Below is an excerpt from my book — a mostly true story about my days as a strip club bartender in Austin, Texas where I mostly broke shit, drank a ton of booze, sometimes poured drinks, and always hit on my favorite manager.
The phone at the front desk started ringing and I darted to go answer it but Thomas beat me to it.
“It’s for you.” He rolled his eyes and handed me the phone.
“Hello, is this Peter Pan?”
“Yes. Is this Helen?” Murphy asked me.
“Why, yes it is. What can I do for you, sir?”
“I’m going to show you a magic trick,” Murphy chuckled. “Ta-da!” The front doors of the club swung open and there was Murphy in all of his glory.
“Is there a bartender working today?” he shouted into his cell phone.
“Nope.” I slammed the phone back onto the hook.
“You guys are fuckin’ weird,” Thomas said to us.
I escorted Murphy to the bar and promptly fixed him up a Murphy L.I.T. and water with no ice.
A dancer was hovering near the bar, clearly waiting for Murphy to offer her a drink. And he did but she was foolishly playing on her phone when I placed the drink in front of her. After about fifteen seconds of her not paying attention, Murphy downed her drink. She got pissed and so I made her another one.
Because I’m a compassionate human being, I put it on the spilled drinks tab.
“Hey, let’s go smoke some pot,” Murphy proposed. I glanced over at Thomas to find him distracted, dealing with a pissed off dancer.
“I gave him three dances, he owes me $60 and he’s over here talking about how he deserves a senior discount!” she screamed. “I don’t shake this sexy ass for no discount. I got three kids to feed!”
When most people think of strip clubs, they think girls dancing on a pole. No doubt, they pole dance.
Each club is different but in my experience, they make the majority of their money giving lap dances. Essentially, this means they dry hump the customer. Twenty bucks gets you one song of over the pants hand jobs and a chick grinding on your genitals.
You just might be able to reach third (or fourth) base. It depends on how desperate the girl is for money. For example, at the end of the month when rent is due is prime time to receive sexual favors. It could also depend on how many drugs she does and if so, what her inventory was looking like.
Only the professionals were smart enough to do sexual favors outside of the club.
I did a ninja roll behind Thomas’s back and darted out to the smoking patio.
“Hey girl!” I was surprised to see the weekday bartender hanging out on the patio with a couple of customers and dancers. I hadn’t seen her come in which was completely understandable, considering I didn’t like to stay behind the bar.
She was handing out edibles and offered me one. “Be careful,” she warned. “I would only eat about a quarter of it. They’re really strong.” I shrugged off her warning because she had given me edibles several times before and I never felt anything from them.
Naturally, I ate the whole thing and advised Murphy to do the same.
Shortly after returning to my post at the bar, I heard the all too familiar “My first time in a place like this.”
“Hello there, gentlemen.” I smiled at Pistol and Maddog as I poured their usual drinks.
“Hello, young Forest!” Pistol greeted me.
“How’s it going with the new roommate?” Maddog asked me.
“So far, so good.” I gave him a corny thumbs up and then he offered to buy everyone shots. We all clinked glasses and toasted to my bubble butt.
The day was just as normal as any other day when all of a sudden, I started to feel a little strange.
I looked around for Murphy to see if he was feeling the same way but was unable to locate him. This typically meant he retreated somewhere to take a nap but I couldn’t rule out the possibility that he was off somewhere harassing another employee.
“EMERGENCY!” I texted Thomas. About thirty seconds later he came up to the bar and asked me what was wrong. I was so confused and had no idea what he was talking about.
“You literally just texted me and said there was an emergency.”
“Ahh, yes,” I recalled. “Look. I’m sorry but I’m so fucking high right now. I need to go chill for a minute.” Thomas reluctantly agreed to watch the bar for a little while. Once in the back, I curled up into a ball in an armchair and laid there with my eyes shut for a little while.
“You good?” Thomas seemed genuinely concerned when I returned to the bar five or five hundred minutes later.
“Yeah… my bad. I ate an edible and was not expecting this. Where’s Murphy? Have you seen him?”
Thomas allowed me to go locate Murphy to check on him. I discovered him peacefully sleeping in a booth in VIP and elected not to disturb him.
Just kidding. “DAMARCUS!” I screamed at Murphy and sprayed him in the face with my water gun.
“Is it vodka?” he opened his mouth, without opening his eyes.
“Come on, you dingus. Let’s go back to the bar.” I held his hand like a child and practically dragged him back to the bar with me where I discovered two newcomers who appeared to have come as a pair.
“Herro, herro!” I greeted the two men. “What are you guys drinking?”
“What are you drinking, sweetheart?” one of them asked.
“Ladies first.” The other one smiled at me.
“Oh, no. I’m not drinking today. Thank you though.” I insisted.
“Come on,” they said in unison.
“The only way I’m gonna drink is if it’s Johnny Walker Blue,” I said sarcastically of the $48 shot.
They both chuckled and then the one on the right said, “Make it three.”
This shit caught me off guard. I didn’t want to drink anything at all. I was high as a fucking kite. I have never even poured Johnny Walker Blue before. I just knew it was the single most expensive shot in the club.
“Yeah?” I asked in a way that wasn’t intended to come off as, “Are you sure because it’s expensive?” but rather, “Challenge accepted, bitches.” I carefully reached for the sacred J.W. Blue bottle and couldn’t help but warily glance over at Thomas.
“Don’t,” he said. “I’ll get it.”
“Hell, pour me and Pistol one too,” Maddog chimed in.
“Me too!” Murphy added.
“Can I try, too?” A dancer expectantly looked up at Maddog.
“Of course, sweetie.” Maddog smiled at her. “What about you, Thomas? You in?”
“Yep,” Thomas said without hesitation. He was beaming.
I had just inadvertently boosted the sales by over $300 in a matter of seconds. And the first round was so good, we all went in for a second in no time. Thomas was ecstatic.
“I fuckin’ love you!” He threw his arms around me and squeezed me tight.
When I was twelve or fourteen, I had baby back ribs for the very first time. I was over at my Grandparent’s house and we all know Grandparents make the best food. My Papa was shocked that I had never had ribs before.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” he asked his eldest daughter of her fucked up decisions she had clearly made raising me.
“Yeah, Mom!” I yelled at her with BBQ sauce all over my face as I devoured a full rack of ribs.
When Thomas hugged me and told me he loved me, it felt like the first time I ever ate ribs. It was beautiful, unexpected, and life-changing all at the same time.
In case you were wondering, scotch tastes like shit — even fancy Johnny Walker Blue and apparently, eating edibles is the key to having one of your best sales days ever.