Tag Archives: love

“Heartbeat”- BORDERLANDS Excerpt #11

I wait tables. Customers come, customers go. A dollar, two dollars, more, less, sometimes none. Black pants, polo tucked into a black belt, white t-shirt, black socks. After a group leaves I kneel half way in the booth, half way out, looking out the window. The sun sets into the interstate causeway. Trains bearing the same graffiti I saw months ago pass by, headed west, headed east. Dead flies lay on their backs, black husks arrayed into a dust covered insect graveyard.

 

In another universe we might have met somewhere else. I would have noticed her curves, her eyes, her lips, the way both work together when she wants your attention. She’s not a beauty but there’s something pretty about her. A realism to her. I meet Aurora and it doesn’t take me long to realize I want her. I want her body because I know I shouldn’t. She’s a dancer, a stripper, a mother, she’s someone’s wife, someone else’s girlfriend. Still, I want her.

 

“It’s complicated,” Aurora tells me as we speak of her husband, “It’s a pain.”

“But you guys are technically together,” I inquire.

“We’re separated. That’s about as good as it gets right now. But let’s not talk about him.”

“What about you and Suit?”

“Life is good. He still gets irritated he’s not allowed in here. So.” A few weeks prior Suit was kicked out of the club for his actions regarding a situation with Aurora. Now he’s only allowed in when she’s not there.

“People don’t really seem to like Suit.”

“I would imagine. I don’t care,” Aurora giggles.

“Other people bring their boyfriends in. Autumn and them.”

“I have no idea. Should I know why? Should I care why? When I’m not working it’s time for relationships and- do you have the ashtray?” she asks another girl.

 

Whether she was meant to be or not, Aurora’s crafted herself into a unique sexpot. Five thousand dollars worth pumped to make already impressive breasts larger. Tattoos line her waist and back like ink-jewelry. Microdermal anchors go from her collar bone down to the middle of her sternum. A necklace of sparkling aurora-borealis colors. In the semi-darkness, beneath the black light, the eye might make one believe it is a standard decoration instead of gems punctured into her skin.

 

“How do you feel for these poor assholes who, don’t want to take a stripper home but, genuinely fall for [them]?” I ask Aurora.

“There’s a big difference there. Yeah, I don’t feel bad for guys who come in here expecting to go home with a stripper. I, I think they’re arrogant and have the least chance of getting a dancer, stripper without money outside of the club.

“Now, a guy who comes in with the intention of spending a little bit of money and locking eyes with a girl and going ‘Oh my god, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever have her’, I would feel more sorry for him if he doesn’t get her than I would for a guy who’s like ‘Oh yeah, I’m built, I have a six pack, a twelve pack, I’m bad ass, I’ve got the tips of my hair dyed’.”

“What do you mean ‘feel sorry for them’?”

“It would make me feel bad because it’s-” Aurora pauses, touches her feet in pain, “Stripper shoes.

“It’s sincere. Their feelings are sincere. They’re not in it for the sex. They, you know, they honestly click with the conversation, you know? That makes me feel worse than some guy coming in here and going ‘Oh yeah, I’m taking one of you home tonight’. Fucking no you’re not. I wouldn’t date you if you were the last guy on earth. Simply because of [their] attitude.”

 

Some people would like to demonize strippers, create succubus out of them, say that any woman willing to take her clothes off must be willing to go further for a couple more dollars. Whores, trollops, harlots, sluts, hookers, every term, any term, a human being willing to go to great lengths to remind everyone, including themselves, that someone else is seen as greater trash.

And a dancer will be offended by the mere idea that they’ve ever gone home with a customer. Never meeting for dates. “Only whores do that” and sometimes they imply the “whore” is right across the room. Ask the “whore” the same question and they’ll accuse the real “whore” at the bar. An endless game. There is an animosity towards these “whores” that is as fierce as the misunderstood hatred of those outside the nighttime world.

Yet most of the women meet their male counterparts for life or the moment in the club. When your existence revolves around a place it is bound to happen. Isis, Trouble, Satin, these women all met their husbands in the club- some of the men were co-workers, others customers. Brooklyn, Vanessa, Sadie, Belle, Shie, Tessa, Nightmare and others have met and dated a customer or someone they work with at some point. Some instances result in love, in children, in long term investments. While others burst into proverbial flames, leaving both parties bitter, eager to let loose the injustices they feel were thrown upon them.

