Let me know when you’re ready for a lap dance, player.
I’ve managed to meet a few exotic dancers over the course of my life, but she holds a special place. For some reason, I always get to thinking about her around Thanksgiving. I don’t know why. Maybe because I was grateful to have known her.
She was a piece of work alright. Men had no idea what they were in for. But I did. That’s what made it so wonderful to witness. I’d watch some drooling letch walk arm and arm with her to the lap dance booth. Or in the case of many Japanese business men, getting dragged into the booth by her. Regardless of how they got there, they were all thinking the same thing. “What an aggressive and nasty little slut! What kind of a dirty whore has my good fortune chanced upon me here? This omnivorous sexual creature, lacking inhibition and moral restraint. This perfect woman. At least for the lap dance booth.”
It was that or some variable of the same meme. I could see it in their faces. Their wild eyes. Spinning Japanese eyeballs behind coke bottle glasses. They were so excited. Why shouldn’t they be? This girl seems like someone who will let you get away with a lot. They sensed a total disregard for boundaries. A Devil’s playground for their wildest desires.
They were in for a surprise. A boundary was about to punch them in the eye. Knee them in the groin.
I was a manager at an L.A. strip club manager. Stressed out. Trying to stay sober. Depressed. Nervous about a big court date. No money. Shitty car. No girlfriends. And no, not doing any of the strippers. Like I said, I was depressed, and maybe still mourning the loss of my drunkenhood. I certainly wasn’t digging having to deal with things in a responsible and healthy manner. My recently instilled moral compass had me baffled. Navigating around the world with all kinds of restrictions and parameters was definitely harder. No wonder I never wanted to do it.
It sucks ass.
It also seemed like every time I did do the “right” thing, something bad happened. I was in deeper legal shit, then I had ever been in while drunk. That didn’t seem like a very happy reward for giving up the thing I loved most. Seemed like a total gyp, actually. I was really getting the feeling that maybe it wasn’t worth all the effort, this new sober life.
Things kept coming at me, on an endless conveyer belt of bullshit. Served continually, with no breaks. With no beer to take the Nestea Plunge into. No refreshing refreshments. No oblivion to crawl into and hide. Instead, it was Reality 24/7, hammering and hammering on me. Beating it out of me. With no bell to end the round and take a stool.
My job didn’t help. I was one of three managers at an ancient, bio-hazardous waste dump of a strip club. I had to police over fifty different damaged bundles of dysfunction that we featured as entertainment. Besides them, I had an owner to deal with. He was a total money-crazed lunatic, who drank a lot and was prone to stroke-tempting rages. Then I had a bunch of semi-retired gang bangers and ex-cons working as cashiers and doormen, a couple of odd-ball, tin-foil hat conspiracy nuts working as DJs, some strippers doubling as waitresses, and a few perpetually pissed-off bartenders, each with their own hornet’s nest of issues.
Then there was the clientele.
It would’ve made anybody want to drink. It sure made me ready for a beer or seventeen after my shift. Instead, I’d stop for a Cobb salad at Ralph’s and listen to the AM broadcast of Art Bell’s Coast to Coast on the late night drive back to Redondo Beach. Coast to Coast is not tin foil, by the way. Lizard people do exist, and many are in positions of great power.
Anyway, the barrage of bullshit was slowing eroding my resolve not to drink. Also, the possibility of having to do time was hanging over my head, and that didn’t do much to slake my thirst.
So it’s never with great fondness that I recall those days surrounded by g-strings, glitter and thongs. Go figure. No, that’s a time in my life I tend to fast forward through when doing the Total Recall thing. It was generally a gloomy two years. I had to work at finding any silver lining. The fact I could find some from such an unlikely source is note-worthy. Lynx, the bad-ass, speed-freak stripper. Oh shit. There’s a song. I call copyright.
Anyway, she was this manager’s personal pet. Out of the fifty or so girls we had working, she was my Number One. My sunshine. My only sunshine.
An attractive-enough little brunette, she wore her hair ratted up in a pony tail, like Pebbles… or Gene Simmons. Had a pretty nice chassis. Firm fanny. Perky little peepers. Sometimes she wore too much eye make-up and had a tendency to over-accessorize, but so did Gene Simmons.
I liked her because she could always crack me up. I also found out that like me, she was trying to stay sober. A fellow traveler on the Trudge Turnpike.
Not many of the other girls were trying to stay sober. Like none other. Not that every single one had a problem. Just that of the many who did, no others were trying to do anything about it, but get money for more. And while most of the other girls were criminally scandalous in their attempts to rip-off the house, Lynx was always square. That’s the other thing I liked about her.
She showed me the respect of not making my job any harder. She was still running game on a lot of the chump customers at the club, but she always rendered unto Caesar. I appreciated that. I never had to watch her. Unless I wanted to. Just for laughs.
