Leaving Dollies Playhouse Dancer Satin at Pops
by Jack Corbett


My head is a mess and I don't know if it's from the drinking or from turning my internal clock around from being a morning person to a night owl who goes to bed anywhere from 3 AM till 11 AM in the morning. Still-----thoughts are churning deep inside and I have to get them out. Of value judgments and profound observations that trouble me--have been troubling me for weeks now--going back years. I had left a girl I had taken to Pops--left her there at the bar at 7:30 AM and drove home nearly falling asleep several times at the wheel. That wasn't it even though I don't leave people in bars----it was much more.

It all started at Dollies as I was sitting at the front bar with Star, a dancer I had gone out with a few times several years ago, who had a great sense of humor. We had some great times together back then and we were discussing going drinking together in the near future. Then another girl came in with her ride. It was her day off and she only stayed five minutes. This girl had been very active in the Lost Angels forum and had gotten a computer in order to get online. We didn't say hi to each other as she walked by us. It is sad when people can be good friends and it comes to that--especially when there is no reason for it.

A little later on, a dark headed man in his early thirties walks in. It is Curt or CMG, from Detroit. He had seen me several times at Dollies and once Jade, Crazy Czech, Curt and I had partied all night long hitting practically every bar Jade and I could think of and eventually leaving Pops at 9:30 AM. Curt had considered himself the resident ass hole of the ASSC an Internet news group that stands for Alternate Sex Strip Club. This news group is primarily composed of men interested in American and Canadian topless clubs and dancers. A lot of the guys are willing to travel more than a thousand miles to visit clubs. I had once done a few posts in the ASSC announcing new developments on the Alphapro Web site such as the latest cartoon strip and Curt posting as CMG had tried to roast me for being a self-serving spammer who was out to glorify myself and my web site. Then the first night Curt and I met, he came up to me at Dollies, extended his hand, and said: "Hi, I'm CMG the guy who criticized you in the ASSC. I happened to be in town and came in hoping to meet you." That night Crazy Czech was visiting me from Indiana, with his face painted half blue on one side and the other half red. Jade just happened to be at Dollies, having taken the night off to be with Crazy Czech and I wherever our moods took us. It turned out to be a wild, entertaining night, with CMG barely able to drive back to Detroit the next day, after which he wrote a long review in the ASSC news group about what a great time we all had together.

And we liked Curt. Two or three times after that Curt made unannounced appearances into Dollies. By this time the "resident ass hole of the ASSC" and I had long ago become friends. I was glad to see him at the Dollies front door. Here was a man who could write about his well thought out perceptions of clubs, dancers, and human nature who I now could trust with my own viewpoints, knowing that he would keep them to himself and not try to vilify me as he had done in the past. I was looking forward to spending as much time with him as possible.

Curt and I headed to the back bar at Dollies, had a beer together, and soon ran into Maggie and Marilyn Mynxxx. I had known Maggie for years and had dated her sister at the same time I had dated Lori Mellon. She had recently worked at Dollies and had just started working day shift again. It was Maggie and another dancer who had watched me try to use a six by six square wooden pole at Pops as a dancers stage pole, badly skinning up my right forearm as I entertained the two topless dancers as they egged me on. And that was four weeks ago and my forearm still showed the marks. That night two women I didn't know had approached me at Pops and I didn't want any part of them. It might seem hard to believe that I don't try to pick up women in bars considering my well-known experiences in topless clubs. I am sure it is harder to believe that I try to avoid women making moves on me. That's probably why they try as if they sense I don't really give a damn. Then-----I saw Maggie sitting across the bar from me and I went over to buy her a drink. Right off she pulled her t-shirt off and showed her bare breasts to the bartender and anyone nearby who was looking in our direction. Not to be outdone I pulled my shirt up as Maggie lowered her head and started to suck in one of my nipples. Then she bit down hard on my nipple laughing after she did it. From then on, the evening got entertaining, not just for us, but for anyone watching our little group.

But it was all in fun. Maggie and I had some serious conversations that night at Pops. We weren't out to pick anyone up. Yet the people around us couldn't help noticing our antics. Not only did I try the pole------I also did several chin ups from the balcony. I think I saw Maggie shoot a moon or two.

