They’re very easy, white men. They come to this part of the world in their suits and ties and expensive shoes, rushing through airports and hotel lobbies with their briefcases and laptops, swollen with a sense of their own importance. But really, they’re like children, ruled by their wants, enslaved by their appetites. They do not see how easy they are to read.

Take this man, for example, lying in bed with his pants around his ankles. He didn’t bother to take his socks off; he was in too much of a hurry. Dark fur on his chest, fuzz on his arms and legs, a patch on the back of his head where his dark brown hair is starting to thin. His erection has subsided.

I took care not to kiss him on the lips.

When he approached me at a bar earlier this evening, I pretended that I was intrigued, but cautious. I checked his right hand for a ring and made sure he noticed. He wasn’t wearing it, but it was easy to see that he regularly wore one. A good sign; he’ll think carefully about consequences when the time comes.

He tried to tell me what he was doing here, but held just enough back so that it would seem as though he were privy to matters too delicate and too important to be discussed with a stranger. I allowed him to think that I was impressed. I allowed the skirt of my wrap dress to slide off one thigh just so. I allowed him to gently touch it.

Still I behaved as though I was nervous and a little scared. I glanced around the bar every once in a while, as though I were anxious about being spotted by someone I knew. It was too early in the evening, the place wasn’t crowded yet, just a few locals. The bar staff were busy chatting among themselves.

He took my hand, stroked the inside of my wrist, tracing with his thumb the vein there, went into the spiel that I now know by heart. Are you afraid of me? Are you worried? Are you thinking of someone else? Are you afraid of hurting him? We’re not doing anything wrong. Life is short. I think we have a real connection here. I don’t want to look back on this moment and regret that I didn’t do anything about it. Do you? You’re so beautiful.

Like children.

So here he is, lying where his appetites have led him. There is a part of me that thinks he deserves this, although I know he does not.

I look at my watch. Anita should be here soon. But I know that Lee and Joel will be late; that’s just the way it is. On his own, Lee would probably be here on time. But none of us would be here on our own. Joel is the glue that holds us together. Joel is the trap we have all fallen into, the chain that binds us.

While I wait, I make preparations. I snap on a pair of gloves. I run a bath and turn off the tap when the tub is about a third of the way full. I remove the pillows and strip the sheets off the bed. To do this, I have to roll him several times from side to side. He doesn’t wake. I take the pillows, roll the sheets into a bundle, toss them into the closet.

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