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Some Call It Dancing – Part Four

July 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Marisa was beautiful, with long, golden hair that looked stunning against her chocolate coloured skin.  Marisa’s real name was Caroline Shaw.  She had been Carl Shaw before her transformation, and she was the closest thing to a friend that Sylvia had among her associates in the small universe of exotic dancers and club workers.  Marisa was still big as a man.  For the more observant, her large hands and feet, and her height of almost six feet would tell of her original gender.  Sylvia held the pungent smoke in her lungs and handed the joint back to Marisa, who lifted it carefully to her full, red lips.

“Come to my place after work”, she said before taking a long pull of smoke and dropping the small but into an ashtray.  Sylvia exhaled a long stream of bluish-white smoke into the air before she responded.

“What’s up?” Sylvia asked.  “I’m pretty tired after running back and forth from this place to the Ziggidy Bar.  Two sets an hour, with a run up and down the street in between really takes it out of me”.

“For one thing, sweetie”, Marisa said as she prepared for her own on-stage set, “I finished the slave girl costume you wanted me to make for you.  I must say, it looks great.  It’s a good idea you have for it.  The idiots in the audience will love it”.

“For another thing?” asked Sylvia, checking her make up in the mirror.

“I have a bit of special information for you that I think you’ll find interesting”, Marisa said, deliberately teasing Sylvia.

“So tell me now”, said Sylvia.

“No way… not around here.  You won’t want anybody else to know about it”, she said.  The other girls at the make up counter stopped talking together.

“Hey!” said Princess, a young girl with a muscular body. “What’s with the secrets here?  Share, ladies… share if you care”.

“It wouldn’t help you to know, Princess”, said Marisa with an arrogant toss of her blond mane.

“Fuck you”, said Princess.  “You fag-broads make me sick the way you hang together”.

“Eat your heart out, bitch!” said Marisa.  She turned back to Sylvia.  “So come over, Sweetie.  I want to check the fit of the slave girl outfit before I do the final sewing”.

“Wait for me then, after your show.  We can share a cab”.

Some Call It Dancing – Part Three

July 15, 2017 Leave a comment

“Ready”, Sylvia said.  She hung up the phone, stood and waited at the stage door.  The Red Foxx recording stopped abruptly in the middle of a dirty joke and Tony’s voice echoed flatly in the auditorium.

“Now ladies and gentlemen, the always exciting, sweet and slender ‘Angel”.  A ripple of applause was drowned out by the opening strains of Rod Stewart’s version of ‘Tonight’s The Night’.  Sylvia pushed the stage door open and strode proudly into the red spotlight, which followed her to centre stage.  She swung into her improvised routine, moving with slow, gentle grace to the sensual music.

The audience applauded appreciatively.  Sylvia, whose appearance fitted well with her stage name ‘Angel’, was a favourite with the ‘regulars’ at Paris Paradise.  Unlike any of the other girls, Sylvia looked into the faces of her audience during her performances.  The audiences were accustomed to the sulky, resentful expressions usually shown by the dancers.  But Sylvia liked showing herself, and she liked the easy money that stripping brought her.  The lonely, rejected men in the audience were made to feel warm toward Sylvia.  They saw her as a real person who existed in places not connected with her nude dancing in Paris Paradise.

Not until the song ended did Sylvia remove the outer layer of her costume.  The audience didn’t object.  She danced beautifully, and her warm, friendly personality extended out of the red spotlight, over the footlights, and into the hearts of the men in the audience.

The second song came on, and offered a change of pace.  Frank Sinatra’s voice filled the room with ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’, and Sylvia swung and spun as if the lyrics were guiding her.  Her long, well-shaped legs swept her from one side of the stage to the other, affording all members of the audience a close look at her muscled body.  This, too, endeared her to the audience.  Most often, the dancers kept to the centre of the stage, robbing those on the extreme left and right sides of the audience of a clear view of what they’d paid to see.

Sylvia’s routine unfolded like a flower, shedding petals.  Songs by Neil Diamond and Lou Rawls provided the balance of her music.  The audience applauded enthusiastically, whistled, and called for more… more… as Sylvia gathered up her costume and ducked backstage and into the dressing room.

