His downtown studio was disarray with stretched canvas’ and photo reels.
A memorandum of post-its grazed the walls like bomb fragments from a shrapnel shell.
The urban modern feel was relevant, as the interior was gutted to the bare bones.
John Coltrane played spiffy and smooth from the distant record player.
The scotch poured into his glass soul, like honey over ice.
The bathroom mirror stared at him patiently for more skin.
He swabbed a healthy dab of pomade and applied it along his jet black hair.
The mirror practically let out a sigh as the black Stretch Fit resisted and peeled off his lean physique, the bathing lights showcasing calligraphed ink and profound scars.
He picked up the chrome handled razor to vacuum his lathered shadow clean.
Coltrane’s, A Sentimental Mood, chimed in and began to seduce a conversation in his mind about Friday’s plans for the night.
His mobile chatterbox sung an urgent tune, breaking the cool jazz undertone.
A husky voice box mumbled into his lobe.
“Alameda, cruising by at 9,” the voice brimmed behind a friendly but static tone.
He pondered the idea for a moment. The dizzying display of framed artwork around him began looking like serrated fingertips pantomiming frantically for an exit behind its tempur-pedic walls.
“Sounds good.” I finally answered and hung up.
He threw on the StretchFit, arms hugging the sleeves; his favorite shirt was perfectly fit which narrowed by the waist for an even taper. The slashed baby blue jeans were thrilled to complement the pair of snow white kicks, and a leather jacket iced the cake with a touch of rugged, for a decorated steez.
He steadily funneled the remaining swash of malt from it’s sweating cylinder down the pit as he stared outside.
A borealis of smoggy city lights drizzled the sugary skyline.
A dapper 7-series, tailored in navy blue, silently yawned to the curbside down below, its halogens softening its glare as it halted.
“Daps,” gave an LA handshake and a familiar exchange of mischievous glances between conversation.
The seats were comfortably designed as a La-Z-Boy prototype.
The smell of leather guts and fresh-off-the-lot, filled his nose.
J-dilla’s legendary Donuts bumped through the speakers, sketching the theme for every reflective scene off the chrome accents and waxed grill. The rush of traffic whizzing by streamed forcefully through his slicked hair, chilled breeze kissing his face in icy smears.
Bantering, Spanish percussions, and trap snares whirled aerodynamically past us as a kaleidoscope of graffiti and traffic lights textured our peripherals like a berry medley of blossoms in the breeze.
The billboard portrait of scantily dressed brunettes and blonds peeked over the chalky cubic high rise of labyrinths.
The hot pink neon lights sensually outlined the midnight blue “Alameda” sign.
The parking lot resembled that of a showroom.
Low riders and SUV’s sitting on drum barrel sized rims flossed and leaned, flexin’ on their best angles; their candy paint practically dripped.
(This was clearly, a wild contrast to the rest of the neighborhood of foreclosed homes, unkempt lawns, dirty beat up cars, and earthquake slivered streets.)
A valet shuffled hurriedly to present a gesture of open arms, the notion: more time spent in the club meant more money bags to fill.
A grim faced bouncer, “Slim,” physically dominated the entrance with the intense demeanor of a rabidly mad dog.
“He’s with me,” my partner barked at Slim; we gained admission with a nod.
We slipped into the deep purple velvet curtains, swallowed into the dim depths controlled by tv lights which led our eyes to the low stage, where a blonde bombshell teased her drooling audience. Her tightly strewn lingerie seemed to slither its way along and in between folds to reveal barely enough freckles and creases to let out for breath. Her body’s movements orchestrated the background music.
The crowd of men adored their goddess with showers of leafy bills.
-We were here for other reasons.
We diverted our attention to the dim hooded bar.
The counter was sticky from greasy elbows and spillage of cocktails around the clock.
“Dos Coronas,” Daps ordered.
The Alameda was a tasty plot of real estate in our liking and the owner was a negotiable prospect teetering in our favor sooner than perfumed dollar bills can hit the floor.
