Tim was a mild man, a proper man. His suit was hung in the hotel closet, on the correct hanger, the one that kept his
pants—he called them “trousers”—from slipping down to the floor. His yellow tie, the one with a diamond pattern that
spoke to the enthusiastic embrace of his station, was draped neatly around the hanger. Only his key card and his
Blackberry were on the desktop. He just showered, an act of courtesy to the guest he was expecting.
Tim checked his appearance as he was shaving: his fingernails were clean and his hair, brown and short with a part on the
right—an inch too long to be military—was neatly combed. He put his toothbrush and razor on the washcloth that held his
other toilet articles and aligned them until they were perfectly straight. He walked to the bed and got the clothes he put
out.
David Letterman was clowning with Paul Schaffer. The camera kept pace with the evolution of the joke, cutting from a
close up of Dave as he set it up to a medium shot of Paul, laughing affably while the band snickered in the background. Tim
put on his pressed jeans. The women in his office laughed at him, but a nice crease made him feel better. He chose to wear
a white undershirt under his blue dress shirt open at the collar. It was something he had seen his younger colleagues
wearing, and once in a while he’d see the same combination in commercials.
Tim walked to the dresser and put the framed picture of Gerald, 10, and Josh, 7, face down in the drawer under his ironed
boxer shorts. He fluffed up the shorts and aligned them with the side of the drawer, then went to the bed and laid on his
back, enjoying the sensations that came with the knowledge that he was about to do something not at all proper.
He could hear the faint sounds of the modest flow of traffic on Broad Street thirteen floors below. If he were to open the
window and look up and to the north, he would just be able to see William Penn on top of City Hall. He resisted the
temptation to get up and see if he could spot a woman getting out of a taxi. Would he be able to guess who she was? Maybe
several girls would be arriving at the same time; it didn’t seem that unlikely. The Park Hyatt did cater to out-of-town
businessmen who were by definition lonely and could afford the few hundred dollars; and they knew they had to get up
the next morning. So a peak time, a rush hour, was not so hard to imagine.
The commercial break came. “The Top 10 List” was next. He enjoyed that segment. His stomach was churning and his
heart was beating hard. Tim felt the need to take his pulse, but didn’t act on it. He looked over at the clock radio: 11:50 p.
m. He would remember that time later. There was a soft knock at the door. Tim clicked “off” on the remote. He got up,
glanced around the room, and checked his reflection again. He opened the door. This was the best part.
“Hi, I’m Crystal. You must be Tim.”
She was very tall, at least five-ten and had what must have been five inch heels on her boots. She looked down at him. She
was much more attractive than he’d imagined, blue eyes, ash blonde hair and what appeared to be real breasts. Tim was
very partial to real breasts. But she was dressed cheaply, of course—a dress that was laced up the side, made out of some
sort of black fake leather. It looked very much like something you could order on the internet.
“Hi, Crystal. I’m glad you could come over this evening,” Tim said shyly.
“Well, aren’t you adorable!” said Crystal, taking his chin in her hand and turning his face towards her. “Let’s take care of
the money first and then we can play.”
Tim took out four stiff new fifties from the pocket of his starchy jeans and handed them to her.
“I believe this is the correct amount,” he said a bit defensively.
He knew that this would be a sticky moment.
“Have you ever used a service in Philadelphia?”
“No I haven’t,” he lied.
“Well, let me tell you how it works. The service keeps seventy-five percent—the girls depend on tips. So we’ll do
something for this amount of money, but it can’t be too much—you understand. But you look like somebody with a good
job. Why don’t you just get some more cash and we can really have some fun?”
Tim did in fact have a good job. For three years he had been the Chief Financial Officer for a small software company in
Rochester and he spent large parts of every day finding ways to not give people as much money as they wanted. One of his
reliable techniques was not to acknowledge having the money to spend, although after his company had a front page
profile in the Journal two months ago—they had just sold an imaging program to Eastman Kodak for hundreds of millions
of dollars—this had become more difficult. But the impulse was still there and partly explained why his black, Italian-
leather wallet was under three, identical, blue Brooks Brothers shirts at the bottom of a drawer. Also, he learned the hard
way not to leave anything valuable in sight. When he spoke to the anonymous bored voice on the phone, he had been
very clear that two hundred was all he had, would that still be okay? But Crystal was quite beautiful and Tim was
weakening.
