"Death on the Wild Side's" real Lori revisited
by Jack Corbett

My head is throbbing, not too much but with no aspirin in the house it has taken that dull ache that serves as a reminder that I should be staying out of the clubs for a week to regroup, catch up on my sleep, do some writing and tend to things I should have been taking care of a long time ago. Once again I stayed up too damn late and clouded my head with too many beers. Bill and I closed Dollies at 4:00 AM this morning, then stayed out in the club's parking lot talking till five after which I drove home with the top down in the Miata and my shirt off as I watched the sun come up on the horizon. Today I've gone into a funk and tonight Anna and Joey are driving down to the farm to spend a couple days, Anna having worked as a dancer at Dollies Playhouse. But that was the past and Anna is no longer a dancer. But it was last weekend that tore me up...lasting four days and four nights of drinking and clubbing. Almost too much, those four days and nights might have changed everything.

Pl/One was flying his own airplane to an airport near me and Philip21 was driving his Saab down from Western Indiana to be with Pl/One, some of the girls in our group, and whichever guys showed up in the clubs. It was Friday and Pl/One first landed at the small airport in Litchfield which was only twenty miles from me. But when they told him they had no hanger space for his plane, he called me to have me pick him up at Springfield which has a much larger airport and hanger space still available for private aircraft.

Pl/One must have landed just before I drove up since I found him tending to his single engined Grumman a hundred yards from the hangar. After looking over his plane we went inside where he told the attendants what he wanted done for his plane--fresh gas and hangar space for several days. They handled it very quickly asking few questions and not asking for a credit card or forms to fill out. It was that simple. The plane and a bill would be ready for him when he returned and we were in the Miata within minutes.

Pl/One had a wish list of the girls he either wanted to meet or to become better acquainted with in the Metro East Clubs. There was Nipples or Lori Mellon of course. When he had met her before she was either crying about how I had destroyed her life by publishing my novel or going off on me after she followed us to Dollies when she completed her shift at a nearby club. It had been a vintage Lori performance. That is Lori at her worse. Then there was Alabama, the young 21 year old Dollies dancer who had looks and personality to spare. Pl/One had met her briefly on his last trip down when Philip21, Alabama, Anna, Dawg, Sher, Calli, Joey, all met at the Chinese restaurant before heading off to Dollies. Alabama was only 20 and had just been temporarily fired from Dollies for underage drinking so she couldn't spend a lot of time with the group. Nevertheless she made an unforgettable impression on the group as she sat in the restaurant waiting for us in her nun's outfit. This was to be Pl/One's and Philip21's first time meeting each other in real life. It was not to be their last. Marilyn Mynxxx had always been a favorite of Pl/One's and he had met her when she was dancing at Miss Kittys on his last visit. She would soon become a favorite of Philip21's as well. He wanted to see Anna again. Who wouldn't.

Driving from Springfield to my farm I had one thing on my mind and that was getting Pl/One to C-Mowes as early as possible hoping to find Lori there and still sober. Too many times I had gone to C-Mowes late in the afternoon only to find Lori Mellon drunk and far off her form. We put Pl/One's luggage in a bed room upstairs. Meanwhile Philip had called leaving a message on my answering machine that he was on his way down and would meet us either at C-Mowes, Miss Kitty's or Dollies. I showed Pl/One around my place, then we packed up our digital cameras, laptop computers, and a few things we would need at the motel. With its small trunk the Miata barely held it all but we were soon on our way to find Lori.

She was there and it wasn't long before both Philip21 and Bill joined us. Lori was on--alert and with it, not just a dancer but our hostess. And when Lori is on there is no one who can compare to her. She asked us to pull two tables together in the back corner where Lori and I used to sit when we were first getting to know each other. But that was five or six years ago. She sat with us for the next four hours, leaving us only to do a private or two with customers. She made short work of those privates, rejoining us immediately. There was none of this loitering around the dressing room crap with Lori. She was always visible somewhere in the room and usually she was with us. The others went to the stage while Lori was dancing and got what I would call a normal or traditional lap dance. Lori would sit on each man's lap and put her arms around him as she thrust her hips against his lap. Finally I bit the bullet and went up there. Now, I don't do privates and I don't do lap dances but I figured this was a special occasion. Lori was treating us like kings and not making much money so it was the least I could do to show my appreciation.

