I Almost Killed Her Twice (by Accident)

Thursday, I had the most gentle guy in VIP, who allowed me to dance for him without demanding much of an interactive experience, and I grabbed the edges of the walls around the booth to steady myself and shake my hips. I straightened my right arm and SNAP. I jerked my arm forward and spent the rest of our dance cradling my arm and trying to shake my ass the best I could, while also trying not to throw up or pass out from pain. Though drunk, I think he knew the quality of the dance had just drastically decreased to almost zilch, and ended our dances a few minutes later. I didn’t say anything, and held the bouncer’s end of the bar while being paid. I tried to focus on my immediate priorities: standing upright and saying “thank you” like I meant it. I did mean it. He was pleasant to dance for, until I thought I just had a career-devastating injury of tearing up my rotator cuff, which was entirely my fault.

Old Bouncer let me sit and asked if there was anything he could do, as I just kept saying, “I’m gonna puke or pass out. I’m gonna puke or pass out. I fucked my shoulder. I’m gonna puke or pass out.” It wasn’t so much pain as it was the punch-in-the-gut feeling of nerves being pinched or smacked or something. Later, I found out I’d dislocated my shoulder, and by jerking it back, I’d “relocated it” myself. I wasn’t feeling great, I knew I had to go home, and when I was about 50% sure I wasn’t going to spew dinner chunks on the customers or fall on them, I had the bouncer walk me to the dressing room to get dressed. I took off, went home, iced the stupid thing, and took the weekend off just to be safe.

Yesterday was like a writer’s dream at every corner. Everyone was being so…interesting. What a dull word, “interesting,” considering its meaning. How about, revision: Yesterday was “a magnet for storytelling material?” That’ll do. Onward.

I ran in dense fog through the countryside, totally delighted to watch an old wooden windmill just barely visible in a field and see where this gravel road led to that I’ve always bypassed. An adventure. What’s the terrain like? How deep is the mud? Where does the road connect? There’s a cute wooden bridge! I saw some sort of Arab-cross horse with a hacked-off tail that much resembled a pig’s curl. It was like quaint America out there. I loved it. I played in the sand-mud on the road, waved to the few passersby in their diesel trucks, who I must have utterly confused, seeming to come from nowhere and be headed to nowhere, slowly, on only two feet, iPhone strapped to my arm.

I took a lightning-fast bath/shave, grabbed the dinner the Ex-I’m-Fucking made for me to take to work over the weekend, rushed out the door. The same fog had thickened, and it took me a bit to get through the high fog on the hills. Rushed into work, managing to be barely on time, threw on a g-string and my least-broken pair of stilettos. I still haven’t had the time to drive 45 minutes to get new shoes, when the store is “likely” to be open.

The local stripper goods store is a sign-less store in a half-deserted strip mall, open when the owner is, well, there. But often the door is locked even when she is there, so giving the door a knock is always a good idea. The blinds are closed and there’s nothing to indicate that it’s a store at all. They’re open when they’re open. What’s there is what is available, good luck. Cash and haggling are considered expected, and the price tags are meaningless suggestions. I haven’t been by, because I haven’t had enough time to just hope the shop is open, and I’ve barely had enough cash to feel secure lately. Anyway, another day for shoe shopping. For now, still on broken stilettos.

Straightened my hair, met up with the Indian Man, and the night commenced. Ready, set, go, two-for-ones night. I hit the stage, full force, looking to feel out the glances of a reputed Pole Instructor I’d never met from a neighboring state who was working. I’m great at the tricks I do on our excessively shitty, worn poles. Proud of it. But I was curious to see what this girl would break out of her stash of tricks. I ended up being totally impressed and enjoying her performances, even though they were a little theatrical for the club.

Popped upstairs to have a rare drink with an owner of the club, and listened to him whine about wondering whether he could find twelve Extra Naughty girls for a local, annual men’s cookout. I’d have volunteered, happily, to make the kind of cash being thrown around at these kind of events, but I’m not the kind of Extra Naughty they’re talking about. I kept my mouth shut, drank my shot of Captain and my Sprite and headed downstairs. I ran into Maryland Man in my first set and swung by his table to promise him dances just as soon as I — oops — applied makeup.

We headed back for dances, and I noticed he was, um, sweating something fierce. Dripping in sweat. His whole face, covered in it, his clothes, damp. Ugh. I danced for him, trying not to let his sticky mouth or sweat touch me. A sweet guy, Maryland Man, who pops into town on business regularly and always has a few hundred bucks for me. Tonight, I danced and wondered what kind of tip he’d leave for the baby-wipe bath I’d have to take when it was all over. In the end, I made a few extra twenties. Good enough.

