Racks (2) – or My Stint as a Michigan Stripper


I’m feeling sick, listening to Mandy jabber away about the club like it’s a daytime soap opera.  “Shit, Dean is real grabby and tips like crap.  But watch out for those hunters!  They’re always looking for a good time and have plenty of singles. They’re the real meal ticket.” She winks at me like some old man who knows how to rig horse races or something. You’d never have known that before Cy she had wanted to be a minister.

The cement building looks like an abandoned factory patched up with hot pink paint and tinted windows.  Giant black silhouettes of curvy women with hands gripping their hips line the walls.  They look like the silver shadows found on sleazy trucker mud flaps, girls with comic book breasts and cinched waists that explode into rounded hips.  But these girls are crude and ragged, cut from plywood and spray painted black. A plastic sign above boasts of live, hot girls at the “Eight Ball Lounge.”  I go in; there is no pool table in sight.  I wonder who has the eight ball.

Smoke hovers near the rafters even though the bar is closed.  A leggy blonde wearing denim cutoffs and shiny platform shoes pushes past me. “Great, audition day,” she mutters.

“That’s Destiny, been here the longest.  She used to be the big money-maker until Red started hiring new girls,” Mandy whispers in my ear as she pulls me toward the back of the bar. “Word has it they used to screw until her tits started to sag. Guess Red likes ‘em firm and young, not thirty and baggy.  Then again, who doesn’t?  Good thing I’m barely legal!” Her language has shifted since she started working here, slang words and terms from the pages of dirty rags and mags from the back walls of 7-Eleven and trucker sex shops. She knows about all sorts of sexual oddities, fetishes, desires with funny names like Dirty Sanchez and Shrimping that aren’t descriptive enough for me to comprehend.  In school, she used to quote Shakespeare, scored the highest on the SAT, and hid herself in baggy flannels and jeans.  This late night girl-woman with war paint is someone new, someone I should stay away from.

A makeshift stage sits in the middle of the bar flanked by fake wood tables and vinyl chairs.  There’s a deer head hanging near the jukebox where the girls pick the music they want to dance to. Mandy takes me back behind the deer head to a room separated by a polyester, gold curtain. Inside, I can see my reflection clouded in the over-sized mirror coated in thick flecks of hair spray. My hair is chopped short except for a long devil lock that hides my left eye.  It is fading from electric red to a coppery pink.  I cut it all off one day when I was pissed that my Mom’s boyfriend tried to strangle me.  All the smooth, long longs crudely cut and thrown onto the kitchen floor.  I left it for him to clean up, but my Mom did it secretly instead.  I am curvy even though coffee and cigarettes are the only thing on my menu.  I look like those cardboard girls, except I have eyes that can’t hide fear.


4 Responses to “Racks (2) – or My Stint as a Michigan Stripper”

  1. 1 fojap

    Really great!

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