Racks (4) – or My Stint as a Michigan Stripper


I’m supposed to audition today, to stand and grind on a stage that makes me think of baked goods and pot roast. I am supposed to knowingly, seductively slip my body around a metal support beam as thick as a tree trunk. I’ve always been afraid to look at myself naked, hiding underneath sheets and blankets after sex so no one can see.  I’ve never paraded around in a thong, never danced in spiked heels.  I don’t know what I’m doing, but it’s too late now.

A nervous chubby girl smiles in the doorway.  My ass is hanging out as I try to move the skinny strings over my bare hips.

“Hi!  Hi!” she says like we are sorority girls meeting for the first time.  Her hair is puffy and curled, her body stuffed into jeans that are far too tight for her rippled self.  “I’m here to audition.”

Mandy looks her up and down like I’ve seen men do a thousand times.  She laughs while lacing up her thigh high boots.  She keeps tossing shoes and bras and skimpy shorts at me.  I am surrounding by a hill of lingerie while the chubby girl keeps smiling.  I keep hoping she’ll go before me, that she’ll grind and sway her hips first.

“Melanie,” she says and reaches out her hand.  My hands are clutching the skimpy clothes to my chest, trying to keep myself covered. I just nod at her instead. Mandy ditches out and leaves me with this chipper cheerleader.  “My boyfriend thinks I’d be good at this, cuz, I do it for him!” She giggles.  I want to punch her.

Music blares from under the deer – “Paint it Black” by the Stones. Mandy’s  warming up, slipping on her dual identity as Niki Divine, the barely legal, raven haired tease from Northern Michigan.  I see Mandy flipping around the pole, her dyed black hair spinning like streaming vines, whipping around her back.  Her hands grip the pole behind her head as she squats down, legs spread dramatically.  She flips over and begins to crawl all over the dirty floor on her hands and knees, occasionally turning her head back towards Red.  He’s smiling and sipping on a tall glass, no ice.  He likes her.

The show goes on with no customers except Red.  Two more girls come in with duffel bags and high heels and run to another curtained room behind the bar.  Mandy ends her number by sucking her index finger and slowly dragging it down between her breasts. Red claps.

“Wow!  She’s good,” coos Melanie.  “I feel under prepared.  I mean, I practiced and all.  But Mac and I don’t have a pole!”


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