“Wait here. I need to take a leak,” my partner yelled back.
I sipped back the corona and swiveled my vision to the stage. The lights dimmed and a slowed dirty razzy snare began to grind and shuffle, meshing with the tethering bass kicks, as a mean heavy groove clicked the nodding heads of young bloods, and the tapping feet of older heads. Then, an hourglass brunette draped in silk robe strut down the catwalk with conviction, her eyes were telling, swaying her hips ever so slightly puckering her full lips, the silk wrapper unveiled boastful candies of aesthetic proportions, the epitome of a “Stunner.” Her gaze penetrated, like a lion to its gazelle..
“Let’s step outside,” Daps interrupted.
He stared into the eyes of the dancing flame, with the mad desire of a lustful pyro. Gently caressed the flame over his saliva- stitched tobacco paper to parch, then finally lit the spliff’s head, the cherry ember flaunting its heat like a firefly in the night sky. A loud cheering ricocheted out the door.
“That was Firefly up there,” Daps informed.
Firefly stripped on Wednesdays, easily scraped in a cool grand, hugged the bouncer, draped her fur coat, purred the v8, then sped off into the night.
“You know her personally?” I inquired.
“That’s as far as anyone knows, don’t even try, brotha, impossible feat. She’s a dime piece, ain’t she.” He chuckled. “Tell you what, let’s grab one more drink while we wait.”
I parked myself towards the edge of the bar this time, with the intention of leaving soon, hopefully. I don’t prefer to get caught up in this type of atmosphere.
“Dos Coronas! Chill for a minute, I’m gonna talk to Don.” Daps handed me the beer before walking off.
With my back to the bar, I tilted my gaze towards a glint in the room.
Firefly was sitting with a group of sharply dressed men clawing for her attention.
She was looking straight at me.
I raised my beer to applaud her for her performance and turned back to the bar.
The heavenly fragrance of roses and sweet nectar filled my nose as Firefly slid into the barstool next to mine.
“You’re new here aren’t you?” She asked,
her voice sweeter than the birds and the bees.
“Somewhat, I’m actually here for business,” my voice trembled slightly.
“Oh, is that right? You look soo familiar..” she peered at my countenance and rotated her gaze from my eyes to lips, then finally asked,
“So what kind of business do you do?”
“Real estate? Oh god another real estate agent!” She rolled her eyes
“It’s a side project,” I spat out, trying to hold in my laughter. “I’m actually an artist.”
“Now, that’s interesting.” She fingered her fishnets with a glitter painted finger, her hair hiding half her face.
“..So why do they call you firefly?” I naturally had to ask.
She peered up at me with doe eyed wonder.
“I was always dancing as a kid and my daddy used to call me that name. It kinda stuck.”
“I don’t buy that,” I chimed in.
“I’m serious! Also, because I’m good at shaking my ass, is that the answer you wanted to hear?”
“Bingo.” I playfully added, or so I thought.
“..Well.. I thought you were different, but your an ass like the rest of them.”
For such a tough girl in a tough business, I was surprised to find the hurt in her eyes.
“I’m sorry, I’m not judging you, I don’t have a right to. Let me make it up to you, can I buy you a drink?”
“I don’t drink.” She had her body faced away from me now, arms crossed.
“Maybe I can buy a lap dance from you?”
She suddenly became cold and her doe eyes turned into daggers.
“That’s not how I roll, I’m a show stopper. I don’t run the grounds, that’s amateur, at best.”
I finished my drink and began getting antsy for dude, still not returned.
The silence started to grow awkward and I began speaking out of nervousness.
“You know..I..”-She grabbed my hand and led me to a couch in a dark corner.
She pushed me hard, on the seat of my ass.
Her eyes became doe eyed again – irresistable, her body was mature and full.
“One song only,” She bantered.
I wondered if I was the only person receiving a lap dance from Firefly because the entire room had eyes on us, especially the sharp dressed men she was sitting with before.
