got fiveee in it

a trip to crystal bridges – 1 of 3
springfield, mo

before reaching crystal bridges museum of american art, i spend the night in springfield and visit a strip club near the motel

the club’s set off a massive food desert. the sahara of food deserts. it’s run down and the sign up top is cracked. two cars are in the parking lot. a couple in camouflage is getting into one of them when i pull up. i ask how it is and he mutters, “you know…”

inside the bartender yells, “it’s five dallars!” which must be how they say hello here. i smile and say it’s five dallars back. the only things she’ll say my whole time here are “it’s five dallars” and “well”. four words. i am the only patron.

there is one bar. in the room to the left of it, a pool table; opening out to the right, an empty stage illuminated by low-hanging chrismas lights. the walls are done up with halloween decor from coors light. the L shaped bar runs parallel the entrance and the stage. at one end a thick stripper is on her phone. at the other end another thick stripper is on her phone. both are in sweatshirts. neither look up. the bartender goes, “well?”

i pay the five and order a drink. it’s as if we’re suspended in jello. neither girl gets on stage or even says hello: jello. i wonder if by strip they’re referring to the main-drag outside. i consider that maybe they don’t know what a strip club is and for some reason think that this is it.

this said,  a slow strip club can be fun. less serious. less hustle – more a canvas of adventure. i strike up a conversation with the nearer girl. a few minutes later she’s telling me everything and flashing me photos of her art: neon acrylic paintings that’d look at home on a hula-hoopers shirt. the local galleries won’t look at her stuff and don’t take her seriously but she says she sells works to her regulars, who must have been somewhere else looking at tits.

i ordered another drink and may have been the only one who climbed on the stage that night

listening to neil young’s when you dance i can really love (1970)