I stopped into the strip club out near the race track early on a Friday night. They had just opened so there wasn’t a whole lot of action going on. Strippers sitting in little clumps here and there. I sat down at the bar and ordered a Budweiser. This is de rigueur for me at strip clubs because its an easy drink to order, it’s cheap, and doesn’t call a lot of attention. Usually a good way to change a twenty and get a lot of singles for the strippers. Strippers love singles.
“What’ll be Bud?”
“I’ll have a Budweiser, please.”
“This Bud’s for you.”
She opened one of the glass paneled doors covering the refrigerated room back of the bar and retrieved a bottle of beer and set it down before me.
“Just a minute,” she said when I tried to pay her.
They were still opening the joint and she and another barmaid were hovering over the cash register counting money and signing in. It was OK with me. I was in no hurry.
I was sitting there on my bar stool swigging my beer and swiveling around on the stool to check the place out. Back behind me there was a large main stage with two stripper poles. Music was playing in the background. Kind of low for a stripper place I thought. There were tables and chairs in the space between me and the stage. The lighting was low and seductive and of course mirrors everywhere. I had turned back around to the bar facing the mirror on the back wall when I noticed a thin young girl with long brown mousy hair wearing a black athletic jacket heading in my direction. Under the jacket was a nice lingerie set of matching black bra and panties. She was distinguished from the other girls because one, she was wearing a jacket, and two because her lingerie was nicer than the rest. The panties were high waisted and the brassier was rather full, more like a bustier, and while she looked good, she really wasn’t that sexy.
“Hi. What’s your name, cowboy?” She asked.
“Philip”, I answered. “What’s yours?”
She lowered her head and got closer and got a silly grin on her face.
“My real name or my stripper name?” She purred into my ear.
“Well, I always like to know a girl’s real name.”
“We’re not supposed to tell what our real name is.” She dropped her head and laughed. “It’s Crystal. My stripper name is Bella.”
“Oh, Bella! That’s a pretty name!” I was wondering if she knew what it really meant.
She smiled. “Thanks! Yours is pretty too.”
I smiled back.
“I don’t usually do this. I only work a couple days a month. Just enough to make a little money to pay the rent. I’m a single mother. I have a six-year-old daughter at home I have to take care of. She’ll be six in August.”
“Oh really? What day?”
“The ninth. August the ninth.”
“Wow! Really? That’s my birthday too!”
Her smile got bigger.
“Really? What’s your sign?”
“Leo. Just like your daughter. What’s yours?”
“Oh! The most dangerous sign in the universe!”
“Do you study signs?”
“A little bit. You?”
She nodded her assent.
“Are Leos and Scorpios compatible?”
She laughed and allowed that they were. “I’m very passionate.” She said.
Then she went on about how she didn’t’ drink but that she smoked a lot.
“Yeah. Buy me a drink?”
“I thought you just said you didn’t drink.”
“I don’t. Except when I come here. I couldn’t do this unless I drank.”
“How much are they? I don’t usually buy girls drinks because they jack the prices up and I don’t like that.”
She grimaced. “I really don’t know. Get me a shot of tequila. I’m going over here to talk to my friend to make sure she is alright. I’ll be right back.”
So, I ordered a shot. I figured if the barmaid thought it was for me, she would just charge me regular price.
“Silver or gold?” She asked.
She poured a shot and set it down in front of me.
“Lemon or lime?”
“You want salt with that?”
“That’ll be seven dollars.”
In a few minutes Crystal drifted back over to where I was sitting and spotted the shot of Patron sitting on the bar.
“Where’s your shot?”
“I’m drinking beer.”
This seemed to satisfy her. She picked up the shot of tequila and poured it down her gullet and then sucked on the lemon and made a face.
“Oh, that was awful!”
“No, the tequila. I told you I didn’t drink.”
Then she proceeded to tell me how when she was younger, she did a lot of bad things but she was trying to turn her life around. She said her boy friend was shot and killed right beside her. Turned out it was a drug deal gone bad. We talked about how dangerous Louisville was and what an underbelly it had. Then she went back over to her friend who was sitting at the other end of the bar.
I figured she be back for another drink but it looked like she got caught up in the conversation with her friend and some others who joined them. Thought it might be a good time to blow so I took the air.