I was working at the Dawnrose occasionally but mostly the Godfather with sometimes double set at Shepherd Park. The Park was the place to be, really, though a step down in class from the businessman's Godfather. There was always a full house, loads of tips, grand applause and it was run by management like theater. As it should be. I rarely danced at the Starlight, though closer to home and on the way from the Dawnrose. There was something about the place that made me cringe. Not that I couldn't be comfortable in a house full of bikers. Most were my friends in a pretense type of way. The commeraderie of bikers is a mainstay in middle america. They were there to protect me, they said. Or something similar and rather ludicrous.
But I only stopped by the Starlight every now and then to pick up Robin and drive her home or to cop. We used to party a lot at Robin and Clint's place. But the Starlight was never a major stomping ground. If they saw me in the crowd and one of the dancers didn't show, they'd ask me to fill in. I'd jump up on the bar and do it once in a while. Tips weren't so bad, pay was good and the audience kept me high. Milkman hung there. He said he was in love with me. Sent me a ticket to North Carolina to stay in his trailer he shared with his sister and propose. They didn't call him Milkman for nothing. I have no idea why he said he loved me and sent me that ticket. I never slept with him. He cut his coke with milk sugar. That's not why I didn't sleep with him. That's how he got his biker name.
I stopped by the Starlight one night on the way home from the Dawnrose. Went inside. Greetings, salutations, hugs all around. Eyes up and down me. I was recognized. Upsidedown Debbie was on the stage. She always embarrassed me, though I don't know why. I wasn't her. I didn't wear 50's corsets and white stillettos. Her legs flailed around up to the lights, her head on the stage, her hands like they were trying to push the box away from her. She was upside down. Totally straight and upside down. I had no idea why she was there. Neither did she.
Milkman didn't show that night. I didn't know very many others, though weed and green were passed freely in a rather indiscreet manner. Smoking green made my legs something like a foot tall and I became a midget. I never could figure out why I smoked that s HiT. Everybody else did. Maybe that was it. Who knows?
I went downstairs to the dressing room and shared a line or two or three with some non-descript participants, comparing g-strings and garters. I called it the Pit. The Starlight dressing room was pitiful but at least it was in a remote location. Ronda wasn't there that night. I'm glad she missed this. Neither was Robin. Robin would have freaked if she had seen what happened.
After a few mirror slices on the razor blade from a cut off straw, I went back upstairs and the twins were on stage. Barbie doll girls with a choreographed routine dancing to BeeGees sleeze. I couldn't believe they took the gig. They were out of place any club they did. Throw back chorus girls with no training. I don't think either one of them ever had a pointe shoe on in their lives.
Time to go home. I'd had enough. I ordered another vodka tonic, bid John, the classical piano teacher bartender dude adieu,then went outside to leave. Hugged the doorman on the way. He opened the door for me. Gallant.
Oh, so there were a bunch standing in the parking lot! Very cool! It was Clint and Smokey and a couple others whose faces I remembered from Phil's Pool Hall or from Yesterday's Inn. I couldn't remember. I had a bit of a buzz.
"Hey, Do! Come over here! I've got something for you!," somebody said and I don't know who but I went and gave sweet Clint a big hug, said hey to Smokey and stood there listening to the banter. Everybody was joking, carrying on, passing a joint of green back and forth and it stunk like formaldhyde which was probably part of what it was to begin with but a took a few hits and tried to excuse myself.
"Gotta go now," I said. "You all take care, ok? Have a good one." I started walking to my car and Smokey said come back he wanted to tell me something and I did but just then, when I wasn't paying much attention because how can you pay attention to everything all at once, some college guy came outta the club and Smokey called him over, too.
"Hey YOU!," Smokey shouted. "Come on over here." So the guy sauntered over like he was being very cool to be called over to the parking lot place where all the regulars were hanging out and he said, "Hey! Thanks! How ya doing?"
and Smokey, he was like really f u c k i n g ripped and he asked the guy, "Did you like the show? Want to smoke some of this?" and the guy had no clue what was being passed to him but he took a few drags off the formaldahyde CHit and said thanks and said he had to go home but Smokey, well Smokey didn't like his ingratitude or something and got really pissed and said, "You mutha f uCk a! Where the F U C K do you think you're going?" and I was like... OhSH iT... what's coming down? and tried to vacate the parking lot like really goddam quick but unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough and Smokey took the dude by the collar and pulled him real close to him and screamed, "You can't leave NOW, mutha F UcK a! Where the F U C K do you think you're going?"
well, this guy was like shaking in his f u c kin g boots and so was I and I wanted to run because I could tell Smokey just wasn't right... something was like WAY wrong .... so the guy said, "I'm sorry. I have to go" and turned to go and got into his mustang like 4 cars down from where we were standing next to Clint's truck and he put the key into the ignition and it started up...... wwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrr- uhhhhhhREVVVVV... and when he started to back up all f UcK ing hell broke loose
because this is when Smokey hit the parking lot.... he opened up the back of Clint's truck and got out a tire iron and started chasing the car all over the parking lot, jumping in front of it, playing dodge with it, laughing like a banshee... and it was NUTS!.... Clint and I ran to duck in between other cars in the lot and watched the movie... Smokey assigned himself the lead role
eventually, he stopped the car dead in its tracks and BAM BAM BAM hit the fuC King windshield with the tire iron and then BAM BAM BAM smashed the goddamn driver's side door in and the window, pulled the dude outta the goDda mn what-used-to-be-beautiful mustang and pushed him up against his own car then
POW POW POW... smashed the goddamn tire iron into his face, his glasses history, blood fu c k ing everywhere... blood FUc king goddamn everywhere, the poor dude crying while Smokey hit the He llPiss out of his spine while he lay in his own excregoddammSH i T.
and goddamn it, this isn't the only reason i stopped working in the bars, but i was reallly glad Milkman didn't show up because my pockets woulda been filled with bags of white powder snow when the cops showed up and they did... yeah, they did, Clint and I still lying between parked cars hiding from the fallout.
i never knew what happened to that college kid. Ambulance came. That's all I saw. Clint says to me right after, "Hey Doe... my back's hurting. Call my lawyer."
Smokey disappeared before the authorities arrived and I haven't heard from him since. Sent Clint a Christmas card several years ago with my phone number in it. He called and left a message. "Yeah. I survived. What of it?"