Friday, January 3, 2014

strippers and strangers and stories

i've been thinking a lot about strippers and strangers lately. strippers and strangers in the way that good stories, good stories that the people you know tell you, the stories that you can hardly believe are true, but they have the pictures and the bruises to prove it, are made. i am sick of stories where nothing happens. i am sick of reading hemingway, sick of reading salinger, and i have never ever liked faulkner. give me flannery o'connor any day. give me a story where something actually happens; not stories where characters just look at each other and think about what has happened or what they want to happen and are too weak to compel to happen.

last night i had a dream that i was at a pool party at this party that was right across the street from the house i lived in. the house where the pool party was at was okay; the pool was big and dirty and screened. i could see my own pool across the street; it had these beautiful birds of paradise and succulent plants all around it and the bottom of the pool was black tile; it looked like a lagoon. no one was there.

the pool where everyone was, everyone being everyone, like everyone i've ever met, even the ones that are all but ghosts now, even the real life ghosts and the ones in the grave, the people that are all colored photographs and sloppy grins, the ones that talked to much and gossiped to much, that drank too much and we liked to fight too much, the ones that listened to nofx and would skateboard off the roof. the ones that chained smoked and whined when the right girl showed up, and the girls. the girls were even better. the girls all bright; long black hair and lipstick, heavy eyeliner and menthol cigarettes. all those people were there. and it was rowdy and messy and fun and it ended when one girl brought these portuguese soccer players to the party; they all wore yellow speedos and then got naked, swimming in that big dirty pool like it was theres. taken on those long haired lip sticked chain smoking girls like they were theres. 

the party ended when those portugese soccer playing strangers showed up. no one could compete with those strippers, those bodies those accents.

a few weeks ago, i had a dream about a party i was going to. we were walking through town and country, walking to the other side of hanley road, by jackson springs, and tim said we had to stop at this house. the house was stucco and beat and everything was chalky and white washed and covered in weeds. tim went inside, and i was hot, so i went swimming. after diving in, this giant stranger shows up. he reminded me of this straggly guy i used to know that kept a machete under his mattress; he was a real paranoid. all his friends threw their shoes on his electric lines above his house, and it always creeped me out being there. his mom put wall to wall mirrors in the living room, wood paneling, and chain smoked in the house. she wore tank tops that stretched out in funny ways and she never wore a bra and she never said a word. the guy in my dream was that kind of stranger. when he saw me coming up for air, he pushed my head back under water; he tried to hold me there, but he couldn't. i ripped his head off his neck and spit in his face. i was that kind of stranger.

when i was a stranger in omaha a while back; when i dyed my hair red to look like a stranger, one of my friends called to tell me that one of my old friends was on the girl's gone wild bus, doing wild things on tape.

a few years back, when i was dead set to move to new york, i devoured biographies written by strippers in seattle that did peep shows in glass bowls to pay for college, and once they received their degree in sociology, they still stripped. at the time, i made coffee on the strip. i worked across from a strip club called the Liquor Box that was first women nude and then became a gay strip club for nude dudes, but the club never put any rainbows up outside, so patrons got a little upset. it was down the street from the Mons Venus and the 2001 Space Odyssey, and even though i've lived in florida my whole life, i always wonder what it's like inside that space ship. i once saw my neighbor standing outside of that club. it was right after he dropped his wife off at the airport. he didn't answer the phone. he was that kind of stranger.

i went to the Mons once. the strippers ignored me and they only served water, and my friend got a lot of lap dances that didn't look too fun for anyone. it was nothing like Madonna's "Open Your Heart" or those amazing scenes in Flash Dance. it wasn't even sad or tragic or violent in the way that stripper stories tend to go. it was just there.

i mean, the girls were okay looking; they were blank slates. the moves were okay; the music was bad. it just happened. there was nothing about anything to it. they might as well have been in a hemingway or salinger or faulkner story. it may as well have been like that. david lynch or even vincent gallo could have made something of it, but no kind of stranger like that was there.

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