But I'm getting away from Dollies and Maggie and Marilyn. I bought Maggie a drink and stood next to her as she danced at the stage, the two of us just talking. We talked about the Meat Market atmosphere at Pops and how neither one of us liked Meat Markets yet what a good time we all had that night.

"Can you show me how you do the pole here?" Maggie asked me. "Let me ask Howard," I replied. No problem. Howard said I could try it as I had numerous times in the past so long as I didn't fry myself on an electrical cord lying somewhere near the stage. By this time both Maggie and Marilyn were on the stage as I gave the pole a try. For me, this is easy, and I soon found myself twirling around the pole with both feet three or four feet off the platform trying to keep my legs together. I then tried removing one hand from the pole attempting to pirouette around it one handed------and almost did. Later, when I got down from the stage I heard a man say-------"He's the best dancer in the club."

Marilyn and Maggie soon joined Curt and I at the bar and I started cutting up with Marilyn at one point sitting on her lap as I lap danced her right leg. Then Marilyn asked if some of the people in the Lost Angels chat group missed her. I knew they did, especially Pl/One, since Marilyn had always been so open and friendly at Dollies. Marilyn considered herself a modern day version of Mae West and she was not too far off the mark. Then, a few months ago, we had some of the Lost Angels group here in the Metro East and Pl/One had come all the way from San Francisco meeting Marilyn at Miss Kittys for the first time in real life. She had quit Dollies and would soon quit Miss Kittys. I would not see her for months afterwards.

I took Marilyn to the little table where I had my laptop already online and started typing a few messages into the Lost Angels chat for her. Pl/One soon appeared and told Marilyn how he was planning on flying his own plane to the Metro East in a few days hoping that the weather would cooperate. Typing from his computer in San Francisco he said he was especially looking forward to seeing her again.

By this time I was getting hungry. Over at Miss Kittys they were supposed to put the fried chicken buffet out at 8:00 and it was already past 9;00 PM. I had already been to Miss Kittys several hours earlier and had been talking with a girl who remembered me from Main Street, the club across Miss Kittys, that had been closed down. This girl had always acted particularly friendly towards me every time I saw her at Miss Kittys and had talked several customers into buying my novel from me. That afternoon I had told her about my DUI problem and she urged me not to drink once I got to Dollies and to come back and see her before she left at ten.

I don't know what it is about this girl. For one thing, practically everyone knows I don't tip. She just remembered something about me from years ago that I can't quite put my finger on. There is a certain empathy about her that I find to be rare among dancers since she doesn't try to get anything out of me, usually getting the other men around us to buy her drinks.

Curt and I walk into Miss Kittys a little after nine and I make a beeline to the buffet table and start to load my plate up with friend chicken. Curt then buys both of us a beer at the bar. I talk to the girl for awhile then notice Kitty at her end of the bar looking through a whole slug of pictures. "The Pek 12 chemical I had brought her worked," I tell Curt. A photographer had once come into the club and shot a bunch of pictures of the girls with 35 mm, then gotten drunk, had an altercation with some of the girls, then marked through the negatives with a pen or magic market, thinking he had ruined them. Kitty had showed me the negatives and asked me if I knew anything about restoring negatives. I told her I didn't know a damn thing about it but would try to find out for her. So I had called a top professional photographer who lived on a farm not too far from me, a man who once had two airplanes at his farm which he used to travel across the U.S. teaching photography. I ended up going to the St. Louis side getting the Pek 12 that he recommended.

A few minutes later Tori walks up to me. I had taken some digital pictures of Tori both at Dollies Playhouse and a few months later at Miss Kittys. "Jack, those last pictures you took of me here--can you print some up for me. I'll pay you for them."

And I'm thinking--"Dammit Tori. I love you to death and we both know you and I took great pictures together. But printing them up on an ink jet printer is very time consuming and I just don't think it is going to give us the results you deserve. It's just not up to 35 mm standards. For the Internet yes. On a computer yes. And I'm damn surprised that one of those pictures I took of you with my digital camera came out so well in the "Wild Times" ad Kitty took out." But so had the picture of Jade, also done with my digital camera, which C-Mowes had used in the last month's issue of the "Wild Times".

