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.
I was setting up the bar at the beginning of my shift when the phone at the club started ringing. I hurled myself over the bar top and made a mad dash for the door before Thomas could answer it from the office.
“Thanks for calling the titter, this is Forest speaking. Have you heard of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?”
I heard laughter on the other end and then, “Forest, you’re ridiculous. It’s [REDACTED].”
“Top of the mornin’ to ya!” I jubilantly cheered.
“Hey, baby. Could you do me a huge favor and keep it between us?”
“As much as I would like to say yes, I must know what the favor is beforehand. We work in a strange place.”
“Understandable,” he fretted, but just for a moment! “I don’t think I locked the doors last night.”
“Say no more.” I swiftly hung up the phone and began to investigate the matter further.
Sure enough, none of the doors except the side door Thomas and I came in from were locked. And that door is idiot-proof because it locks itself.
“How in the fuck did he forget to lock all of the doors last night?” I said aloud to myself.
“Forest, who was that on the phone?” Thomas popped up out of nowhere.
“Rumplestiltskin,” I replied.
“Forest,” he pressed.
“Thomas.” I smirked.
Stella walked in the club and I used this as an excuse to run back to the bar and make her a shot before she went to the dressing room to undress.
“Listen, Forest,” Thomas said to me sympathetically as he took a seat at the bar.
“Oh, God. What?” I didn’t want to panic but he had me freaked out with that tone of voice and look on his face.
“Carmen is waitressing today. Please just don’t let her get to you.”
“I don’t know who Carmen is.” I folded my arms across my chest and stuck my nose in the air with a smirk on my face.
“I’m not calling her that,” Thomas said firmly.
“Calling her what?” It was getting harder and harder by the second for me to stop the biggest shit grin that was so desperately trying to form on my face because I’m a dingus and I laugh at my own jokes.
“I’m not gonna say it.” He was shaking his head but he broke into a smile as he was trying not to laugh.
“Calling her what, Thomas?!” I playfully raised my voice. He couldn’t hold back anymore and started laughing. “Augustus Gloop?” I asked him.
“Is that what you’re talking about?” Now I was laughing too. “You’re trying to tell me that Augustus Gloop is working today?” I practically yelled at him right as Carmen conveniently walked in the front doors.
Thomas jolted up from the chair and mumbled an excuse to go to the office.
“Hey, Forest.” Augustus Gloop AKA Carmen said to me.
“What up.” I jutted my chin up at her and then promptly turned around to hide my laughter and resumed setting up the bar. Mind you, there are mirrors everywhere in a strip club, remember? She totally saw me laughing at her.
Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of Augustus Gloop, I will admit that she was a dependable and competent waitress. If you haven’t figured it out by now, that shit is pretty hard to find in these parts. She showed up for her shifts on time, she had great sales, and she was Archduke Ferdinand’s right-hand woman. Not to mention, Richard loved her.
Which, at the same time, made her the second-biggest douchebag on the planet.
“My first time in a place like this,” Pistol said as he and Maddog assumed their respective seats. The three of us were just hanging out and drinking heavily when I decided to share something wonderful with them.
“You guys, listen to what this dude told me the other day,” I said once Stella joined the party. “You know how when you’re at sporting events, people in the crowd will do ‘the wave’?” They nodded. “Okay, check this out. Almost all men get morning wood, right? So all over the world as the sun is rising in different time zones, men are getting boners and it’s like the wave but with boners. It’s ‘The Boner Wave.’” The three of them busted out laughing. “Right! Isn’t that genius?” I asked.
“They spent a lot of time thinking about that,” Maddog agreed as he sipped his drink.
“Yeah, that’s hilarious,” some random ass dude I had never seen in my life said. He had been lingering in the background as I was talking to everyone. “I’m G.” He smiled at all of us and then took a seat next to Stella. “What’s your name?” he asked her and then the two of them started talking. I made everyone a round of drinks and then headed out to the patio for a smoke break after this strenuous activity.
As I lit up a cigarette, Stella came out right behind me. “That guy is weird,” she told me. “He just asked me if I wanted any pills.”
“What the fuck?” I passed her a cigarette and lit it for her. It’s not the fact that he had asked Stella about pills. Shit like that happens all the time. It’s the fact that nobody knew who the fuck he was.
“Maybe he-” I began but stopped almost immediately because G walked out onto the patio over to us.
“What’s your name?” he asked me as he grabbed a cigarette pack from his front right pocket. He held it in his mouth and fumbled around looking for a lighter.
“Forest.” I looked at him warily as I lit his cigarette for him with my lighter.
“Nice to meet you, Forest. I’m G,” he introduced himself again. Before I could say anything more he goes, “Yeah, I used to come here all the time. I used to run this club back in the day if you know what I mean.”
