“Do you know what time the bus comes ’round?” “I’m pretty sure it comes around every hour.”
“I’ve gotta make it to Evansville by tonight.” “Oh, you mean like the Greyhound… I’m not sure exactly when or where.” Meet Wendy, a moderately-aged 50-something or poorly-aged 40-something with a wrist brace, looking for a good time and accepting company. I find her a phonebook with hopes that she’ll figure out where she’s headed and how to get there, before my cigarette goes out.
Flipping through page after page to no end, Wendy proceeds to assess the nature of our Hautian townspeople. “People from Terre Haute are so stuck-up… They act like they’re better than everybody else.” This remark immediately grabbed my attention away from her oversized mountain backpack. “They’re no fun.”
Considering the reputation my beloved Terre has with methamphetamines and the downtown streets strewn with cheap pitchers of nose-grease flavored beer, I had to pry. “What do you mean?” “Well, I was at Little Italy Festival… Over in Clinton, you know? I grabbed a table, and hard as I tried, couldn’t get nobody to come sit with me! I’m a nice gal ‘n all, just wanted to chat and have a good time… I’d keep trying to get people to sit with me, but they just look at me and act like they better than me. So I see this band that was playing there ‘n I asked if they’d join me. They said yea ‘n got a couple pitchers ‘n WOOOOOOO! Let me tell youuuu! They sure know how to party! Ha ha ha! (cackle cackle cackle).
By now, I realized Wendy was no longer fingering through the yellow pages to find a bus ride out of town. She was fingering my attention.
By now, I realized Wendy was no longer fingering through the yellow pages to find a bus ride out of town. She was fingering my attention. As the pages kept flipping, so did her lips. Her ability to multitask was amazing.
“What do ‘yer tattoos say? Oh, that’s niiice. I been wantin’ to get me a tattoo…” Wendy is no longer looking at the phonebook, she is staring upward at the sky. “Somethin’ like an angel… ‘er a fairy… then turns into like a devil, ‘er you know… Like she could be a real evil bitch (cackle). You know they make them tattoos that change from day ‘n night. Like, when the sun’s out, it’s one thing… But then at nighttime, it’s somethin’ diff’rent.”
“Oh really?” She’s been rambling on so long, I felt it was necessary to contribute something to this awkwardness.
Wendy continues, “Er something like a dog, but then a werewolf… A real bitch ‘ya know (cackle…). But I’m a nice girl. An’ somethin’ with freedom…” She pauses in a moment of sheer contemplation. “Oh yea?” I chime in. “Like a flag. An American flag.” Through my mind flashes thoughts of Syria, drones, and the NSA. “A flag and… and… I dunno…” “Well just make sure you get what you know you’ll like” was all I could muster.
Like I was performing some sort of civic duty to restore this out-of-towner’s faith in my humble city. And yet another depraved, sympathetically, curious part of my psychoanalytic being wondered where this chance meeting was going.
By now, part of me wished I would’ve waited a bit longer to take my smoke break, but another part felt compelled to stay and smoke another. Like I was performing some sort of civic duty to restore this out-of-towner’s faith in my humble city. And yet another depraved, sympathetically, curious part of my psychoanalytic being wondered where this chance meeting was going.
“You ever heard of 6th Avenue?” Aha! I’ve struck gold! “I’ve heard of it.”
“Yea, I’m trying to get a job over there.” But not right now because she’s headed to Evansville to “party” and get away from her just ex’d husband. “Yea, I’ve done amateur night over there a few times. Made some good money.”
Which I question, due to the fact that compared to the average 6th Ave dancers (yes, I’ve frequented the club once or twice… no comment on the averageness of the average dancer), Wendy exceeds in age and falls short in figure. She tells me that most of the ladies there lack class in their performances.
“They just come out and their tops are already off! You gotta leave somethin’ to the imagination!” I admire her sensibility. “That’s right, stay classy.” Wendy goes on to tell me that amateur night does not require the removal of clothing. Maybe the presence of fabric had something to do with the “good pay” she received… “I already lost 90 pounds. Got my legs lookin’ goood… My arms lookin’ goood… I got great boobs… All I gotta do is lose another 50 pounds n’ my belly be lookin’ goood too!” “Alriiiight.”
In an instant, the topic switches from stripping to security. “Ya know, I done worked the doors before.” “Oh yea?” “Yea, I can hold my own. I done broke people’s fingers before.” The aspiring dancer/bouncer demonstrates by bending her thumb backwards as far as she can. “And I know where to get ’em… First you stomp on their foot like this, then you get em in the balls.” “Ouch.” “I even know the one where you take your wrist like this, n’ you go right up at their nose.” “I’ve heard of that.” “Yep. It pushes their nose right up in their brains. But that’d kill somebody. I ain’t never done that one before. It’d kill ’em…”
As enthralled and doey-eyed as she had me, my lungs couldn’t handle another spectator cigarette. I wished Ms. Wendy good tidings and a safe journey, and was on my way. I may never see her again, but I’ll always wonder what her good girl- evil bitch- wolf- werewolf- american flag- day and night tattoo would look like, sliding classily up and down that pole with clothes part way off, just waiting to push some dude’s nose up into his brain…