All night there's this table of rich dudes on the main floor behind the DJ booth. Early in the evening, I approach the guy at the head of the table and unpack my charm, but he's guarded and dismissive. Geez, dude.
In his front pocket there a wad of "funny money", the club's mechanism for charging dances to credit cards. He must have a thousand dollars folded up in his pocket there. But he's making it plain in no uncertain terms that I am the kind of girl he wouldn't stoop to scrape off his shoe with a stick, so I buzz off and figure I'll come back later when he's drunk.
The club is slow that night, and back in the dressing room the talk is all about this table of guys. How much money they have, how little they want to spend it. They are the top brass of some Atlanta-based construction company, in town to romance prospective clients. I stop by once in a while to cut a junior officer from the herd and make a spare bit of scratch, but there are girls all over that table like sea birds on a tidepool. In fact, nearly ALL the girls are over there, which leaves the rest of the customers to just a few of us. Not a bad thing.
Except by the last few hours of the night, the customers are all bored with the small number of girls not pursuing the El Dorado of that folded wad of funny money. Soon all the regular guys go home. The table from Atlanta is still there, though their battleline has broken and scattered. The captain, the one I spoke to earlier, sits slumped and alone. I got over and perch lightly on the arm of his chair.
"Damn, you've got an ass," he says, barely looking up. He is an old man. Old. A night of drinking hasn't made him any younger. His eyes are bloodshot and his face is a map of lines. His speech is slurred so I bend down to hear him and he is offering me a thousand dollars to go back to his hotel room where he and his friend will double-team me. I look at his friend, a spry lad in his sixties, who nods confirmation. These two old men want to run the train on me. "I've got to put my tongue in that ass," my new friend says. "A thousand dollars. How does that sound?"
And I think: you dumb fuck.
And I think: Tithonos, all withered but your lust, aching forever towards the dawn.
And I think of a lyric in "Else" by Built to Spill: your body breaks/your needs consume you forever. It's better when you sing it, even better when you are singing along with it in the car on some mix-tape from some long-forgotten boyfriend, driving through a foggy late winter dusk in the city, and you pull up to a stoplight and a bum taps on your window and pats his knuckles on his lips in the international gesture meaning "I have none; give me yours."
I declined the offer from the guys from Atlanta, and went back to the dressing room to take off my shoes and sit on the floor by my locker and smoke.
When I got home I had an e-mail, in my real-life legitimate inbox, from a man I met on Monday while working on Dayjob Project. This nice retired guy volunteers helping troubled youth, and since this is tangentially related to the aims of my work, we got into conversation and exchanged business cards and agreed to have coffee later on. His e-mail follows up on that. At the end he signs off, "Look forward to seeing you again."
Which is so harmless. Which is nothing. It's just the way you end a letter to someone when you're making plans to meet them. But I feel anxious and ill and weird, like all of a sudden in the middle of coffee he's going to lean across the table and ask if he can put his tongue in my ass.
If he even puts his hand on my knee, I think I will scream.
I will scream.
It's a stupid thought, but I haven't been able to shake it, and I've felt strange ever since I woke up.