Strippers, Snipers, and Bombs

It’s midnight and I’m shimmying in front of a coked up sniper named Jim. Moments like these it’s good to stop and ask yourself, “self, is this really what you want to be doing?” I learned to talk to myself that way in college statistics and I’ve never stopped.

“You’ll see,” Jim says. “You’ll fucking see me on TV after we pull this off.”

“I don’t have a teevee, hon.”

He doesn’t hear me. I don’t leave. There is no place else to learn this, to understand why people are willing and excited to get in airplanes and go to other countries and kill people at the drop of an order. My red dress, the Dorothy dress, has fallen to the floor. I kick it up to my hand behind me as I lean forward and squeeze my boobs together in his face.

“Have you ever seen the movie Sniper?”

“No.” I don’t watch scary movies. They scare me.

“Man, I can kill a guy from 300 yards. It’s, it’s like, it’s better than sex.”

“Really?” Here I’m trying to use sexuality to cure them of this killing disease, and the killing is better than sex. I grin, always the crazy saloon girl, “honey, you must’ve had some shitty sex.”

“No. No. Shooting people makes me hard, and when I can see their faces I cum when I pull the trigger.”

I turn and shake my ass in his face. This is where I get lost with these guys. My college education clouds my thinking. Do I turn around and unleash my fury, or do I do something more subtle? Sometimes I resent the hell out of all that Rogerian acceptance that’s been drilled into me.

I turn around. “Is it the distance, do you think?”

“Yeah, man, it’s like I’m so far away and BOOM I just kill them.”

“Would it make you hard to kill me, Jim? If I were far away?” I remember once upon a time, eight lifetimes ago, a friend of mine being all coked up and drunk like this. His wife had died of cancer the month before, and he was punching things, punching and kicking. I sat on top of him and tried to hold him down, keep him from hurting himself. He was stronger than me and he threw me off, but he didn’t hurt me. I’d known he wouldn’t.

Jim leans forward, angry. “Do you want to be a slave? Do you want to beat down into submission?” He’s shaking his finger and I’m supposed to be scared now.

“No. No, I don’t.”

“That’s why I kill these motherfuckers! You’re gonna see me on the teevee and you’ll think I’m a hero!”

It sounds like something you’d learn in one of those theory classes. Men try to keep you afraid so they can justify killing people for you. You are the archetypal docile lover, the one that makes their dick almost as hard as shooting people does. Oh, and also they’ve got sex and violence all mixed up. You can hear the theory a hundred times, but you don’t really understand it until you’ve run through these realities a few hundred times.

I’ve had enough reality for now, though, so I excuse myself without offering him another dance. I walk through the club and it’s all military and defense contractors. Weapons contractors, most of them tell me, and when I empty their pockets of sharp things before the dance they all have those magic key chains with the key codes that change every few seconds. Important People key chains, and I wonder what kind of weapons they are keeping or building up here that require all these contractors. The snipers are all shipping out in a couple days.

I sit at the bar to get a glass of water, and my friends boyfriend turns up at my elbow. “Hey, you left your phone in our couch. Why are you sitting up here away from everyone?”

“Cause I’m tired of a bunch of coked up snipers telling me how hard it makes them to shoot people.”

“Really?” He’s a video game addict. He spends hours a day pretending to be a sniper in the teevee. “That’s the most awesome thing I’ve ever heard.”

They’re all being brainwashed.

“I bet it is.”

I wander back to the dressing room and count my money. It’s almost closing time and I’m three dances away from a nice, even number. I wander up to the DJ booth and look at the dance sheet. I’m tied with another girl for most dances, and I have a competitive streak.

I’m done with the military guys for the night, though, so I walk through the club carefully examining each guy until I find an old fat one with long hair. He’s in tourism and he’s sweet, like a Saint Bernard without the slobber. I do two dances for him, and then three more for one of my favorites who always shows up at the end of the night.

Back in the dressing room I’m pulling on my jeans when Nivea jumps on me and we end up giggling on the floor, her in my lap. She’s homophobic when she’s sober and all over me when she’s drunk.

“Are you sleeping in your van? Come over, we’ll have a girly sleepover!”

“I don’t like sleeping in houses,” I tell her. It’s true. I slept in my van in a garage the other day and it was awful.

She pouts. “I won’t even molest you, I promise, we can just smoke a big bowl and have some pizza.”

It’s a miracle she’s so skinny. “I’m sorry, I just wanna go sleep,” I tell her.

She pouts for a second, then bounces. “Can I lick your nipple? Please? Can I?”

“Nope, my nipples are done for the night.”

“Oh. Well will you give me a hickey? I haven’t had a hickey in the longest time.”

“Sure, I’ll give you a hickey.”

And I do.


  1. The “sniper” is more than likely a real sniper…the guys (you never really hear of female snipers thank heavens) who actually are… are not likely to talk about it. They are more likely to want to talk about anything but that…I had a lot of family members who did their tours in Europe …some went to Korea as well…they will talk mostly about how miserable it was or about funny things that happened. Mostly they want to talk about their family and are amazingly patient with people. I had a brother-in-law (wounded just after Normandy and again later in Korea)who taught me a lot about fishing that I used to spend a lot of time with…he had the 1000 yard stare they talk about…he was really self absorbed…we’d just sit in the boat for hours and talk about fishing. He sure was hard on my sister when he got the drink in him…she did eventually kick him out…then he got drunk, passed out in a mud puddle which froze …and the hearse came to pick him up…they loaded him in the hearse…attendant gets in and on the half hour ride to town…you got it…my brother-in-law comes to and lets out a “what the hell is going on here” yell…poor driver almost had a coronary.

  2. “Sometimes I resent the hell out of all that Rogerian acceptance that’s been drilled into me.”


    and yeah, the dude does sound a bit Travis Bickle, more than anything else. yeelch.

  3. Just another loser who’s deluded himself into thinking he’s patriotic and “protecting us” in GW’s personal little war. But, fuck that. I loved your narrative about what you’re thinking when you’re dancing and executing your perfect, sexy, well-rehearsed moves. Loved it! MMMmmmm, hickeys.

  4. I must say, I do appreciate the way you process Tara.
    Money hunting in a room full of human hunters could give you the shivers till you realize it’s all the same fricken night….Apparently someone with a lot of power and money thinks the world needs more tools for destruction…makes me shake my head and strengthens my resolve….

    On a related note, I think you would appreciate a book by Starhawk (i’m not a big fan of hers so much as of this book by her)
    the 5th Sacred thing.

  5. Licking nipples always gets me harder than thinking about shooting people with a firearm. It is a seriously fucked-up society in which we live.

  6. I missed a word in my last post…I meant to say …The “sniper” is more than likely NOT a real sniper…sorry about that…I am usually more careful with my sentence construction…

  7. Guns and coke-withdrawal induced paranoia. A phenomenal combination, if ever there was one. And you’re right, of course; with a winning personality like that, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s never had really good sex. And, obviously, he’s compensating.

    My favorite line from this entry: “You can hear the theory a hundred times, but you don’t really understand it until you’ve run through these realities a few hundred times.” Within its intended context and without, it has the ring of truth through and through.

  8. A friend of mine knew an army psychologist who told him, “the ones who wear a bra and panties under their uniform aren’t the ones i worry about, they have an outlet”


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