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A stripper thanksgiving: Adult films, tears, and a customer surrendering to the retch

At 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day morning I woke up and checked my text messages. In the darkness of my bedroom, I see that one of my friends just sent me a message and is, hence, awake. We seem to share erratic sleep patterns. It is a meaningful quality in my friends. I meet up with him and we have some drinks and talk for a while. We (I) decide it would be great if we went to a strip club. By then it is about 7 a.m.

We go to one of the many 24-hour strip clubs in Vegas. The place smells exactly as I remembered. They’re using the same detergent, and the same aged strippers. It’s like bleach and Bengay. On a weekday morning, it is far from the best shift. This place happens to be the first club where I really started stripping. When I go back, I really feel like I’m back to Square One. The strangeness of the whole thing is accentuated by its emptiness. The music is loud. It is always nighttime inside a strip club, but at that time, there weren’t more than 10 people in the place. Perhaps, including employees. It feels sad, in a way. Like they threw a party and no one came. We each have one drink and leave.

On the outside, the harsh light of morning is reliably present. Thanksgiving Day this year is especially cold and wet. It is bright, but cloudy, like fluorescent light. It’s raining.

We return to my friend’s house and hang out more. We watch an adult film and do other stuff. At some point, he may have said something that insulted my character. I don’t believe I said “bye” when I leave.

When I walk outside, it is raining hard and I let myself cry. The precipitation from my eyes is rinsed off by that from the sky. If I have a lapse of stoicism, no one can tell in the rain. It’s like peeing in a warm pool when you cry in the rain.

I go back home, do something to help me sleep and then sleep. It is the afternoon.

I stay in bed until about 9:30 p.m. and had yet to have Thanksgiving dinner at anyone’s house. I rejected several offers, and was uninvited from one event.

My wonderful and therapeutic stripper friend is still hosting Thanksgiving dinner at her house. I stop by and had a few hasty bites on a festive paper plate before going to work.

At work, there are fewer than 10 girls working. I guess that even in Vegas, people still have loved ones with whom to spend their holidays. We have a larger than usual foreign crowd. I dance for a man from India, and another from Nigeria. I dance for a man whose fiancée just left him and he is in Vegas by himself. One man gets so drunk, he throws up while I dance for him. Maybe I’ll leave the trout-scented perfume at home next time? Thank God the vomit doesn’t get on me. He was such a fat man that I couldn’t sit on his lap and I was dancing in front of him more than I was dancing on him. I was facing away from him when I heard the sudden “splat” sound. I turned around and there was clear liquid vomit on the couch. I am thankful that there were no traces of Thanksgiving dinner in the puddle. Chunks of turkey vomit would be just the right thing to round out a weird day. Along the stage, there is a row of men who had each asked me to come to their hotel rooms after work. Thanksgiving Day is lonely, but profitable.

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