For the most part the girls are tight-lipped about these romances. Secrets guarded beneath the plates of their psychological stripper armor. Aurora is an exception. The other dancers look at her situation with up-turned noses and speak of it with disgust. Still married but separated, Aurora dates Suit, a man she met at the club. In a world where their skin is for sale in limited amounts, many of the girls attach great pride to fidelity and monogamy. Prostitution is weeded out, disgraced, put on display and then eradicated. Extra-martial relationships receive similar treatment. And flagrant showings of male-female sexual interaction between the dancers and any male, customer or otherwise, triggers a reaction.

“What they do is their business,” a girl tells me, sitting straight in her chair, “but when [Aurora] is blowing [Suit] out in the parking lot when we all get out of work, that makes us all look bad. Separated or not, that’s fucked up.”

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In Fort Collins & “Never Ever Did”- BORDERLANDS Excerpt #10

Update 4/13/2012: Back in Fort Collins, living in the nicest apartment I’ve ever lived in as an adult or a child. Things are changing, jobs are changing. Still a piercing apprentice, still writing. Said I’d never come back to this town, told people how much I hated it, how fucking stupid it was.

Now look at me. Made a motherfucking liar of myself.

Oh well. Now read what you came here to read.

 

CSU Campus outside my balcony.

———-

I never notice her until she brushes passed. Any interaction with her is rare. She keeps to herself. Nightmare in her pewter cloak, shrouded like a figment in the back of the strip club. Ignoring the world, face buried deep in the pages of a mass market paperback about rogue angels and demons who harbor human emotions, she looks as if she’s as comfortable in her lingerie and high heels as she is at home in sweats and a t-shirt. Anytime we make eye contact or I talk to her I feel as if I’m bothering her. Her answers are stunted, her gaze is cold, her voice disinterested. She scares me a little.

“If there’s one girl in here,” Pumpkin says to me one night as we sit at his throne, smoking his menthols, “If there’s one girl in here, if you ever wanted to date one, it’s her.”

“It’s who?” I ask.

“Her,” Pumpkin points his finger to a six foot woman with a pixie haircut wrapped in a cloak model walking to the bathroom.

“Her? What? Why? No way.”

Pumpkin laughs his hearty laugh and shakes his head.

“Nightmare?”

“Yeah, dude.”

“She’s not my type. Girls like Vanessa and Aurora are.”

“Stay as far a fucking way from them as you can. If you ever decide to go after a girl in this place that’s the one.”

“Not happening. Besides, I’m pretty sure she hates me.”

“I have this knot in my right ankle,” Nightmare tells me, showing me from beneath a long blue dress. It’s the kind of outfit 9th century nobility wore, showing only the shape of her toned shoulders and narrow hips.

“Why not get a massage then?”

“They’re like callouses. If I get a massage it will make it worse.”

On stage Nightmare is a dark liquid. Darkness seems to envelop even the neon underwear she sports. She can be slow and sexual, quick and seductive. Her motions and movements, her choices, her actions, all of it is filled to the brim with forced symbolism, creating imagery to go with her name- the outfits, the songs she dances to. Everything is crafted to make you remember her name. To invoke nightmares. During the song that is her namesake she halts at the end of the chorus, arching her back as she lays across the stage or leans against the pole and while the band sings she lip syncs, reminding us all.

“OOOOOOO, YOUR FUCKING NIGHTMARE!”

“My grandmother made this for my wedding. My ex wore his Air Force uniform,” they were married in Cheyenne. A small ceremony. They had met on the internet through a social network where you rate other people and hopefully get their attention.

As Nightmare walks by me her scent reminds me of childhood. A Macy’s or Victoria’s Secret memory from my mother’s bedroom. I’m taken back to her arrays of perfumes and lotions lined across the white counter top, reflected back by the large mirrors latched to the walls. Memories of when I was young enough to wander in on my mother naked, her breasts hanging down as she hits her forties. Her blonde hair up in a tan towel as she spends hours making herself up to go to the super market or hang out around the house.