Curt and I decided to go back to Dollies and left Kittys in a hurry. Just as we closed the door behind us, I heard a voice behind us. It was Vicki, a dancer I had gotten to know from Main Street years before. She had followed us outside. "Jack--we have got to get together to do some pictures," she called out to us. I turned around to face her and said----------"We will figure something out. Can you meet me at Dollies sometime?" To which Vicki replied-"I can't go in there." "Well--we will do something." I said as I walked to my car.

But as I approach my little Miata in Miss Kitty's parking lot I am looking dead ahead at the little motel across the street. To its right is the Shell Station and far to the left is Main Street, now abandoned, one of the three topless clubs that had belonged to Thomas Venezia. Venezia had been sent to prison for eight and a half years as his assets were seized by the government. Illicit gambling is what they got him on and more than twenty others. Now vacant, Main Street had provided many of the scenes for my novel. Humphrey now bartending at Miss Kittys used to work there drinking his 36 ounce mugs of beer sitting at a table at the top of the stairs like a king surrounded by his court which were mostly dancers. Lori had worked there and Humphrey had almost kicked us out a couple of times. I had taken Lori and several other girls to the motel a few times. Even the Shell station played its part in the drama, Lori and I filling up there the night she drove me around all night till after nine in the morning. We had met there several times when I was barred at C-Mowes. We were together that night I was arrested just a hundred yards from the Shell Station, and I had spent the whole night in the Washington Park jail. Once or twice I was trying to avoid Lori, driving through the stoplight at the gas station as she pulled up to me, asking me what the hell was I doing.

By this time I was feeling the beer. I turned around and said to Curt and the man who was guarding the Miss Kitty's parking lot........."Main Street, the motel and even the gas station have so many memories but it is almost as if those things had never happened. It was so exciting then, taking girls to the motel or meeting them there and doing all the things we used to do. So different now. And so sad.

Then we went back to Dollies. I'm still thinking of Lori and about talking with Vicki about how she missed Main Street and how she considered it to be her bar. Lori......the central female figure in my novel. The epidomy back then of female sexuality in my mind. Her beautiful figure and dancing ability at their peak. And now------now that I had been around her several times during the past week, she was no longer the Lori I had once known. Her figure had gone to pot and here I was twenty years older than her still at the same weight I had been at when I ran on my College Cross Country team. But it was done. No turning back. Lori was no longer attractive to me. I considered girls in the dancing profession. Earlier Curt and I had been talking about them and how many girls' figures that we thought were attractive had been maintained by Crack, Crystal Meth and other drugs. Artificial destructive weight control that didn't last just as the girls didn't last. Most would come to a bad end or at least live very unhappy lives.

Curt and I had talked about it. He had told me they are like a rose in bloom and one must enjoy them at their full flower and I had replied..."I can look at them and tell which ones will soon lose their figures and already seeing them in decline, I can't enjoy them." We had disagreed on that point.

Reality had set in. A long time ago. I remembered Jeanette staying with me and trying to get off Crack.....gaining twenty-five pounds in two or three weeks--and she was only twenty-one. I was depressed when Curt and I walked back into Dollies. We soon got back online with my laptop. Beater was there in the Lost Angels, along with two or three others. Curt got on the computer more than I and posted messages to Beater since both had known each other from the ASSC news group.

Suddenly Curt and I could no longer post. "Must be a routing problem somewhere in a phone line," I told him. We couldn't get back in for two hours. Soon after this Curt said goodbye to me and I was left by myself thinking about where Satin and I would go drinking once the club closed at 4. But I was soon joined by a man who remembered me from the time we did the Dollies Trendy Toilet Sex pictures. He soon joined me at my little table and bought me a beer.

