Eat the Cake, Damn It.

I stopped by the grocery store on my way to work to buy a cake for the staff to share and a snack for myself. I dug around in all of the cakes, searching for the best one, with the best flowers and the most perfect icing, taking my time to choose as though it were my own birthday cake. I picked a pretty brown and blue and white, small, square cake with whipped frosting and marbled chocolate and white cake innards, the prettiest hand-decorated cake of them all. I hadn’t had breakfast, so I snagged a prepackaged frozen gluten-free burrito and was the asshole that pulled a single banana off the bunch to round out my ridiculous purchases.

The thing is, I can’t eat cake. But my grocery chain carries locally made, individual slices of stale, refrigerated, crumbly gluten-free cake. Separated, hidden at the very bottom of a shelf of frozen items I can’t have, next to pie crusts that haven’t been moved in so long who knows when they expired, shoved towards the break in the glass between doors so they can’t be seen, is My Cake. Everything I eat as an alternative, separate, stale, nearing expiration, often bumped around until I wind up with a box of crumbles for ten bucks instead.

But fuck it. I want a slice of motherfucking cake on Benjamin Franklin’s birthday and I can’t have the regular cake I’m going to feed to everyone else, so I’ll eat the one shitty, extremely expensive slice of cake available to me. Chocolate.

Franklin, Grant, Jackson, Hamilton, Lincoln, Washington, and occasionally making an appearance, Jefferson. The currency faces. You never paid attention to them. Celebrate something. A lighthearted joke in the club, mostly between the another dancer and I, ending in celebration of a few of the birthdays by bringing treats and declaring it to be a birthday party. It’s sort of an acknowledging my dependence on those faces, the constant stream of them through my fingers and tangled in my garter with a rubber band, and good fortune in the past year, and hopes of good fortune in the next.

Celebrating money. Why not. I work all of the other, legal and commonly recognized holidays. These faces see my pussy more often than anyone else I’ll ever know. I demanded the rest of the staff eat cake, repeatedly. I can’t have any, I can’t have it in my house if it doesn’t get eaten, and the bitches better eat cake, okay?

A club regular in his late fifties who doesn’t always do dances, joined tables with another pair of club regulars who never do, a little Asian man and a big, well-built white guy who somehow still has dark hair despite his age, to drink a case of Bud Light. The club regular eagerly came to my stage for the first time in nearly two years, last I remember, and enjoyed himself there, asking me to stop by when I left the stage. Soon, we did dances so vanilla and boring I probably could have done them in my sleep. I invited him to grab my ass and he barely bothered with more than one light pat and a cupped hand around each cheek. I stuck his hands on my tits and he might as well have been a limp noodle, hands falling to the couch right away. VIP dances, and it’s not that he’s being a gentleman, it’s that he’s simply doing nothing, maybe waiting for something, some something I’m not going to prompt or offer. Odd.

Another man, a buyer for big stores throughout the country, barely chatted long enough to give me his name. The fiftieth state he visited was North Dakota, despite being from Minneapolis and traveling incessantly. I told him I hoped my forty-ninth state visit would be to Alaska, one of two I’ve never seen. A small pause in conversation, and he asked for a few dances.

Stage set after stage set to a nearly entirely empty room, all night. Five bucks one set, three the next, some without tips at all, all of the men tied up in conversations with girls away from the stage, hustling anything they can get tonight.

I ate my banana slowly, to the amusement of coworkers as I walked from the back of the club to the front. The well-educated, sarcastic door girl expressed laughing, pretend disgust when I appeared at her window, and I greeted her with, “You never thought of how I might look doing that until just now, huh?” I let the banana hit the back of my throat before retracting for an overly dramatic, toothy bite.

I didn’t have any more dances throughout the night. There was no one to work.

With two patrons being available to watch a stage set and neither with a history of tipping any girl, I chose to play a favorite, silly set to screw around to: the Barenaked Ladies’ “If I Had $1,000,000,” and The Presidents of the US, “Peaches.” One patron laughed enough to give me five bucks. I shook my ass, looked back at him, and declared, “Only $999,995 more,” in straight-faced seriousness.

The night dragged on. And on. I waited for a former coworker to perhaps join me in celebrating the dead, broke, bored club on the birthday of the guy who’s on the highest-denomination bill in the US, but it never really worked out.

The end of the night couldn’t come any slower than it did. Five eighteen-year-olds showed up just before close, during my last set. They sat at the stage with their pink, highly visible wristbands and a Sharpie-d “M” (for “minor,” or a patron who is under 21 but over 18) on each hand declaring to the world that they are too young to drink or tip well. I didn’t bother with a nifty, bright-eyed, whole-face smile or a single pole trick. I’m getting old, kids. Your dollar ain’t worth those pole tricks anymore if it’s the only dollar I’m getting.

Eighteen-year-olds continue to look younger and younger to me. I’m getting old and crotchety and every time a gaggle of them wander in, I always feel like a totally perverse corrupter for getting naked in front of them and avoid showing them pussy most of the time. At eighteen, some of them are still in their senior year of high school. I don’t mind dancing for sixty-somethings and often enjoy it, but kids in their late teens just make me feel skeezy.

Most of the cake was eaten by the time we were all packed and ready to leave. A silly, 4’11” and mixed, beautiful traveling dancer hammed it up with a few of the others, inevitably talking about sex and butts and her weave, like she does. I think we all flew out the door in record speed, keys in hand, to windshields frosted over by a night chill.

My fourth night of work this week was a bust. Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to soar, allowing me to get outside without a winter coat. Instead of enjoying a surprise, temperate January day with a long run in the woods that have been buried by snow for a month, I’ll be sleeping and shaving, hoping tomorrow is better. Hoping, maybe, I get the cold, windy Saturday for a little time to myself instead, just to stop the same damn Nickelback songs from running through my life for one day and maybe actually see the sun.

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~ by The Stiletto-Shod One on January 18, 2013.

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