By Anna David

A couple hundred employees are buzzing around a busy Los Angeles entertainment company on a weekday afternoon. Some are on the phone making promises; others are issuing threats. Some are clicking through Web sites as they dose themselves with caffeine. And still others are searching in vain for the company chairman, Richard [not his real name]. “Where is he?” a VP asks Richard’s assistant, who shrugs. He’s the third person to ask in the past 10 minutes.

If they’d consulted Adam (not his real name), the head of business affairs, they would have learned that the chairman was in a stuffy, makeshift office at the end of a little-used exit hallway, enjoying the services of a tall, slender blonde hooker named Amber (not her real name). “I told him, ‘Go into that office; I have your birthday present there,'” says Adam, now employed elsewhere. “He walked in, saw this beautiful girl, and just shut the door and told her what to do.” The transaction didn’t end there. “About a month later,” says Adam, “I get a call from the [male] madam. ‘The guy you sent Amber to is really scaring her,’ he says.” Apparently the chairman had left Amber a series of desperate messages. Adam wound up having to sit down with his boss “and tell him to stop stalking the hooker I gave him for his birthday. Now, that was an awkward conversation,” he says.

Procuring for your superiors is one way to get ahead in Hollywood, where call girls are as common as sequels and hooking up with a professional is a rite of passage for studio titans in the making. But the business has evolved since Heidi Fleiss held court with her little black book. “It’s like there was a union and now it’s been dispersed,” says the former assistant to a longtime prostitute patron, noting that the Fleiss fracas motivated her higher-profile clientele to seek out smaller-time madams. As a result, finding a happy Hollywood hooker in 2004 is easier than ever — provided you have the right connections.

At a time when technological advances allow icons of entertainment to roll calls from the Four Seasons in Maui and punch BlackBerries from the ski lifts in Aspen, it seems fitting that even the hookers have gone digital. Potential clients need only glance at The Erotic Review, a Web site bookmarked by many Hollywood men, where specific “escorts” are reviewed by customers. A girl’s looks can rate from 10 (“one in a million”) to 1 (“I was really scared”). Though industry neophytes may start out on LA Exotics or City Vibe, both directories of adult-entertainment services, a more experienced player might turn his assistant on to one of the company-run sites like Platinum Connections, Adult Star Fantasy of Las Vegas, or Exotica-2000. Exotica is one of the best regarded of the lot, with fees to match (the girls’ hourly rates run between $1,500 and $2,000; to gain access to what’s called Club Exotica, you must submit a $5,000 application fee). Online brothels have allowed independent mini-madams to attract marquee names, many of whom are grateful for the online anonymity. “Now you have these guys calling up and saying ‘Hey, it’s Dave,’ when really it’s a well-known actor,” says a former site operator.