The Strip Club

And then my brother he shows me how to stuff dollar bills into their panties, thin black lace over orange skin, pasties over nipples, and I’m thinking this is strange. But then he says “relax” but I can’t relax. I cram the ones in and I’m all stiff like I’m stuffing a letter in a mailbox except it’s not a mailbox it’s a person like just take your damn money and my brother he says “this is it man” like he always says with that smile with the teeth. I’m looking at the girls but I’m looking at the men not hollering or reaching or slippery like I thought they would be but standing with arms crossed and staring like we were at a museum like we were admiring art. And it’s hard not to think about who took my brother to a strip club for his first time and if he was sweating the first time like I am but “relax” he says and I say to myself I mean it’s just like church you just sit and listen and stuff your ones in the right place but then one of the strippers falls from her pole, way high up, and lands on her head, weird though, and the guys are racing to help her and there’s blood. But then the staff are pushing them away “don’t touch” they’re saying and that’s confusing and there’s blood and my brother looks at me and I know he wants to say “it’s not like this” but it is “this” isn’t it? This is what I’m seeing the pasties and the ones and the red matted hair and the men standing around with their hands held out in front like cowboys drawing warmth from dying coals.