The second book of a two-part series explores Louis’ ability to cope with lost loves and lost friends.
I wanted to share with you one of my favorite chapters from The Book of Isabel. This is towards the beginning of the book (page 68) and the protagonist is in a dark place in his life so he goes to the only place that makes him feel better. The interesting fact about this chapter was that this was the last chapter I wrote for this book. I felt the story needed something a little more edgier and I came up with this chapter called, My Secret Life.
This is my secret life wrapped up in damp skin, cheap perfume, and fake breasts. I started feeling the effects of the 40 oz. I downed 10 minutes ago after I said “fuck it,” I’m going to Adult World. I need to get away from my life. I needed to stop thinking about the pure shit that’s my existence.
I focus my attention and energy on a very sexy black woman that wraps her body around a pole that’s at the center of a broad stage. Her well-built naked body is the best thing that my eyes can absorb today. Her stage presence is everything I need right now. I came here to see her, to get lost in her movements, her body, and her magic.
I know the days that Vivienne performs at Adult World because there was a time when I came here quite often to bask in her seduction. It’s been a couple of months and I miss it. Today, I needed to get away, just for a few hours, from this meager existence of crying over a woman I can no longer have. I would rather be caught up in a fantasy starring Vivienne. I would rather get lost in her eyes and her scent. I would rather get lost in her breasts and her G-string. I would rather get lost in her smile even if it means that I’m paying for it.
Her slow movements on the stage elicits an erotic dance that’s in perfect unison with the music blasting from the speakers. Most strippers dance to fast-paced music, but not her. She was dancing to Sour Times by Portishead and it’s as if she’s reaching into my soul giving it head. Her nude body and all her movements are speaking a foreign language that only a few people understand and she knows it. The men in the audience probably don’t even exist to her.
I don’t exist. I’m happy not to exist because there’s no betrayal in non-existence. There is no pain in the vacuum of non-existence and yet all of her rhythmic maneuvering drags me back from the ethereal to reality. Her ever-evolving choreography constantly reminds me that we are privileged to be in the same room with her. There is no pain here, only her.
I love this place because I’m a non-entity. I’m just another paying customer whose life choices have lead him here, to this place, with the hope of being teased. I can sit in the middle of this small venue and fade away watching nude women come and go off that stage. I can choose whom I want a lap dance from and I already know it’s from Vivienne. She won’t reject me because I’m just another paying customer and our relationship is that simple, pleasure and anonymity. I pay for her to give me the attention I only wish I could get for free.
The fixed seating gives off a theater-like quality that doesn’t resonate in other clubs. I do my best not to look up at the stage lighting because that only reminds me of my reality outside of this place. So I keep my vision directly on stage because it makes me comfortable to sit in darkness while I watch the show. My emotional numbness and disconnection to existence makes me feel better. It means the pain is not real. But from here she can see me if I wanted her to, I just have to give her a reason. I play with the singles I have in my pocket with my fingertips in anticipation of her coming into the audience. I know this game. I’ve played it before with her.
I pull out a dollar and I begin to fold it in half lengthwise. I smile while looking at her, hoping to get her attention during her routine. Vivienne does a long swing on the pole and gently lands on the ground. She crawls to the front of the stage and remains on her knees. She grabs her big fake breasts and licks her nipples as she scans the room. She notices the dollar I’m slowing waving and the game begins.
She smiles at me. There is recognition there. Her favorite customer has returned. How long has it been again? Weeks? Months? My invisibility now fades as she climbs down the small stage and provocatively walks towards my seat. Her platform heels make her look overwhelmingly sexy. Vivienne sits on my lap and never breaks eye contact with me. She smiles and says softly, “Welcome back, Professor.”
She grabs my head and pushes it between her breasts. Her skin is cool, but unbelievably comforting. She smells heavenly and for a brief second, this is everything I want. This is where I want to live. She shimmies her torso from side to side. Once she’s done, I lean back and give her the dollar. Vivienne, with her hands on her breasts, moves towards the dollar and I place it in her cleavage. She squeezes her breasts together and takes the money then mouths “thank you” and winks. She then gets up and continues her show.
I’m completely turned on by everything about her as I watch her bare ass walk away. Her sex appeal is off the charts. Other guys begin to give her dollars as well and this doesn’t bother me. This is the business of being a stripper. There is an unwritten contract that all patrons must abide by once they sit in these seats. It states that we cannot touch the women unless they allow us to. They’re also not property. Even though we’re giving money to them to stroke our egos and make our dicks as hard a possible, they are in control. We are not allowed to disrupt that fantasy with our desires.. The only thing we control is the amount of money in our wallets and right now I have enough money for her to dance for me.