After she showered in the small stall at the back of the dressing room, Sylvia came out to her place in front of the mirror.  She relaxed for a few minutes before dressing in her street clothes.  Marisa, a tall, lean black girl sucked on a joint and handed it to Sylvia.  Marisa was a transsexual in her twenties.  She was born male, and by the time she had turned nineteen, she’d had several operations to become the woman she always felt she should have been.  Her own father was the surgeon who helped her make the transition because he couldn’t bear to see her suffering as she did when she wore the male body that felt to her like a prison.  She had been a female in every way but physically and never knew a happy moment until she became a woman.  Finally, she took great joy and satisfaction in earning her living exhibiting her altered body.

“Ready”, Sylvia said.  She hung up the phone, stood and waited at the stage door.  The Red Foxx recording stopped abruptly in the middle of a dirty joke and Tony’s voice echoed flatly in the auditorium.

“Now ladies and gentlemen, the always exciting, sweet and slender ‘Angel”.  A ripple of applause was drowned out by the opening strains of Rod Stewart’s version of ‘Tonight’s The Night’.  Sylvia pushed the stage door open and strode proudly into the red spotlight, which followed her to centre stage.  She swung into her improvised routine, moving with slow, gentle grace to the sensual music.

The audience applauded appreciatively.  Sylvia, whose appearance fitted well with her stage name ‘Angel’, was a favourite with the ‘regulars’ at Paris Paradise.  Unlike any of the other girls, Sylvia looked into the faces of her audience during her performances.  The audiences were accustomed to the sulky, resentful expressions usually shown by the dancers.  But Sylvia liked showing herself, and she liked the easy money that stripping brought her.  The lonely, rejected men in the audience were made to feel warm toward Sylvia.  They saw her as a real person who existed in places not connected with her nude dancing in Paris Paradise.

Not until the song ended did Sylvia remove the outer layer of her costume.  The audience didn’t object.  She danced beautifully, and her warm, friendly personality extended out of the red spotlight, over the footlights, and into the hearts of the men in the audience.

The second song came on, and offered a change of pace.  Frank Sinatra’s voice filled the room with ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’, and Sylvia swung and spun as if the lyrics were guiding her.  Her long, well-shaped legs swept her from one side of the stage to the other, affording all members of the audience a close look at her muscled body.  This, too, endeared her to the audience.  Most often, the dancers kept to the centre of the stage, robbing those on the extreme left and right sides of the audience of a clear view of what they’d paid to see.

Sylvia’s routine unfolded like a flower, shedding petals.  Songs by Neil Diamond and Lou Rawls provided the balance of her music.  The audience applauded enthusiastically, whistled, and called for more… more… as Sylvia gathered up her costume and ducked backstage and into the dressing room.

After she showered in the small stall at the back of the dressing room, Sylvia came out to her place in front of the mirror.  She relaxed for a few minutes before dressing in her street clothes.  Marisa, a tall, lean black girl sucked on a joint and handed it to Sylvia.  Marisa was a transsexual in her twenties.  She was born male, and by the time she had turned nineteen, she’d had several operations to become the woman she always felt she should have been.  Her own father was the surgeon who helped her make the transition because he couldn’t bear to see her suffering as she did when she wore the male body that felt to her like a prison.  She had been a female in every way but physically and never knew a happy moment until she became a woman.  Finally, she took great joy and satisfaction in earning her living exhibiting her altered body.

Some Call It Dancing – Part Two

July 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Head down, walking faster, Sylvia scuttled past the line of men who stood against the back wall, staring at Duchess as she dropped her sequinned top onto an on-stage sofa, revealing bold, unnatural silicone breasts.

As Sylvia passed, each man suddenly became aware of her, and turned to watch her hurry into the dressing room at the opposite side of the dimly lit auditorium.  The rows of theater seats were filled with men who were eagerly staring at Duchess, waiting for the magic moment when she would snap off her G-string and reveal her shaved pubic area.  The management didn’t make it mandatory for the girls to reveal their privates, but Duchess always did.  She needed the extra ten dollars that Borden, the manager, paid for any show in which the girl showed it all.  In truth, Duchess also enjoyed the thrill she got from showing everything.

Inside the long, narrow dressing room, girls sat at the counter that ran the length of the room.  Large mirrors were mounted on the wall over the counter, each illuminated with glaring bulbs.  The counter was littered with a variety of cosmetic bottles, jars, and occasionally, pieces of costume.  A red feather here, a crumpled G-string there, breast pasties and other of the strippers’ paraphernalia.  Of the eight small chairs that sat at the counter, three were empty.  One was Sylvia’s, one was for Duchess who was nearing the end of her on-stage stint, and one was for Rickie, a girl who had the day off.  Other dancers, in various stages of undress, occupied the other five places.  One of the other dancers, a woman who looked a bit too old and bulky to show herself nude for a living, sucked on a small brass pipe and expelled a stream of fragrant smoke toward the ceiling.  She looked over at Sylvia who was undressing hurriedly and putting on her costume in layers of opposite order to which she would remove them on stage.

