Thursday, August 13, 2015


The following is the final section I will be posting 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.

Stripper Sugar Red tells Paul, an ex-lover, of her problems with Wheezy Gibson, an abusive comedian who's bullied his way into living in Red's home. Paul speaks first:

“So what keeps you from telling him to go fuck himself?”
“Laziness, I guess. And fear.”
“He beats me, Paul. We beat each other. I thought that hitting him back would make him back off, but he actually seems to enjoy it! I’ve tried to break with him/kick him out of here, but he’s threatening and I’m scared. I’m bigger than he is, but I just don’t feel the confidence any more/now. Every time I feel like I’m breaking out of that shell, he puts me down and makes me feel ashamed and ridiculous. And I buy it; I don’t know what it is; but I feel hurt. So hurt…”
Paul started to understand.
“He always reminds me that I’m just a goddamn stripper. Even if I snap my fingers to music, he’s said, ‘Save it for the act, slut.’ And laughs at me! He just doesn’t want me to be happy at all. And he’s got all this stuff here, and I feel trapped just by the clutter. When I’m out of the club, it’s hard just to get up from the television set. I mean it’s hard for me to move, Paul. I’m so depressed. He’s doing that on purpose, and it’s killing me anyway. That’s a part that makes me hate myself. He’s doing it to me, I KNOW IT, and I can’t get up the energy/will to break away.”
Paul didn’t know what to say. A thought clouded his mind: Is she begging me to take her away from it all? What have I got? An apartment with my mother in it. And why the hell should Red leave her own home because of Wheezy? How can I help? What am I going to do?? 


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