I soon learned that he had been a bouncer and had once received some very special training from an elite branch of the U.S. Armed forces--which included martial arts. He told me how he had once beat up four men and how one of them had stuck a gun in his face. Striking out in fear of imminent death he had broken the man's arm in three places, then stomped the man as he lay helplessly on the ground. The man was hospitalized for a long time and the judge had ruled that even though his attacker had threatened him with a gun, once he had incapacitated his attacker he had continued to use excessive physical force. The court ruled that he had to pay forty thousand dollars in medical expenses.

At three thirty I asked Satin where she wanted to go drinking after Dollies closed. "Pops" was her immediate reply. I started thinking...."That's fine but I need to watch my DUI situation. The motel I usually stay at is a few miles away and I need to be careful if I don't want to end up in jail and having to pay thousands in legal expenses after that or possibly even end up in the penitentiary.

By the time Satin and I hit Pops I have lots on my mind. Satin is a cute black girl. She tells me in the parking lot...."Let's go in there with our arms around each other just to stir things up." "Why not." I tell myself. So we go in with our arms around each others's shoulders. The reality isn't the way it seems. We are just good friends but to those who don't know better it might appear as if we are lovers. All the time I'm thinking...."It is no big deal either way. Who are we trying to impress after all?"

We are sitting at the main bar and start off with a drink together. Although the place is crowded since it is Saturday night......or Sunday morning, we start getting good service right off. There is one bartender there who I remember from past visits who is particularly efficient and when there are lots of people standing around the bar to buy drinks I try to maneuver up close to him since I know I will get my beer faster from him. After a few minutes I tell Satin...."I want to walk around the bar to see who's here. I will be right back."

There must be close to a thousand people there as I walk all around the place. There is a band playing with people dancing on the dance floor like a flock of hopeless lemmings in my mind at least. And as usual, the band is god awful. I go by the pool and fuzz ball tables and notice that Lori Mellon's boyfriend is there as usual. Playing fuzz ball. This time he seems very drunk and I am feeling the beer myself. So he must really be there, I tell myself.

I rejoin Satin at the bar and buy us both another drink. There is already a man standing next to her as she sits in her bar stool. The man is middle aged and I think he's head of security. Satin introduces him to me and he soon leaves. Another man comes up to Satin. This guy is in his early thirties. He's one of those Southern California clones. You know the type. Medium long hair that is blonde, with one of those plastic smiles, and a ready eye for the women. He starts to bull shit her and his eyes immediately show that he's got one thing on his mind--his eyes an extension of his penis. I've got a lot on my mind and I've seen these guys--factory types.....not that they work in a factory but as if they have been turned out on an assembly line--turned out by the million.

Most of the women are the same way but different. Cheap pickups in all sizes and ages. That's why I don't like this scene. Been there and done that many times--a long time ago. I'm thinking to myself......"Okay..I follow a girl home, probably to the Missouri side and end up getting picked up by a cop. Then it's jail." And even if I didn't have the DUI problem--all I've got is trouble. "Don't want that kind of woman." It will all start something--something I don't want to start. Far better to look for someone special-----if that something special exists at all.

I think of my writing and how I want to get back into that. Meanwhile the man's eyes bore into Satin's and she's playing it for all it is worth. She's not about to let this guy pick her up. He thinks he's charming and I know what she's thinking----laughing at him inside. She's a dancer and she's seen it all and heard it all and this guy can't comprehend that. He soon walks a few feet away and starts to talk with someone else and a new guy sits next to Satin.

This guy is pretty young--early to mid twenties. His shirt shows he works for a casino. He has probably just gotten off his shift. Seems alright. Not full of himself like the other man. Satin and I are both talking with him when suddenly someone comes up to me from out of nowhere, calling me a pussy or at least that's what I thought I hear him say. It is James Padgett, Lori's boyfriend. This time I'm surprised since Satin and I are sitting way back......from the main part of the room in the relative seclusion of the bar. I immediately note that he's standing on wobbly legs--drunker than shit.