I am thinking of just standing there in front of her stage, then giving her a five. Main thing is to show her I like her dancing and that we all appreciate her being one of us this afternoon. But no....Lori has to motion me toward a chair in front of the stage. And I just don't allow the girls to do lap dances on me although I've done a couple on them as a little joke. What the hell...We are all together and it's a special occasion and besides...it's Lori. If any of the other girls should ask me about it later I will just say..."She was the main character in my novel, is a special friend and this is different". I am looking at Lori how and she's motioning me to pull my chair back and to lean backwards in the chair. I haven't the slightest on what she's got in mind so I just do it. Suddenly she lowers herself on the stage almost lying on her chest and sticks her head in my lap. Then she begins to run her mouth all over my lap while paying particular attention to the more sensitive zones.

I didn't ask for this. Sure, I've been off the wall, doing lap dances on girls, giving them my tip jar and sometimes collecting, and doing the pole in front of the camera. Lori was bringing me back to my physical self...that part of me wanting a woman and it just had to be her doing it instead of the other girls who I've known by the dozen. I thought of doing a private with her...saying first..."Lori, let's fuck each other in the corner." She continued to rub her mouth across my privates while making comments to me about how big I was getting. It could have been anyone else and it would not have been the same but this was Lori a girl I had loved and written a book about. Suddenly the song playing on the jukebox ended and she had to climb off the stage and collect her tips.

When she finished going to each guy in the bar, collecting her dollar from each one, she sat down in my lap. She let the guys talk instinctively knowing when to talk and when to listen. But when the silence was broken she would tell stories, most of them about the things we used to do together. If one didn't know Lori and I one would not believe most of the stories but Lori and I go back five or six years and we had gotten into a lot of wild situations over that time.

Lori has a memory that just doesn't quit and today she was very focused. No attention deficit with her when she's sober. A lot of the girls have this problem. Lori might be many things but the inability to home in on what people are saying isn't one of them. We didn't have a waitress so instead of having us go to the bar for drinks Lori became our waitress, taking the money from the guys, going up to the bar and ordering, then returning the correct change to each one of us.

At C-Mowes the girls hound you for money. In turn the girls dance on the stage then after several selections are played on the jukebox they are replaced by a new dancer before they go through the room to each man for a dollar tip. We had our own group, four guys with Lori and we had much to talk about. I never tip the dancers who come up to me for their dollar. Sometimes my friends did and sometimes they didn't. When no one at the table tipped Lori reached into her wad of money and tipped the girl.

You won't see this often but that 's Lori and this is just one of the many reasons why she was the main female character in my novel, "Death on the Wild Side". She asked me to give her a book. I had given her one several years ago but she had given it to her family. I went out to the Miata and brought her a copy which she wanted me to sign. We had Pl/One, Philip21, and Bill sign the book after I finished signing it. But I did more than sign it. I wrote in it....."For Lori whom had she never existed none of us would have ever met and become friends." At least that is what I think I wrote in it. Something like that but I can't be sure since it would be a long weekend with little sleep and a lot of beer. After we all signed the novel, Lori went to the bar and had Brenda, the bartender, sign it. I liked that since Brenda goes way back with Lori and me and is now managing the club.

"I should be on the book's front cover," said Lori. "But I messed that one up. It was all my fault." I couldn't believe my ears. Lori admitting she was at fault?

For anything? It was true. Her picture should have been on the book's front cover. Several years ago I had asked her to meet me so that I could take pictures for the book's front cover but she had stood me up. Several days later I had gone to the Paradise Platinum Club and announced that she had blown it and would now be replaced by a different girl. She was sitting at a little table with a customer and I joined them an hour after I had told several people that her pictures would not appear on or in the novel.