“What does ‘really have some fun’ mean?” he asked.
“Are you into anything special? I mean like fetishes, that kind of thing?” asked Crystal.
This was a question he had never been asked, or asked himself. He knew he wasn’t into feet, or latex, anything that weird.
Shirley liked to make love with the lights off, because she was embarrassed about her looks; she also discouraged noise
because their bedroom was so close to the boys. Once they had woken up Josh when Shirley made an involuntary squeal
at the moment of orgasm; she maintained almost total silence since then. So just talking about the possibilities like this, in
the open without even lowering their voices, was itself a turn-on for Tim. He was starting to get aroused and he knew from
experience the quality of his judgment was inversely proportional to his level of arousal.
“How about domination? Have you ever been really dominated sexually?” Crystal asked with a sly smile.
He knew what she was doing was no different than what Don at the BMW dealer did when he tried to sell him undercoating
for his 328i and he had had no problem telling him ‘no’. He knew it was a scam and yet he had been able to decline in a way
that preserved the social fabric necessary to complete the deal civilly. Yet this felt like another kind of decision
altogether. The vision of Crystal making him—forcing him really—to do things he never considered, that he certainly
would never initiate, was provocative. He thought of his last time with Shirley, waiting until the kids were asleep, turning
the light off before she got undressed, accepting him silently, asking him when they were finished if he remembered to
pick up the 1% milk on his way home.
“I’m sorry, but this is all I have. I was really quite clear about that when I talked to the service.”
“There’s a cash machine right in the lobby. Don’t tell me a guy like you doesn’t have an ATM card. I could stay out in the
hall,” she said, reading his mind.  
There was no way he would let her stay in the room by herself for that long. She knew from his hesitation that he was on
the fence. She walked to his side and put her hand on his knee, then let it glide up to his crotch.
“I want to see what this looks like, Timmy.”
Tim waited until she turned her head away, then quickly opened the drawer and grabbed his wallet. “Okay” he said.
“Where exactly is the cash machine?”    
“Just turn right as soon as you get off the elevator. It’s against the wall next to the pay phones,” said Crystal. “Get another
couple of hundred. Then we can really have a good time.”
Tim slipped on his freshly shined tasseled loafers. They looked great, but he noticed the tassels didn’t actually go with his
jeans—too formal. His Adidas would have been better, but he didn’t want to take the time to lace them. Tim ignored his
growing annoyance and held the door open politely for Crystal, then went through himself and closed the door behind
him, double-checking to make sure it really locked—an awkward moment, but it couldn’t be helped. He knew he was being
hustled and resented the way the awareness of that diluted his fantasy like water in whiskey. She was allowed to try to get
what she could, of course, but it shouldn’t be so obvious. It was part of the job to pretend she wanted him.
On the way down to the lobby, he used his analytical skills: what was needed in this situation was damage control. He
wasn’t going to give her as much as an extra two hundred, but he couldn’t come back empty handed and expect anything
like a pleasant experience. So he withdrew a hundred dollars and added another twenty from his wallet as an
afterthought. He noticed there was a ten in among the twenties and checked all his bills during the elevator ride up to
make sure they were in his wallet the right way: ones in front, picture side up, then fives, tens, twenties and fifties. He didn’
t normally carry hundred dollar bills—too ostentatious and impractical in some situations. He carefully folded the receipt
from the ATM in four equal parts and put it in his wallet with his other travel receipts.
Crystal was pacing nervously by the elevators when he got out. Tim noticed that she was smoking in front of a “No
Smoking” sign, but decided this was not the moment to point that out. Instead, he put his hand lightly on her back and
walked her briskly back to the room.
“Did you see those guys?” she asked.
“What guys?”
“There were a couple of guys up here. I know they work for the hotel. They had walkie-talkies and they looked at me kind
of funny. I thought for sure they were going to hassle me,” said Crystal.
