It was a slow Thursday evening about a week before Halloween, a time of year that is always good for business at Laceyís Peep Heaven, and I had a trio of the girls there to work the private dancer booths, except there were no takers and so they were sitting at one of the tables in the bar room flipping a worn deck of tarot cards and talking about what they were going to wear for Halloween, not exactly for trick or treat, but more trick and treat, which is pretty much what we offer at Peep Heaven Ė a smile, a promise, a little flash of flesh, and sometimes maybe more if the customer is a gentleman and wants to pay for it
I could never figure out what our girls could possibly see that was special about Halloween. Around here, the dancers get to costume and doll up in grand style every night of the year, anything they want from the helpless peasant girl or the flirty chamber maid or Little Red Riding Hood to the grand duchess of Lust Castle. Me, Iím Vinnie Danger, the king of illusion and lost dreams, and I run Peep Heaven. Around here, itís always the season of erotic imagination running wild, anything the customers want, and more. I know some will tell you itís a wicked den of sin, but I donít see it that way. We enable the testosterone-driven to live out their fantasies, nobody gets hurt, tortured or maimed, and whatís the harm in that?
I own the joint, including the liquor bar, and Iím also the bartender, the master of ceremonies, the chief cook and bottle washer, and the bouncer, and yes, Danger is my real nameÖwell, my real show biz name, anyway, back from the day when I was lead singer and guitarist with my own rock and roll band. But donít get the wrong idea. No matter what I call myself, I donít go looking for trouble. Not anymore. I donít need any more than is already stacked against my door. With all the cons and crooks and cheaters running up and down the Strip, to say nothing of the flesh peddlers and the dope dealers and the long arm of an indignant citizenry, well, letís just say they ought to call me Vinnie Survivor.
Anyway, like Iím saying, it was late October and we were moving in on spook-and-scare season and the girls were throwing down the tarot cards in some game I couldnít even begin to understand and the subject of costumes came up. There were only three of them, but they formed the tight group, the nucleus of our band of tease artists who performed as private dancers behind glass in the little booths for the men who went in the draped rooms and closed the doors behind them.
Abigail said she wanted to dress up like a French countess with a big hair powdered wig, and of course somewhere in wardrobe rental we could easy get our hands on a few grand gowns in blue and red velvet with gold trim, modified of course for our specific show biz needs, with easy off tabs and sliding layers that slipped away to reveal glimpses and then more and more of the sweetness moving underneath, and so I figured that was a good pick for her.
ďGo for it,Ē I agreed. What with Studio Costume Rental just two blocks away, that one was easy. Abby was a blond with classic features, aristocratic high cheekbones and a delicate chin, and I could see her doing a mini minuet, a few brief steps in the confined box behind the show glass before she made her first provocative move.
ďYou never dress up for Halloween,Ē Connie said, her calm gaze of disapproval settling squarely on me.
ďI donít have to. Iím always the clown.Ē
She turned over a card with a colorful jester wearing a hat with bells on it. Appropriately enough, I thought to myself, the fool.
ďSure, Vincent, but the spirit of the thing,Ē she insisted, ignoring the card that came up and the fact that it had to be some kind of trick. Thatís the thing about Connie; to everybody else I was Vinnie the boss, or to the customers just Hey, buddy how about another one over here?, but Connie called me by my baptized name, you know, the one they give you when youíre barely a week old and the priest pours water over your head.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Klawitter has been a writer, director and filmmaker in Chicago, Detroit, New York, San Francisco and mostly Hollywood for over 40 years. Many of his credits are available at www.amazon.com/author/johnklawitter, www.imdb.com and www.dga.com.
He currently writes novels, screenplays, song lyrics, essays, short stories and memes from his home studio in Woodland Hills, California, and wants you to know life is good.