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790 Words

6 Minute Read

            "You know you work in a strip club when your favorite accessory is a Crown Royal bag."


            Strip clubs are where women who smell like marshmallows and vodka glorify the unspoken promise that there are no problems, concerns, worries, or emotions in life. Superficial small talk surpasses the trials of life. Anything that touches reality is prohibited. There is no mention of cancer, divorce, separation, custody battles, terminal illnesses, imprisonment, or personal failures. Skilled strippers do not discuss their children, husbands, body functions, or bowel movements. Clients attending most clubs disdain depth. Everyone who works at a club (bartenders included) is single: that is the rule, and we are all temporarily moving toward a life-changing goal like medical school. I have lived many lives that reflect the ups and downs of my creative pursuits. Now I'm here: I manage a sewer that sparkles like a neon cave, care for my handicapped veteran husband, and have one last child left to get through college.


            During the day shift, I have no bouncer to back me up; I'm solo all day long in my overpriced ski town. I'm the short order cook: working the grill and deep fryer, the disc jockey, administering legal paperwork, scheduling dancers who want to "Add On" or "Call Off," answering threatening calls from religious groups, and prank phone calls from boys in middle school. There are over 150 switches that control everything from the ovens and security cameras to the neon lights on the stage. I run from station to station: turn on eight televisions, count the money, open the lottery, fire up the grill, flip all the switches for the fans and lights, make the coffee, set up the bar, check all the food and refrigerator temperatures, put stock alcohol bottles back on the shelf and then whip my clothes off and lace up my corset.


            On Mondays, we also have prime rib. It cooks for eight hours on average and is the best meal in town. That says a lot because the club is in a destination location with clusters of five-star James Beard award-winning restaurants. Of the 50 states, my village has the rating for the 3rd highest number of microbreweries, food carts, and quaint restaurants in refurbished houses. But at the club, we have breasts, which makes it a simple equation. It's a financial landslide for an open-carry state to add a little country music, cheap beer on tap, and thick burgers all garnished with: Boobs, Breasts, Tits, Titties, Melons, Coconuts, Bangers, Cream Pies, Fried Eggs, Cantaloupes, Noogies, Babs, Buds, Blips, Buddies, Milk Monsters, Double acts, The Twins, Pinky and Perky, Snuggle pups Udders, Spaniel's, Ears, Noogies, The Girls, Maracas, Slammers, Fun bags, Chesticles, Jugs and Mosquito Bites.


    My day usually starts like this: a man walks in.


    I do my best to smile and ask for his Identification.


   "Seriously?" He asks.


    "Yes, this is heaven. We have full nudity, gambling, and booze. You can't stay and play without a valid ID.”


    Reluctantly or joyfully, he provides me with something to prove he is over 21.


    "Can I get you a drink and some company?" I ask.


    "It's been a while," he picks at a hangnail.


    "How about one of our draft specials?"


    I point to our vast array of beers.


    "All those fantastic microbrews are only a dollar between 11 and 1 p.m., then two dollars between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. If

you order a microbrew and lunch, anything on the menu only costs five dollars. We're the only place in town where our prices go up at happy hour," some of them get the joke, but rarely.


As I pour the beer, I list off who is working.


    "Today I have Sabrina, the blonde; Iris with the long red hair; Asia, well, that's self-explanatory; and Sapphire, the brunette."


    "How's your burger?"


    "I make it with tenderness."


    I fondly put his cold, fresh beer on a napkin and place my hand over his.


    "Tater tots, fries, or onion wings?"


    "Is that extra?"


    "Comes with the burger."


    "Tator tots."


    "Spicy or not spicy?"


    "Is that extra?"


    "Nope. Comes with the burger."


    "Not spicy."


    "Ranch dressing or just ketchup?"


    "Oh, ranch!"


    "Lettuce, onion, tomato, and mayonnaise? Fresh blue cheese crumbles and bacon cost fifty cents more."


    "So, all that and this beer will only cost me $7 bucks?"


    I smile. It will cost $25 for the dance, 8 dollars a drink for a lady, then buy lunch too and throw in a shot for when I'm done with work. The lunch eventually costs at least $75, but he won't care; he'll leave me a big tip. He will be king of the castle, and no one will ask him to clean the garage. 

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