Tina had plans. Big plans. She took up an offer to do a ‘glamour’ shoot. These were the kinds of men we were meeting. The drug dealers, the addicts, and those at the scummy and amateur end of porn. And because she was too scared to go alone, I traipsed along with her to an appointment one Saturday afternoon, at the wrong end of the Edgware Road. The appointment was on the eighth floor of a tower block – a journey we made in a lift that was working, but with that familiar tang of piss.
The man who let us in was medallioned with died yellow hair, and could have come straight out of Only Fools & Horses, had it not been for a worrying hardness around his eyes. Inside, across each window hung dirty nets, a sallow, busy décor of competing patterns filling each wall and floor.
Tina had the eyes of a puppy and prowl of a cat, and when she was asked to accompany the man into another room, she sauntered off ahead of him, like any feline - sure footed and without hesitation. I, as usual, grew desperate for a pee.
After a while another man ambled out of another room. He was younger, shaved, tattooed, his irritability washing up the corridor like a bad smell. He watched my breasts. Then said finally:
‘You’re not interested yourself?’
I think I asked him if I could use his ‘loo’.
Later, back in the lift, I whispered:
‘So how did it go?’
She shrugged, fiddling her ring up and over the knuckle.
‘Yeah, it was fine.’