Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Strippers and Acid 3: The Playas

[Damn fucking Blogger, ate my shit again. Ah well. Today's will be better.]

The contents of the limousine had already visited several topless bars and pool halls, where they accomplished their dual goals of making their pool buddies jealous and convincing a couple of strippers to ride around in the limo.

To tell you the truth, they weren't a very impressive lot--only one of them (the groom-to-be) was our age, and the rest were in their early 20's. Most of them had the look of an early 80's high school football player, with blond mullets and tight tshirts emblazoned with logos like "Holley" and "Hemi." Typical Midwest City kids, out for their first bachelor party.

Frankly, these folks make me tired. They hadn't done anything I haven't done five hundred times, except rebuild a carburetor, but they were convinced they were tearing the galaxy a new one every day they woke up with a hangover. The only reason I didn't jump out at the end of the block was that they were in utter awe of Jim, who as you can imagine absolutely LIVES for stuff like this. And while I felt kind of greasy riding his coattails to the approbation of a bunch of recently graduated wrestling fans, it was a nice limo and I didn't have anything else to do. It was a Saturday, after all, and you only get one of those in a week.

So we headed on off to the next strip club, drinking Budweiser from a battered blue cooler and doing a lot of shouting and picture taking. The groom was already passed out, but recovered somewhat during the long drive to Valleybrook.

Valleybrook is a bit of an anathema in staid old Baptist Oklahoma. It's a one-street town that has been engulfed by the Oklahoma City metro area, yet like most of those towns (Britton and the old downtown come to mind) it retains a lot of the feel of being a small town. It's an anathema because the entire main street is lined with topless bars--at times so close together they look like some sort of skanky strip mall, with gravel parking lots and dusty, blacked out windows. I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say the only structures on the main drag that are NOT topless bars are a couple of gas stations.

The town seems to survive solely on the revenue provided by the taxes provided by the bars and the tickets they write for DUI and PI, plus whatever they get from the speed trap I imagine has to be in place on the east side of town. There's no school, no fire station, and the jail, I've been told, is actually a double wide trailer. Plop this thing down in the wilds of Nevada, and you'd have a Quentin Tarantino set just bursting with character.

So we arrived, and I realized that I was almost broke. Jim had promised to buy my drinks, but I really don't feel comfortable with asking people to buy my booze, so I did my best to sip the beers and watch everyone's back. This particular place had a separate "restaurant" area, which is the requirement for serving anything other than low-alcohol beer, so the majority of our crew was generally in transit from the bar, where shots would be held aloft every few minutes, to the strip club part, where dollar bills would be held aloft even more frequently. Since I wasn't really a part of the bachelor party (I just couldn't integrate, kids--despite what you may have gathered from previous stories, I do have some modicum of self respect), I spent most of my time at an out of the way table, nursing a beer and keeping a count of party members, strippers, and bouncers.

With big drunken groups like this, I have to mention, it's important to keep track of everyone's whereabouts. I learned this in a narrowly averted disaster, when a bunch of flight-jacketed hoodlums and I visited a bar on the city's south side. As it turns out, they did this primarily to tear the place apart, and as we were making our getaway we realized that one of our number was still inside the club. In fact, he'd been in the bathroom the whole time, unaware of the ruckus. But that's another story--I've just been anal about counting nodding heads thereafter.

Pretty soon I noticed that our party had indeed dwindled, and collared Jim to find out what the deal was. After much shouting and gesturing, we learned from the rest of the crew that a contingent had been sent, in the limo, to fetch a couple of girls from the club they'd been to before visiting my house. There I was, stuck in Valleybrook, with no money, no drugs, and no ride home. I retreated to the bar, where I purchased my last beer. Shit, you can always talk to the bartender.

But I was immediately set upon by a woman in a pink spangly pushup bra and matching panties. I didn't mind this, particularly. I told her right off I was broke, and was just along for the ride with the crew in the next room. She squinched up her face rather charmingly, and we began to talk.

She gave me the Part Time Stripper Story, pretty much verbatim. That is, she was just doing this to work her way through college (or hair school, sometimes), and really hated all the guys she had to deal with. And I didn't really look the type to be in there, what did I do?

[I learned a long time ago (after an evening on acid in one of the bigger strip clubs) that topless bar small talk is actually a highly stylized ritual, a sort of verbal flowchart where only a certain number of choices are actually presented. In this case, she was presenting herself as "Good Girl Fallen on Hard Times," as opposed to the "Sexy and Evil Bad Girl," who is a lot more raucous and exhibitionistic, if that makes any sense. Maybe you could think of them as the Nurse and the Biker Chick. Perhaps more on that later.]

Well, I just don't like to hand out personal information, boys and girls, so I told her I was a student too (I had, in fact, recently retaken calculus, so I wasn't completely lying) and, again, that I was with the bachelor party in the next room. Not being very good at socializing, I let the conversation lull, and she went out to dance.

She returned, after a decent attempt to aerobicize to "Closer," and actually bought me a beer. Shit, maybe this is no game after all...so we talked for a while, about school and bars and vodka, and I'd almost forgotten where I was when I heard the crash in the next room.


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