The window of my room looks down on the most popular town square, Leidseplein, which is filled with hoards of people engaged in multitude of activities. Rock & Roll band blaring out the sounds from their portable amplifiers, a group playing African drums, the flute players, a magician, the lone guitarist strumming in the early morning rain and an audience as attentive as it is appreciative. It feels like a multi-ring circus, a happy carnival. The grinding of the gears and the screeching of the trams somehow blend in harmoniously with the sounds of the street side shows. Wafting in through my room windows is the sad soothing sound of a violin. The lukewarm breeze carries-in with it a mild fragrance of the pink roses that Playboy Netherland’s editor designate Jan (Heemskerk) has so kindly delivered to my room to welcome me to Holland, as I eventually doze off for a while.

Dirk (de Moei), the art director designate and his live-in lady Ans pick me up at nine. We drive a few blocks to the restaurant de Warstein where Jan and his wife Gemmy join us for dinner.  Towards the tail end of the evening, we run into the bad boy of the Dutch literature, Jan Cremer of Ik Jan Cremer fame and his girlfriend Babette. Him and Babette join our table and Cremer treats  us to a couple of after dinner drinks. It is after three in the morning by the time Dirk and Ans drop me off at the hotel.

The elevator moves upward. I wonder about the girl’s sweet smile as I get off on the fourth floor. Those last two Remy Martins and the entire evening has put me into a very pleasant, if not euphemistic mood and I don’t even feel tired in the least. As I walk towards my room, the key in my hand at ready, I hear a female voice coming out of nowhere

‘Hello,’ it says.

I don’t see anybody around. The entire hallway is deserted. I look around and respond to the voice.

‘Yes!’

A smooth sentence floats in the air like a streamer, which I don’t understand a word of. It sounds very much like French, and now there is a face to the voice. It’s the girl from behind the reception. I am amazed at how she made it up to the floor so fast. She must have jumped right away into one of the two idle elevators waiting across from the receptionist. I stop briefly and turn around to took at her.

‘I thought you might like some company. ‘ I hear her say, with that certain sexy and seductive smile on her face.

I am tempted for a second. But the answer that rolls out of my mouth on its own is:  ‘Thanks lady but not tonight! I am just too tired.’ I lie.

‘Maybe tomorrow?’ She persists.

‘Maybe! I don’t know.’ To which she throws a sugary goodnight at me, turns around to go back to her post downstairs.

●●●

Even before I have had a chance to sit down, Luis (Moretti), Playboy partners Editorial Perfil’s corporate counselor hands me a piece of paper. Crudely torn from a notepad, it’s crumpled. I smooth it out on the table and read the scribbles. It says, Rosario, and underneath is what looks like a phone number.

‘What is it?’ I ask.

‘She wants you to call her.’

‘Who is Rosario?’

‘The girl on the other set of the studio where you were photographed.’

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