What an inappropriate vision to be conjured, especially by a woman in a fucking cloak.

“You have bedroom eyes,” Bailey tells Nightmare across the back table, smiling, teeth showing like a shy concubine.

“I what?” Nightmare wraps her cloak tight around her slender body and takes a drag from her cigarette.

“Bedroom eyes,” Bailey smiles wider.

Vanessa pays no attention to the conversation, drawing a picture of a buffalo out of squiggles and shitty lines.

Nightmare and her ex split in the winter, the divorce itself still floating in the atmosphere and cumulonimbus clouds that stretch from Wyoming to Alaska where she relocated to be with him.

She would find messages and texts between him and old ex’s or women he’d met on dating websites. Exchanges about how he wanted to put his tongue inside their cunts, about pulling their hair while fucking them up against walls.

“One day we went to buy perfume,” she tells me in the same uninterested voice she uses to tell any tale or vocalize any statement. From the tone she might as well be talking about groceries. “[He] tells me he likes how the perfume smells to him, but that he doesn’t need [a scent] because my natural aroma attracted him. I knew it was over then.”

One night the wind is horrendous to the point where they close I-25 and 85 and those of us who live in Colorado wait for news, sit around wondering if we’ll be able to get home or if we’ll be stuck in Cheyenne. The club is slow, most customers already gone. It’s only the girls, the bartender, DJ and myself. Bailey tells me if things stay shitty we can get a room together.

“I don’t have money for a room,” I say, embarrassed.

“It’s okay, dude. Don’t worry about it.”

I sit around, waiting, wondering what will happen and then she comes up out of nowhere.

“Hey,” Nightmare says, hovering over me, five inches taller than me in her heels.

“Hey.”

“You can stay at my place if you don’t want to drive home.”

“I don’t know. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Well, it’s up to you,” she walks off, back to work.

I think it over for about an hour and I’m not sure why I say yes. I find her at the bar.

“Okay, I’ll stay with you.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, why not?”

“Okay,” she tells me her address and tells me to meet her there after the club closes., “But don’t tell anyone. No one.”

“Yeah, dude, I know.”

Fate sealed. Road taken. No going back now.

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“Welcome to the Border/ Love & _________”- BORDERLANDS Excerpt #8

I come to the border and I know I’m in the West. Sure, in Colorado there were mountains and plains, foxes playing on lawns with the carcasses of rodents, hippy girls on bikes in black leggings, medicinal marijuana and liberal lifestyles that will cost you a fucking fortune- but once I get to the sign with the big blue and the silhouette of the cowboy on the bronco I know I’m someplace else. Wyoming brings an eastward wind that can topple semi trailers, cowboy bars where bastards with guns at their hips and knives in their boots smoke while watching girls in sequins and rhinestones dance to country and buffaloes range only where man says they can roam.

The sky opens up. I see everything. I see nothing. Blue skies and clouds and plains that stretch on. The rails run north to south, south to north, the box cars filled with coal and lumber, cars and cattle, graffiti and engineers.

Cheyenne is a city that can’t decide what it wants to be. You enter town either on the outskirts or the ghetto and both are one in the same. The buildings are all worn by wind, nothing pristine. Everything looks as if the pioneer city planners took wood, gunpowder and grit and tried to instill it into the architecture for years to come. Still the downtown area appears to be trying in failed attempts to retain the Ol’ West that mankind built.

The first day I spend in Cheyenne Nightmare and I go out to breakfast. She orders a burrito filled with bacon and eggs she doesn’t finish and fruit drinks with over preserved strawberries at the bottom which she spoons into her mouth and brandishes at me in an immature fashion, letting the red chunks sit on her tongue. I shake my head and laugh and eat my pancakes, realizing for the first time how blue her eyes really are and how something about her beauty is missing in the darkness and bathed in black light and smoke residue.

***

It’s an interesting feeling, falling in love for the first time as an adult. I don’t want to accept it, I deny it and beat around the bush and when she doesn’t bring it up I let myself lay next to her and take in the smell of her perfume, a scent that will haunt me for who knows how long. An aroma that will live on in my nightmares and dreams alike.

