The Real Archduke Ferdinand

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.


In no time, Carmen was back at the bar requesting another round for Archduke Ferdinand.

You may have suspected that ‘Archduke Ferdinand’ is a false name. Indeed, it is. It’s to protect the guilty.

I handed Carmen one Red Bull, a Liquid Marijuana shot, and a glass of water.

“A shot for you too,” she added. I gayly added a shot of Jameson and beelined out from behind the bar. Yippeeeeee!

“BRB, don’t steal anything!” I yelled back to Stella and Tim as Thomas slid behind the bar to take over.

Carmen and I greeted Archduke Ferdinand in his usual booth that was the sketchiest and most private one located in the back corner of the stage.

I plopped down next to him while Carmen set down her tray, placing our drinks and a glass pipe filled with pot on the table in front of us before scurrying off.

“What is up stranger? Long time no see!” I joked to the man whom I had seen the previous week. I reached for our shots and the two of us clinked glasses.

“Look at you today!” He looked me up and down.

“Thanks, I brushed my hair.” It wasn’t a complete lie, it had been brushed … recently.

“You look sexy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you wear pink before.” He flashed me a smile.

“I do what I can, Archduke Ferdinand.”

“You smell sexy, too. What perfume are you wearing?”


“Forest, you are one of a kind,” he chuckled. “Hey, you wanna pick some songs?”

Archduke Ferdinand pretty much called the shots at the club during the day. He spent enough money and tipped everyone so well that he was the exception to virtually every rule. I’m talking at least $100 to everybody working that day unless you pissed him off and believe me, he could be sassy.

“Hell yeah!” Normally, under no circumstances is rap music supposed to be played in the club — ever — except when Archduke Ferdinand was there. The two of us bonded over our love for rap music and because he was the man, my day was about to get a little bit better.

“Will you get us a pen and paper?” He flagged down Carmen and handed her four one hundred dollar bills.

He was older and, truthfully, just an average-looking guy but girls in the club worshipped the ground he walked on.

What I liked most about him is that he was the only one who could get away with smoking weed in the club. Money talks.

Archduke Ferdinand picked up the pipe and handed it to me. I took a hit and then he encouraged me to take a few more as we checked out the dancer on stage. It was my girl, Jessica. I loved working with her. She was goofy as hell and had a phenomenal ass.

“She’s so hot,” I commented, hoping he would give me money to go tip her.

I liked to look out for my homies. I had only seen him walk up to the stage one time since I’ve known him and he was wasted that day. Instead, he gave the girls $1’s to go tip the dancer on stage for him.

He preferred to sit in the very back, unseen by everyone else, and just watch the scene that he created. Sometimes he would give girls money to go buy other customers shots and have us pretend like they were on the house.

Setting up the atmosphere to his liking was Archduke Ferdinand’s thing. Nobody wants to go into a dull strip club, which can be problematic during the day shift. He was like the puppeteer and we were all his puppets.

Carmen returned, placing a pen and paper and four hundred dollars in $1’s on the table.

“Go tip her!” Archduke Ferdinand said, handing me one of the stacks. I passed Carmen a handful of one-dollar bills from my stack and quickly scribbled down a few of my song requests on the piece of paper.

“Spank her!” Archduke Ferdinand roared behind us as we approached the stage. I’m just kidding, he didn’t roar. I just wanted to say that. I bet it would’ve sounded funny though.

I summoned Stella to join us and awarded her with her own dollar bill stack.

Jessica crawled backward towards us with her hiney towards Archduke Ferdinand and slapped her cheek; it jiggled in all the right ways. We proceeded to make it precipitate dollar bills on her.

I grabbed her boobs and shoved my face in them. She turned around and we took turns smacking her butt cheeks, leaving marks. That’s what the man liked to see, so we made it happen.

I remember one day at work, we were all pretty toasted (naturally) and Jessica confided in me that Archduke Ferdinand had offered to pay her $10,000 a month to, you know, be his girl. She was on the fence about it. I don’t think she ever took him up on the offer but I don’t know. I’m not saying I’d ever do that but ten grand a month is a lot of money.

I teleported back to my seat in the sketchy booth and regrettably told Archduke Ferdinand I had to get back behind the bar. He sat up and fumbled in his back pocket for his wallet. I delayed the obligations of my job further and politely waited. Pulling out a stack of hundreds, he handed me $300 and promised he would come in the following week.

“Nah,” I said. “Lemme get another one of those.”

He looked taken aback. I playfully raised my eyebrows up and down, holding out my hand … waiting.

All the girls just kissed his ass, led him on, or touched his penis with their mouths. I had no problem telling him when he’s being a drama queen or calling him a vagina for ordering fruity shots. I think he secretly likes to be put in his place sometimes.

Blushing, he opened up his wallet again and pulled out another $200. I graciously accepted his humble offering and resumed being a bartender who is behind the bar.

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