Saturday, September 26, 2009

After Hours At The Auto Spa

One light glows from somewhere in the back, illuminating the box of money that sits on the owner’s lap. Business is business. His eyes seem dull, but his fingers contradict him; working swiftly over the bills, collecting large notes, tearing off tickets, and handing out change. Not far from the owner, the bartender is leaning over the counter. She is almost spilling out of a black bustier and looks bored. She is quite possibly bored, for she is no novice at her art. And she sees all of this action regularly. She makes no effort at hospitality. The venue does not require it. From across the room, she could see Diamond spread over one of the rented plastic chairs like clothes after an undressing. Diamond is unclothed. She sends her toes to each corner of the equator. Her guest is thrilled in some kind of stoned-faced way. Barefaced. He releases a flash of bills in her direction and slides lower in his seat. Diamond reaches down to the wet concrete to retrieve her money. She resumes her entertainment of the spectator. Skillfully. They sit across from each other like opponents or a young couple on a date. It’s a symbiosis, a mutual understanding. No love is lost between the two, no love found.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Friday Night At The Auto Spa

Newspapers cover the glass through which a spy might peep and take the full gulp of his pleasure without paying. At the door, a man sits in a swiveling chair collecting an entrance fee, watching the burly bouncers at their work, looking mean and meaning it, and rocking from left to right. He informs an acquaintance that there are more dancers than people inside.

The Hip Hop is hard and heavy, inducing some of the seemingly solemn patrons to dance. But they think the better of it. Instead, they stand shoulder to shoulder with the other men. They form a line along the walls. They sway in discord, but in agreement with the rhythm. They sit in rented plastic chairs with backs reclined and legs splayed, sipping beer from dripping bottles.

Diamond is what she is called in the dark. Diamond is the name that she has chosen for herself. Diamond is announced as she enters nude and tattooed five, maybe six times in greenish blue ink. She holds a bottle between three fingers as she walks thick-bodied to the makeshift drywall stage. She puts the balls of her fists on her knees and shimmies her lower parts to the ground.

Diamond is dancing in the dark. The men swarm the square to look. Some female customers have also come to see, swaying their heads with arms folded; looking at Diamond’s pink stilettos with arms folded; staring, as the back of her thighs meet the heels; throwing dollar bills her way, finally. Over the speakers, the Deejay chastises the financially reserved.

Diamond is making a goalpost out of her legs for the money. She turns them into a trembling brown and there is a wave of sound from the crowd. The bills feel like dead leaves falling on her skin. The sensation makes her move with more conviction. She keeps her eyes on the ceiling; she lets them slide to the wall; she notices the paint peeling. Someone in the crowd cries, “Bitch, goddamn!”