“I Loved the Dapper Bandit”
I am a hardworking hooker in a perpetually horny town. I’ve been turning tricks professionally for seven years, working my way up from the Kit Kat Club on Industrial Boulevard ($20 for 20 minutes) to the Mansion on Turtle Creek ($200 an hour from a television joke writer in 1989). In the last few days I’ve seen an Indian, a Taiwanese, a Chinese, an African, a Saudi Arabian, two Greeks, and a German. Whoever thinks Dallas isn’t an international city should talk to me.
Have I ever been in love? That’s usually the first question my tricks ask me in the Motel 6, eager to get the most out of my average $60-an-hour fee. Let’s answer this one right up front. Yes. I fell in love with a trick named Mark Reeves, the Dapper Bandit, the most notorious Texas bank robber since Bonnie and Clyde. I was his steady squeeze for a year and a half without knowing that when he went to work—which often wasn’t enough for me—he traded his jeans and T-shirt for a wig, moustache, sunglasses, gloves, and a gray J.C. Penney suit. That’s why they called him “Dapper.” With a yuppie briefcase in one hand, a .38-caliber stainless steel revolved in the other, and a Browning 9-millimeter pistol tucked in his belt, my lover knocked off banks, vaulting over bank counters in rubber-sold Hush Puppies. He confessed to robbing 25 banks in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Tarrant County from 1978 to 1988. His take? More than half a million dollars. His strategy? He never fired a shot, and he never kept a dollar. No matter how much he made, he would be broke in a few months. I wondered how he got his money, which he brought home either in a show box or not at all. I thought he was a dope dealer or a gun runner. That shows how good I am with my serious relationships.
Hooking is a loony way to make a living. But nobody was crazier than Mark Reeves, the Dapper Bandit, the man who wanted to buy me out of the business and make me respectable. What a joke.
I met Mark in September 1984, about two and a half years after I started tricking. He was high on cocaine. I usually stay away from cocaine calls—they’re not my style. A cocaine call is when somebody has drugs and they would love for you to say two magic words: “Gimme some.” Tricks on cocaine offer it to you every five minutes, which is real annoying, especially for a reformed coke junkie like me. Cocaine calls don’t really get into the sex; they just want to work you for twelve hours. They’re just trying to play vampire. Misery loves company. I’ve been there a million times. To these guys, saying, “I’ve got some cocaine” is like saying, “I’ve got the Hope diamond.”
The call was through an escort agency. I didn’t have my own agency then. I had a beeper, and I was working for these people who were ripping me off, lying to me about the money I had coming through MasterCard. It was the old story: Get a green girl, give her one cash call a day so she’ll have gas and hamburger money, then put the rest on credit cards, so the girl gets paid once a month. You work two or three weeks. Call mania. Anything that breathes. Until the agency owes you like $3,000 and won’t pay. When you finally demand your cash, they say, “Well, you didn’t turn those vouchers in” or “The bank has questions.” Finally you have to quit since you can’t take the problem to the police or anything.
One Friday night they told me, “Go see this guy who’s been seen before.” That means it’s a good call, a regular, not a cop. He sees four hookers a week. Pays cash. They gave me his vital statistics: name, telephone number. I had just finished a domination call, tying up an Arlington businessman between two desks. I was a nervous wreck. I called Mark Reeves at four in the morning, just after leaving the pervert in Arlington.
“What’s your description?” he asked.
“Five six, brown hair, brown eyes. 35-24-35. Weigh 120 pounds. I like my work.”
“Come on over,” he said. “Here’s the address.”
I told him it would be $150 cash—$50 for the agency fee, $100 for the tip. When I got there, he looked like a cocaine call. a guy about thirty, living by himself in some boring apartment on Park Lane with rented furniture. Motorcycle by the front door. Shorts. Hawaiian shirt. Good body from daily workouts. A great tan. A guy you’d spot at the pool and feel your sap rising. Cute. Real casual. He was the last guy you’d take for a notorious bank robber. But by the time we met, the police later said, Mark had already knocked off at least eight banks, his latest being Plaza National Bank of Dallas in July and the American State Bank of Fort Worth for $65,000 that February. Like a lot of guys, Mark would get a hooker whenever he had money in his pocket. The minute I saw him, smiling at me from his balcony, I thought, “Not my style.” Dumpy apartments and cocaine—I’ve spent too many years wallowing in both.
We sat on the couch. I told him if he wanted me to stay, I had to collect first. We started making out. He kept going into the bathroom to do more cocaine. After an hour, I got up to go.
“I want you to stay longer,” he said.
“Okay,” I said, “So let’s collect again.”
He was tired. And wired. He kept talking about race car driving. “I spend three thousand dollars a weekend, racing cars,” he said. He showed me some trophies. And he kept doing cocaine. The best thing about him? He didn’t push the coke on me. So he had some manners. Then he started in on his fantasies.
“If I get good enough in racing, it would be really neat if you could come to my races, and we could be in love,” Mark said.
