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Laptop Pimpin'

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Kristi Kannin (not her real name) says she was born to work in the sex-for-cash industry. "There's a lot worse ways to spend your days," she says, a mischievous smile on her tanned, freckled, 43-year-old face. After reading a New Times article about her former pimp ("Gingerbread Man," March 2004), the single Fort Lauderdale mom e-mailed a reporter and stated, "I worked for him from July 1999 to December 2001, made a ton of money, and had a great time."

In those days, Arthur Vanmoor was Broward's most notorious pimp -- a Mensa member, patent-happy inventor, and millionaire who was charged with racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy, and various prostitution-related charges before the system finally brought him down last year. He may be one of the last sex moguls who didn't use the Internet as his main storefront, and the resultant visibility turned out to be his downfall. The Dutch-born escort service owner virtually monopolized listings in the Yellow Pages and employed hundreds of girls during his high-life years, and Kannin gladly went along for the ride. Eager to tell all, she takes her old Toyota Corolla down to the paper's downtown office. Inside a meeting room, she breaks it down in simple terms.

"I needed money, and I needed sex," she says. "But I didn't really want a boyfriend." Escorting neatly solved both issues. "The first weekend, I made $1,500. In the first six months, I made $40,000 cash," she says. "I loved the job. In my mind, it's a business." But two and a half years was enough. "It got boring, like going to the same matinee over and over," she says, running a small hand and barn-red nails through curly, peroxided locks. Now, she says, she'd consider a return to the biz. "Age is getting to be a factor, but I still have a killer figure, I'm a lot of fun, and I'm really open-minded."

Today, she's wearing a yellow floral-print sundress, and ten more shiny red nails peek from her open-toed sandals. It's the same outfit she'd wear when she was escorting. "Two shoes and a dress was all I'd ever have," she recalls, "and I could be in and out of that stuff fast."

With her intense, pale-gray eyes, standing almost six feet tall with heels on, Kannin didn't look like a vulnerable victim when she showed up on "dates." She says she was rarely treated with disrespect. In case her height intimidated a short client, Kannin employed an easy trick to disarm those who complained she was too tall. To demonstrate, she stands up, quickly kicks off her pumps, and kneels down, nose to nose. "Then I'd go, 'Now I'm not,'" she says with a salacious, lip-licking smirk, her saline-buoyed bosom bouncing softly with laughter.

Kannin worked days, occasionally weekends, and she says she was one of the most requested women in the Vanmoor talent pool. "About a third of the calls were for sex," she explains with breathless excitement. It could be an out-of-town businessman with time on his hands or maybe a guy who'd just found out that his wife had cheated on him.

"Well, let's show her, huh?" she'd tell them. "Then you're even."

"Party calls," she says, are when several guys call a hooker just to come hang out and drink or do drugs with them. "Whatever they were doing, I'd take a taste of." Her favorite days were Sundays, especially during football season. "Blow 'n' go calls," she giggles, getting back into character. "I'd show up and go, 'Hey, what's the score?' They'd say, 'Hey, want a beer?' and then it was just..." She sticks her tongue into her cheek to pantomime fellatio. "The most relaxing day," she muses. "I rarely stayed at one house more than 20 minutes and went on to the next."

Yet nearly three years after her sex career allegedly ended, Kannin continues to complain about occupational hazards. Back at home, recovering from wrist surgery, she downs painkillers and beer while gingerly rubbing a tanned forearm encased in a medical brace. "Too many handjobs," she explains, without any indication that she's kidding. "I used to see a crack addict every week, and all he ever wanted me to do was jerk him off while he kept peeking out through his blinds."

Escorting "was never bad for me," she concludes. "I always felt safe." But she quit during Yuletide 2001 after her boss fined her for not working December 24 and 25 -- traditionally two of the busiest days of the year. Since then, she has lived off disability payments (she was injured in a car accident in November 1999) and food stamps, though she still contemplates a return to the trade. "Maybe a little part-time work," she muses. "Or weekends."

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton

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