I did know what he meant but just in case I didn’t he followed with, “I used to sell all the drugs in this club.” There was a bit of awkward silence for a moment and then G goes, “You look really familiar. Where do I know you from?” He shook his pointer finger at me.
“I’ve literally never seen you before in my entire life,” I said dully.
“Do you know where I can score some coke?” G asked, apparently not giving a shit at all where he could possibly know me from.
“Umm,” I hesitated and cut my eyes towards the parking lot pretending to be looking at something. I heard a car door slam and stood on my tiptoes to look over the fence and see who it was. Archduke Ferdinand quickly shuffled from the parking lot for the business next door to the club.
“Fuck. I gotta go.” I smashed my cigarette in an ashtray and ran back inside.
“Wassup, big pimpin’?” I offered Archduke Ferdinand a high-five as we passed each other on the ramp.
“You want the same shit?” I asked him, referring to his fruity ass drink order.
“Yep.” He nodded and darted into VIP where I met him a few moments later with our drinks.
“Hey, don’t smoke weed in here right now. There’s this dude in here, well, he’s outside right now but he’s acting all sketch asking people for drugs and shit. Nobody knows who he is,” I warned him. “I think he might be a snitch, I don’t know.”
Archduke Ferdinand held up his shot and the two of us clinked glasses and drank our poison. “I’m leaving then.” He stood up and reached into his back pocket. “Thanks for looking out, Forest,” he said, handing me $200 before promptly leaving.
This led to Augustus Gloop having a panic attack. “What did you do? What did you say to him? Why is he leaving? Do you know how much money you just cost me?” she was angrily asking me.
“Yo, chill out,” I hissed at her. I was in the middle of trying to tell Thomas about the sketch ball dude in the club right now and didn’t need fuckin’ Augustus Gloop in my ear blabbering away. Thomas ushered me into the back so we could talk in private.
“Where is this guy? Three dancers just told me he offered them Molly and some pills,” Thomas told me.
“He’s sketchy, man. You need to kick him out.” I turned to the door and headed back to the bar. Thomas pretty much told the guy we don’t party like that here and he had to go and G left without incident other than calling the club lame.
The rest of the day, Augustus Gloop was annoying as fuck. Every time people came into the club she would swoop in and drag them away from the bar and would escort them near the stage to sit at a table where she would be their waitress. She kept making comments to the extent of, “You ran off Archduke Ferdinand so I gotta make money somehow.”
You know, like as if it wasn’t her job to be a waitress to every customer in the club who’s not sitting at the bar.
What she doesn’t understand is that Archduke Ferdinand was one of the very first people I met when I moved to Texas. He had given me so much damn money the past few years and I didn’t want that to change any time soon. That’s why I told him what was going on.
If G turned out to be an undercover cop or a snitch, then it probably wouldn’t be good to have Archduke Ferdinand smoking pot in the club. For all I know, G could be a private investigator hired by Archduke Ferdinand’s wife. The point is, he didn’t belong. Me looking out for Archduke Ferdinand was not only for my best interests but every single other employee who depended on him for money every week, including my baby Thomas.
Augustus Gloop needed to take a chill pill. Normally I’d just crush up a Xanax and put it in one of her drinks but she hardly ever drank while she was working so I was out of luck there. Maybe that’s why I didn’t care for her. Who the fuck stays sober in a strip club? Untrustworthy people, that’s who.
You know what other kind of people are untrustworthy? People who don’t have ketchup in their homes.
When Cheech rolled in, I seized the opportunity to partake in a toke break with him out on the patio.
“This bitch is fucking up my day,” I said to him as I took a hit.
“Why, Augustus Gloop, of course!”
Cheech laughed. “Who the hell is that?”
“The waitress running around inside like a goddamn maniac. She’s pissed ’cause I sent money bags home earlier.”
Even though not everyone got to personally meet Archduke Ferdinand, much less even see him, he was a legend and anybody who hung out at the club during the day knew of him. “There was some sketchy dude in the club earlier so I told Archduke Ferdinand and he dipped out. I gotta look out for my people though, you know?”
“And your wallet,” Cheech acknowledged.
“Exactly. So now Augustus Gloop is pissed ’cause she actually has to wait tables today.
“Isn’t she the waitress?”
“Forest, you need to come inside.” Thomas abruptly popped his head outside, summoning me back to my job duties. He lingered around the door and walked with me up the ramp back to the bar. “The owner just called. Carmen sent him a picture of the empty bar and told him she can never get drinks because the bartender is never behind the bar.”
“I don’t know who Carmen is but if you’re talking about Augustus Gloop, then I’m gonna karate chop her in the throat.”
As I walked back to the bar, Augustus Gloop was standing there with her hand on her hip glaring at me.
So I did what any petty person would do and I took extra long to make her drinks for the rest of the day.