"Get away from me," Lori hissed. "I never want to see you again." That was just like Lori--making sure something didn't happen, then blaming others when she was at fault. It all became clear later...why she didn't want her picture to be on the book's cover or to be one of the black and white photos halfway through the book. She was living with a very abusive guy and had two children by him. It was one thing to have someone write about her since she could always deny everything later but it was another thing to have her pictures in the book since this would have been an admission of complicity. He would have beaten her mercilessly over her allowing her pictures to be in the book and a lot more than once. He might have killed her. The pictures would have been an admission by Lori that what I had written about her had been true.

And it was. It was all true for we had gone out many times. Had fallen in love with each other. But there were five kids and Lori and I both knew I was not about to take on someone else's children. After all, that is how it had all started...with my going into the club and talking to Lori about the problems I had been having with my wife and step children. I didn't realize then that we would be going out a year later and I never envisioned how we would feel about each other. She was just a stripper. No one to take seriously.

Wrong. Lori was not an ordinary stripper or an ordinary woman. She was one of the best dancers in the area. She could also get into my skull like no woman before or since. I remember her in my bathrobe, sitting in my kitchen as we drank coffee together. She belonged there. No question of that. Or in my farm pond when I jumped into an inner tube with her, our bodies pressed together as we drank beer and talked. So many experiences together from doing hot tubs together in the clubs not caring who saw us, the temper tantrums, or just being. Together with only one world...our world, the rest of it so far away.

You might say she's just a dancer out to get your money. Only thing wrong with that is she never got much from me. Others commented on the chemistry. Friends of mine and other dancers. I felt it and I could feel it in her so many times. Then the book. She was suddenly on the biggest stage of her life--and had to pay the consequences. The beatings and the questions from her boyfriend. "Were you really the girl in the book?" And "Did you do all those things with him?" It separated us but I was after immortality and I wanted it for her. I never wanted to have her die...to end up in a grave with a little headstone forgotten. Because she was unforgettable.

So I wrote her off. Dealt with lots of dancers thinking it had ended. And here she was with us...with my friends from far away and she knew...she knew that she would never die in our hearts. She had become Lori Mellon, the girl in a novel, now being read everywhere. She told us to go ahead. That she wanted to be a part of it. That she had thrown her boyfriend out and that she was proud to be the girl in the book. She asked me to give her my phone number again and wanted me to have hers. I thought..."Now what do I need that for?" For what? More of the same? The recriminations. Blaming me for her problems. She gave me her phone number the next day. This time I took it.

I had to be at Dollies, six blocks away. I had told people I would be there between seven and eight. One of the guys left with me and the other two stayed with Lori. Must have gotten there around 7:30. Don't even remember who I saw or who I talked with but I saw her come in around 8. Went up to her at the bar and put my arms around her, then the two of us hand in hand going to the stage to say hi to Alabama.

We didn't stay long at Alabama's stage. Bill, Pl/One and Philip21 were at Dollies. Lori went to the back room and got on the payphone to call her baby sitter. Everyone wanted her to stay and there was no doubt she was looking forward to remaining with the group. Then, like a a lightning bolt bad news struck out of nowhere. I saw Hawk enter the room as Lori talked with the baby sitter.

"I want her out of here," he said in a loud voice. I am not sure if Lori heard him or not but I heard him loud and clear. Two weeks before I had spent five or six hours with her at C-Mowes. We had started drinking beer early...around 2 in the afternoon and by six Jade told me I was drunk and urged me to let her take me to a motel with her boyfriend following us. I had no intention of going to a motel, not when I was with Lori. Then Lori told me her brother in law was coming into C-Mowes just before 8 and that I would finally be able to meet him.

Lori and her sister had visited me from Arkansas two years ago and had spent the night. Greyghost had been with us and much of the time a woman named Luan had partied with us. Lori had called me the last time she worked at Main Street and not long before the authorities closed the club down to tell me that she was moving to Arkansas and that she wanted to see me. Dropping what I was doing I drove to the club to see her and was shocked to see a painfully thin Lori who I had not seen for several months.

