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How to Strip… Sober

As a stripper, I hear all the secrets and sorrows like a story I never wanted to hear while dancing naked and offering comfort. I’m in the yellow bathroom of the strip club where I still dance. There’s glitter stuck to the sink and a tub of baby wipes with a sign on the wall that says please don’t take these supplies home. The toilet’s broken again, so I’ll have to open the toilet lid and pull the plastic lever manually to flush. When I reach for the toilet paper, I see a small black metal bullet sitting on top of the toilet roll holder.

It’s scratched up, like it’s been kicked around, well-loved. I unscrew it to see what’s inside, guessing pills or coke. It’s more than half-empty, or half-full, depending on your perspective. The chalky powder’s caked into the cracks of the bullet’s screw part, so I struggle to close it again. A tiny bit of the powder gets on my fingers, so I drop it into my purse, knowing the bullet belongs to any of the five or six girls chattering in the dressing room right outside this door, tugging at their ripped fishnets and stretchy red lace bras. I’m afraid to touch the toilet paper with my cokey hands, so I lean over and run hot water. Wash with hand soap, wipe them on my pants, then snatch the toilet paper. When I’m done, I grab my purse and my gig bag and walk past the girls. It’s the end of my shift; the beginning of theirs… read more >

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