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In a war zone, this soldier found his calling, as a phone sex operator

elliot_pic.jpg
Courtesy of Elliot Cossum
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Elliot Cossum relaxes in his "office."

 

This story originally aired on March 10, 2018.  

Elliot Cossum struggles, like many of us, with work-life balance. The difference is he works in an unusual profession.

 

It started for Cossum in Iraq, in one of Saddam Hussein’s captured palaces, where Cossum was serving in the U.S. Army. His job was to man the phone lines there (including the line that reached directly to the Oval Office). He would frequently hear explosions and artillery blasts outside, and once in a while the palace itself would come under attack.

 

It was in that environment where Cossum found his calling -- and it wasn’t on the battlefield. Rather, the revelation came when he was killing time late one night, chatting online with a woman. She told him she was bored, and suggested he call her.

 

“So I call her, and like the first thing out of her mouth is, ‘I want to have phone sex.’ And I had never done anything like that with anyone before, so I was nervous about it. I was also in this long stretch of hallway where anyone could poke their head out the door and see me any time. So I just leaned back, and looked both ways, and I go, ‘Sure, you could do that if you want,’” Cossum says.

 

He didn’t know it at the time, but that experience would pave the way for Cossum’s new line of work once he returned to the States: He became a phone sex operator. And if that sounds like a departure from the life of a soldier, there’s one more thing you ought to know: Cossum would offer phone sex in the voice and persona of a woman.

 

“I was thinking to myself, you know, this is never going to work in a million years,” Cossum says. “I tried it out, and sure enough, no one questioned it.”

 

Cossum sat down with Sound Effect host Gabriel Spitzer to describe his winding path, the seductress character he has invented and how she has changed him in real life.

 

Special thanks to Fresh Ground Stories.

Gabriel Spitzer is the Host and Senior Producer of Sound Effect, KNKX's "weekly tour of ideas inspired by the place we live." Gabriel was previously KNKX's Science and Health Reporter. He joined KNKX after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.