getting wise to the storefronts that they’ve used to pose as oriental brothels. “Acupressure”, “Acupuncture”, “Bodywork”…it’s all sex no matter what language you’re speaking. She secretly wants this place to get raided, but when they come it’ll be her who leaves in cuffs.

She’s got no choice. They own her. She barely speaks English and doesn’t know a single soul besides the other rag dolls who lay exhausted on the mattress next to her. But this is America. This is the country where any mom or pop, jack or jane, can become a millionaire. That’s the slogan. A capitalist’s call of freedom and idealized dignity.

The U.S. government estimates that 50,000 women and children
are trafficked each year into the United States, primarily from Latin America, countries of the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia.

Written by: Cole Breidenbach


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