I have to stop and make this clear. Although she was attractive, I wasn’t necessarily attracted. One of those strange things. Like she was my younger sister in some other life. I never had any pervy feelings for her. Seriously. I just got a kick out of her. She had a loud laugh that made me laugh. She was also a trip to watch. She had the wanton whore thing down.
She’d be clomping around onstage in her black boots. Not really dancing, but pacing back and forth like a caged dominatrix. Step, step, turn. Gyrate. She’d have this look in her eyes like she was searching for someone to rape. Raw animal lust, pausing only to choose who to violate next. So many eligible and willing victims. Step, step, step, turn. You? Gyrate. Gyrate.
Ooh, pick me! Pick me!
Poor suckers. She didn’t have trouble snagging customers willing to pay for a private lap dance with her. Guys were very eager to spend some quality time with her, to share some precious moments, inside one of our semi-private, shower-curtained, ripped couch, “what’s all this tissue on the floor?” suites.
After all, the mark had pretty good reason to believe he had pulled a live-wire. He’s picked someone who would make his twenty-seven dollar, three-minute dance, worth every penny. Those dirty fuckers all thought she’d be a pushover for some verboten grinding and rubbing.
I should probably explain how the lap dance thing worked, at least at this club. Girls would dance on stage for tips, but if a guy really liked a girl, he could pay to take her into a booth and let her bump and grind on him. He was supposed to keep his hands at his sides and never touch the dancer. Well, at this club, all this took place in a dark booth, behind a plastic curtain. I had floor men who would peek in to make sure everybody was playing by the rules, but strippers are a sneaky breed of greed. If they can get away with earning a little extra, by allowing a little extra, most do.
Well, it turned out, Lynx was not that kind of girl. She policed her privates to the legal letter of the law. And she enforced that law with her bony little fists and pointy boots–much to the customer’s chagrin, and my utter delight. I remember watching her take this excited, chubby business man into a booth. He was leering. His sweat glands were salivating. Oh man. He’s going to go for it. Gonna make a grab for the gold.
I listened to the song start. Sure enough. After a couple of bars of music, I hear a commotion, and out from behind the shower curtain, Rolly Polly rolls out. He’s sprawled on the floor, holding his eye. She comes out of the booth putting some money in her purse, kicks the sorry lump, then steps over him on her way back to the dressing room.
“He touched my tits,” she told me. I nodded.
The guy came to me complaining, but I didn’t want to hear any of it. “You don’t touch her tits, dude. She’s like a sister in a past life to me, you sick fuck, you filthy degenerate? What kind of place do you think I’m running here?” I had Danny throw him out. No refund.
Turns out that guy was with a bunch of other guys. They got pissed I was throwing out their buddy. So I threw them out too. They tried to make a stink, but found themselves surrounded by a bunch of guys right off the post office wall. Yeah, that’s right. No refund, you fucking fucks.
That’s what not drinking did to me. Strung me way too tight. Especially that first try. I had no clue what it took to successfully not drink. Being an asshole is not part of the program. Maybe embracing your inner-asshole, and making friends with him. Accepting the fact that you’re an asshole, and then invoking some sort of supernatural force to run interference. To mitigate it. That’s part of my program now. I’m mitigating.
Back then I was unmitigated. I was the 100 percent, un-cut, pure shit. It didn’t make life any easier.
Lynx was struggling too. She had all kinds of Life problems. Lots of wreckage. Legal troubles. Painful relationships. Health concerns. The whole recovery bouquet. So she was trying to deal with all that and stay clean…while working as a stripper in a dirty L.A. club. She had a lot on her plate.
I did my best to help. I’d go to bat for her with the general manager for schedule changes, let her leave when she needed to, take her side in the cat fights, cut her slack for fuck-ups, and basically, tried to look out for her. She repaid me with her goofy laugh and crazy stories.
One afternoon, during a dragging day shift, I was bullshitting with one of the bartenders. I had just said, “And that’s when she broke out the turkey baster,” when Lynx walked by. “Turkey baster!” she shouts, “Were you into those too?”
Here’s the thing. A long time ago, in some story I wrote, I wanted to imply that something kinky was about to transpire, so I wrote “And that’s when she broke out the turkey baster.” I always liked that line. A nice blend of strange and nasty. I reused it a lot. It became kind of a standard device of mine. It really makes a great last line to just about any story.
Anyway, when I came up with it, I didn’t have anything particular in mind. I just thought the nastiness was inherent, but in an amorphous way. Turkey Baster Time? Hmm. Something weird is about to happen.
So that was it, and I was actually using it that way while talking to the bartender, when Lynx overheard me. Now she was all excited, asking me about using a turkey baster, and I don’t even know what she meant…what that would actually entail.
“Uh, I don’t…know…what that’s all about…even though…I was talking about it.”
“Oh fuck, that was my favorite way to do speed!”
What’s this? I had to think about it, but I got it. Wow. That’s pretty crazy. So crazy, my own imagination couldn’t have come up with it. That’s pretty crazy. Disconcerting, actually.
