Everywhere was sore.  Sick of the pole, sick of the floor, sick of the cheap, blue-black of the muggy dirty room where I danced, usually alone.  My bruises matched the walls, except when they were fresh.  My heels were at least polished.  I never did like bad shoes.  There was no one in the house, but that’s how those gigs worked.  You just kept dancing and eventually some newbie drunk would wander in and sit down, then jerk off.

Amit, the manager of the place, said I could stop dancing ’til there was “a seat” as he called ’em, but I didn’t like the idea of standing around and performing only “on-demand.”  That gave people the impression that they were important to me. They weren’t.  I was dancing, performing—acting, as I called it—and I didn’t want anyone to think they could dictate where or when my act stopped or started. Power is hard to find so you gotta make your own…

Anyway, it was a day like every other run away day when Fatty showed up to take me home.  I didn’t wanna go.  I’d told him already I was sick of his shit and fat ass and I wasn’t stickin’ around for any more of it.  He’d made me good and restless, ready to get back to the real world and leave the air conditioning and mind numbing CNN behind. What the fuck?  People watch the News like it’s a fuckin’ porn show, with the market tickers in green the cock shots, the red the cunt shots, and the end of the day bell with the arrows up or down the cum shot, the MONEY MAKER.  Idiots.  Don’t know sex from money…

“Fuck Fatty Clinger” I yelled from the stage and kept dancing.

He kept walking towards me, but I could see Amit combing the back of the house.  He was always there to check the scene.

“Get yourself off that stage and put some clothes on” he said, loudly, like I was a child.

“FUCK YOU!” I screamed again, and stuck my tongue out.  Okay, it was juvenile, I admit.  Embarrassing even.  But It was an automatic thing,

I tell you, like screaming when you step on a nail. I just couldn’t fucking help it. How I hated him!

“I’m not coming back, Fatty.  Get used to it.  And by the way, you’re fucking ugly and you’re ruining my show” I said, now that he was up near the stage and his red pudgy face directly in view.  “I told you.  I’m busy.  I’ve got shit to do and it’s not with you.”

At that he grabbed my ankle but instead of stopping I leaned toward him and kicked him in the shoulder with my other leg.  I nearly fell over; it took all I had but it surprised the hell outta’ him.  I’d never hit him before, even though I’d wanted to lotsa times.  He dropped his grip and clutched himself like a disbelieving child, shocked his mama had clocked him.  Idiot. Idiot. Idiot!

“Dinner is at eight. Cocktails at 6.  I laid your clothes out.  The Missoni.  And I added something I think you’ll like…under the pillow…”

“I’m not coming to your stupid fucking dinner party with those piece-a-shits you call friends” I said.

“Yes you are” he said, then pulled out his wallet and dropped a $100 bill on the stage.  He looked at me and quietly said, almost in a whisper, “take a taxi, sweetheart” then turned away fast, so I couldn’t say anything else to his face. But I didn’t need to.  I was quiet.  The $100 was more than I’d seen in days.  He knew I was tired and a little hungry.  He also knew I was sorry to love him, a fat, ugly man, and sorry to be no good.

We both knew I would show up, back at home just in time to be a strung-out hostess.  His friends would call me “wacky and irreverent.”  Fatty knew I could eat with the right fork, talk politics and East Hampton Star.  So I’d leave the show—my show—to go home and use the new works he’d put under my pillow. I’d shove some stage make-up on my bruises and have Luisa help me dress and do my hair.  And from all this?  It was like magic.  Voila!  My acting career gave me another night on Park Avenue and another reprieve from myself.




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