Sunday, August 9, 2015


The following is another section of my novel's first draft. Titled "That's Show Biz", it centers on the crew at The Candl Club, a cafe/strip club on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the mid-late 1950s.

Wheezy Gibson, an unpleasant and married comedian, intimidates his way into becoming the live-in lover of Sugar Red, a stripper at the club.

The time Wheezy didn’t owe to Wifey was spent at Red’s home. Sometimes he’d take her out on the town to shrill night clubs and casinos to show off “what he had”. He installed a new set of weights in the house, and would work out a few times a week. Outside of performing, this was all the pair did aside from fucking or just laying around the house. Paul would lie on the bed, sloppy and shirtless, watching Red’s television, eating snacks. And he’d spend the rest of the time making sure Red was as miserable as he was.
If Red was caught in a spontaneous dance around the room, Wheezy would crack something like, “What are you, DANCING? Hang it up, baby. You’re not in dance school any more. You’re a STRIPPER and nothing else.” He’d invariably switch the radio to some sports broadcast, and let Red suck on it. Red’s playing her own jazz records was out. Keeping her house ice cold? Forget it. Wheezy would turn the heat up too high and let her squirm. Even if Red went out to water the plants, there would be interrogations and putdowns.
“You’ll do as I tell you! Do you understand?? YOU’LL DO AS I TELL YOU!!”
He started inviting his unwholesome friends over to loaf. Men managing to make their expensive/tailored suits look sleazy; men who had the looks of being connected to “the mob”. They’d show each other their guns and discuss their virtues. Or they’d play poker, Wheezy looking proud as Red emptied ashtrays. Sometimes he’d slap her on the butt, and didn’t protest when his friends began doing it too. What’s a stripper’s ass between friends? Once in a while, Wheezy would turn to her and say, “And listen, babe. Keep your mouth shut.” And the guys around the table would nudge one another, harshly cackling over their inside joke.
One night of this, Red revolted; she hurled a tray of beers at the group. Oh, they just couldn’t believe it. Why on earth did she do that?  Open mouthed and crosseyed with confusion they looked to Wheezy for protection and justice. Why did she do that, Wheezy? We just don’t understand it. Wheezy knew what he had to do. He pulled Red into the bedroom and beat the living daylights out of her, making sure the blows were loud enough to be heard by “the guys”.
Red remained on the floor, gasping and weeping. Wheezy returned to the kitchen to finish his hand. Red zoned out. What else was there to do? She just closed her eyes and checked out of Planet Earth.



Mark Kausler said...

These characters, especially Wheezy, feel like people you have known. I feel a bit of Spillane, a bit of Bukowski, but most of all the prose feels like the spirit in a lot of your drawings. It must feel like quite an achievement to finish your first novel!

nodnarB said...

Holy Mackeral! I'm really enjoying these previews. Thanks for sharin!