THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Monday November 7, 1994
Low to the ground and speeding fast, dodging around and over cars. Occasionally he would collide with one and feel the gentle tingle of solid matter passing though him. He just had to be careful to avoid the driver and passengers and the firey pain that brushing against or through one of them brought.
He didn’t know why it happened, it was one of the many things he needed to figure out.
But not tonight. Oh no not tonight.
Hovering above the street he spied his goal. He was downtown again, a few blocks from where all the neat little stores like Lehman’s Army Surplus and Fanboy Comics clustered. A few more blocks either way was a no man’s land, places where crime and poverty had left the houses empty and the streets dangerous. Tristam smiled a little, if his mother only knew he was here at night.
Except I’m not really here or am I?
He’d come here looking for The Booby Hatch. The Booby Hatch was a strip bar but not just any strip bar, it was always on the local news because the police claimed it was a front for all kinds of outrageous and illegal behavior. All the authorities had ever managed to prove however was that the dancers occasionally danced sans g-strings. Tristam remembered wasting an entire afternoon last year speculating with his friends about what went on in there. Their imaginations, fueled by trashy TV and surging hormones had concocted a scene more in line with the latter days of the Roman Empire than the south side of Albany. Tristam remembered they’d made a vow to pay the place a visit when they where all twenty-one.
Except that those friends threw pizzas at me this afternoon. He thought, So guess what? I’m goin’ in. I’m goin’ in way before any of you will be able to.
With that thought he sailed forward, melting through the frosted glass door and floating over the head of the bored-looking bouncer. The Booby Hatch was smaller than he’d imagined. The bar itself took up one fourth of the floor space, the lights and the DJ’s booth dominated the rear. Tables clustered together in a space no larger than some living rooms he’d been in. An empty stage took up the remaining visible area. Music assaulted him, it was too loud for such an enclosed space, each throb of the bass made him feel as though he were rippling.
The crowd was thin, three men sat at the bar nursing drinks another pair sat at one of the tables. The men at the table where trading lapdances from a squat-looking girl in a camisole. Tristam watched her for a time but she wasn’t much to look at- Monique had a much better body.
This is pretty damn disappointing.
The song ended, the DJ’s amplified voice filled the room, “Now coming up to the stage is Ariel. She gives me that special feeling but I wish she’d keep her hands to herself.”
“Shut up!” Someone from the bar screamed.
“My fan club speaks! Thank you! Now put your hands together and don’t forget to tip when she comes by later.”
The music blared once more. Tristam turned his attention back to the stage, to the figure grinding sinuously before him. Ariel wore tight red shorts, a matching halter-top and a pair of lethal-looking heels. Her burnt almond skin was speckled with glitter. As she eased out of her top Tristam felt a fluttering in his stomach. His eyes traced a path down from her reddish-brown hair to the sculpted smoothness of her neck. The milky-white fabric of her bra was a stunning contrast to her skin, it made the swell of her breasts stand out all the more. Her slender hands glided to the waistband of her shorts, one hand held them open, the other slid down inside. Her mouth became a grimace of mock arousal as she rocked in place.
One song faded into the next. The shorts pooled at her feet, she bent over to step out of them. The g-string she wore matched the bra. Tristam felt himself aching to touch her, aching to know what her perfume would smell like. He wasn’t a virgin but that first time with Monique had all happened so quickly. What he wouldn’t give for a chance to do it all over again, and to do it at a more leisurely pace. But that wasn’t going to happen, not now.
Ariel was toying with her bra, she reached behind her. The scrap of white fabric dropped. She covered herself with her hands, delaying the moment of truth. Tristam drew closer, he was just inches away, but she couldn’t see him.