I headed up front after a few more stage sets to screw around talking to the door girl. Things were beginning to die off and I wanted a break. A young kid comes up and starts talking about how Midwesterners are all very fake people, that there’s no way everyone actually is “that nice.” A man had walked the New Yorker to his destination when he was lost earlier and applying for jobs, and the door girl and I were reasonably courteous (and, uh, it’s our jobs). We assured him that, in the Midwest, unless you say your pleases and thank yous and hold the door open for the person behind you, you’re seen as a self-involved asshole. It’s not “fakeness,” it’s being respectful of the people around you — something New Yorkers seem to seriously lack in, in my experience.

Sure, there are fake Midwesterners and disrespectful Midwesterners, and polite and helpful New Yorkers, but more often than not, the trends stand. Switching topics, I mentioned that I love books and love to read. He busted out with a disbelieving, “You read?” and a hurried, “I’m joking.”

Instantly, we became enemies. Don’t insult me. I wear stilettos sharp enough to kabob a testicle.

He says, “You should read A Short History of Nearly Everything!

“I’ve read it. I own it. My house is like a goddamn library. Books everywhere. It’s a real problem.” Slam dunk, whole truth.

“Nuh-uh.” His vocabulary is quickly dwindling. I love backing men into corners like this.

“Bill Bryson. One of my favorite authors — also, a Midwesterner. Fantastic writing style, very storyteller-like. You should read his book, A Walk in the Woods.”

The New Yorker walks away from the conversation, and later, I took the opportunity to slam my copy of A Walk in the Woods down on his table. It was in my purse, in-case-of-boredom. And, apparently, to shut up a pretentious “Big City” medical student looking for residency. Sometimes, your stripper actually knows some shit, pal. Best you learn, now, son.

Thunderstorms crashed outside, and I didn’t notice — thunderstorms in January, what the fuck? — until lightning caught my eye from the tinted, tiny window near the DJ. Not a bad thing to be trapped inside; I’m afraid of thunderstorms and panic a little about all the noise and chaos. While this was going on, two girls took Pole Instructor’s car to the bar without her permission, driving recklessly wasted-drunk. One was fired for car theft, and the other allowed to stay because she was the passenger, despite her role and urging the first girl on.

At least they were too busy stealing a car to make any money, and my night moved along nicely. A few dances here and there, a pile of dances from Gold Necklace Man — who was also dripping and soaked through with sweat. What the fuck. What is with all the sweat?! He’d wipe the sweat from his face and try to touch me, and I’d dodge, and we played this cat-and-mouse game for awhile, until I was making enough that a second baby-wipe bath wouldn’t kill me to tolerate. Fine. Fucking fine. I fucking hate you, Gold Necklace Man. He paid for dances, and I had a little more downtime until the next stage set.

I grabbed my food, and asked OL* if she wanted half. She was drunk, hungry, she’s wild with the wildest hair, and for some reason, I feel the need to love and protect this tiny Colombian girl, mostly from her careless self. She licked the fork to taste the sauce, enjoyed it, and asked what was in it. “Lemongrass, coconut, and peanu–”

“I’M ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS.”

She spends the next song washing her mouth out with Head Bouncer’s water, rinsing and spitting up a storm, only feet from her customer she was ready to dance with in VIP. I apologized to him, and told him I’d totally forgotten. After all this, she was fine, danced up her little storm of dances, and I ate half my dinner after my second baby-wipe bath. I left the other half lying around the dressing room, in search of more of my own dances. I get back to the dressing room, and there she is, chowing down on the same food I almost just killed her with, earlier, washing it down with her umpteenth Heineken. I snatched the bowl away, telling her what she’d just done. She runs for the trash, spits the rest out.

Great. Now I’ve almost killed her TWICE. The second time was her fault, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit responsible regardless. She stood in the dancers’ private bathroom, puking for what seemed like forever, from some ill combination of too much booze and peanuts. I finally left her alone, let Head Bouncer know I’d almost killed her again, and she reappeared, smiling and wobbly, tongue maybe a little swollen, to work the room again. That’s OL*, for you. Carefree and somehow, lovable down to her pint-sized core.

I ran into Cuddlebug, and we talked and talked. I hit the stage, to a nearly empty room, dancing mostly for him. We hit the private dance room afterward, and after a few songs of quiet, awkward talking, I just shut up and cuddled him, side-by-side, like we do. Songs passed, we both forgot the time, and I was thankful that he wasn’t sweaty, too.

The night ended fifteen minutes early, a rare treat for a group of tired girls, and we headed out to find that it was a balmy sixty degrees and the fog had settled to the ground. I drove home with the windows down, radio blaring, enjoying the warmth predicted to evaporate the next day. I let the dogs in the yard for a few minutes, calling them back to the light when they ran too far, and let the damp and humid post-storm air hit my bare arms.

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~ by The Stiletto-Shod One on January 30, 2013.

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