I lay next to her. It’s about two or three or four in the morning. I’m not sure. I can’t sleep. All moments with her are surreal. Half the time I’m so happy all I want to do is kiss her awake and the other half I’m so scared it will all be gone when I awaken I don’t dare slumber. Every time I try to pass out I turn over and see the curves of her body, the pristine shape of her hips, the bubble of her ass that fits just right in my hands. She’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and with her asleep in my arms I know that every woman that comes after this I’ll have to lie to. I’ll tell them they’re beautiful, but as I lay with them I’ll think of her. As I enter the warmth of their cunts her name will enter my mind and visions of her smiling wider than I’ve ever seen her on stage will fill the space behind my eyes only my subconscious sees. I’m naïve enough to think that I’m the only person who has ever seen her look so happy, so content.

And then in her sleep she turns over and grapples me, holding me around the waist and pulling herself close. She puts her forehead against my chest. I freeze. I don’t know what to do because I don’t want to wake her, so I put my arms around her and even now I don’t want to admit I love her. With my fingers I stroke her back, the feel of her skin against me making me tired. I don’t want this to end. Not ever. Please, don’t let it end.

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“Motherhood, Part I”- BORDERLANDS Excerpt #3

Love them. Love women. Love their curves. Watch them sway and bounce their asses and pop out each cheek. Want them. Look them over. Stare from face to stomach to arms to tits to hips to legs to calves to feet to cunt and love them.

If you cannot love them you are already lost and I pity you for this. To understand them you must want them. Any who tell you otherwise lie. They know not women and they know not how sweet they smell or the looks in their eyes when they know they hold you in the palms of their perfumed hands and how they nod, acknowledging they can now take you into their mouth, chew you up and swallow you bones and balls and cum and all.

Once I asked Tarin about being a mother and she gave me a list that involved every adjective imaginable.

“Stressful. Tiring. Amazing. Fun. Hilarious. Hard,” Tarin’s voice grew more upbeat with every word. She smiled wider. The darkness of The Den remained but in the back by the mirrors and the billiard tables light as if reflected from the sun by the snow radiated from the plush armchair she lounged upon. Everything she said accented by the West and the world she had immersed herself within. “You’ve got to be creative sometimes. Pick and choose your battles, you know? You can’t win everything.”

“Do you enjoy it?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she beamed, “It’s amazing!”

“Was he planned?”

“No. He was a total accident. Tried to get an abortion. Texas laws [are] different than Colorado so I was too far along. So,” her mood dropped but she perked up quick, “Oh, kind of had to have him then. It was, like, nine months of making myself believe I had to be a mom. There was no more fuck off time. I am now responsible for another human being and I have to teach him things and-,” Tarin paused and contemplated, drawing in breath.

“It was very stressful. I hated my life. I came up to Colorado when I was thirteen, fourteen weeks pregnant and I moved in with my mom and lived off the money that I had. Yeah. Crazy. Crazy life.

“But it has made me so much stronger and it’s made me open my heart and my mind to so much more of life that I think people without children forget and pass up. It’s the simple things that keep us going every day and that [make] life enjoyable.

“I also think I had him for a reason. I was going down a very destructive path. I was an alcoholic. Bad. I woke up in the morning to drink a drink,” Tarin laughed, nervous and truthful. She repeated the same noise over each time she attempted to make fun of her past. “There was at least a liter of vodka gone a day, easily. I liked to drink.

“So, I think it all happened for a reason.”

I could put the amount of times I’ve seen Tarin act professional, with her back straight and swaying her luscious hips beneath a tight black dress, on one side of Justice’s scale and then take the times I’ve seen her mock jerking off a cock she doesn’t have, shouting out loud that she’s not making any money and that men should stop sword fighting and pay attention to her tits, put them on opposite sides of each other and the apparatus would even out.

Tarin was nearing her thirties but the way she acted with her gamine features and curling blonde hair I would never have knew unless she was so honest about her age. On the best of days or under the worst of circumstances a smile managed to creep across her heart-shaped pixie face. Everything at The Den was a joke. Always she’d tell me she didn’t want to be there, that she’d rather do hair or even serve tables but she’d always be out dancing. With bills to pay, schooling for herself to fund and a son at home, working a job you’ve worked well for almost a decade seems realistic.

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