Story Time. (Letters from ZJ part 3).
“And all that you’ve ever learned. Try and forget, I’ll never explain again.”
As I merged lanes and began the long exit ramp, exit 39, I grabbed on to my crystal key. The one that I always wore around my neck, the one that kept me safe. I would rub it and say my mantra, it went something like this, “please just let one person today really, really like me”. I waited at the stop light and took in some deep breaths. I then at that point turned the music in the car off and really just started concentrating, I had to get into my zone . . . “her zone”. The next two minutes of my drive would be filled with anxiety, what if I can’t do this today . . . all the “what if’s” what if nothing . . . you have never failed yourself at this. Just fucking do it. I pulled into my parking space at the club it was around noon, there was never anyone here maybe six cars. I am very superstitious, I always had to park in the same parking space with my car backed in, I know it is a little fucking weird, but if you read this blog then you already know that I am really a piece of work with a major dose of OCD. I always thought that if I parked close enough to the door, and faced out, I could if I ever had to high tail it the hell out of there it would be a cinch. I am always aware of danger . . . strangely enough even as a child I always, where ever I went made sure I knew where all the exits were. Maybe I just knew from a young age that safety was the most important thing, or maybe I just wanted to know how to get the fuck out of anywhere at anytime, the whole nobody knows me thing and all. When I’m done, I’m done . . . it is my deep rooted quitter inside. I looked in the rear view mirror at myself, all I saw were my black and glitter rimmed eyes, it was time. For the next seven hours I was ZJ, I was on, did not want to throw up anymore, my nerves quelled as I pulled my stripper luggage out the back seat of the car, I then proceeded to tell myself that I have been doing this for quiet awhile, nothing new, everything old. I just had performance anxiety . . . I need to produce up to my standards, all the pressure all put on myself. I walked through the first of the two doors, god . . . I always wanted to know why the hell these places needed to smell so bad. Stale smoke, dirty carpets, drapes, food, cheap perfume, liquor and all that other stuff. I hated that my hair smelled so clean, in fact I hated usually at that moment that I was so clean. It didn’t deserve me. Then through the second door, inside into the club, complete blackness and neon lights, negotiates have now begun. I walked by “April” she was already on stage dancing for some pathetic soul who is already on his third beer, not spending a dollar. “Ok” here were go . . . “Hey April,” she responds, “Hey ZJ” and we both very loudly over the music playing, it was always something like “Weezer” or the “Deftones” say simultaneously . . . “the early bird gets the worm”, then would laugh this time of day was the walking dead hour.
I changed usually it was something to the line of this, a black lacie and knee socks and mary jane platforms. Or it was a bikini top booty shorts, knee socks and fingerless gloves. You get the gist of the look that I was going for. Day girls and night girls . . . very different species. Day girls some cases if not all, used to be night girls and have stayed a little to long, they tend to have more real life responsibilities then night girls. Days girls like the anonymity, days are a slower pace not money wise, energy wise. Day girls sometimes get a bad rap of not being super hot, Um . . . ok, I am and so are a bunch of the girls that I worked with. Day girls are the ones that you don’t want to work with because chances are they are fucking hustlers, they can make the money during the day. I have heard so many bitches complain that they tried the day shift and there was “no money” . . . isn’t that always the case? No bitch, you just don’t have the skills to work men that aren’t stupid drunk, and if you are a day girl, you need to have good social skills or be super manipulative, luckily I have both. Day shifts can drag for hours with no one, literally no one then, that some one always comes in. It was a Tuesday when Jamie came in, it was our first meeting. Jamie was about 26, very short and off, not in a bad way off just maybe he was on the slow side. He approached me while I was on stage and we started talking, he told me he lived at home with his parents and he worked at Stop &Shop unloading boxes part time. Maybe he was autistic, I am not sure. Jamie told me he loved books so that prompted me to tell him that I was an English major in school. I made his day, he made mine as we walked over to the lapdance area aka my office. He explained that he was a writer, I said that I write from time to time as well. He beamed, he asked if he could write me a story. I keep this going and going, mind you we are on lapdance number 5, I still am completely clothed. “Hey Jamie, I don’t want to interrupt you but I just want to make sure you are enjoying yourself, do you mind if I collect some money, we have just been having so much fun, I almost lost track of time.” LIE. “Oh my gosh Zoe Jane, is this enough”, he hands me 300 dollars. Sure is. We keep “dancing”. He asks if I will be here next Tuesday, yes I say, I try to get him to give me a specific time. This is not for him, this is for me so I can gauge the way my day will go. I always had people come in and see me early in the day as early as 12:30. Then I would have already made substantial amount of money, I will be in a good mood the remainder of the day. Nobody wants the girl who isn’t making money, everyone then wants what is hot and when your on your on. It is so much easier when you don’t have to give such a shit, people like you more, as a dancer you are easier to deal with . . . you actually then love your job.
Jamie came back the following Tuesday and every Tuesday following that until I went into hiatus. He walked in and gave me a hug and handed me a folder. I asked him if we should go talk somewhere that was quieter since there were important documents and all. We walked into the Champagne Room, we booked a half hour I charged him 450. This meant that my take was 350 the club taking 100 of it. I sat down, he sat down and pulled his story out. Still completely clothed, he read me a story about “me” . . . “Zoe Jane” and referred to her as “Tink” she was this nymph that was not like all the other strippers in this weird fantasy land. “Tink” was the good one . . . here comes just one of the people that I would meet that told me I was the stripper with the heart of gold. The story, as the months went on elaborated, I began editing his story and giving him ideas. . . I had to keep this thing going. He started writing stories of all the girls in the club, the bouncers, bartenders, if you could think of a person in that club I had him write about it. It was our “secret” sometimes the stories were not nice. I didn’t give a shit what they were about as long as he continued seeing me. How strange it must have been to see us in the back room now with a laptop, me in stripper clothes sitting with this man/child brain storming. I guess I brought some kind of comfort, I let people be who they really were or wanted to be. I let this guy be the light of the world, as if his writing were Jack Kerouac, he always felt so good when he left. Yes I know he was paying me, I think he worked his part time just to pay for me. I never once got naked, he told his parents that he wanted me to go to his house for Sunday dinner. Jesus . . . I know sad . . . if people only knew half the shit that went on in there. I am even a walking clothed contradiction in the strip club. Really? How the fuck have I made it this far.