We'd just finished tea and I was finishing the washing-up. We'd had chili con carne so there wasn't too much; there were still two servings-worth left in the bean pot I'd cooked it in, and we'd have that tomorrow. All I really washed up were the dishes and the forks.
"When you're done there," said Dad in his meaningful tone of voice, so I put the last fork in the drainer and dried my hands on a floral tea-towel.
"Done," I said, turning round. Dad was hovering in the kitchen doorway holding something.
"Well, make some tea," he said, "And then come and read this."
"What is it?" I asked as I clicked the switch on the electric kettle and tested its weight. It felt heavy enough for two cups, one of milky tea for Dad and the other of coffee for me.
"It's... it's an old advert," said Dad, looking oddly sheepish for once. "Hurry up with the tea, I'm thirsty after that chili. You use too much spice you know."
"It's chili, Dad," I said, measuring out coffee granules and dropping a teabag into the other cup. "Jeez, if I made it properly you'd know what spicy really means!"
"Stomach ulcers are not fun," said Dad. The kettle started to boil so I didn't answer that and concentrated on getting the drinks made. Then I came into the living room, gave him his tea and took the yellowed paper he gave me in return, and started to read:
Do you dream of owning your own brothel? read the first sentence. I blinked, and carried on reading. Many men envisage an easy life, earning regular money by making a valuable service available to the local community, occasionally sampling the merchandise themselves to ensure top-notch quality, and being charmed and entertained by educated, delectable women after their shifts' end. Gentlemen pay regular visits and leave behind tips on horse-racing, the stock-market, and sartorial statements. What could be more delightful?
Sadly the reality is far seedier. To make a substantial profit, and to cater for clientele who may have to sneak out late at night, or prefer their visits to be made after the public houses have called time, shifts can run to the early hours of the morning, even to the point of sun-up. Recruiting girls for the shifts is harder work than it sounds and few girls auditioning for the role would be considered for even a walk-on non-speaking part in a Broadway musical. Many of the girls speak little or imperfect English, and requesting a conversation from them would be considered most peculiar, and possibly even ill-mannered in their own, inimical, view of the world. No man wishes to listen to the screeching that prevails from such a riled harpy!
Testing the merchandise is sadly regularly necessary and soon becomes a chore. Having the merchandise tested regularly for disease is also essential, and with a sufficiently large stable of fillies a man may find that having his own personal vet is the cheaper alternative. Protecting the merchandise is a further, often unexpected, outlay but visitors to the establishment are frequently less-than-savoury, often inebriated, and may have dark ways and strange desires that are not actually suitable for a would-be reputable establishment.
In short, there are many pitfalls for the would-be brothelista.
Hobots is proud, therefore, to announce a range of four Hobots and a Nobot, a pimp for the modern age. The four Hobots all have a distinctly feminine appearance, with their roles and ages well defined. The Lolita is the youngest of the Hobots and delicately hints that the liaison might be dangerously close to the legal edge. She has a graceful, svelte figure modelled on that of a ballet dancer and had a five-year warranty on all parts, both lubricated and unlubricated. Next in line is the Mademoisellebot who has a knowing gaze and an allure that comes from combining knowledge with desire. Her curves are more pronounced, yet still attractive to men both young and old. Her fertility is clearly on display (and indeed, one satisfied purchaser has sent us pictures of her growing cress, which, frankly, astonished us). The Ma'ambot then brings the deep sexiness of a womanbot who knows what she wants and how to get it, a wanton lust that can overpower even the sleaziest of reprobates come to call.
To keep them all in line the Madambot has a world-weariness and a secure cash-box, but can, when queues build up, step up to the wicket once more and bat for England. Assisting her, the Nobot assures clientele that No means No, and that waiting in line is the only civilised way to behave.
The remainder of the text provided costs for the various robots and an address to apply to to purchase these devices.
"So, tell me what you think," said Dad.
"Well," I said slowly, "I don't think you'd get this published today, though it looks like it was published in a trade journal so perhaps that's not quite the issue I thought."
"Right," said Dad. "Anything else?"
"The Ma'ambot," I said. "Odd coincidence in name there, that's probably not a coincidence since you've asked me to read this paper. Surely this isn't where the Mom-bot comes from?"
"The technology, certainly," said Dad. "It might surprise to you know that though the Nobots have developed into military applications, the other three robots have also evolved and survived through to the modern day."
"Right," I said, a thought suddenly striking me. "Dad, where did you get this from? You said yes when I suggested a trade journal...."
There was an embarrassed silence, until finally Dad, blushing, said, "I used to build them."
"I used to build the Hobots. It was my first job out of school."
I started to laugh.