by Rob McClure Smith

Setting:         The Blue Heaven Gentlemen’s Club, outside Davenport, Iowa.

Time:             May 2010

Character:     CHRISTABEL, 20 years old, an attractive and perky brunette

CHRISTABEL sits in a chair on a bare stage. She directs her remarks to her replacement.


The best thing is, not everyone gets in the door. Big Petie keeps the mega-creeps out. On the whole, I’d say the custom is nice, with exceptions. Of course, head’s up, they’ll want to know everything about you right off the bat. Me, I’m honest. I tell them I’m a student, just not where, obviously. Only question you don’t answer is: “What’s your real name?” “What’s your wife’s name?” ask back. That’ll shut them up quick every time. You need a good name, though. Something creative. Which is how come I’m Christabel.

When you’re here, you’re here, and what happens in Blue Heaven stays in Blue Heaven. That’s the rule. I bumped into a regular—only time ever—in this ice cream parlor in Iowa City. “I don’t know you and you don’t me,” he said. His kids were with him. Damn straight I didn’t.

Best advice is be a professional always. Always. Don’t drink at work, don’t curse, don’t share your troubles, always be in a good mood. Tell him jokes. Listen to his wife-and-work woes. Make him feel he’s the only guy in the room. Talk as long as he’s listening and the money’s flowing. Know what they call it in psychology? Counterfeit intimacy. Isn’t that great? I did an Independent Study last year. Anyway, just figure out what the guy wants and become it. Mommy or Catholic schoolgirl covers a lot of bases. He wants a pretty airhead? That’ll be you. “Like, why is snow so wet?” The sophisticated woman? That’s you too. “What do you think of the flat tax? Could it work without a fee at the point of consumption? Really? How interesting. I think you’re soooo right.”  Continue reading