By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
The arrival of a 2007 calendar perplexed The Bitch. Wasn't 2006 only three months old? She could conceive and birth several litters of puppies between now and 2007.
And then she read this description of the calendar's contents: "For centuries, golfers around the world have been mesmerized by the smooth, supple, rolling hills of the golf course. The deep, tranquil bodies of water and the trees which stretch lazily to the sky; the exhilaration of the perfect drive! Now, The Bare Essence of Golf combines the beauty, grace, and elegance of the game of golf with the artistic sensuality of a woman's body. Curvaceous women and golf. What could be more alluring?"
Hmm ... a nude dude splayed across a hockey goal? Or is that too blue-collar? "Just envision what it must be like to move all around the golf course," slavers the calendar, "never knowing what voluptuously au naturel female may swing into your imagination."
What swings into the dog's imagination at the sight of naked females rolling around in pesticide-lush greenery with golf clubs, or emerging Venus-like from water hazards, is a nightmarish vision of an unfortunate skin reaction or limbless agony inflicted by six-eyed water monsters that live off the golf balls and women who stray into their toxic puddles. But if that strikes your erotic fancy, the calendar is published by Art of Light, Inc. in Miami.
"The beauty and elegance of the game mimics a woman's body," says locally based photographer Ray Alonso. The calendar was his idea, one he says is unique and appealing. "Golfers are eclectic which isn't to say aristocratic," he explains, "but they're into not only the beauty of the golf course but also other things: art, cigars, women...."
Alonso shot the calendar at golf courses around South Florida the names of which he would rather not disclose although the grounds of the Palmetto Golf Course at the Country Club of Miami and the rocky outcroppings at the links at Crandon Park are easily recognizable.
The Bitch needs only to peruse the back pages of this newspaper to ascertain that the occupation of "escort" is lucrative indeed. But until recently, she never realized the depths to which human females will sink to score a few Franklins: providing the "full girlfriend experience" for kinky tourists and business-tripping executives.
Ewwww! Thanks to former escort agency owner Steven Weiner, this conservative Catholic canine now knows more than she ever cared to know about Miami's underground flesh trade.
During a recent interview, Weiner (yes, that is really his last name) shared his experience running an escort service to help promote a yet-to-be-made independent film based on his double life as Orlando-based electrical contractor/Miami-based sex peddler.
So how did you end up selling booty?
It was right after 9/11. I was married to a beautiful Venezuelan woman. We have two kids. We were living in Orlando, but I would bring the family down to Miami on the weekends. I had a serious midlife crisis and developed this double life. Most guys would have had an affair or get a mistress. I built a successful escort service agency. I ran it from the end of 2001 until 2004.
Why did you leave the business?
Because my wife left me after she found out. I tried explaining to her that I wasn't fucking these girls but that I was running an escort service. The more I explained, the worse it got. I asked her to let me sell the business so I could save the marriage, but she decided to leave me anyway. She told all of her family and our friends. I lost everything. I thought she was going to rat me out to the police too.
Why are you publicizing your life as a pimp?
Well, escorts are not streetwalkers, and I treated escorting like I did my legitimate businesses. So I wasn't really a pimp. But to answer your question: I decided to tell my story because I have nothing left to lose.
Aren't you concerned this saga might pique the interest of law enforcement?
No. I have never been the target of an investigation. And I've been out of the business for more than a year now, so what can they accuse me of?
How does the escort game work?
Everything is done over the phone. Some girls would rent condos and offer in-call service, which means the client comes to visit them at their place. Other girls would do out-call service and go meet the client at their hotel or apartment. The client would call me and tell me what kind of girl they want. I would check to see who was available and set up the date. Some girls will do eight to ten guys in one day and make thousands of dollars. Normally it's a 50/50 split. But I would give some girls, the real knockouts, a 60/40 split. I would collect my money within 24 hours.
How would a potential client find you?
Well, I advertised my ass off. I spent thousands of dollars with the New Times. There are also a couple of Websites catering to escorts that clients go to. You look up Eros.com and you can find hundreds of women in various cities. Not only was I advertising locally, but I had girls who would travel to different cities like Atlanta, Boston, New York, even Cleveland.
How much would you charge "clients"?
