I’m writing a letter of protest to the Mayor of Amsterdam about the conduct of his deputy, Lodewijk Asscher. This insolent upstart has stated that only the biggest creeps are found on the streets between the hours of 4am and 8am. As one who habitually rose at the crack of dawn in his circus days, I often enjoyed an early-morning stroll to inhale the virginal air of a new day. These jaunty excursions were conducted in exemplary fashion: I did not peer into windows or sift through garbage or engage in other disreputable activities. This ass Asscher must withdraw his remark forthwith or be declared an enemy of the gorilla nation.
I should add that I never saw any humans who were conspicuously creepy either. The few who were out and about seemed too preoccupied with their own affairs to bother anyone. The only untoward incident I remember occurred in Ireland, when an inebriated fellow crossed my path. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw me and pointed an accusatory, if unstable, finger in my direction.
“Der Antichrist!” he cried. “Der four fookin’ horsemen of the fookin’ apocalypse will be followin’ in yer wake!”
I was in no mood to humour his liquor-fuelled hallucinations.
“Stop that delirious babbling, you vulgar oaf!” I barked. “Have you any idea what a blot on the landscape you are on this beautiful morning? Find a quiet place to lie down and cover yourself with a tarpaulin.”
He stumbled away, mumbling some foolish nonsense. A drunken halfwit, to be sure, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a creep. I doubt he was a danger to anyone but himself.
Now the deputy mayor’s remark was in support of a proposal to close the city’s brothels between those hours. These establishments have become a major tourist attraction in Amsterdam, surpassing even the tulip fields and windmills. I actually think there is much to be said for the idea. Many prostitutes are obviously workaholics who should be forced to take a break for their own health and sanity. Even if they don’t feel like sleeping, it would do them good to consider new hobbies and pastimes. Consorting with lustful men can only go so far in broadening one’s mind.
A lot of respectable women, who find the idea of sleeping with strange men repulsive, assume that prostitutes must either be victims or incredibly greedy. I dare say many of them are, but there are also those who claim to enjoy their work. I remember getting an earful from a comely young harlot who caught my disapproving eye when she emerged from the trailer of a circus clown.
“I’m gorgeous, I love sex, so why shouldn’t I make money from it when I can?” she asked plaintively. “It’s the girls who give it away for nothing who are fools.”
“Well yes, I see you point,” I waffled sheepishly. “Yet it is also said that the best things in life are free, and that a bird in the hand is worth more than a bush, and that one man’s meat is another woman’s poison.”
“Bollocks!” she exclaimed, unconvinced by my subtle arguments.
Since then, I have been careful to avoid debates with either prostitutes or their detractors. Why should I even hold a view on the subject? The practice is beyond my power to reform and has a negligible impact on my life. Those who want to explore the issue in more depth should get in touch with my friend Miss Brooke, who seems to know all the in’s and out’s.
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