Lori told me she had been put in an alcohol and drug rehab and that her sister and step mother had stepped in and done this for her. She gave me the address that she was moving to in Arkansas. I was one of the very few to get it. Two days later she was gone. We kept in touch over the phone while she was in Arkansas and I talked many times with her sisters, with her father and stepmother and her brother in law who I got along well with. She didn't dance for months, then worked for a short time in the Memphis clubs, driving over sixty miles to work. But they closed the Memphis clubs down and she commuted to the St. Louis Metro East clubs a few times. Once she called me at Dollies to tell me she was working at the French Quarter. That was the first night that I met Crazy Czech and the two of us went over to the French Quarter to meet Lori. When the place closed Lori and a girl she was dancing with followed Crazy Czech and I back to Dollies.

We didn't see much of each other but our connection was never broken. Then.....nearly a year ago Lori started working in a club close to Dollies. She had moved back to the St. Louis area. That was when she followed Pl/One and I back to Dollies when her shift ended at Chameleon. I saw her one other time a few days after that. She came into Dollies to play pool with a guy. I was sitting at the back bar going through pictures on my laptop. Took several pictures of one of the Dollies dancers in front of Lori. She came over to me and played with my leg and butt saying: "About time that you got some levis (instead of the J C Pennies jeans I used to wear). A few moments later she took my hat off my head, put it on hers, and disappeared in the ladies room wearing it. Then...a half hour later I was walking across the room as she walked towards me, our paths intercepting each other. I grabbed her and she started wrestling around with me. And god....was she strong. But she always was that.

Then months...........and no Lori. No one saw her and no one heard anything about her. Obviously she wasn't dancing in any of the St. Louis Metro East clubs. Then six months ago when we had that party for the Lost Angels group at Dollies and other clubs, Pl/One and I ended up at Pops, a bar that was open twenty-four hours a day. I didn't really want to see Lori there. We were done with each other...or so I had thought. But I did have a little score to settle with her boyfriend, who didn't work, took her money and who repeatedly beat her up. I was looking for him and I had two of my Internet buddies with me as witnesses.

Lori had become a means to an end. I knew several women who were getting beaten up by their boyfriends or husbands and Lori's boyfriend was to be my symbol of what these kind of men deserved. I had been hitting the speed bag and the heavy bag for several months......and was ready. Ready to take a man down in seconds. But that wouldn't be enough for him. He had become the figurehead for everything I hated and despised in a man. My plan was to provoke him into throwing a punch, then knock him down and punch or kick him senseless as he lay there on the floor...and hopefully before the bouncers could get to us.

Lori was playing pool along with a gal she hung with who she sometimes referred to as her sister. There were a couple derelict young guys in their crowd only a few feet away. I despised Lori's so called friend for being a snitch, a bitch, and a stupid pea brained woman. I knew she knew how I felt. Instinctively I made the right move to get Lori's boyfriend to react to me with minimal time expended. Deciding to watch Lori play pool I edged up close to her girlfriend. Moments later Lori's boyfriend came out of whatever woodwork he was degenerating in. I heard a voice behind me say: "You are a pussy."

Just what I was waiting for. Punk calling me a pussy. No one could have handled me that night. He recoiled when he saw me turn on him. Anger welled up inside me. This was the moment I had been waiting for. Since I was twenty I had been in only five fights, three bar fights and two with gloves on. All five men had gone down and within seconds. But I had never been as ready as I was for this one. I had been hitting both the speed and heavy bags. My timing and speed was as on as it ever would be and my punching power was still there. This time there was something more--a hatred deep inside me as I had never felt before. A hatred that grows deeper and deeper as time goes on until it is rooted deep inside as if it were part of each fiber each molecule of one's body. Not hatred towards the human race, nor for women, for men, for blacks or whites but for the true ass holes in the world without regard for sex, race or country.

This guy was the kind of ass hole who should never have been born and who all of us have the moral right to kill on sight. More than the right...the moral imperative to kill, to eradicate from the earth. He was a woman beater. He was a man who didn't work and who lived off the earnings of women. He was an abusive son of a bitch. Without question I had the right to kill him and would do it--could do it easily--shooting him in the back of the head then going out to eat Chinese with my appetite enhanced rather than spoiled. That is what these guys deserve. Unfortunately there are laws against this and their women won't put them behind bars because they love ass holes.

