I wake up to the softstrong lull of ocean waves and the sweet sting of salty wind. The first thing I see is the ocean, but my eyes are heavy and the next thing I know I’m dreaming of mushrooms and revolutions. When I wake again the ocean is still there, the breeze still fresh. It’s ten at night, and the parking lot has finally cleared out a little bit. This is the opposite of what I was trying to achieve with my sleeping schedule.
Bro is in love with the wind. He shoves his nose out the window and inhales it in big noisy gulps while I lay in bed listening to the ocean. Down the beach, some people are having a big bonfire, and out over the ocean birds are flying low, looking for fish.
I’m here because last night in the strip club I was bit by two to many men, groped by dozens more, and paid by all too little. Latenight I sat in the dressing room with Sapphire and we compared bruises – identical ones on our inner thighs that neither of us remembered getting. The explanation could be that we both danced for the same rough man, but the truth is we’ve all danced for dozens of men that are way too rough this summer.
This is stripping with the sweetness gone out of it. Where are the young men who bring me flowers? The old men who bring me poetry? Something has changed here. I blame it on the DJ who is always telling the men to put their hands in their pants and, “I’ll play you a quicky and maybe one of these girls will give you a stiffie!” The difference between high dollar lady and low dollar whore is so small sometimes.
Looking at Saph’s bruise, and then my own, and then hers, and then my own, it comes to me: I’d rather be fucking men up the ass. Or dancing in the little big city where I make a lot less and put up with a lot more rules and other bullshit but don’t get bit. If stripping is going to be like this, I don’t want to be a stripper. So I undress, and I redress in my jeans and my t-shirt that proclaims “Spirit At Play,” and I walk out the door. I sleep roadside for a few hours, fitful dreams of people whispering their poison by text message and Minneapolis men with dentures, and then I drive down here where waking is always so sweet.
Now that it is night, now that I’m awake, the people are gone from the beach, except for the group having a bonfire, and Bro and I ramble the twilight shores with seagulls and bull kelp.