The itinerant metalurgist I call John Wayne was in town and came to see me Tuesday night. He's a nice guy, not too grabby with the hands. He likes me smalltown and simpleminded so when I'm with him that's what I do. The only thing that bothers me about John Wayne, really, is that on $10 dance night he only pays me $10. That, and it can be a chore to can the sass and think of two or three hours worth of naive observations and girlish double entendres.
He likes me to talk, and when I realized this I tried to get him into the Champagne Room where I make an hourly for this kind of thing. He proved resistant. He likes to buy long strings of dances, though, so I always end up compensated for my time. I gave up pushing him on the Champ Room a long time ago.
But last night, for some reason, he brought it up. How private was it and what goes on back there and so forth. "I'd sure like to give you a massage," he said. "If we could find somewhere to stretch out." So of course, the couches in the Champagne Room are the best possible place in the world and I would absolutely love to get a massage for my usual hourly rate. This was my second night back since surgery. I was stoked to be making hourly.
So we went back there. He didn't give me a massage. He was really concerned with getting value for his dollar, sat down like the meter was running. "Show me what's so hot about back here," he said.
I straddled his lap to commence my Champagne Room dance, which is just about risque enough to justify the upsell. He grabbed me around the waist and pushed me down hard. "Hey," I said. "Hold your horses, big guy."
He thrust up against me. His fingers dug painfully into my hips. One hand grabbed the back of my head and pulled me towards his mouth. "Oh, baby," he whispered against my face. "Oh, baby, I can't beleive it." And then he came in his pants.
I got off his lap with as much haste as tact and we smoked a cigarette and composed ourselves. He got up. "Keep the smokes," he said. "I'll see you next time."
He paid me for the full hour.
I wobbled back to the dressing room and repaired my hair and make-up. I couldn't decide if I was mad at myself for not reacting faster to prevent the splooging, or for not getting more money. Now I'm not a good girl or even a good bad girl.
The DJ calls me to stage and this guy comes up over and over again to tip me. I know his face and even remember his name. Matt. But I don't know why. He asks me to join him at his table and after a couple of drinks and a few dances it clicks in my head that he was my lunchtime regular back when I was a waitress at a pizza place. I've been in this town too long. He never figures out who I am. At the end of the night I tell him and he says "Well, I'll be dipped."
Back in the dressing room all the girls are counting money and getting dressed.
"But don't you realize," thin blond Lily is insisting to some other blond girl who always and only dances to country songs. "Don't you realize that in the big bang there was all this energy and that energy is never created or destroyed, but it's a creative force inside all of us and every living thing. I'm not making it up. It's just physics."
The blond girl shakes her head. "I don't believe there's any creative force. I just believe everything is because of science."
"But this is science," Lily says. "Don't you get it? Everything is created. All of this." Her arms sweeps around and her gesture takes in the rows of beige gym lockers and the crummy carpet, the club out there and the night beyond that. "What do you call all this?
"Science," says the blond.