A lot of women are going to disagree with what I just said and I will go so far as to say that millions of women love this kind of ass hole. I have at least four books from a psychological point of view that contend that women don't really love these ass holes. The books say that because of mental, physical or sexual abuse that they have more or less been programmed to seek out this kind of man and that it is not really love that they feel. But I like to call a spade a spade so I'm going to use that four letter word, love.

I had my black satin Alphapro Jacket on. Calmly taking it off I threw it to Pl/One who caught it. Then taking the cigarette out of my mouth I tossed it to Ed. Suddenly it was clear to everyone that I was in the mood to fight.

Lori would probably jump me from behind to protect her boyfriend from me. I expected that. Turning on James I headed right into him with my fists clenched to my side as I prepared to cut them loose. "Woman beater!!!. You are good at beating up women like Lori, aren't you?" I screamed at him. "Come on you son of a bitch. Give it to me. Come on pussy. Come on coward." Everyone within thirty feet could hear me as I waded right into him. Surprise came over his face and he started backing up as I continued to push forward. He must have backed up thirty feet as I moved in on him, then walked away. Then the bouncers came up to us.

"Okay, okay," I said to the bouncers. My friends and I will go over there. I pointed to the center of the room which was a hundred feet away. They were polite and let us move on. Pl/One, Ed and I walked out into the crowd out of sight of Lori, James and the rest of them. I had not obliterated James since he had refused to fight but I had showed him off to Lori and the rest of them as the coward he was.

It is funny how lots of women only see the things they want to see and turn blind to what they don't want to admit to. I had come into C-Mowes several times before I bought Lori a drink. The first time she saw me since her long layoff from working in the clubs, I walked into C-Mowes, saw Jade at the other end of the bar, and almost ran into her as I walked into the club. Terror filled her eyes. She rushed into the dressing room and did not reappear for fifteen minutes. The next two times I came into the club I went straight over to Jade and ignored Lori. The fourth time I went right up to Lori and bought her a drink. Jade, who is my buddy, Doug, and I ended up sitting at the bar. Everything went well for awhile. Then Lori started getting drunk and began to blame me for things that had gone wrong in her life. My novel was the cause she told us. Other girls were planning a lawsuit against me, Lori said. Then she starting babbling about how she could take me for everything I was worth in court for making her the main female character in my book. I almost laughed in my beer since I had Lori sign a release before publishing the novel and the other girls were not in the novel.

Then Lori started talking about the two whores who had upset her old man back at Pops. The two girls were Marriah and Jade who had been out drinking with me a year ago. That night Jade had asked me...."So that's Lori's old man. The one who beats her. Should I go fuck with him?" I replied: "Be my guest." And Jade went over to him. I didn't hear what they said to each other but I could tell that he was pretty mad. Later on, after the sun had come up after six, Jade and I had gone outside to my Miata to look at some pictures on my laptop. We came back inside only to find out that Marriah had practically arranged a fight between James and me. She had trounced him thoroughly at fuzz ball, then called him a woman beater. After that she told him that I had fucked his woman all over town.

Lori remembered that night even though she wasn't there and here she was telling me about it. But she had conveniently forgotten the other night only a few months ago when I had totally humiliated James. All I could think of is that Lori had to believe that James was a tough guy and had blotted out everything that showed that he wasn't. But she had already called the two Dollies girls a couple of whores and Jade was sitting only a few feet away.

"I was one of those whores," Jade said to her. "I wanted to fight James but he wouldn't. And don't call me a whore." Lori had made a big mistake. Jade is no one to trifle with. Tempers flared that afternoon. Mostly Jade's who was ready to fight.

After that when I stopped in there Lori no longer blamed me or the book for the things that had gone wrong in her life. Instead she turned a one eighty and started telling her customers that she was the main female character in my novel. I would bring in garters for her, the ones that said on them, "Lori Mellon" then the url to the alphapro web site. These she would proudly give to her customers.

