Foreshadowing and PHILLIP and Fake Books

I had a foreshadowy feeling about the night, but I have those every night, and some of them turn out with more cash than I know what to do with, so as usual, I ignored it. I hopped in the bath twenty minutes late and rid half of my body of hair in a cloud of soap, flying razor blades, and caffeine under a cloud of steam. Fine, fuck, Bank Account, I’ll go to work. Fine.

I made myself a pretty little dinner of saffron-ginger cream chicken topped with a miniature roasted sweet pepper over raw kale, a tomato, and rosemary asparagus with peppered red onion. Not only was I excited to eat it, but I was excited to have actual nutrition enter my body at work with zero risk of getting glutened in the meantime.

We’re in the midst of a cold snap in a place that already has some rough, snowy winters, where the windchill is dipping down towards negative twenty — it’s not exactly “shinin’ yer good boots for a night in the big city” weather, to say the least. It seems I had a lapse in common sense in deciding to leave my house at all, but when I made it to the club and saw that only one other girl lacked the same common sense, I considered not working at all.

One more girl showed up, a pill-popper everyone calls “Bed Bug.” A fourth showed up just after we opened, and I agreed to stay. The clock ticked and ticked and…no customers came through the doors. Twenty minutes, thirty minutes, an hour passed, and even our usual group of pussy-hungry or time-crunched men didn’t show. I drew a line in the sand, verbally, while talking to the other two girls, saying if we didn’t have a customer an hour and a half after opening, I was leaving.

Sure as shit, three minutes to my line in the sand, we get a customer: a guy in his late fifties, a club regular who never tips and always watches, never does dances. I could still have left without any fines or fees, because I hadn’t been on stage yet, but I chose to stay and ride out the night. If nothing else, I’d shaved and bathed and flat-ironed my mop of hair and spent a total of two hours getting ready for work, already, and dammit, I might as well see where it went.

And so I sat. And sat. And sat and read by the light of the saltwater fish tank. A girl approached me.

As she’s grabbing the front end of the book to squint at the cover, she says, “Whatcha reading?” Fine. Interrupt me, wench, and grab my book. I turned my hand so she could see the cover of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods a little better.

“Well, obviously, it’s a book about a walk in the woods, but what’s it about?” I shoved the book a little closer to her, wordlessly, so she could see the subtitle: “Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.” Don’t ask me stupid questions.

Patting my hair, she says, “You like to read books that are real, huh?”

I’ve never seen a fake book before, unless you count the kind meant as low-tech safes to be stashed among other books and hollowed out to make room for whiskey or valuables, so I answered with a modest, “Yuuuuup.” It’s true: I also like non-fiction, in addition to real books. She walked away, leaving me to read, and I was grateful that she’d been bored with me.

I managed to hustle a quick pair of dances out of a traveling businessman from San Francisco, to which my bouncer later noted that I seem to have great luck with men who were raised in/near India. True, I do, but we have an unusually large proportion of Indian men who seem to visit the club based on the local demographics, and I’ve always chalked it up to that. Apparently, he’s noticed that it seems to be a honey-and-fly combo with me, though, and I offered him the explanation that perhaps it’s because I actually make the effort to talk to these men. There’s more to it than that, but I’m fucking tired and ready to summarize.

The same Indian man danced with another girl in VIP and walked out to my ass, because my front was draped over the bouncers’ booth while I chatted. I played around at asking whether we’d do more dances, teased him about blowing all of his money in my city on “business,” and he bought all of my sarcasm. We headed back and did two VIPs. I’d made roughly eighty bucks five hours after we opened, more than halfway through my shift.

The night grew drearier as groups of young kids came in. A birthday boy busted for drinking underage (legal to be in strip clubs at 18), a whole litter of pups at the pool tables, several gawkers sitting a few feet from the stage with apparently empty wallets. A group of young women came in, and I tried my best to grin and bear it on stage, busting out some tricks for their amusement. To my surprise, they tipped me, and tipped decently.

One creeper, an older guy in suspenders with a wild and frizzy white beard and a shirt embroidered with “PHILLIP,” hung around me at length, trying his best to grab my feet at every opportunity while simultaneously not tipping a single girl, all night long, thinking it went unnoticed. He tried to grab them while they were draped across the backs of chairs or the tops of tables as I sat with others, as they were draped across the bar, tried to just touch me in any way he could. He sat at each of my stage sets, next to other men he didn’t know, despite there being many open seats on a dead night, just hoping to catch a glimpse of pussy that other men had tipped me for.

Another creeper, a young, wasted Latino kid, tried to inject himself twice into a conversation I was having with a pair of Latino men. I asked whether they were friends with this kid, because it seemed out of sorts but possible that they knew him, and they shook their heads that they didn’t know him. He tried to high-five me over something he’d slurred/muttered, and I refused. No. N-O. Nope. Fuck off, little bitch, and come back when you learn to drink.

Pro tip: if the club looks pretty empty, it’s not a good day to interrupt, harass, or follow dancers around trying to touch them unless you utter the exact phrase, “I would like to get a dance from you.”

And so the night went. We closed twenty minutes early, because we had no remaining customers left to hustle after our last call for dances.

I made about $150. Again. And then I spent a third of it on food, again.

I’m staring down the barrel of another four- or five-day work week, still standing on broken stilettos.

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~ by The Stiletto-Shod One on January 21, 2013.

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