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.
As I was setting up the bar, Thomas told me about how he had to tell a dancer to take a flashlight out of her vagina.
“I couldn’t figure out what it was. She was just glowing … down there … on stage,” he said to me as I unloaded clean glasses from the dishwasher. He got up and came over to help me stack them on the shelves. “So, I go up to her and I’m like ‘Babe. What’s goin’ on … down there? What is that?’ and she’s just like ‘Oh, it’s a flashlight.’ I’m like, ‘Where … where is it, hon?’ and she goes, ‘It’s in my pussy!’”
I gave him a look of horror and shook my head. “What did you say to her?!”
“I was just like, ‘You can’t do that. You can’t have anything sexually suggestive on stage.’” He cracked a smile and began to laugh. “I never thought I’d have to tell a girl to take a flashlight out of her vagina.”
“She also asked if it was okay if she still left her butt plug in while she dances. It’s all furry, it’s like a raccoon tail. Maybe, a bunny? I don’t know. It’s an animal tail.”
I dropped a glass and it shattered into pieces. “Thomas. What the fuck? My ears are bleeding.”
He briefly frowned at the broken glass on the floor before sweeping it up. I decided to perform a less hazardous task for the time being and wiped off the sticky bar top while he cleaned up my mess.
Cleaning up after me had become a part of his daily routine, it was almost a reflex at this point.
I made my way back to the kitchen to cut my fruit for the day. I would’ve greeted James upon my arrival but he was blaring country music and had his back turned as he performed some aspect of his food-making responsibilities. I don’t know exactly what he was doing but a knife was involved and I really worried I might startle him and then something horrific would take place.
As I turned down the volume on his futile music, I wondered if it was possible to get an involuntary manslaughter charge by startling someone who was holding a knife, resulting in their death. It’s had to have happened before somewhere in the world. I mean, then again probably not. I doubt someone would jump in fright and then accidentally stab themselves in the heart. I’m the only one in the world who could probably die in such a manner.
James turned around and said hello to me. “Do you want me to turn off the country music?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
“Why do you hate country music so much?”
“I don’t even know anymore, James. I’ve just hated it all my life and I’ve already gone too far to change it now.”
After I looked around for the fruit cutter for forty-three days and nights, I sliced my drink garnishes for the day.
“Hmm,” James thought aloud. “Were you a picky eater as a kid?” He chopped away at an onion and I was amazed at how fast he was. It was really satisfying to watch.
“Where are you going with this?” I aggressively sliced the fruit. Cutting this shit up really was excellent for stress relief. I truly enjoyed my moments spent in the kitchen.
“Well, I was just gonna say that a lot of people are picky eaters when they’re kids but when they get older they -”
“Stop it.” I paused from my duties for a moment and held up my hand to silence him.
He ignored me. “They are more willing to try new things and -”
“Enough!” I roared.
He looked taken aback at my outburst and I apologized, insisting we take a quick trip to the bar so I could buy him an apology shot.
As Thomas strolled by the two of us and gave us a funny look, I asked him if he would help me get some beers from the walk-in cooler. Thomas insisted on grabbing the beers himself and I would like to think he did this to be a gentleman but deep down I know it’s because he didn’t want to deal with me breaking any more shit today.
James and I clinked shot glasses and threw them back.