Over my 13 year career in television news, I've reported a couple thousand stories in six different metropolitan areas reaching from Lake Michigan to the Pacific coast.
I've interviewed more people than an average person probably meets in a lifetime.
When I kick back and retire one day, I'll probably have forgotten about most of them.
But I will never forget my interview with a woman who wanted to be called "B."
"B" is a prostitute... an escort... a hooker. Pick the term that works best for you. She prefers the title of "companion."
I met "B" through a good and trustworthy friend who has reason to know people who operate on the fringes of society. When I wanted to make contact a veteran of the St. Louis escort scene, my friend knew where to point me.
He made contact with "B," gave her my cel phone number and told her I was good people.
My phone rang back within an hour.
After an initial phone conversation that lasted about 30 minutes, "B" agreed to an on-camera interview... if we concealed her face and altered her voice. I told her to call me back the next day as I needed my managers to sign-off on that kind of request.
My bosses decided hearing from a veteran prostitute was worth it. She called right on time the next day. We would met her Saturday morning at 10.
Here are some of the more interesting snippets of our hour-long conversation.
On the $5,500 an hour rates paid to escorts in the Eliot Spitzer case:
"Usually, that's the going rate for a weekend, for most escorts. $5,500 for a weekend is a deal. You know, it's something you may give a regular client."
What do you get for $5,500 that you don't get for $500?
"Nothing, no different."
What's the average for a high-end prostitute working in St. Louis?
"Top end here in St. Louis is about $500 an hour. The average here in St. Louis is around $200 for the hour."
What's the most you've heard of someone in St. Louis getting for an hour?
Was this woman spectacular in any way?
"I sure hope so."
Have you ever had an instance where a guy thinks it's more than just a show?
"Well, sure, That's when you know you're really doing your job."