Still......there is another girl. A very pretty girl who I care about very much. Lori had been out of my life too long. It has been two years that I've had the alphapro web site and some of the girls have gotten computers and come online with us. The pretty girl had somehow gotten a computer and gone online with us.

There is a chemistry between the pretty girl and me like Lori and I once had. This girl has a personality that doesn't quit. She has a quick wit and a sense of humor that I like. She doesn't want to hurt others. Everyone loves her. Still...nothing has developed between us. Or at least not yet.

Back to what turned out to be a four day club hopping spree with Pl/One and Philip21. Lori had just been kicked out of Dollies which left Bill, Pl/One, Philip21 and I with Alabama, Marilyn Mynxxx and the other Dollies girls. I don't remember much what happened at Dollies that night except that Sexy Jessie and Bob met us later on at Dollies and that Philip21 had car trouble and had to leave his Saab in front of the club. Pl/One and I had driven down from the Springfield airport in my Miata which only has two seats. I took a few pictures of Alabama and Sexy Jessie on the back stage until Janie, a new manager, stopped us. Can't blame Janie on this one since a guy had come into the club the week before wanting to take pictures. The club doesn't normally allow photographers to come in and take pictures. I am one of the few exceptions but Hawk had told Janie..."No pictures." I knew he didn't mean that I couldn't take them and was sure we would resolve this later on.

We couldn't start Philip's car even with a jumper cable. Pl/One and I were anxious to take pictures and since we couldn't take them in the club we all headed back to our motel. Left at 2 AM so Alabama had to be left out since she had to work till 4. Philip had scotch in his room so we started taking pictures in his room.

The room had white walls which is not a good background for pictures. We did the best we could. Jessie is a pretty girl and an exceptional dancer but we couldn't do her justice with that background. Still......Jessie and Bob are new to the group having gotten a computer and gone online recently so the photo session was a great opportunity for them to get better acquainted with Pl/One and Philip.

The next day had to be rough on Philip. He didn't catch up with us until late afternoon when he found us at Miss Kitty's. But Pl/One and I found Lori working the afternoon shift at C-Mowes. She had tried to give me her new phone number on Friday and I asked myself----why? Once again she insisted on giving me her number. This time I took it and gave her my new 800 number. "James is out of my life. Finally", she told Pl/One and me. "I have an order of protection against him."

"Right!!", I told myself. "He's out of your life for a few days or even a week. History repeats itself. At least in your case." No matter. At least now I knew when she was lying. Lori was visibly tired and told us she didn't get much sleep the night before. Still, Pl/One and I asked her if she would be interested in meeting up with us later on. She said she wanted to and asked us to call her at home. But I knew Lori and was sure that once she got home she wouldn't venture out again. Later, Pl/One called her from Chameleon and the kids told him she had already gone to sleep.

We had settled in at the bar in Miss Kittys when Philip joined us. He had been wanting to have dinner at Diamond Cabaret. They had sandwiches at Kittys and Philip said they were zesty. Pl/One and I had agreed that we would go along with anything Philip wanted to do since he had to contend with his car. I had left Philip at Dollies around noon. Howard who was managing during the day had said he had a friend who could work on Philip's car. This had not worked out and Philip had to have his Saab towed to a place way out in Centreville, then had to go to the airport on the Missouri side for a rental car.

We ended up back at Dollies but Philip wanted to check out the couples scene at Pt's in Centreville which on Saturday nights had made quite a name for debauchery. Rumor had it that sex went on right in the open. Pl/One and I could care less but we followed Philip out to Pt's. The place was packed. Beer was more expensive there than at Dollies and the cover was a little steep.

Here I was just a number as if I was venturing into a club for the first time. None of the girls knew me. Dollies had just as many lookers and in the Washington Park clubs the girls and I run together. There is no telling who I might end up with toward the end of the evening. This wasn't going to happen at Pt's. As for the live sex......I had already just about done it all and seen it all a few years back while I was going out with Lori and some of the wilder girls.

