The lusty pulse and sweet melody of trip-hop mixed with the curling fingers of cherry flavored tobacco smoke and slicked up, hungry bodies washed over them as they entered the reinforced doors of Strip Club Symposium, known by the underground railroad of sentients as the last sanctuary for human minds.
Marble pillars the color of ivory loomed with gauze-light draperies drifting from them over giggling indoor fountains.
Here, intellectuals lounged across ornate, antique love-seats, pontificating with one arm extended to grasp a martini or glass of bourbon, the other draped casually around the shoulders of a delectable woman of the night, or sometimes two, each clothed as roman goddesses and leaning into one another intimately, their fingers affectionately tangled in one another’s hair.
“C’mon now, dear, let’s warm up them chilled bones.” Fairy House Mom bustled busily behind the heavy wooden bar to the left of the entrance, whisking an apron from a hook on the wall and tying it around her waist in one deft motion. “How’s about a drink with some bite while you sit yer pretty behind down an’ tell me —” she leaned over the bar with a half serious, half teasing air, one eyebrow slightly raised “— what’n tarnation possessed you to go sittin’ out thar like a moonstruck cay-oat.”
“Tricksy-tini, two olives, please.” The girl pulled herself onto a barstool and sat, legs pulled up and bent to place her small bare feet on the barstool next to her.
“You gon’ have to get over this somber patch, girl.” Fairy House Mom shot her a skeptical look, wrapping her fingers around a martini shaker.”
The girl tilted her head, trailing a nail over the edge of the bar thoughtfully. As Fairy House Mom shook the martini with the mood of a cha-cha, words flowed softly from the girl’s mouth.
“When I was a little girl, my daddy used to take me to the park to feed the ducks. He’d carry me there on his shoulders, and he’d laugh with me. One time feeding the ducks, one of them bit me, and I cried, so daddy kissed it better and carried me home.
On the way, I was looking back over his shoulder, back into the woods and I saw this shining glint of light. It was like silver jewelry, or diamond, but breathing and alive. And when I looked at it, it looked back at me, and I knew I was safe there, riding along in my daddy’s arms.
Other times, when his arms were full, he would have me hold onto the back of his belt. That way, I wouldn’t get lost, even when he couldn’t hold my hand. I saw it then, too, looking at me through the leaves. Whenever I looked closer, it was gone.” Her voice trailed off.
“You must’a saw a reflection.” Fairy House Mom smiled nonchalantly, sliding the girl her martini glass. Barely looking, the girl took the glass, pulled out the toothpick, and idly discarded the third olive onto a napkin.
“That’s the thing. There was nothing reflective. I looked! Every chance I got, I looked. But there was never anything so much as a lost penny or a shard of glass.”