I went to a whorehouse in Singapore with Rocky Bleier in 1973. Maybe it was 1978. Either way, you should remember that Bleier was a tough NFL running back that helped the Steelers win all those championships in the seventies. And this was AFTER he caught fifteen pounds of shrapnel with his ass in ‘Nam. Real tough sonuvabitch, that Bleier. Find me a player that will suit up after washing his own car in today’s game. Didn’t think you could.

One summer the old Rock decided to head back to Slant-Eyes Central for some R-and-R, and when I caught wind of his plans, I knew I had to go along. I needed to get away; things with the first wife had gone to hell in a hand basket and I had some vacation time at the magazine that I needed to use. I think Rocky was just looking to score one last scoop of Saigon ‘tang, and I thought I could benefit from a taste of some myself. So there we were, a couple of old warbirds taking a shortcut through the backalleys of Singapore, on a special quest to quench the oldest of mankind’s thirsts.

The building was called the Gold And Black Dragon, and the exterior could probably pass for one of those mid-rise office buildings today. It looked brand new, but we didn’t make the trip for the architecture. “It’s the best brothel in Singapore,” a mutual friend had told us. “They have the best ass in the far East for sure.” Rocky and I waltzed through the front door without a second thought. That was a mistake.

The lobby, if you want to call it that, looked unassuming enough. We heard someone ring a gong, and the madam wandered out. “You are Americans, I see,” she says. Sorry, folks, I won’t phoneticize the accent for you. “We see if you pull out like your army does.” I remember hoping that that was some butchered English.

She explained what made this little establishment so different, and it was unlike anything Rocky or I had ever heard. We were told that there we could each have up to five different women, one in every corner room of every floor. We would, she said, have a shot at all five.

Doing the deed on the first floor, she said, would cost one thousand dollars, and that’s when the two of us turned around and headed for the door.

“Wait, wait, I explain,” She said. “You have sex with girl on first floor. If you make girl come, you go second floor to sex next girl, you only but pay eight hundred. Both girls. Eight hundred.”

Two girls for eight hundred dollars? Still too high, we agreed.

She went on to explain that if we could get the second girl off, we’d go to the next floor, and they’d knock another two hundred off the tab. There were five floors in all, which meant that if we took every girl to Pleasuretown, we’d get out of the joint for nothin’. I couldn’t believe it. Neither could Rocky, who, in his considerable dealings with Saigon ‘tang, had never heard of such a thing.

“You’re saying that if I fuck this girl,” Bleier exclaimed, “And I make her come, you’ll knock two hundred dollars off the price? AND you’ll give me another dame to nail? And if we make the fifth girl come, we get our money back?”

“Is what I said. If five girls come, nothing you pay.”

“How will you be able to tell if these ladies achieve?” I was genuinely curious, but I also knew this was a technicality that had to be sorted out right away.

“What is achieve? Oh, oh, I see understanding. We can tell when our girls come. These girls, they no fake unless we say. We can tell. You can tell. No funny business here.”

No funny business. Heh. More butchered English, I thought.

At this point, Rocky and I just looked at each other. I thought I could get through the first two girls, which would leave me paying 600 for plowing through three of Singapore’s finest. Pretty good deal, I thought. I could see Rocky thinking much of the same thing.

“Well,” Rocky said, “We do have a late flight home tomorrow…”

1.

We signed up. We had to plunk down the grand up front. That was unfortunate, but necessary. They sent Rocky to the western corner of the building, and I was directed to the eastern corner. I was genuinely excited, almost giddy. As we parted ways, I gave him a quick nod and a grin, as if to say, “Race you to the top.” But Rocky was looking a little nervous, and my subtle gesture was not returned.

Keep in mind that this was about 30 or 35 years ago, and the only flaming redheads I ever saw in those days were when I went to cover the 49ers. I was of much younger stock then, a virile and genuinely healthy man. And, in my opinion, I was quite the ladies’ man, full of sexual energy that was currently being wasted in a dead-end marriage. As I walked through the first door, I was ready to put some of that energy to use. I was not afraid of what lay ahead, but I should have been.

The madam lock the door behind me when I heard the gong ring again — a bizzare substitute for a starter’s pistol, I thought. I was ordered to disrobe and wait in an empty room, and about five minutes later I was approached by the most beautiful 20-year-old girl that I’d ever seen. We’ll say she was 20 years old, anyway.

She looked a little nervous, you know, in that “Save me, I’ve just been sold into slavery” sort of way, which made her all the more appetizing, like a ten-year-old Merlot glistening in the sunlight. So it might have been ironic when I gave her a sip from the flask I had in my pants — an actual flask; that’s not a euphemism — and after that she was ready to go. All it took was five minutes of bean-flicking and she was moaning up a storm. Then she passed out. I guess the sex ed in schools over there wasn’t quite up to snuff. I would have preferred to educate her further, but then the gong rang again, and I found myself already on my way to visit another student.

