Curtain Call

Curtain Call

The club was packed and my fingers were finding the strings without losing my focus on piercing the audience. Confidence was coming back into my system like a drug as we crashed into Higher Than Anyone. I looked over at Robert with a grin as the opening riff was turned up by the house engineer in a good signal from the venue.

And it was over. Just 20 minutes. We packed in six pop-rock gems and closed with a Clash reenactment at the finale and a few minutes later I was swapping info with several A & R people. A rush of energy bloomed in my chest as I turned and gave Robert a huge bear hug. “We did it. We did it.”

“We’ve got to celebrate. Let me take you out for drinks.”

“I don’t know. It’s midnight.”

“Fuck, it’s Friday night. Come on. You know Susan isn’t waiting up for you.”

“That’s for sure. Okay, yes. Let’s do it.”

I’m not entirely clear on how we ended up at The Fiery Rose, a strip club. The girl on my lap was in her twenties with a dense mane of midnight black curls covering her face and mine in a cave of possibilities. She kissed me lightly and gave me a small piece of paper.

“My name is Summer. I am deaf.”

I sign “I love you.”

She silently mouths, “I love you too,” and crushes me with her scantily covered breasts. We’re a jumble of black curls, odd-sounding giggles, and kisses. We were off to a great start.

She pulled out her note page and scribbled, “You can pick the music for my set.”

I nodded vigorously and kissed her neck and lingered there, taking a long inhale of her scent. She handed me the notepad and Bic pen.

I wrote, Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden, Highway to Hell – AC/DC and handed her the pad.

“One more,” she mouthed, handing me back the pad.

I wrote, Where the River Flows – Collective Soul.

“I love them,” she mouthed. She smothered my face between her ripe breasts and got up from the table. She wrote one more note.

“Will you buy me a drink?”

That was always the play here. Always get your customers to buy you drinks. Oh, and never believe anything a stripper tells you about their plans, their current college curriculum, and their ambitions. They are really just working you up for the cash. I nodded.

Robert leaned over and shouted over the music, “She’s like into you, man.”

“Oh, please.”

“Seriously, dude. She’s obviously getting off on you. I don’t get the notes, but okay.”

“She’s deaf.”

“No fuckin way. A deaf stripper. That’s epic.” Robert stood up. “Shots!”

She is pretty, trim, petite, and better looking than she is a dancer. She is moving to the thud of the music, of course, but she doesn’t know the words though shes mouthing as if she’s singing along. It’s hard to watch, actually, as she’s laser-focused on me. I get up during Black Hole Sun and put a $20 in her g-string, which she pulls out just enough that I can see her dark, tightly-trimmed bush.

When she comes down off the stage she’s hot and sweaty. She comes straight back to our table and nuzzles me with hair, boobs, and kisses. She writes a note, “Can I have a Jack and Coke?” Her body is pulsing, or maybe it’s my body, as she grinds on my lap. I try to catch the waitresses attention. The smell, the heat, the pounding beat of the next performer, and I’m getting a bit dizzy. There’s a tiny hint of anxiety in my blood. A moment of panic. What. The. Fuck. Am. I. Doing?

She hands me another note. “I’m starving. Can we share a burger?”

Robert returns to the table with three tequila shots. And we celebrate with a silent toast and toss. The anxious moment passes as does the dizziness. Maybe all the blood is rushing to another part of my body. I can’t imagine my good fortune. Like a porn star. She’s perfect with a poetic flaw. “Let’s have another shot,” I yell. She’s a bit more bouncy on my lap than she needs to be, it’s a game, obviously. We’re being played by a stripper, what’s new?

An hour and three rounds later, she’s still sitting on my lap as the club is getting ready to close.

“Last call, folks. Get your final lap dances of the night. Tip your dancers and waitresses. And have a safe night.”

She hands me another note. “Call me. 512-555-1212. Mary is my real name.” My compromised mental note screamed, “This is bullshit,” as I buried my face in her chest again. Rubbing my lips against the moon tattoo above her left nipple. “Mary Moon,” I said to myself. “Nice to meet you,” I mouthed to her. One more peck on the lips this time, and she was gone. The lights were coming up in the club. Robert looked like he was almost asleep with his head down on the table between us.

“Time to roll,” I said. His head popped up and he gave me a thumbs up. He didn’t look at all ready to drive home.

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