Nothing was going on. Philip21 ensconced himself in front of one of the stages with his roll of one dollar bills in front of him looking like the Cheshire cat in cat heaven. Pl/One and I walked around the room a few times eyeballing the dance floor where the couples were known to do whatever the hell they do. Boring. Nothing going on and even if it had been neither of us would have cared one way or the other. We finally went up to Philip at the stage and told him we had enough and were going back to the motel.

We hadn't reserved rooms. The desk clerk had told us the night before that he didn't think we would have a problem. The woman at the desk told us all the motels were taken from St. Louis to Litchfield, forty miles south of the Travel Lodge. Pl/One had to fly his plane out of Springfield the next afternoon which meant staying in a motel farther away was not a good idea. I knew all the flea bag motels in the area...the kind one takes a girl to for so much per hour. The woman grimaced when I told her this. Then I wrote Philip a note giving him directions to one

That morning Pl/One and I crashed at my farm house. Worried about possible thunderstorm activity Pl/One was anxious to start flying early so I took him to the airport in Springfield, then drove home hoping to hear from Philip. Philip must have had a good time at Pt's since he didn't call until four in the afternoon...then told me he had just woken up. I don't know where I got the impression that Philip was an early riser. He had been a farmer and farmers are notorious early risers. I'm not and Philip sleeps in much later than me.

I found Philip in the front room at Dollies back in the dark at a little table with a resplendent blonde, youthful and vivacious. Alabama. From then on the evening became a blur. It was our third night in a row of heavy drinking and partying. Still, when Dollies closed at close to 2 we were ready for more.

We headed out to the Platinum Club in Centerville. There wasn't a single car in front and we noticed that a new entry way had just been built onto the front. I had heard that the new owners were putting a quarter of a million dollars into the place. This was the first time I had seen the Platinum Club closed on a Sunday night so we headed across the street to the Crystal Palace. As usual it proved uneventful.

We drove back to the motel, with the top down on the Miata, Philip driving twelve miles with the bluffs on our right and alternating arrays of lights and farmland to our left. This time I took a chance on being kept awake by Philip's loud snoring and shared a room with him. The alcohol and lack of sleep worked and I went out like a light before I could conjure up visions of snoring knocking a chandelier off the ceiling onto my head.

Monday meant that we might find Lori working at C-Mowes. We were in luck. No...she was luck to once again see Philip and I. The three of us took a little table together and started on our first beer. Lori seemed upset. After knowing her six years I could tell when something was going wrong for her. "Mothers worse nightmare," she told me. "What's that?" I asked. "My little girls were sexually molested by their uncle."

I was saddened that it happened although I was not surprised given the kind of people Lori normally lived with. Lori was a sharp gal but had always hung out with people way beneath her. But Lori never saw it that way. In households like hers anything could happen and oftentimes did. Philip acted surprised. Mortified he gave Lori a big hug.

Knowing the severe life long repercussions that childhood sexual abuse leaves on a girl I strongly urged that Lori get all the counseling she could find for her girls. Philip agreed. An hour later Lori announced that she had to leave the club. We saw her to her car, then came back inside. The bartender told us the police had called the club asking for Lori.

"Here's your chance, Jack," said Philip. "She's alone and needs someone. If I were you I would go over to her place to console her." "Not a good idea," I thought. The little girls were James girls too. He was likely to be there and my going into the house would be nuts. I could be shot and it would go down as self defense. I had loved Lori years before and was not so sure now. She had proven throughout the years to be a girl I could not trust.

We ended up once again at Dollies. Sitting in the back room at the laptop which was now online I reached up for the pay phone and called Lori's house. The girl who answered the phone soon put Lori on. "I'm sorry about what you and your family are going through," I told her, "and if there is anything I can do, just let me know." She asked me to start looking for a place where she could live.

I had been through that one before with her several years before. She had asked me to start looking for a place for her. I had gotten the local paper and marked down the promising apartments. Made a few phone calls and even had an appointment with a local realtor. Gotten some promising leads but Lori had never called me back and all my work had been wasted. I wasn't about to go through that again unless Lori proved she was dependable. Another thought went through my mind...that is, my going through all that legwork and doing it so Lori and James could stay in a place I had recommended to them.