2.

A light in the corner of the room flickered on, illuminating a stairway to the second floor. I crept up and saw a young woman playfully lying on the bed in the center of the room. She approached me and gave me two kisses: one on the lips and one on “Little Z.” Both of us were appreciative.

We started getting into it. I let her stick a finger in my ass, which was a pretty big deal in those days, and before I knew it, I thought I was the one getting a lesson — on how to become a Colombian drug mule. I knew I wasn’t going to earn any money like that — at least not right away, wink-wink — so I threw her on the bed and just pounded away at her. When she tried to resist, I put my hands around her throat and started choking her. I hadn’t done that since I played at Stanford. But unlike the ladies of Delta Beta Phi, this broad was loving it. And it did the job. When her screams of joy subsided and her body went limp, the only sound in the room was my heavy breathing, and then another dull roar from the gong downstairs.

3.

By now I figured I was playing with house money, and I was ready to just blast my special load of chardonnay over the face of my next contestant and walk out of there with my four hundred bucks. I walked up the steps to the third room, and in the shadows I could make out a woman lying on a black leather couch, on her back.

From the sound of it all, she had started without me, you might say. I could hear a soft battery-powered hum coming from her lap, and I was pretty sure she wasn’t shaving down there.

She was moaning, then twitching, then moaning and twitching. And then she went limp. To this day, it’s the easiest two hundred dollars I’ve ever made. I didn’t understand why it happened — my father taught me to never look a gift pussy in the mouth — but I could tell as soon as she looked at me that I wasn’t going to like whatever happened next.

“You in deep shit now, Yankee man…”

4.

When I woke up I had no idea where I was, and it took me several seconds to reassemble the pieces of the evening in my brain. The Dragon. The five floors. The third woman. The vibrator. What happened after that? Did I leave the Dragon? Where was I?

My wrists were tied to a structure behind me, it felt like an old mattress frame. I was tied upright, standing up. I tried to fall to my knees, but couldn’t. I was gagged and still very much naked, and a real sense of terror started to grow within me. I tried to tell myself that if they wanted to kill me, they would have done it by now, but it didn’t help. The throbbing pain on the back of my head took my mind off of my impending fate. But the distraction didn’t last for long.

“You think you Mister Tough Guy Yankee Man?”

The room was dark. I couldn’t see anyone. My head was tied down so I couldn’t turn my neck. I thought I heard something dragging along the floor.

CRACK!

She slashed me right across the stomach with the whip. Oh, the pain, man! It felt like my insides were splitting open. Even as I writhed in agony, I could hear the clack-clack of heels walking across the wooden floor, her whip dragging behind her. And then again.

CRACK!

They say you can’t remember pain, but I remember that shit like it was yesterday. The pain shot through my body, my limbs. Even my teeth, it hurt everywhere. I bit down on my gag and bit my tongue. I could feel the blood pooling in my mouth. I could hear her laugh. I knew she could see me hurting. But she didn’t stop.

CRACK!

My eyes were filling with tears. I was sobbing and in absolute pain. I had to get out of there. I was ready to go back home to my shit-eating wife and my sportswriting job and forget that Singapore ever happened. And that’s when I yelled through my gag the safe word that the madam had taught us in the lobby.

Peter Frampton! Peter Frampton! PETER FRAMPTON!!!!

My clothes and my six hundred dollars were waiting in the lobby. So was Rocky. He was sitting in a chair next to the door, his face buried in his hands. He looked up, and when he was sure that it was me, sat up and walked toward the door. I followed him outside, where dawn was starting to break and the birds were beginning to sing. I never asked how far Rocky made it. He never asked me. I can’t say I really wanted to know. As we made it to the street, I heard the gong ring one last time.

I bandaged myself in our hotel, in the bathroom. When I came out, Rocky was looking out the window, lost in space. His bags were on his bed, already packed. I was ready to get the hell out of there myself. I think we spent seven hours in that airport, but we didn’t speak a word to one another. I don’t think he ever discussed the Dragon with anyone. Before now, neither had I.

I’ve never been back to Singapore since, but I understand that the Dragon is out of business. Stories about the joint became stuff of legend, especially in L.A. You couldn’t spend a day in the Rams’ press box without hearing about it. But whenever it did come up, I could feel myself breaking into a cold sweat and conjure up any excuse I could to leave the room.

I never did find out what was on that fifth floor.  And you can believe me when I say this: I hope I never do.