“Better hurry, Angel.  Sounds like Duchess’s music is about to end”, she said.  At that moment, appreciative shouts and applause were heard from the audience.  “There goes her g-string”, the woman said as she put the small pipe to her lips.  Sylvia didn’t answer, but calmly continues to dress in her layered costume, checking each garment in the mirror before her.  The door from the stage swung open and closed again as Duchess entered carrying her discarded costume in a bundle held to her chest.  Her very white skin glistened with sweat.  The sound of a Red Foxx comedy recording could be heard through the door.  It filled the intermission between acts.  Within a few minutes Sylvia was ready, touching up her makeup in the mirror.  An intercom phone on the wall rang.  She reached for it and held it to her ear.  Tony, who was on duty in the control room, said it was time to go on.

 

Some Call It Dancing – Part One

July 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Yonge Street was teeming with traffic.  Downtown sidewalks were crowded with young men who lived in the inner-city core, lounging in front of the bars and clubs that line the broad street.  Other young men from the suburbs walked up and down, obviously out of their element, visiting the hectic downtown area looking for excitement.  It was the usual Friday night scene, typical of a warm summer night.  Cars lined up, patiently creeping from traffic signal to traffic signal, curb cruising as the young occupants gawked at the characters on the sidewalks.  The festive atmosphere permeated the entire scene.  It was always so – summer Friday nights, with high-school youths enjoying an after-school adventure, mixing together with urban sophists, drug dealers and users.

Even in her street clothes, which consisted of loose, baggy, faded jeans and an old cotton top with crudely stitched repairs on several of the seams, Sylvia Vichnorski did not go unnoticed.  Even as she scurried down the street hauling her gym bag, the sensual movements of her walk attracted unwanted attention.  Some young men tried to see her face as she passed.  There could be no eye contact.  She kept her face tilted down and to the side, avoiding any possibility of connection.

She hurried across Dundas Square, past a giant, brightly-lit music store.  Deftly side stepping some boys, who tumbled out onto the sidewalk, excited about their acquisitions of the latest popular music discs.  A few more steps and she turned into a narrow doorway between a pawnshop and a pizza parlour.  A small marquee with blazing bulbs declared this entrance to “Paris Paradise – GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS – Toronto’s most beautiful nude dancers”.

Barely slowing her pace, Sylvia hurried up the steep, narrow stairs, struggling with the heavy gym bag.  The pounding sound of bump and grind music poured down the stairs.  She heard some men enter behind her at the bottom of the stairs and almost ran the rest of the way to the top.  She thrusts open the door and hurried into the darkened theatre amid the deafening music.  She glanced at the stage where a red spotlight was following a semi-naked girl who was writhing with bored repetitiveness.  She felt a moment of relief, knowing she had not missed her show.  Duchess was on stage, and Sylvia knew that her music track had another six or seven minutes to go.  It meant Sylvia had enough time to get ready to go on.

 

The Human Need for Stupid Stunts

June 10, 2017 1 comment

Bernie and I were both 17 years old. He was a couple of months older than I was, and we were close pals. In fact, our steady girlfriends were identical twins, one with him and one with me. We eventually married the twins, but that’s another story.

One night, Bernie and I went out to the quiet, wide highway 400 to do a stupid stunt. It was in the 1950s, when cars were huge. I was driving my father’s massive, cream coloured ’57 Buick Roadmaster. Bernie was driving his Aunt Lillian’s dark blue ‘53 Cadillac Coup de Ville. We roared up the empty highway at 3:30 one morning. We went side by side, Bernie on my left, me on his right. I powered down my window as did Bernie’s then girlfriend, and I reached to her and she took my hand. We roared up the road at about 100 miles an hour (160 km/h), two feet apart, holding hands, for no reason except the big V8 engines could do it.

The drive for stupid stunts must be quite strong in some people’s DNA.

In Toronto and Montreal, and perhaps other cities with subways, young people leap onto the exterior of the subway car and cling to the side as the train roars through the dark tunnels. I haven’t heard if anyone’s been killed or injured yet, but it is inevitable. Why do they do it? Perhaps they believe they’re showing courage and skill, although it’s actually reckless and foolish.

