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,Â 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.
JimÂ 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.