Immediately I jump off my barstool. He's in my face and I'm in his. Tensioning the muscles in both arms I get ready to take him down. But I can't hit him first. That would be assault and battery and the bartenders are standing right behind me. Taking a step forward I hope he touches me. "Touch me mother fucker," I tell him. "Please." But it isn't going to happen. Immediately two men are around him and he's not about to throw a punch. I hear Satin telling me..."Jack..don't." Then the bartenders tell me to sit down. I'm still standing there but to punch James I have to angle through the two other guys. Satin is telling the bartenders to get additional security and soon two or three bouncers appear.

"They are just sitting here minding their own business," one of the bartenders tells the bouncers. I then watch the bouncers take James out of the place, his legs still wobbly, eyes looking at me neither threatening nor hating...just drunken stupid eyes.

This time I'm not filled with rage towards James like I was before. He's just one of millions I tell myself and the women are just stupid fools to be staying with them. "Just the way it is, " I tell myself as I reach for my beer. "And Lori's just one of millions--no longer special."

At this point Satin is all over the place. She's going from guy to guy, from group to group wherever she finds them. She's hustling the guys...not for their money the way she does in the clubs but just for attention. She asks me if I want to dance and I can't imagine something I despise doing more at this point. The band is terrible and I just don't want to become one with the lemmings out there on that floor. I would do it in a minute on the stage. But that's me.

It is getting to be late and I'm about out of cigarettes for one thing. And I'm tired and hungry. All the time I'm thinking about it all. Once in awhile Satin takes me up to someone or a small group to introduce me. A man comes up to us claiming to be from Bosnia. He is polite and asks me if Satin is my girl friend. Satin and I both tell him we are just friends and I tell him she is my sister which is outrageous since she's black and I'm white but the man's command of the English language is limited and I just wanted to get my point across without spending unnecessary time.

He takes her out on the dance floor. A few minutes later she comes running back to me, laughing. "He wants to buy me," she tells me. "I told him I'm a dancer, not a whore."

I don't know how many men Satin approached. Must have been at least fifteen. It is all a big game to her. She's got a boyfriend and she's not about to pick anyone up for the night. Suddenly she spots a big black guy sitting by himself. And goes over to him. I soon join them. The man has a gift for gab and jokes around about his name. By this time all I can think of is sleep. I tell Satin and the man that I want to go back to a motel and eat Steak and Eggs at Waffle House with hash browns and chilli. He immediately suggests that we go to the Adams Mark Hotel just across the river, grab a room with a jacuzzi, and order up a buffet from room service. Satin grins and says that is what she wants to do.

"Expensive", I tell them. Besides, I am not as sure of the streets over on the Missouri side and I don't want to be picked up by the cops. I'm also thinking that Satin probably already has a room at the place I want to stay at. I tell them that I just want to head out and real soon. Suddenly Satin disappears to join a new group of people. But not before she and the guy we are talking to take me up to a table where three women are sitting. All this time Satin has been chiding me for not loosening up and not trying to pick women up. One or two or the women are attractive and they seem to be interested but I'm not. One moment I am standing by their table....the next Satin is off again going to the bar again.

She's talking to several people she had not been with before. I tell her that I want to leave in five minutes--that it is close to seven thirty in the morning. Five minutes later I go back to the bar and find Satin with a new and very full drink in her hand. Once again I tell her I want to leave. She doesn't take down her drink. She's not even nursing it. She's just talking away.

She will try and keep me there till 9 or 10 or even 11 I tell myself I'm only fit for hitting the sack. So I tell her....."I am going to the car. Now." I might be guilty of not using the most finesse but for over an hour I had been telling her I wanted to leave the place. My mind made up, I walked across the room, went out into the parking lot into the sunshine, got into my Miata and drove off. I didn't go to the motel, instead driving all the way home.

Sleeping through the morning and early afternoon I wake up and immediately start a pot of coffee. A little later, Anna calls me on the phone. Anna, who is Brandy to some. She's still having computer problems. Anna and I have a long talk. In a way I feel badly about leaving Satin at Pops but not that badly and Anna agrees with me. Meanwhile, I sit here perplexed about the whole scene. The fantasy long ago gone, I now see so much tragedy. Lori and her transformation for the worse is the final word on it. But I had long ago gotten used to the idea. Now, I am thinking of the others....younger girls----girls who can still turn away before it is too late.

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