WEIGHT: 61 kg
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In the middle of this dark, dingy passage, next to a computer shop and across from a hotel catering to business travelers, there is a doorway lined with incandescent light bulbs and plastered with gaudy 80s porn posters. I hand her the money and enter clumsily through the glass door, staring at my shoes. Inside, the air is thick with perfume and astringent with bleach.
Amid the gloom, some fifteen women crowd the small bar, sending forth affected desire and haunted looks. High-heels, shorts skirts, straining cleavage, and mouths like crimson wounds. Their faces flash in and out of the lights and the dry ice, a brume of voluptuous hosts. I pass by and sit on a sofa that smells of too many bodies and of too much spilled champagne. In front of me, a young woman presses her breasts into the chest of a reserved sixty-year-old man, promptly straddling him with practiced confidence.
The man stammers and stutters, writhes and twitches, but she pins him to the seat with the force of her hips and the fervor of her flattery. He is short, with the bulk and sag of a man in his mid-sixties.
He has neat, medium-length, salt-and-pepper hair parted in the middle, and a bushy moustache. His expression is stern as he grumbles at the waitresses working alongside him. Making a living from the night has taught Calero many things. He knows the types of people that will break down in tears and the kind of man who will be aggressive with one of his girls. He knows the people that enter to escape and the people that come to study.
Calero was born in the Spanish city of Albacete, but he spent little time there, leaving for Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, at the age of fourteen to find work. In Palma, after years of scraping a living from odd jobs, he finally secured work as a deliveryman during the day and as a cook in a cabaret bar at night.