“I didn’t see anybody,” Tim said, putting the key card in the door.
As soon as they were in the room, he put his arms around her waist and pulled her close to him. She turned her head away
to avoid his kiss.
“Let’s see what you got for me first, Timmy,” she said.
Tim let her go and sighed inaudibly. Pause, he told himself—you don’t have to react instantly. This was something he
learned from his first boss. It was a lesson that served him well. He waited a second before saying,
“This is all the machine would let me take out.”
He handed her the hundred and twenty dollars. Her face clouded as she counted the money, but she said nothing. He
reached for her again, but she put her palm on his chest and pushed him roughly down on the bed.
“I’m in charge now, Timmy,” she said.
She held his gaze as she unzipped her dress and threw it on the floor. Tim was conscious of how much nicer it would have
been for her to place it neatly on the back on the chair. She had on tiny black panties made out of some shiny material,
not silk, cheaper than that. Her bra matched, obviously part of a set. He drew his breath in involuntarily.
“Take your clothes off—I want to see that big cock of yours.”
“Yes, Crystal,” said Timmy, playing along.
What a foolish name. He wondered what her real name was—probably something plain like Agnes or Esther.
“Yes who?” she said harshly, squeezing his cheeks between her thumb and forefinger. He thought for a second. “Yes who,
Timmy?” she asked again.
He didn’t think being called ‘Timmy’ was funny, or sexy.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you want me to say,” he said.
She slapped his face lightly. It smarted.
“When I tell you to do something, the way I want you to answer is ‘yes, Mistress Crystal’—is that understood?”
He hesitated again.
“Yes, Mistress Crystal.”
He carefully unbuttoned his blue shirt and was folding it neatly when she grabbed it and threw it on the floor next to her
black dress. He was acutely uncomfortable. This game would be over soon and his shirt would be wrinkled needlessly. He
took off his tee shirt and was able to quickly place it on the other bed without interference.
“Okay, now those pants,” she said. She was standing about a foot away from the edge of the bed. She towered over Tim,
touching her breasts in a way that should have been erotic. But her eyes didn’t match her actions. She looked bored and
hostile.
At this price, she should be a better actor, thought Tim. He was starting to feel ripped off and they hardly begun, but his
innate manners proved stronger than his offended sense of value. He didn’t voice his objections. He took off his jeans and
boxers. She went over to the closet. He tried to remember if there was anything there worth stealing. She came back with
a clothes hanger, one of those padded ones covered with a pink satiny cloth.
“Up on all fours, like a little doggie,” said Crystal.
Tim complied and then added “Yes, Mistress Crystal.”
Crystal moved behind him. “You’ve been a bad boy, haven’t you, Timmy,” she said.
“Yes,” said Tim quietly.
“Yes who?” said Crystal, smacking his extended buttocks lightly with the hanger.
“Yes, Mistress Crystal, I’ve been a very bad boy.”
“A very bad boy—then you need some more of this,” she said, smacking him, much harder this time.
He really felt it. He tried to be optimistic. Maybe this was leading somewhere.
“Very bad boys need a lot of punishment to learn to behave,” she said, hitting him even harder this time.
It hurt. This wasn’t what he had gone to the cash machine for.
“Turn over—lie on your back—now!” she said as he hesitated.
He turned over and put his head on the pillow. At least now he could touch her and see her. She got up on the bed and
stood over him, one long black boot next to each of his hips.
She raised her right leg and ground her heel into his chest.
“You have been bad, haven’t you, Timmy? You’re cheaping out on me, aren’t you?”
He looked in her eyes and saw a lot, but mostly that she wasn’t acting. She loathed him. It didn’t seem fair. He was the one
paying.
“Didn’t you, Timmy?” she asked again, smacking him on the leg with the coat hanger.
“Yes, Crystal” Tim said, without any real enthusiasm.
“Yes, who?” said Crystal as she reached down and grabbed his balls roughly.
Tim didn’t want to give her the answer. This was not at all what he had intended. Oh, well.
“Yes, Mistress Crystal” he said reluctantly.