Her dance routine ends after another song and she collects her cash and her clothes before heading backstage. Amber, a tattooed blonde white woman, comes out on stage and begins her routine. She’s a little too skinny for my taste and my interest in her fades, so I wait. It normally takes three to four minutes for any woman who performs on stage to count her money and get redressed before returning to the seating area to continue the fantasy by offering lap dances. I know there’s a chance that I may have to wait a little longer than I anticipated. There may be a few guys here that want a lap dance from her a much as I do, but considering that all the guys in here are white and are focusing on Amber, I think I won’t have to wait long.
As expected, Vivienne walks out in a short one-piece strapless dress with the same platform shoes and she heads towards me. She sits on my lap and we begin to chat. “Hey there professor, it’s been awhile. Can I interest you in a little private time?” she asks.
I nod my head and say, “yes” without being too eager. She grabs my hand and I get up and follow her to the “VIP” section, which is just a fancy way of saying this area is for lap dances. Vivienne calls me professor because she knows I’m going to graduate school. She was fascinated by the idea of my becoming a professor even after I told her what I was really going to school for. Of course, I would never correct her because I’m not going to ruin a potential lap dance
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. It’s gets pretty racy after this. I had so much fun writing this chapter. After while, the words just flowed from the hands.
You can purchase a copy The Book of Isabel here.
I’m at the point where I’m just writing pieces of the next book. I haven’t gotten into the groove yet. Most of the time, when I get a chance to think about the final part of this “trilogy”, I find myself brainstorming what it is that I want to do. Which leads me a scattered cross section of what the story may look like.
This makes me think about the evolution of my life. The coming together of various parts of my life like a jigsaw puzzle. For better or worse, I feel that I struggle with all parts of my life. The writing part will give off the appearance of success. What defines that? If simply writing a book is a marker for success then I am very successful but if the industry only looks at the numbers then does that make me a failure? I guess I would have to view things from a glass that is either half empty or half full.
My personal life always seem to be in pieces and that is not to say that is a bad thing but some how I feel that I’m always trying to fit a square peg into a star like hole. Some parts might fit if I angle it a certain way, but it hardly fits unless I take out a knife and start carving and customizing.
It terms of work, well, that is tricky subject. I love my job but there comes a time in a person’s life when tough choices have to be made.
This all reminds me of a few stories that I wrote years ago. I called it Pieces of a Puzzle. It’s multi part story that is very trashy. All about sex and deceit; how people can have such pleasure behind people’s back without realizing how connected we all are. This is probably the best way that I can describe it. I have let very few people read it because, again, there is a trashiness and about it that I just can’t bring myself to let the whole world see.
Of course, when I say the whole world, I really mean the few people who actually read my work. <— That is so petty. haha.
I may have mentioned a while back the I was going to name the new book, The Glass House. I may change that to Glass Houses. I just like the thought of this title because in some way well live fragile existences where one thing can shatter the perceptions of our own world.
I guess that is what this is all about. The books, the reason why I write, is about the fragility of it all. Why else do we do what we do? We try to maintain our strength in a losing battle with fate. We try to mix and match pieces of ourselves so we can have this fleeting thing called happiness.
What happens when all the stories makes sense and all the various pieces finally match? Is there a zen? Do we achieve happiness forever? Or do we open another puzzle box with 5000 pieces and try again?
I don’t know.
Last week’s reading of The Book of Isabel went well. It’s always good to connect with old friends, family, and meet new people. I find myself being more comfortable with my role as an author. I think I can really get used to appearances.
I find myself thinking about what kind of person I am when I do these readings. There was a time in my life when I did not like speaking in public. I can remember when I was in the 1st grade having to sing “It’s a Small World After All” in front of the whole school and freezing in front of everyone in gymnasium. That was the first time I has stage fright. Now, I feel that I have the capacity to talk to large crowds if I had to thanks to my various job training.
Not that this was a large crowd. This was more like a small listening session filled with people who support me. I’m so grateful for them and all the love they shown me. I knew going into this that not too many people would show because this is the summer time and any event you during this time can get a low turn out due to vacations and such. There a few people who did tell that they couldn’t when I announced the date so I knew that the crowd would be a cozy size. I still found myself surprised by those who did come.
What I do find funny is my own reactions to events like this. I no longer get nervous by the events themselves but I get extremely anxious because I don’t want to be late. It’s actually quite insane. I’m not sure if it’s because of my event experience that has taught me that events need to start on time and thus being late isn’t an option or maybe I’m turning into some kind of control freak. If it is the latter then I will make sure that whenever I do enter into a contract that I ask for only red starburst in my hospitality rider. lol
Anyway, Hellphone in Brooklyn was a nice place. I enjoyed the venue. Books were sold and signed and a good time was had. Sorry to those who missed it. Perhaps I will do another.
You can still order The Book of Isabel at anytime here on my site. Thank you to Raquel Penzo for hosting and interviewing me on stage. Thank you all for coming out and do not forget to rate the book!