PARADISE BY THE AIRPORT LIGHTS
A few weeks ago there was a big prostitution bust in Saint Lucie County where thirty or so people were arrested based upon advertisements placed in the “erotic jobs” section of Craigslist. The Press Journal thought enough of this raid to make it the top story on the front page, complete with color booking photographs of those arrested for mostly misdemeanor offenses. Checking TCPalm, the story is dated October 24th but that might not be the date of publication in the print edition. The Newports faithfully recycle every Friday so there are no old newspapers gathering dust in this house to actually check the date.
While reading that story, my memory prompted a conversation I had with a colleague about ten years ago. After digesting the less than savory news story, I looked at the front page of the classifieds and sure enough there was an ad for “Paradise Men’s Club” with a phone number and the words “Melbourne, FL”. During that conversation long ago, a female co-worker and I were enjoying the daily newspaper and a cup of highly caffeinated beverage in our break room when she pointed out the ad and said “Isn’t this stuff illegal?” I envisioned a group of well dressed men lounging around in an elegant room drinking cognac and smoking expensive cigars enjoying raucous laughter at an off color joke. My colleague told me it was a house of ill repute, a brothel, a bawdy house, you know . . . a House of the Rising Sun type establishment.
Shortly after, I drove by the place on my way home from Best Buy (we didn’t have one here at the time) and saw the exterior of the building and it appeared to be a dump. My visions of elegance disappeared. Then it hit me. The Press Journal has a lot of gall to put this Craigslist story on the front page (along with the free color booking photos they obtained courtesy of a local hoosegow website) when they may be, in essence, promoting the same services on the front page of another section of their very own newspaper!
So Max Newport began a quest to discover just what in the heck is going on in Paradise? Now Max is the kind of guy who suspects anything that goes on outside of the Newport Castle is capable of being captured on videotape. My football watching buddy and compadre “Pete” (I will call him that since no one else ever has) has no such compunction nor does he have a Mrs. Newport to explain something like that to. “Pete” promised to check out the place, lock his wallet in the car and give me a full report with specific details.
Here is a summary of what he experienced at Paradise Men’s Club: After walking in the door in the back of the building, he noticed a brightly lit room to the right of the hallway which he said “looked like a kitchen”. He was approached by a somewhat attractive scantily clad young lady who introduced herself by first name. “Pete” is not good at remembering names. She asked immediately if he had been there before and he replied that he had. Then she wanted the name of the girl he was with and he pulled the name “Lisa” out of thin air. That must have been good enough for the “hostess” to ask him to follow her to a darkened room where three other scantily clad ladies were sitting on a couch doing absolutely nothing. No television, magazines, cigarettes or drinks. Yep. Just sitting there. The hostess introduced “Pete” to all three by name and him being the perfect gentleman . . . after all this is a gentlemen’s club, offered and received a friendly handshake from each. He was then asked to make a selection from the four. He chose the hostess since she was “already standing up”. Always the gentleman, that “Pete”.
The hostess then guided him to a room that he described as “almost medical”. The bed looked more like an examination table than a bed. She asked him to have a seat and the negotiations began. “She talked to me like I was wearing a wire,” he said. There was no talk of sex but there were gestures accompanying the suggestions of $100 and $150 that could be interpreted as sexual. When she got to $200 she struck a pose reminiscent of an Olympic gymnast at the end of her floor exercise and proclaimed with an exuberant smile “You get me”!!! At that point “Pete” complained that Lisa charged a lot less. “Well, that could be why Lisa doesn’t work here anymore,” the hostess replied somewhat huffily. He politely thanked the lady for her time, saw a sign on the wall that said “It is always proper for a gentleman to ask a lady a question” and while wondering to himself what in the heck that meant, left the building.
No money was exchanged. Nothing illegal occurred. Watching him share his recollections of the big day was far more eventful and animated than my feeble attempts to capture the happening in mere words. But that does leave us lingering with the question of what is going on there at that Paradise Men’s Club? “Pete” departed the club with the opinion that had he forked over $200 he would have walked away with a lot more than a handshake and a dirty look from the hostess. Maybe even more than he was asking for. Maybe something that couldn’t be cured by a shot of penicillin.
As reliable and trustworthy as my friend may be, Max is not going to rely on hearsay to form a conclusive opinion of this time honored establishment. There is only one way to find out for sure and Max just ain’t gonna do it. So the question goes unanswered, at least conclusively. But if my friend “Pete” is correct in his assessment, our local news source is being quite hypocritical and contradictory depending on which section of the paper you look at. Isn’t deriving proceeds from prostitution a crime in the State of Florida? I do believe it is. Maybe the Press Journal is a little miffed that potential lookers for hookers are using a free website rather than patronizing their reliable daily advertiser. The smell of money has made them overlook the possible illegal activity they are promoting to their readers.
Now, if you will excuse me, it’s time to do a Google search for Craigslist.
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