Curt Last

The Stripper

She said she was 23…
turned out she was 19
and it showed more
and more as the days went on.
She was epileptic and bipolar—
I wasn’t too fond of the mania,
as she would often jump
me and wrestle me to the ground
until I had to forcefully overpower
her by twisting her wrists back
until she was in enough pain
to stop fucking with me.
Met her at the strip club,
she was dancing to Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”—
it should have been her theme,
better yet, Erykah Badu’s “Baglady.”
She sat in my lap while talking
to my best friend,
said it was the only way to get
through to me, but my stoic hardness
always seems to attract these women.
Then it was late nights at Denny’s
after her shifts until she suddenly moved in.
She blazed chronic everyday,
I learned through her exactly
what a heaven Huntington Beach
was to a 420 loser since there were
5 head shops within a 2-mile radius
of my apartment, and I got to know
each one and the ugly ceramic
“water pipes” she bought at them.
She was loaded always, and the epileptic fits
made me sit and freak out—watching
her body contort on the ground,
making sure her tongue was in her
mouth and that she wasn’t going
to hit anything. 
She danced to Jack Johnson
in my living room—
it reminded me of Juliet Lewis 
in Natural Born Killers,
the scene when Robert Downey Jr.
visits her cell, and she’s flowing
and dancing, completely gone,
let go, and ready to strike
like a wild animal if bothered.
She would dance, and it disturbed me,
because I would always think of the movie
and that character and how unstable 
the character was, and how
it mirrored her instability,
how she would grab me
out of nowhere
and try to wrestle me to the ground.
I usually gave in and let myself drop,
but if it was hurting, or if she was
going to far, trying to put a hand up 
my ass, trying to push the humiliation,
that’s where I would grab the wrists 
and push them back until she cried,
until she left me the fuck alone.
She was fun the first two weeks
of this 6-month storm
and when we dosed on E
rolling hard on an ocean
in my living room,
but that was brief
and the long spells
and learning her background
just made it feel more and more
like a death I couldn’t escape.
She would dance, laugh,
try to put me in a choke hold—
all in the same moment sometimes.
I had to take her to an island
to shake her. It wasn’t me,
it was something in my subconscious.
Got her on the other side of the Pacific,
took her to a strip club one night
and later she would tell me,
“You took the crackhead to the crackhouse.”
And I left her there.
I went home alone,
and she left Guam a few years later
with a husband
after screwing over the bouncer
at her club, who I actually liked.
She hit me up a month short of
boot camp, and I listened 
to the message and just said,
“Fuck that,”
as I was a month away from
going into the Navy,
head-first on some crazy
writer’s pursuit of experience,
and I had had enough of flawed women
at that moment.

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