“I have a confession..I was so nervous when I saw you from the stage, you gave me butterflies..that never happens,” Her warm breath tickled into my ear.
Her body began to quiver slightly as she straddled me, slowly grinding fluidly, her body moving like opaque wax in a lava lamp – silky skin pressed up against my shirt.
She wrapped her arms behind my neck and softly thrusted her hips toward my crotch.
I can feel her moist breath on my lip.
She grabbed my hands and placed them on her peachy cheeks.
She began to show a smile.
We were getting lost in the moment – the loud music, chattering, and clinking of glasses melted away. I moved my hands up to her waist and my thumb got caught between the elastic band near the waistband of her thong. Before I could unfree myself she held my hand in place and pulled the string back towards me till taut, then began moving, riding against the tension between her legs and kept grinding, increasingly becoming more and more aroused.
The song faded to its end.
She casually turned around and took a seat on my lap with her innocent doe eyed gaze.
My heart skipped a 16.
I began to reach for my wallet but she stopped me and refused.
I certainly felt there was something more to this encounter, but wasn’t sure.
The Suits kept their cool gaze over me.
“Can we just talk?” She insisted. I began to notice something I hadn’t seen before. There was something genuine in her eyes, that put me at ease.
I learned that Firefly was attending college and paying for her bills through various side hustles. I increasingly developed a huge respect for her.
I spotted my partner and decided to head over to him.
I excused myself.
“This is Bullshit! The guy won’t budge. I’m fuckin’ pissed man. I’m getting another drink. Another Corona?” Daps was in a fury.
“I’m straight. I’ll step out for a smoke though.” Things were looking sour. The notion: people can change their minds on a dime or an emotion’s notice, and other varying factors; human nature can be predictable…to a degree.
I shot the breeze with Slim about his background- living in Russia, rough neighborhood, mafia ties, moving to LA, scraping by, the unsung hero’s story of multitudes of people I’d spoken with.
It was 2am.
Liquor stores were locking up their alcohol sections and people were transitioning from the clubs to after parties. The streets were empty and starting to look like a ghost town – the cries of sirens haunted the night.
I turned back to Slim to find him chatting with Firefly, adorned in her long fur coat.
“Your leaving so soon, Fire? Must be an emergency,” Slim curiously thought out loud.
“Yeah.. I got some stuff to take care of..” Firefly answered, her tone a bit unsure.
They hugged briefly, when our eyes met.
She turned and began walking towards me. I couldn’t decipher the look in her eyes, but she adorably bit her bottom lip.
I assumed nothing.
“Listen, if there’s anyway, I’d love to make it up to you.” I offered, with good intent.
“You can be a gentlemen, and at least walk me to my car.” She looked a bit silly and almost child like in her larger than life coat.
I finally understood that her actions tonight may have caused jealousy and some salty looks – she attracted more attention to herself than necessary. But why?
Slim came forward to escort us and ensure her safety.
But Firefly stopped him. “It’s cool, baby.”
Slim nodded and took a step back, giving me a watchful eye.
It was winter in November and our words puffed smoke into the frigid night.
Without much thought, I also got in the car, and she didn’t even seem to notice. Instead, she turned up the heat, we chopped it up on a deeper level, and we simple talked.. about life.
For once, we both forgot about our occupations, and how we just met at a strip club, both probably for the wrong reasons.
We decided to hangout for a bit longer, she invited me over to her place.
I agreed to tag along.
I found out the next morning that Daps got into a nasty fight and gunshots ensued. The owner of the club was a victim of several bullet wounds.
I’d like to think that Firefly was my lucky charm.
Despite her stripes, she’s an angel to me – she shares my name, tatooed on her body, with her daddy’s inscribed quote, which she keeps close to her heart.
We both fell for it, despite the rule of thumb: never fall in love with a stripper. And her rule was as good as mine.
One thing’s for sure – we’re both contrarians; we wore everything on our sleeves.