The Wackos were in to see me the week before last -- Mr. and Mrs. Wacko. I'm crazy about them. An eccentric and well-shod couple whom I met for the first time on Valentine's Day. (Yeah, I was working on V-Day; spare me your pity.)They've been in a few times since -- actually, Mrs. said the other night that she's been in on her own to see me a time or two, but missed me. She's the weirder of the two for sure. Mr. is just a nice guy from Wisconsin with a few kinks in his attic. Mrs., for all her sweetness, seems like the single-white-female type who might decide she loves me too much to let me go and cut my head off and keep in in the freezer. They've invited me back to their house to hot-tub with them, and, uh, no.
But in the club, they're a treat. We convene in a corner of the couch-dance area and drink and dance and talk about sex for hours on end. The other night Mrs. comes up and announces their presence while I'm on stage, and by the time I get over there, they've got another dancer with them, sweet little Infinity who looks like a 13-year-old fashion model and can barely string words together. I don't know her well, but she's the kind of person you worry about. And tonight she is dead set on the subject of how much her skin itches.
"It's sooooooo iiiiiitchieeeeeee," she says, clawing frantically at her shoulder-blades with acrylic nails in her perch on Mrs.' lap. "I can't live like this no more. I can't think about nothing else."
"What do you think it could be, sweetie?" says Mrs. "Is your skin dry?"
"Nah," says Infinity. "I think it's from my man's dog? He was at my apartment and his dog was all like sick? I could see it's ribs like this--" she arches her back and indeed her ribs do stick out like xylophone. "And he was putting the dog in the bath-tub and I made him take it out so I could take a bath."
"Aww," Mrs. says absently. She continues softly petting Infinity between the shoulder-blades, which is more than I would do.
"Yeah, my boyfriend, he's real filthy. He brings home these other girls, like hookers, and I know he has them in my bed."
"Aww," say Mr. and Mrs. again. But I have to wonder if they are even hearing this, because they look so calm. And I for one, and squirming. I am sitting on Mr.'s knee, acutely aware of the fact that Infinity was sitting there a second ago and that potentially her boyfriend and his dying dog and the prostitutes he fucks in her bed are about to become my problem.
"So you think you can help me," Infinity asks Mrs. Her eyes are, seriously, huge. Too big for that pretty little face.
"Well, sure," says Mrs. all motherly and sweet. "I'll give you my number. You just give me a call tomorrow and I can recommend you a great dermotologist. I used to have dry skin, too. Aren't you just the cutest little thing, though? You know what I'd love to see is you and Gracie together. Gracie, don't you want to dance with Infinity?"
Um. Only if I can personally scrub her down with rubbing alchohol first, bless her heart. "I think I have to go on stage," I say.
"Yout just got off the stage," says Mrs.
Fuck. OK. Infinity flakes back on Mrs. in the posture of the Pieta, and I shimmy around in front of them. Infinity reaches out her long, skinny, soft arms and pulls me closer. Her skin doesn't feel dry; it feels clammy. After the dance, I go back in the dressing room and borrow baby-wipes to scrub myself down.
I wake up the next morning with my skin roiled and swollen from wrist to neck. I wake C. up to tell him I've brought home the pox. He patches me together and takes me to Pro-Med where the doctor tells me I've got contact dermatitis, probably poison ivy. I beg him to check again, but he just writes me a prescription for a two-week course of Cortisol, and, as it turns out, this has done the trick. So maybe it was poison ivy after all.
I didn't see Infinity again at work until last night. I asked her how her skin was going.
"Itchy," she says. "So itchy."
"Is it poison ivy?" I suggest. "That's what I had. It makes little blisters."
"No, I don't got blisters," she says. "I'm just itchy. Look." She turns around and the skin between her shoulderblades is flaking off like scales.
"You should go to a doctor," I say.
"Yeah, I just went." She points at a peach-colored band-aid just below her navel. "I ain't been to work for a while cause of my internals bleeding."
"What kind of bleeding?"
"My internals. They didn't tell me nothing about my skin, though."
"Are you OK, now?"
"Yeah," she says. "Sure."
Yeah. Sure. What can I say, I worry about people. Especially when they're strolling around my place of work, rubbing on the same people I rub on, with the bubonic plague.