In love? Mark was into this whole fantasy trip. I just said, “Okay.” He told me he liked me. And I said, “Yeah, okay.” A lot of people say that. They go, “Wow, you’ve got a great body. I’m in love.” It’s nothing new to me. I always agree with everything—”Sure, we could live on a desert island, whatever you say.” I’ll go with the fantasy, unless it’s something really morbid.
I stayed with Mark for about three and a half hours. But I told my agency I had gone home after the first hour. So I made about $350 off of the call. He was a good call. I gave him my home phone number when I left. “Call me at home sometime, and we’ll bypass the agency,” I said.
The next Sunday at six in the morning, he called me at home. on my mother’s phone. At that point, I didn’t have my own trick phone yet. I was living with my parents. Sure, they knew I was hooking. They were just thrilled that I was off drugs, proud of me for working. Any career was better than being a junkie. After all, when I was on drugs, I was stealing from them like crazy. Guns. Silverware. Jewelry. I even stole all of my dad’s anniversary pins from the LTV Corporation, prying out the diamonds and trading them for a shot of junk. I figured that my parents had brought me out of the womb and deserved to suffer for their creation. Talk about a twisted mind. But when I became a hooker, I straightened up overnight. I realized what a bitch I’d been. My parents were thrilled. I paid them back every dime I had stolen. My mother dreamed of me marrying a rich trick, who would whisk me off to the land of suburbia, babies, and soap operas.
“Are you on that white stuff again?” I asked Mark.
“Look, let me get my act together, and I’ll come over.”
But then I felt funny about it. I called a girlfriend who was also a hooker. Marilyn talked me out of going. You’re too weak, she said, and if you do cocaine calls, you’re exposing yourself back to that old phase of drug addiction. Mark called again about ten.
“Where are you?” he pleaded.
He wounded sexy, charming. Real nice. And stoned.
“Look, I’m not coming over,” I said. “Leave me alone. I don’t need calls like this. If you call me back, I’ll call the police.”
“What did I do?” he asked.
I hung up. Mark Reeves didn’t call back—for a year.
How did I ever get into this business? That’s another question I get asked, usually between the last kiss and the cigarette. Born and raised in Cockrell Hill—which I have always called Cockroach Hill—I was a bookworm and honor student, a real egghead, until I lost interest in school, dropped out, and became a dedicated rock groupie and champion coke snorter and speed shooter.
I had done the bar scene for years, winding up every night in a different guy’s bed, waking up to find some jerk who refused to talk to me or take me home, a guy who mumbled, “Can’t you call a cab?” before rolling over and getting back to his snoring. I’d done freelance whoring since I was nineteen, working at massage parlors, taking out personal ads, seeing a sugar daddy at a Hilton hotel. I’ve don it all. But I never made enough money to think of hooking as a profession until I followed a friend’s advice: “Pick up the Yellow Pages, and look under ‘Escort Service.'” I got hired over the telephone right off the bat, without even an interview. I was sent to the Wyndham Hotel. Within half an hour, I was drinking champagne and eating shrimp cocktails with some traveling salesman in room 484. Not a bad way to make a quick $50.
A long time ago, I made up my mind: It take money to live right and eat well. It takes a lot of jing to go to aerobics and the tanning salon every day and to Paul Neinast once a month for a $400 beauty treatment. I’ve always had expensive tastes. These days, at 31, I’m addicted to my career. Total workaholic.
I don’t have a pimp, and I don’t want to stand on the street; I prefer going where I’m invited. So, like everybody else in Dallas, I use a car. My old 1984 Subaru had 100,000 miles in four years of service. I cover the Metroplex. I’m listed in the Yellow Pages under “Escort Service,” and I have two telephones with answering machines. Ten calls an hour, 24 hours a day. Like clockwork. And that’s what turning a trick is: dealing with some nut with a problem.
Dallas men? a good definition would be “hard up for sex.” They do a lot of explaining—about their wives, their girlfriends, the women who won’t do anything except on Easter Sunday. Some of them are just hooked on paying. That was the story of the Dapper Bandit. Mark had a nice bunch of straight, normal, hardworking friends. But when it came to sex, he liked hookers. He figured, why spend all night in a bar talking to some floozy who would soak up $60 in drinks only to eventually tell him, “You don’t get none,” when he could have somebody like me panting on his doorstep in twenty minutes? It’s like calling Domino’s Pizza. Guys like Mark don’t want dates. Either they’re too shy or they feel their date won’t be nasty enough. Some of them are such closet cases with sex that they just lose it. A lot get emotional. Their mother just died or their wife just walked out. I’ve entered a lot of empty houses, just some guy sitting there in the dark with a bottle of Scotch. I’ll ask, “Where’s the furniture?” And he’ll say, “She took it all.”
Sometimes they tell me, “You must have a really neat life. It must be great making money on your back.” I go, “Uh-huh.” And then I’m off to the next call, thinking, “Is this next guy going to rob me? Is he going to be on the level? Is he a vice cop who has a good line of bull and video cameras hidden behind the blinds, trying to get me to tell him what we’re going to do before we do it, so he can flash his badge and ship me off to a $5,000-a-night suite in Lew Sterrett Justice Center (which all of the hookers call Lew’s Place)?