Previously on Pop Culture Mysteries…
And now the Pop Culture Mysteries continue…
The Cotton Candy Alligator. What a place.
I’m not sure if crabs are airborne, but I felt itchy as soon as I walked through the double-doors.
The scent of body sweat and cheap perfume wafted up my nostrils as I was unceremoniously greeted by a bouncer who looked like a gorilla stuffed into an off-the-rack suit.
Inflation’s a bitch. In my day, you could oggle exotic dancers for less than what you people pay for coffee today.
I wanted to debate the point with the goon, but he didn’t appear to be the talkative type.
I retrieved an Andrew Jackson portrait out of Karen’s envelope and handed it over. The mug lifted up the rope and let me in.
What a scene. The room was lousy with tawdry, painted-up hussies and assorted deviants who preferred to pay women for their time rather than earn it through their wit and charm.
That’s not my style. If I can’t earn a woman’s time through my wit and charm then I’d just rather be alone.
Coincidentally, I spent a lot of time alone.
It was interesting to mingle with twenty-first century folk.
“What can I get you honey?”
The barkeep was a real bodacious bimbo, face like a movie star and yet a pair of bosoms that looked like they’d been pilfered from a watermelon patch.
Breast enhancement surgery. Nose reduction surgery. All kinds of plastic surgery.
One of the more shocking parts of modern life for me was realizing that everyone and their mother was doling out their hard-earned cash to disreputable quacks to tinker with what God gave them.
Take what you were born with and do your best, I always say.
And I know that’s easy for me to say because, hell, I’m more handsome than Cary Grant on his best day, but still. It just seems to me that society has devolved into a bunch of people who are preoccupied with what other people think of them, but never bother to just flat out talk to anyone anymore.
The art of “getting to know you” is dead. Long live the age where you’re just another nameless face and if you can’t impress anyone within the first five minutes, you might as well get comfortable on the pine, because you’re going to be riding it the rest of your life.
“Nothing for me, doll. Trying to keep my head clear.”
“There’s a two drink minimum.”
Another snow job.
“Well, I suppose if you’re going to twist my arm, sweetheart, I’ll take a whiskey straight up.”
Whatever happened to the lost art of conversation? Barkeeps used to talk your ear off and you’d just keep buying drinks to keep the conversation going. Everything’s so contrived now.
Suddenly, there was an uninvited posterior in my lap. It was attached to a gal with pink hair and a skimpy red dress that barely covered her derriere.
“Hi there,” she said in the worst attempt at a sultry voice I’d ever heard. “My name’s Sinnamon.”
“It’s spelled with an, “S” because I’m so sinful,” the broad whispered into my ear.
“Darlin,’ if you have to explain it, it’s not that clever.”
The barkeep returned with my shot.
Mother of God. I forked over a ten-spot. Karen’s envelope was getting lighter and lighter.
“Thanks for the tip baby,” the bartender said.
I’d expected change but whatever. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from three marriages, it’s that arguing with a woman is pointless.
“What’s your name?” Sinnamon asked.
I wasn’t paying attention. I was surveying the scene trying to see if I could figure out who Karen was.
Myron the self-proclaimed Rastafarian said that Craig shacked up with a working girl named Karen.
Lou had an envelope of cash with Karen’s name on it.
Dollars to donuts both Karens were the same dame.
“Your name, honey?” Sinnamon asked as she stared at me through a pair of big brown eyes.
I suppose most men would find that enchanting, maybe even endearing, but I was immune to feminine wiles. That tends to happen when your first wife cheats on you with your partner and your second wife shoots you six times and leaves you for dead so she can run off with your rotten, good for nothing brother.
Women just didn’t have the power over me that they used to. At least most women didn’t. A classy dame like Delilah could ask me to hurl myself into the Grand Canyon and the only thing I’d ask her if I should do a back flip or a swan dive.
“Peter Lorrie,” I said. “I’m an actor.”
Wow. It was easy to pull that broad’s leg.
“Yes. I always play the bad guy. You might not recognize me as I just got eyeball reduction surgery.”
“Do you want to read my screenplay?” Sinnamon asked as she hopped off my lap. “It’s in my locker. Hold on I’ll get it for you!”
A hazard of living in LA – every yahoo within the city limits has a screenplay they’re pushing. And when I say “everybody,” I mean everybody. The bus driver, the barber, the waitress at the diner, the kid that fetches your burger at the drive-thru, the guy that holds the door open for you when you visit a fancy building – everyone of them is trying to break into the business.
On any given day, a visitor to the City of Angels is in danger of having approximately sixty-five screenplays thrust upon him.
“No,” I said as I downed my shot. “No, no. That’s ok doll.”
“Are you sure?” Sinnamon asked. “It’ll just take a minute.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I’ve been outta’ the business for awhile and I’d rather you wait and find someone who can give your story some extra oomph. Surely a lady of your obvious talent deserves nothing less.”
Sinnamon put her hand on my shoulder. A little tear popped out of her eye.
“That’s literally the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me in here.”
“Then I feel sorry for you.”
She was back on the lap. I get most men like that but all I could think about was how many other laps she’d sat on that day and how many lap-to-butt germs was she dropping off onto my lap. I’d have to ask Ms. Tsang to starch my trousers as soon as I got home.
“I like you, Peter.”
“Can’t say as I blame you.”
“You know I don’t tell many guys this but my real name is Ferrari.”
Ferrari. They had those in my day too. Fast cars but everyone wants to drive them and dump them as soon as they get the gas bill. Like a mini-van that gets you from point a to point b, I preferred my women to be dependable and reliable.
“Listen sister,” I said. “This aint’ my first go-round in a jiggle joint.”
“There’s no excuse for you,” I said. “You think I just fell off the turnip truck? That ‘tell a guy a first fake name then tell him a second fake name is your real name’ is the oldest trick in the book, see? Designed solely for the purposes of extracting dinero from the pockets of mouth breathing slobs you dames dupe into thinking you give a damn about them.”
“Well,” Sinnamon/Ferrari said as she tickled my arm gently and batted her eyelashes. “Did it work?”
“So you don’t want to go to the champagne room?”
“The champagne room? What the hell’s that?”
Sinnamon, oh what the hell, “Ferrari” whispered some naughtyness into my ear, the kind of foul language that would of made a nun blush.
“Really?” I asked.
“How do you…”
She whispered the answer.
“With your…and your…on my?”
“I’m no doctor but that seems rather unhygienic if you ask me.”
“How much would that whole hullabaloo set a fella back?”
I only asked for curiosity purposes. We private dicks are nothing if not inquisitive.
Ferrari whispered the price tag in my ear.
“Get out of town on the next train to Juarez!” I shouted, a bit too loudly as I caused heads to turn all over the joint. People were able to hear me even over the crappy house music.
“What’re you, smuggling conflict diamonds in there or something?”
The gal smooched me on the cheek.
“OK baby if you’re broke then you’re just wasting my time. I’ll see you later.”
“Hold on doll,” I said as I pulled another twenty out of Karen’s envelope.
“A tip?” the dancer asked as she reached for it. “That’s sweet.”
“Nah,” I said. “If I was going to give you a tip, sweetheart, I’d tell you to call your parents and apologize for your life choices. I want to buy some information.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Which one of these floozies is Karen?”
Copyright (c) 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler. All Rights Reserved.
Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.