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A few weeks ago I was on my way to a meeting in Goodge Street.  As I meandered along Tottenham Court Road toward my destination, something caught my attention; it was a public phone box. From the side of my eye I couldn’t help but notice the bespoke wallpaper that tiled the inside of the booth. A risqué tapestry of calling cards, Goodge streets finest escorts and prostitutes.

What are you into? What’s your guilty pleasure? Whatever your itch, it can apparently be scratched in London’s west end. In close proximity I saw 4 phone booths clustered together all sporting the same decorative design. Over the years I must have walked past hundreds if not thousands of phone boxes such as this one, but on this occasion something stirred within me. I felt an immense sense of pain and injustice flooding my emotions. How many of the women advertising their wares had been trafficked into the country and forced into the sex industry? How many men would just one of these women be obligated to service during that day alone? How many men would catch a glimpse of the same peripheral as I had? Tugged by curiosity, would they pick up the phone and be diverted from the orbit of their integrity or maybe even their marriage?

In that moment I had to do something. I knew what was necessary, I needed to take those cards down, but vanity was in my way.  It was a certainty that as I stood in the fish bowl of that phone booth, and peeled off those cards one by one, every person walking that busy street would see me. There would be no discreet way to carry out this exercise!  Over a period of ten minutes, I made four passes up and down the short piece of road adjacent to those phone boxes before I mustered the courage to actually enter booth number one and start the removal operation. Fuelled by my burden for injustice I meticulously made way through two phone boxes, shedding them of their X-rated internal skin.

As I opened the door of the third phone box I was holding almost 50 calling cards in my left hand. In my right hand was my laptop and my mobile phone, which I held in preparation for the meeting I was about to attend. In a bumbling shambolic Mr Bean moment, I lost grip of the cards. Fumbling them like an inept American footballer. I watched in a flash of seeming slow motion as the cards made the short journey from my hand to the floor…  Soon I found myself crawling on my hands and knees to collect this exotic menagerie of trump cards, (among which, etched into my memory, remains one particular transvestite called “Anita Mann!”).

More than one cry of “pervert” echoed around me, not to mention the raised eyebrows, the tuts, and the redirected children ushered away from the path of the strange man crawling the pavements of London on a carpet of “tart cards”! Goodge Street had knowingly filled in the blanks of my experience.

My resolve was not broken. Like a soldier on a vital mission, I regrouped and collected the remnant of cards from both the ground and the remaining two phone boxes. I discreetly disposed of the cards in a skip in a side street. My mission had been accomplished and I thought I’d share it with you here! Though I have not since ventured down that street It is an unfortunate reality that those cards would have been replaced by either pimp or prostitute within 24 hours of removal, but I still feel it was worth it! Even for that short an interlude my job had been done.

Apologies for the length of time since my last post, I will return in the near future with more tales of bravery, idiocy and celibacy.

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5 thoughts on “Phone sex…

  1. Very few of the women are trafficked into the country for sex work. They are mainly economic migrants. Why do you deny us the right to earn a living.

  2. Wildly entertaining read but let’s not overlook the great significance of this action you were burdened to carry out….

    Somewhere in London you offered potential relief to girl/ woman trapped in a desperate situation

    Perhaps you lessened the temptations of men who walk that street for the ‘tart card’ fix

    You are more than likely right that the cards would have been replaced within 24 hrs however, in that small window of time, for the few hours where there were no cards to choose from… I genuinely believe God used you as an instrument to save someone.

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