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Posted Aug 29, 2010 in All Things Sex, Arts | 0 Comments

The Swan of Amsterdam

She was wearing a green bathing suit, she had black hair and fair skin, and a beautiful face. She looked like I might have imported her from Bucharest. With swan-like grace, she was enticing some young, shy, innocent-looking sailors to come inside and join her. A bit to the right, her door also open, stood a woman who was less beautiful but perhaps sexier, also engaged in conversation with some blushing mariners. She seemed very experienced. Behind door number three, to the far right, their rather plump colleague was looking about quite bored. Alas, no sailors had come to visit her.

My dad and I were sitting our asses on the edge of a canal in the De Wallen district of Amsterdam, his feet crossed under him, mine dangling just above the water. As we were watching the three musketeers across the canal in their quest to get some young tars’ money, I was explaining to my father the mechanics of prostitution in Montreal, and how much more comfortable it was to pimp a stripper rather than an actual escort. Meanwhile, the sailors would disperse, others would replace them, some people would pass by trying to take pictures (to the girls’ most pronounced displeasure), and sometimes, very rarely, a trick would go in. There was lots of beckoning, much negotiating, but very few “home runs”, if you wish to adopt some distasteful Yank slang. I think we only saw one person go in, and he chose the girl in the middle, as was only natural. The alpha bitch feeds first.

Every now and again, a boat would come down the canal, carrying on it some Nordic-looking people, whom I suspected to be very polite in their day-to-day lives, and who were intoxicated and listening to some obnoxious Germanic party music, finally leaving behind thick, white diesel stink. As we were sitting about doing nothing, like many others around us, a swan swam down the canal. Out of all the others, it chose us. It came to me and stared at me as if it was asking me something very specific. I felt like the Beastmaster. Unfortunately, I did not know the tongue of swans, so the message was lost on me. Not quite satisfied, the majestic bird swam on to other tourists, quite like a charming rogue asking everyone in the street for a cigarette. I asked my dad to give it some bread, so he took out a slice from his bag (it would take too long to explain why we had bread with us), and threw a piece into the canal. The swan heard the splash and quickly glided over the green waters to its helpless prey, wagging its tail like a happy dog. It gobbled down the piece of bread not without effort, as this was some kind of healthy whole-wheat stuff that had the consistency of rubber, and then it asked for more. We gave it the rest of the slice, and the bird seemed satisfied.

The swan went over to all the other canal sitters to check if they had anything worth having. Eventually, it came back to me. It looked at me, pointed at me with its head, then splashed some water around with its beak quite suggestively, as in “your food goes here,” and finally – seeing I wasn’t following the instructions – cocked its head and looked at me like I was stupid.

Then it left. My dad and I started talking about animals, and about how mankind sucks.

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