She pulled the crotch of her panties aside, exposing her hairless vagina.
“See what you can’t have, Timmy?” she said.
“Yes, Mistress Crystal,” Tim answered in a whisper.
“And see what else you can’t have? This is what my girlfriend gets as soon as I leave, Timmy.” She slowly pulled down the
top of her black brassiere, exposing her breasts. They were real.
Tim started to feel pressure building in his chest. It was getting hard to breathe.
“Can I touch them, Mistress Crystal?” he said hoarsely.
“Next time bring me some real money, Timmy and then we can do whatever you’d like.”
“But I need to touch you” he said.
“Too bad” said Crystal, and she reached down and grabbed his nipple and twisted.
“Ow! That really hurt!”
“Aw…poor baby.” she said, swinging the coat hanger at him.
Tim rolled toward her to avoid the blow, which was intended for his thigh. Instead it landed awkwardly but sharply on his
penis and balls. He saw lights in front of his eyes and was momentarily dizzy.
“Jesus Christ! Are you fucking crazy?” he screamed in a very different voice.
Someone banged on the wall and voiced a muffled complaint.
Crystal laughed.
“You’re the one paying for this, Timmy. Who’s crazy?”
She raised the coat hanger again.
Tim could sense his vision changing, shrinking his field of view. The colors in the room shifted toward the red. He felt
suddenly hot, and powerful. He grabbed her arm roughly.
“Okay—stop it! This is not what I paid you for.” he said.
Crystal’s face changed. She looked suddenly like a completely different person.
“You little shit. This is exactly all you paid me for, motherfucker.”
She raised her boot to step down roughly on his chest.
Tim let go of her arm and pulled on her leg, hard. She went over backward, landing heavily on the floor. Tim stood up. He
knew that the banging on the wall was still going on, but he couldn’t hear it. The television was silent. He saw Crystal’s
mouth moving in a shriek, but still he heard nothing. He leaned over and slapped her. Her head snapped back like a
puppet’s. She started to get on her feet. Tim used both hands to push her back against the wall. She hit it so hard that the
framed print of Independence Hall fell to the floor, its glass shattering soundlessly.
“You don’t know who you’re fucking with, you pathetic Dilbert cocksucker!” she screamed.
He heard her dimly through the fog. She crawled toward her purse on the dresser. Tim reached behind him and grabbed a
brass faux early-American table lamp from the nightstand. The cord came out of the wall like it was made of string.
Crystal’s hand was in her purse. He brought the lamp down on her head, once, twice. Her body started twitching
convulsively. She tried to talk, but nothing happened. Tim thought for a moment of the way the dying sunfish looked on
the bottom of their boat, gasping for air when he had taken Gerry fishing two years ago. Crystal’s hand was still in her
purse. He swung the lamp a third time, like a baseball bat, sweeping her and her purse to the floor. Her cell phone was in
her hand.
She was still twitching, but only her legs now. She made a sound like air being let out of a camping mattress. Tim saw the
rug under her panties was wet. Something smelled bad. A pool of blood coming from her head was spreading across the
rug. She stopped moving even though her eyes were still open. That was better.
Tim took the lamp into the bathroom and held it under the shower until all the blood was gone, then dried it and put it
back on the nightstand. He got a towel and put it under Crystal’s head. It wasn’t enough. He remembered seeing a plastic
bag labeled “For Wet Laundry” in the bathroom. He got it and, lifting her head gingerly by the hair, managed to fit it
completely over her head. Much more effective, especially after replacing the blood soaked towel with a clean one. He
moved her arms until they were straight at her side and adjusted the angle of her legs.
Conan was on now. Tim picked up his now wrinkled, blue shirt and put it in the drawer he had set aside for dirty laundry.
A shame. Shirley just picked it up at the cleaners yesterday. He took Crystal’s black dress, folded it and put it on the bed.
He put the lipstick, compact, Marlboro lights and cell phone back in her purse. Only then did he sit down beside her, to
think, to figure out what to do next. Remember, his father had often said: there are no problems, only solutions waiting to
be discovered.
Tim's Big Night
By: John Hill