Britney doesn’t think of money as money anymore. She has a fuck of a lot of it, so its no wonder—people with money tend to forget that money is just money, not love or power or anything else. It’s the potential for all of that, certainly, but not the thing that people actually want. But with Britney, its somehow different. The money is what she wants. She’ll do anything for money but her money doesn’t seem to have a purpose.
Not that she doesn’t spend it. Britney is a generous person, and sometimes she’ll just show up at the house with a new blouse or a pile of CDs, and Mandy will have to pretend to ignore the expensive labels, because Britney gets a bruised look whenever someone refuses a gift.
She spends a lot on herself, too. Not all of her expensive clothes are presents, and neither are her weekly pedicures, manicures, hair appointments at the best salon in town. Britney spends a lot on herself, but its very rarely on anything that actually makes her happy. She buys things for work, whether they seem like it or not. She dyes her hair til its brittle-blonde and has a year-round full-body tan because it’s a basic, iconic look—she can go cheerleader or movie star or whore with it, and it works—and she spends money on furs and nice clothes, painted toenails without chips, because it attracts rich guys, guys who want a beautiful girl on their arm, not necessarily a whore.
Mandy knows all of this, because she watches. When she first came to work for Madge, she’d been a stupid little girl, turning tricks like crazy because she wanted to be big, bigger than Britney, who always brought home wads of money and made Madge smile like the cat that caught the canary—Britney being the canary. Madge always smiles like that but Britney just looks tired all the time.
Anyway, Mandy knows she’ll never be Britney. When she saw that her fuck-and-run method wasn’t working, she’d started studying Britney, watching her closely, seeing the way she acted with clients when they came to pick her up.
Mandy knows she’ll never be Britney, and frankly, she’s rather glad of that.
Because Britney’s whole life revolves around money, and what she can do to get more of it, and who will give her how much for what. Mandy bets that Britney doesn’t even know how much money she has, never checks her balance, just knows that its just enough but never enough. Enough to support her and buy her diamond earrings but never enough for whatever elusive purpose she’s saving for.
Britney will do almost anything for money, and that’s scary. Scary because if people hear that at least one of Madge’s girls will cross limits just to get paid more, they’ll try it with her and Jessica, and neither of them have Britney’s muscle mass from hours at the gym. Britney could physically stop someone before it went too far, but Mandy and Jessica never exercise except for a few quick jogs around the block every weekend or so. They avoid trouble by avoiding trouble, staying away from clients who seem dangerous, all sharp teeth and too much jewelry. Britney always takes those for them.
Its scary also because Britney is her friend, and Mandy watches. Mandy once saw Britney come home with bracelets of bruises on both wrists, a black eye, claw-scratches bright red through the rips in her stockings. She’d come home in a taxi with gravel ground into her knees and handed Madge a purse full of bills, all hundreds and upwards. After that, she hadn’t come into work for a week.
It wasn’t that she had gotten beat up. Before she came to Madge’s and found out that a whore doesn’t have to be treated like one, Mandy had turned a rough trick or two herself—her left elbow makes a sharp cracking sound whenever she moves it, and one edge of her mouth is scarred wide from where it split—but this was different. Mandy had been a scared thirteen-year-old with stick-thin arms, undernourished and small. Mandy hadn’t had friends like Madge, who once bribed a policeman into kicking the shit out of a trick when he threatened Jessica’s family.
Mandy wasn’t Britney, and Britney could have fought back. Could have, but didn’t.
Note: This part was inspired by Heidi Fleiss’s E! True Hollywood Story. Thanks, Heidi.