Strip, Baby

strip

I got a text from Steve.

“Got a guy here, he wants to see you naked. He’ll pay you 200 bucks.”

Steve was one of those people who texted with decent grammar. I showed Alice. She laughed.

“Do it,” she said. I shrugged, but couldn’t text a shrug, so I texted back, “where?”

“At my home.”

I knew where it was. I’d been there the week before. He’d given me 100 dollars to have a chat with him about doing solo porn for his website. I’d said I’d think about it. I needed money. I worked at a mall kiosk so I had nothing. I’d also met Steve at that kiosk where we worked together, so where he got one-hundred dollars, God only knows–no, I think maybe God doesn’t have an interest in this sort of thing.

“Wait in the car?” I told Alice.

She shrugged, “I’ve seen you naked.”

I knocked on the edge of the door, it was one of those metal-mesh screen doors that always seem to have a split in them, somewhere.

Steve came up, he was wearing sweatpants; he didn’t look at me.

“This way,” he said. I followed. To the back. A hall, a door at the end. Steve leaned on the door frame.

“Uh,” he said, still not looking at me. “So, my friend left.”

It is quiet.

“So what am I doing here Steve?”

He shrugged. “Would you do it for me?” he mumbled.

I smiled, softly. “Sure, Steve, sure.”

I walked past him, into the room. There was a bed. I stood next to it. Steve stepped into the room, only slightly. He shuffled his feet, like a child being punished. I started taking off my shirt.

“You alright, Steve?”

He nodded at his own hands. I turned my clothes into a folded pile on the dresser. I scratched my arm; it didn’t itch. I frowned.

“Steve?”

He looked up. He looked me up and down. I scratched my leg this time.

“What do you want me to do?” I asked.

He didn’t respond right away, he didn’t look at my eyes. He hadn’t shaved in a while, I noticed. He was thirty but looked older. His eyes looked sad, sunken.

“I have this thing about power,” he whispered. “I like to control people with money,” he said, even softer.

I nodded, the back of my ear itched–even though it didn’t. I waited.

“Can I touch you for four-hundred dollars?” he blurted out.

I stepped back a little. “Alice is kind of waiting for me, Steve.”

“Just a moment.” He stepped closer. I shrugged. “Okay.”

I thought he’d be warm, but he wasn’t–his hand wasn’t. He put it on my chest. I could feel his breath. It was warmer than his hand.

“I’m sorry,” he said; his breath really was quite warm. He stepped away.

He turned his back while I dressed. When I was dressed, he turned back around. He put four-hundred dollars in my hand.

“Thanks, Steve,” I smiled. He didn’t.

He let me out the split metal-mesh door. I never did see him again.

 

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33 Comments

  1. ohhh, this is a hard story, especially the twist at the end!
    Only bizarre characters. All new characters, or did they ever appear before?
    Well, the narrator, I believe is the simplest. She needs money and has no problem showing herself naked, fits well into our society … lost soul. Alice is not accessible to me. Like a ghost who stands by her side, why does she drive at all when she is waiting in the car? And Steve is the most uncanny. On the one hand, he makes the impression of being in love and one thinks there will be a happy end without payment (well that would have been a bland story for you I guess), then comes the statement that he controls people with money. It almost pulled the ground under my feet and I probably did not quite understand it. Well and what he actually thinks, you will probably never know. A remarkably valuable, contemporary moral history, cold and emotionally focused on the money. The illustraion is for me kind of a twist. It´s him who is naked. In this story it is he who is embarrassed . He has turned out to be money-addicted or regrets his money business?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. well, to be honest, this is almost an entirely true story. The only difference is that in real life, I told him no when he asked to touch me. He paid me 200 for taking my clothes off and then I left. I was young and needed money.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. After I am in a strange mood I dare an interpretation:
        The narrator needs money and strips. His girlfriend (?) Alice, has no problem with this, because she never has problem with anything (is probably somewhat under-exposed). But now the exciting, who is Steve? He is sad. He is lonely. I´m sorry for him. But he has power and I believe he has great power. If he had not brought the money into the game, I would give him the god roll. He is the conductor of everything. Yes and if the money was not I would even claim I feel love to him, it must be God.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Often many of my stories are based on real events. I try to find moments in my life that have some meaning in them and expound on that meaning. Sometimes through magical realism and sometimes, like this, by adding a bit more to the story that didn’t happen.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I dig this. It totally goes beyond the scope in MFA workshops where people scratch their heads and say, “Who am I supposed to root for?” This is much more gut-wrenching, more of a “Who should I pity more?”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly? You know how to write. The best thing you’ll get out of a program like that is networking. I don’t regret doing, and I had some good teachers and friends. Ultimately it’s like any other degree.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you. I have fallen into a comfortable rhythm with my writing. What I am looking for is a network because, ultimately, it is what I want to do for a living. I don’t want to write as a hobby. I feel like networking is what I need and also my biggest weakness

        Liked by 2 people

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  4. o.k. I tried to twist everything again and look from another perspective…but this makes me even more sad. You can turn it like you want. You should not have done this. You did not feel good and Steve not either. Perhaps he is really in love, you thought about this?

    Like

  5. you told us that was a real story, but you added things. So maybe the beginning was like this: an unmoral offer…but as you described in your story it was not a lucky story with happy end, so you did not accept the offer in reality, but you wrote it down?

    If the strip was reality, then I really wonder, why Steve was so unlucky afterwards? And why he was so cold?

    Like

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