"Tons of Fun" came to Washington two years ago seeking, like so many who come to this city, a better life. She was a workaholic, putting in six and seven days a week, and for a while her star was rising.

That was before all the other prostitutes arrived. Now, Tons of Fun says sourly, times are tough.

"It used to be you could make a bill fifty a night, and $400 to $600 on Friday and Saturday," she says. "Now a dude comes down here and gets hit over the head and he don't come back."

The sheer number of women, and the violence many of them employ, is enough to drive an honest working woman out of business, Tons of Fun claims. She has survived by working primarily at her apartment, and moonlighting at Thomas Circle.

"If I like a guy, if he pays good and doesn't give me a hassle, I give him my phone number and he calls for an appointment," she explains.

On the street,M it's pot luck. "You get to learn real fast by talking with them; some of 'em are pretty rough. You can get beat up by the trick; they'll take your money and rob you."

Tons of Fun says she tries to make a vague agreement with a man to get him back to her apartment, and then she collects $30 on the spot. "He's not gonna get that money back," she says. Anything the man then wants costs more.

"Some of them just want to talk.You can run up to $150 a night just lyin' there and talking."Those people become sugar daddies. After a while you get 'em payin' for your rent."

All the fighting on the street now is unnerving, she says. "Girls cut each other up when they rob somone because one got more than the other."Tons of Fun got stabbed in the back by another girl one night with a letter opener. "The girl never said a word." Tons of FUn suffered a collapsed lung and spent time in a hospital.

"I stabbed a guy once," TOns of Fun admitted. "Some girls robbed this guy of $35 and had him up against a car in front of the drugstore. He was drunk and he reached into a glove compartment and pulled out a toy gun. I cut him with a straight edge razor, cut him four or five times on the arm. I felt a little bad after I saw him in court and he couldn't use his arm no more."

Tons of Fun is a barrel-shaped woman, with closely-cropped chestnut hair who usually squeezes herself into a tube top and hot pants and hangs around 14th and N Streets, a block from Thomas Circle. She says she is 25, is the daughter of corporate lawyer.

"I had a disagreement with my parents, you know, like most kids, and I ran away from home when I was 17." She says she has been tricking ever since. She came here from Indiana two years ago because "there you get two to five months in jail for soliciting."

The average age of a prostitute, police say, is 20 and most girls only last for two or three years. Many come from good families and some supplement their reguar jobs with weekend work at the circle.

Tons of Fun, unlike most of the other prostitutes at the circle does not have a pimp. She says she is tough enough to handle herself, and does most of her work at her apartment anyway.

The pimps lounge around in bars just off the circle, or cruise about in their expensive cars, keeping an eye on their women.

"I was walking with this blonde girl, about 18 and beautiful, just down from Pennsylvania, when this car pulls up and her pimp jumped out," Tons of Fun recalls. "He drug her into an alley and started beating the hell out of her. I kept walking; I know better than to stick my neck in that. The next day she said he had beaten her with a coat hanger."

The girls' offense, Tons of Fun explains, was that she was talking about changing pimps.

While searching a pimp's apartment once, police found an exchange of notes between the man ("players," as the prostitutes call them) and his woman.

"The note read something like this" recalls Stg. Jack Farrell: "Remember you're working for me and you're one of my women now and you gotta be proud. I want everyone to know you're my woman. Now get out there hustle!"

The woman had answered in another note: "I know I deserved that beating last night because I wasn't working hard enough. I'm gonna go out and work my butt off now because I want to make you the best player in Washington, so all the players can look up to you."

Many of the women, Farrell says, are brainwashed by their players. "He tells the woman he's wanted for murder in California and he knows hit men and if she ever leaves him a contract will automatically go out on her. You check the guy's record in California and he hasn't got anything serious than a parking ticket.

"He also tells her that she is his main woman and that soon they're gonna retire and go live at a nice place in the country. He tells her not to tell the other girls so they won't get jealous. He has told them all the same thing. All the girls tell us they're gonna do it just a little longer, and then they're gonna get out."

Tons of Fun gives herself five more years. When she is 30, she says, she is going to retire and go into business as an interior decorator.