“Oh yeah, that way…the turkey baster, ha-ha! Yeah…sure.”
“I used to have different colored ones. Even had a rack of six different ones mounted by the wall of my bed.”
Okay. That was too much. My mind was officially blown. What-the-mother–? Is she pulling my leg?
“You’re fucking with me.”
“No Marius, I had them in this thing, like a spice rack, my boyfriend made and mounted for me.”
She was serious. Turkey basters. For taking speed. Via culus. Different-colored. Collect-them-all, but keep your best six in a happy rainbow by the bed, in a rack, that your boyfriend made as a handyman shop project.
Wrap your mind around that.
To think I was proud of myself for coming up with a turkey baster being used in some generally implied kinkiness. Real life had out-weirded me. Had run circles around me as a writer. As an artist. It was humbling.
Even if I could make something like that up, I would never use it. It’s not very believable. The reader isn’t going to buy it. Maybe the shooting drugs in your butt part, but not the spice rack with different colored basters part. That part, is just too.
And yet, there it was. True fact. Stranger than fiction.
I love it.
Lynx was always good for stuff like that. She was full of surprises.
Anyway, it was only a matter of time before my white knuckles lost their grip, and I was drinking again. All the stress finally made me snap. As it started to look more and more like I was going to go to prison for a few years, I caved. I was scared, and didn’t want to think about it. So I told myself I could get sober again while inside and started bolting them down.
Then my lawyer beat the rap. Oops. Ha-ha. Jumped the gun there. Maybe I should have waited a little longer. Oh well. Now it was too late. The genie was out of the proverbial. I had unleashed The Beast. Nine months of absolute destruction. Stepped into the elevator and pushed B. One more time. But this time for good.
I was very quickly out of a job, and then an apartment, then a mind. Made quick work of all of them. Who needs that shit anyway?
I drank myself helpless, and wound up in rehab for the second time. This time in North Hollywood. A place, appropriately called Cri-Help. Or as we lovingly called it, “Cry Help, Bitch! ” After detox, I was transferred to residential. One day I went to the office where they handed out mail. There she was. As a patient, but working in the mail room, Lynx. I guess she couldn’t stay straight either.
I started towards her, wanting to give her a hug, but she stood back and shook her head. I had forgot. The place was strictly non-contact. As members of the opposite sex, we were not only not allowed to touch, but to talk, or to even make eye-contact. This place was pretty uptight about it, too. You’d get written up for even acknowledging a chick in the dinner line. Of course, everyone broke the rules when they could, but there was a counselor right there in the room.
“Uh, I’m here to see if I got any mail.”
“What’s your name?”
It was strange. It felt bad. Not being able to talk to a friend. Not being able to ask what was going on with them. How they wound up in rehab.
“There’s nothing here for you.”
We stood there looking at each other.
“Okay, I guess I’ll check back some other time.”
“Yeah, try again later,” she said, looking over at the counselor.
One day we did manage to talk. She had come over with another woman to the picnic bench me and some other dude were sitting at. They sat at the other end of the table, facing each other. A counselor was talking to someone at the next table, so we used our friends to beard the conversation. It was absurd.
“Last I heard, you were going to prison,” she said to the woman across from her.
“I beat it,” I told the guy across from me. “But I went out anyway.”
“No shit,” she said, poking the woman.
We laughed at our respective conversation partners. There was that laugh, loud enough to bring unwanted attention from The Man.
“And you, dude?” I asked, “Did you go back to the turkey baster?”
“What?” My guys asks.
“Not you. Her.”
“That’s one way to keep off meth.”
“Did you ever wind up dating, Emma?” she asked her friend.
“Dating is hard to define,” I told my buddy.
“Yeah. I know,” she said to the woman, “You’re a whore.”
We sat there for a while, but it was awkward trying to catch up while pretending to be talking to two other people. Looking at some dude and asking him if he still plans on stripping when he gets out.
It became really difficult when the two other people started to talk to each other at us.
“Do you think they ever fucked?” the guy asked me.
“I can’t figure it out,” her friend told her.
We finally decided to wrap it up.
“Well, I’m glad you’re here,” she said, getting up from the table.
“Me too, bro. It’s good to see you.”
That was it. That was the last time we talked. I’d run into her around the rehab and we’d do the slight nod to each other, then I stopped seeing her. I’m pretty sure she got released before me, because one day she was gone. I never saw her again.
Too bad. She was a cool chick. I wish we could have stayed in touch.
So I guess I’m hoping this entry is like a note in a bottle that I’ve thrown on the seas of the internet. I’m hoping that she’s alive and well, and will somehow, some day, stumble upon this while surfing. Even though I changed her stage name, she’ll know it’s her. After all, how many women have had a mounted rack of multicolored turkey basters by their bed?
If you are reading this, I want to thank you for being a good friend during a hard time, and for entertaining me, and always keeping things interesting. I really owe you for that. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.
And that’s when she broke out the turkey baster.