by Caleb Caley
This is the first in a series of blog posts. They are written to be like chapters in a book. They can be found on my blog, BoosterAu: boosterau.wordpress.com
I turn right at the exit and survey the unfamiliar landscape, making a note of the dimly lit gas station as its open sign flickers in the night. Looking down to my phone, I reassure myself that I am going the right way. The road bends and as I take the corner all the doubt in my mind about if I’m in the wrong place is erased by the neon oasis that declares I have arrived at the Landing Strip Gentleman’s Club. I turn left at the club, but the parking lot in front of the place looks packed and valets stand guard at the entrance. The lot across the street looks promising, but the smattering of cars and activity keeps me driving. I see a car wash past the club, and I think what an inconspicuous place to wait, for it’s only 1:30am and I still have a half an hour. I act on my brilliant plan and pull into the car wash. Somebody is already there, and there is something going on in the front seat, “Oh God, a blowjob!” I exclaim. I quickly make a U-turn and drive in the opposite direction till I park in a well-lit bank parking lot. Thirty minutes of reading comic books only interrupted by my need to look around for strangers four times. The time has come I gather up my courage and I drive to the lot just across the street from the Landing Strip. I park and get out just to tidy up the back seat and spray my Febreeze, even though I had sprayed two coats earlier. I look around and think, “Is this really where I belong?” There’s a middle age woman in a minivan to my right and the car wash guy to the left of me. The company around me isn’t what I expected at all.
Two weeks before I was on Craigslist.com trolling around looking for a part-time job I could do when I wasn’t in class or working at my coffee shop. Many advertised that you could make real money canvasing the local neighborhoods and asking people to care about one cause or another, others were just looking to hire experienced line cooks in Chelsea, but then I came across one that stood out, “ looking for someone to drive me to and from work a couple nights a week. I work at a club in Romulus and need to be picked up at 6pm and 2am. I’ll be paying $20 a night if interested Please email me.” The only thing I knew about Romulus was that there was a strip club there named the Landing Strip. I had seen there signs a hundred times on my drives to the airport. The hours seemed to suggest an active night life in this girl. So, I began to think that this job could be driving around a stripper. I saved the post to my list of possible dead end jobs and continued searching. A couple of days later I was chatting with a friend of mine at our local Chili’s Bar and Grill about just why Thor was the Mightiest Avenger when the check came. After we sorted out that he would be “Getting me” this time our conversation turned to more topical matters, “So how are things at the coffee shop?” he said through gritted teeth. I told him how they were still cutting my hours and about how my boss was a dick, and for some reason I mentioned the post about driving the stripper. Before I could even finish with the details he shouted, “That’d be great! You never sleep, and you don’t work that late at the shop right? You should drive this stripper.” I responded, “We don’t know she’s a stripper. She could be a waitress or a bartender, ya know?” The next morning I sent out an email. My future employer told me her name was Joanna and she told me she could actually pay me twenty five dollars maybe more. She gave me her phone number so we could text and we agreed to try our new relationship out. I would pick her up next Friday.
The doors of the club fly open, and men come out to meet the valet all while glancing backwards through the closing doors. I’m taken aback by their sheer numbers and I’m beginning to wish we had planned this out better, because this is our first night and I’m only doing the 2am pickup. I have no idea what Joanna looks like. She could be anyone. Eventually the girls begin filing out of the club. Some begin to chat with the gentlemen still lingering, while others make beelines for their cars. I sit there not knowing what to do when Joanna gets to my car. So I click on the dome light because I feel like that will make me look like a welcoming beacon. In reality, I look like a large man sitting in a dark parking lot with all his car interior lights shining on his giant awkward smile. I look out and see a dark haired girl looking around it must be her. I get out of my car and begin waving my arm as my phone begins to ring, “It’s me,” I say as the arm moves more enthusiastically. She walks over and we introduce ourselves and we hug all the while I think to myself, “not too long.” She’s pretty, but shorter than I’d imagined. Maybe she is a bartender after all. As she sits down I try to get a look at her, but the last thing I want is to do is get caught staring at her. We begin to drive away and as we round the bend and the pink neon starts to fade, she turns to me and says in a playful voice, “So I’m a stripper.”