On average, $250 to $400 an hour although some clients would spend up to $2000, $3000 an hour for a girl.
Would you ever post a picture of a girl resembling porn star Jenna Jameson, but then the client actually got a girl who looked likeDaily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson?
You have a lot of agencies that put up fake photos on the Internet, but I always provided clients with the girl they were expecting. If I sent someone you didn't like, you could call me up and I would send you a different girl. That is why I was so successful.
Did your clients ever make requests for weird sex acts?
I had one guy who would always ask me to send him a girl he could wrestle with. Another client would pay $500 to have a girl defecate on him. A lot of guys also liked taking golden showers. Some clients would just pay the girls to dance for them, no sex involved.
Riot in an Empty Aisle
During a recent visit to the Aventura Fresh Market to stock up on nutritional dog essentials like gourmet caramel corn, coffee, and cannolis, The Bitch hopped into one of the long lines that did not seem to be moving.
"Is there a problem?" the tired and hungry dog asked a graying gentleman clutching four bunches of assorted lilies and a wheel of Brie.
"Apparently the computers are down," he smiled.
Just then the manager appeared and made an announcement. "I apologize, folks, but the computers are down and we can only accept cash at this moment," he said as sweat beaded on his brow. The cashiers wasted no time finding calculators and notepads, and began jotting down prices of tagged items as they sent the baggers scurrying to weigh bulk items on the scales at the deli counter. The manager then locked the automatic doors and taped a sign to the window, apologizing for the temporary closure owing to equipment failure.
Expecting a riot, The Bitch braced herself for a shower of San Pellegrino and Gold'n Krackle pita crisps and began searching for change, praying to find a misplaced Hamilton amid the detritus of her messenger bag. But there was no yelling. No one was shoving or cursing. Not one nasty sentiment was muttered as customers calmly waited. A few people pushed their carts aside and walked to a nearby bank to use the ATM, while others began chatting about weekend plans.
"Wow. I can't believe everyone is acting so nice," noted the young woman standing in line behind The Bitch. She held a bottle of Pinot Grigio and a baguette to her chest as she adjusted the sparkly strap on her party-ready Donald J Pliner heels. "I was just at the mall, and people were so mean. I got pushed into a table of pashminas, and people were fighting over spaces in the parking lot. But people are acting right in here."
While The Bitch was deciding between putting back the pecan bars or the raspberry linzer cookies, the system came back up and debit cards emerged from Prada purses and Ferragamo wallets. "Aren't you glad you get to buy all of your goodies now?" the grinning cashier asked.
Scenes from a Sushiplex
Chef Enrique Jasso is fiddling with some fried squid legs, arranging the bronzed, sucker-puckered extremities into a fried, spiced, nouvelle (and unsettlingly erotic) presentation of a basic plate of calamari.
Jasso, who came to Miami after a long stint at Chicago's Su Casa of Tokyo, presides over the glowing case of very fresh eel, tuna, crab, scallops, and exotic sea denizens at Sushi House. The strip-mall restaurant is in an oasis of calm at NE 159th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, between Aventura Mall madness and the endless construction barriers farther to the south.
On a recent weekday evening, Jasso, a partner in the venture, is so focused on whipping up a jalapeño-based sauce to go with some yellowfin he barely notices the few patrons in the minimally outfitted café; there is a shorts-clad guy perusing the take-out menu, two career-type women in deep conversation, and a hot mom with two disinterested, flip-flop flinging teens, all on cell phones.
The business part of the restaurant falls to the other owner, Mark Koyfman, a shy but solid man in his thirties with a genteel Eastern Bloc accent. Koyfman, dressed in black and pacing hesitantly past the table where The Bitch is admiring the calamari, pauses to fret over whether launching a wine-and-sushi happy hour might be interpreted as a cheapening of the place's image.
"No way! Go for it!" The Bitch enthuses and then asks, "Did you study sushi in Japan? How many times have you visited there?"
"Never," Koyfman sighs. "I've always wanted to go, but something always comes up.
"And now this...." Koyfman adds, making a sweeping gesture to indicate the restaurant's interior. "I really want this to succeed. So the calendar is cleared of vacation for who knows how long. Maybe next year I'll get to visit Japan."