We scuba dive amid predators; we race cars; we ride motorcycles across deserts; we sail boats across oceans, for sport. Some of us need the challenge, the risk, the adrenaline dose that comes with pressure or anxiety.

I’ve done a good deal of auto racing, and ridden some motorcycles, and even did a fair amount of hang gliding. I enjoyed all of it, although I don’t really know why, except for the ‘stone’ one enjoys when the adrenaline sharpens all the senses. We see better, we hear more acutely, and our bodies feel fit and strong. I now get a good feeling from reading, writing, drawing and commenting on others’ works.

If one lives past the age of reckless foolishness, one learns the value of deeper activities.

10. THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

May 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter 10

The awkward kiss ended abruptly. Both Milton Korn and Honey Freed realized what they were doing, at the same moment.

“Sorry,” said Honey. “I guess the smoke…”

“I know. It’s my fault,” said Milt. “Can we just forget it happened?”

“We can be more careful in the future,” said Honey.

“Of course,” said Milt. “Let’s take a break to clear our lungs, and our heads.”

“Good idea,” said Honey. She rose to go to the kitchen. “I’ll make fresh coffee, okay?”

“Perfect,” said Milt. “I’m gonna get some air on the terrace, okay?”

“I’ll bring the coffee out,” she said. Honey had solid ideas about her dream farm, because she’d been thinking about it, analysing it, and planning it for years. Milt, on the other hand, had run into the plan abruptly, and needed to catch up.

Milton Korn sat at the small table on Honey Freed’s terrace and gazed blindly at the array of buildings across the city. His mind was not there. His mind was sorting through the characteristics of his life, and how dramatically they had changed. He wondered why he had been so firmly redirected by his happenstance meeting with Honey Freed.

His mind did not dwell on the farm. Rather, he reviewed his brief acquaintanceship with Honey. Such unlikely commitments were not typical of Milt’s behaviour. Milt took his time with things, as he took his time with his paintings. The thought flashed in his mind for a millisecond that she might pose for him. He noticed her walk as she brought a tray with coffee and bagels. She swayed gracefully on long legs that brought her to the table, and Milt imagined that she’d be quite beautiful when nude.

Honey worried that the unexpected kiss might have changed the characteristics of the  partnership. They had never discussed the stimulation that might come from sharing close quarters in a remote location. They each thought about sex. Milt felt it would intrude into his life too much. Honey thought sex with Milt might be nice. Might be.

Too Damn Lucky

May 23, 2017 1 comment

The birth of a new person creates a considerable disturbance in the lives of the parent(s) and other people. Some newborns have the misfortune to be born into a dysfunctional family, or an impoverished family, or to a drug-addicted hooker. Those people come into society already in a deep hole, out of which they must climb. They must, to rise within their environment until they can escape it. It’s a forbidding quest.

Some people, myself for instance, are born into poor families that intend to not stay poor. We lived above a corner ‘smoke shop’, my parents, my grandparents, my uncle and me. I was surrounded with love and protection, and had no idea I was poor. I was comfortable and well fed.

My father was smart and ambitious, and by the time I was four, we lived in a lovely little house, outside of downtown. It had a front lawn, a back yard, a concrete driveway and a cute garage. My mother had roses growing up the sides of the garage, and a blossoming cherry tree in the middle of the yard.

My father had been partners with his brother in a small, downtown lunch counter. After a year or so, The Second World War came along. My father took a job in a scrap yard. After he learned the ropes, he bought a classy suit and a pickup truck. Mornings, he would put on the suit, look great, and go out to manufacturers to buy their scrap metal. At midday, he returned home, ate lunch, put on work coveralls, and returned with the pickup truck to fetch the metals he’d bought. He then sold the load at a profit, to an established scrap yard. Soon he had a scrap yard of his own, with cranes and trucks and railway sidings. Stuff was happening.

Then came a large home, cars for my father (Buick), my mother (Pontiac), and me (Corvette). Also, a lakefront cottage, and several boats. We had rowboats, speedboats, sailboats, and my father’s large cruiser. I don’t know how dad did it, but I was certainly a beneficiary.

After a while, he sold his scrap business and started a lumber business. He was a restless man, always seeking new, unlikely challenges. After the lumber business, he became founding president of a new department store chain. I didn’t benefit so much from that plateau, because I was grown up, out of the house, and getting my own life going.

All my life, I’ve been too damned lucky.