Updated: Sep 25, 2019
Lester stared out of the driver window, wondering if he was really going through with this. He had always wondered what was inside of a place like this but never dared to enter. The yellow lights glowed all around the top of the building like a lighthouse in the dark. The parking lot was full of all sorts of vehicles from the cheap to the expensive, and then there was Lester’s modest car next to Demicko’s equally modest car. Demicko was amped about Lester’s first visit. He couldn’t wait to see his friend experience his first strip club: a room full of half-naked women. Lester would be all sorts of shocked. He couldn’t wait to see all the many expressions that would come across his innocent face.
Lester on the other hand, was asking God what He thought, but he heard no response. He didn’t want a response. Had he gotten a response, he might have to return to his car and go home, rather than continue forward towards the front of the square building where the wooden door led to a mystery he couldn’t wait to solve. Screens and books weren’t enough help.
Silently, Lester walked behind his best friend Demicko. He shivered and toyed with his fingers to keep them warm. A strong gust of wind kept the Houston humidity in check in the middle of February. Lester didn’t know what to expect from this night. A bouncer patted him down, grasping his keys, phone, and wallet through his jeans. He was a big man compared to the sizable Lester. It was like an offensive lineman gazing down on an average linebacker. He had to tread lightly.
Lester gazed out to the street wishing, while doubting, that an angel would show up saying, “It’s ok, the woman of your dreams is here.” His stomach gurgled. He inhaled slowly to steady his anxiety. It felt like the ramp before the highest drop of a rollercoaster. He exhaled as the door swung open and let the packaged music escape into the night. He stepped forward behind Demicko.
He tracked the changes in the ground beneath him as concrete became cheap, purple carpet. To the left was a silk, purple curtain blocking the view of the inside. The hostess ahead of them looked at him. Lester felt out of place. He wondered what she thought of him as she sat, dressed in a tank top and leggings, behind a small desk with a cash box lying at the top of it. He wasn’t a bad guy – God knew that – but Lester didn’t want God to see him like this. The fact that she wasn’t naked presented some hope for him. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. Lester pulled out his wallet and sorted through his twenties, each bill sticking to his moist fingers. He paid the cover fee and followed Demicko.
He pushed aside the purple silk curtain blocking their view of the inside. He walked slowly through the last moment to stop himself without hesitation. He floated through the room as his mind went to observing the mysterious figures sitting in chairs watching the scantily clad woman twist and turn her body on stage. Lester had to turn away before he completely lost himself.
He sat with Demicko in the middle of the room and faced the stage. Demicko’s friends were with them. All of them were college freshmen looking to experience everything adult life had to provide. This place housed an older crowd, most were African American men also, shaded from lighter than Lester to darker than Demicko. Men with chains around their necks, shades over their eyes, and grotesque intentions in their hearts sat at tables that surrounded the stage. Lester wondered if he could be like them for one night. In the back of his mind he knew he would have to let go of his morals to do so, but what’s a challenge if you don’t attempt to overcome it?
The leather chair Lester sat in was rather comfortable and it provided a direct view of the rotund butt shaking in front of him on the stage. His eyes focused on her lower half. She was too thick, she had fake hair, and her outfit was ridiculous. Then she took it off... He watched as all of her was on display for his eyes – for everyone’s eyes. This was the closest he had ever been to a naked woman. He felt someone watching him. The same someone he felt watching him at home alone as his eyes embraced pornography over and over again. He ignored the gaze.
Demicko tapped him. “Lester? You good?” He smirked.
“Yeah.” He smiled back nervously.
His eyes moved about noticing the other men. Some stood by the front stage, enticing the woman with money as if she were a dog doing tricks. All she had to do was sit, lie down, and roll over for her good, green treats. They would throw money all over her, stick some in her lingerie, and rub her skin whenever she did a good job. Good girl. Others sat in the dark corners towards the back, whispering into the ears of smiling women. They knew what they wanted and how to get it. Lester looked away irritated. If he didn’t have church tomorrow, he might have been just as free to do the same.