Evans presents his true-life account of purchasing and operating a brothel in Panama.
Three high school buddies are grown up—in age, at least—and arriving at a midlife crisis. Angus, Jack and Evans—who wrote and narrates this biased account of real events—have been socially satisfied in youth, but they’ve grown depressed by the diminishing returns of California’s singles scene. Their advancing age doesn’t help, though the Viagra does. At their weekly sushi get-together, the trio plots a more reliable libidinous retreat—a trip to a Central American brothel where the women reciprocate for a price that doesn’t include rejection. Satisfied with the experience, the friends then jump at the chance to buy a brothel of their own in Panama, which Evans unconvincingly explains as a business opportunity rather than a wet dream. With little hesitation, the three friends become state-sanctioned pimps. Evans then ably answers the second question asked about a brothel (after “How much?”): How does it work? A few indulgences aside, he perceives prostitution strictly as a business, and runs it as such. Women selling themselves, which Evans perfunctorily argues is their right, is a resource for a successful business, akin to liquor licenses and Excel spreadsheets. Although Evans refuses to sleep with the prostitutes he employs because it would be bad for business, he claims that he could have bedded all 20 of them, perhaps at the same time. Despite his business savvy, Evans’ partnership with Angus and Jack slowly, then quickly, deteriorates. Rampant government corruption in Panama makes matters worse, as do obvious carnal distractions, until the ordeal climaxes in an unsexy mess of lawyers and politicians angling for bribes. After Angus and Jack abandon Evans by reneging on their ownership responsibilities, avarice and duplicity so easily replace their camaraderie that it brings the strength of the original friendship into question. Feeling especially victimized toward the end of the ordeal, Evans imagines Angus’ credo against him: “I want you to know that I disrespect you in a contemptuous manner!” The tension and resolution fall flaccid with stilted dialogue amid Evans’ overcompensation for a lack of literary charm.
Better suited as a story told over beers.