Once again we ended up at Dollies although before the evening was over we went somewhere else after Dollies closed. Philip and I sat at a little table in the back bar area. The pay phone was right above my head. Philip wanted me to call Lori...just to let her know we cared so I did. One of her kids answered the phone. Anxiety in the voice of the girl as she asked who it was. They were used to the wrong people calling. A few seconds later I heard Lori's voice. Now...I don't even remember what I told her--except that I would be there for her and all she had to do was to call me on my 800 number. Didn't spend a lot of time talking with her and I didn't feel like I had to.

Later on the evening turned into a haze. The night merged with so many others like it. I saw Philip talking with someone. Turned out to be a lawyer. Big mistake for the lawyer. He was up against the leading verbal virtuoso in the Lost Angels. Going up to them I was immediately introduced. Philip and the man were discussing our nation's agricultural policy and the lawyer was definitely taking a view that Philip and I didn't agree with.

One has to farm to really understand. It is a world unto its self. A very dangerous world in which a man pits himself against the elements and against himself. The public expects the farmer to pay much more than his fair share of the taxes and the government does everything it can to keep grain prices as low as possible. Americans get the cheapest food in the world and the farmer pays the price. He is in a minority. Has little political clout.

There are many ways to die on the farm. A man stretches himself to the very limits of his endurance and beyond. There is no one to do his job for him. He has to come through every time. And this lawyer is telling us that we are on the take, getting handouts from the government. I disagree and end up disagreeing violently. End up hitting the bar with my fist--hard enough to make something fall off the bar and onto the other side. The bartender picks it up.

Philip is far cooler than I am. He looks like the Cheshire cat or the cat that swallowed the canary. He is a large man and he is sitting close to the lawyer at the bar hovering over him. He's grinning, almost smugly, but not quite since being smug would be giving himself away and Philip is far too smart for that. Philip is making his points and he's edging closer to the lawyer knowing that he is in charge. I am sure the lawyer is thinking--"Got a couple of country boys on my hand and me--I've been to Law School." Just looking at Philip I know he's thinking the same. He's smiling. He's cocksure of himself. For a moment I think he's about to envelope the lawyer in his large hands but it is a verbal contest and Philip is sure of himself. I am thinking-"This lawyer cannot escape. He has the best man in the Lost Angels at this and he's dead meat."

The lawyer can't handle it. He knows he is outclassed. Me? I lost it but I was punching the bar while still making my points effectively. But Philip is toying with him and he's a master at argument. In frustration the lawyer leaves.

Dollies closes and we head out to Centerville where Platinum Club is undergoing extensive remodeling. I am surprised to find it closed which leaves PT's and the Crystal Palace, neither of which I am particularly fond of. We go into the Crystal Palace and spend little time there. We have the top down on the Miata and drive the twelve miles back to the motel with the bluffs on our right and St Louis on our left. Philip's driving. I have the dui's and he doesn't. We are in a time warp. Not too many miles from our route was the heaviest population of Native Americans, who back in 1250 AD had a greater population than the City of London. The road we are on is a road I've traveled so many times...sometimes with Jeanette. Once in awhile with Lori. And a few times with other dancers. But more often I've traveled it alone, on the way home or to a motel after frying my brain in one of the clubs.

This time we take a room together. I have had little sleep. It has been four nights in a row and had much to drink. Philip's snoring will not disturb me I'm betting. It doesn't. I go out like a light.

The next day we pick up Philip's Saab which is now ready. Philip has spent more time in the St. Louis Metro East than he had planned on. Wants to go home and I decide to go to Anna's house. We will meet again and not long from now. Somewhere. Although I am headed to Anna's, I am thinking of two girls, both dancers, one younger than the other. Philip seemed anxious I start taking Lori out again. Have not given up on her but there is lots of time. We have known each other for six years. I am not sure I want to go through all that again. No...I am sure that I don't. But she's here and so am I. It's going to be different next time and if there is no next time, then we've been through a lot together. Enough to fill up 464 pages in a novel.



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