Of course, bars like The Cricket are no longer called topless bars. And the dancers are not topless dancers but exotic dancers and they get totally naked. They shave their vaginas. The Cricket is a few blocks from my apartment in Oakland in Pittsburgh.
My 62-year-old brother, I’m 64, flew in from California because our mother is recovering in Shadyside Hospital after falling in the bath tub. Mom lives with our 72-year-old sister and her 80-year-old husband. Yes, the Old Soldier must face the fact that he is an old man; but since nothing hurts and I’m a full-time blogger, life is all right. And when my military pension kicks in later this year life will be even better.
So, last night Lloyd takes me to The Cricket. We watch the young, naked women strut around the stage in platform shoes. Sometimes they would slide down one of the dance poles upside down, their legs wrapped around the pole and their arms spread wide. The lights were low. There was sports on the TVs. The women who were not on stage chatted up the customers, all male.
It was a Monday night. The place was not busy. Lloyd and I sat at a table next to the roomy stage. The cover charge was $5.00 and the beer was $4.40 a bottle. Lloyd paid for everything. We did not stay long.
He and I talked about Mom. One of the naked, young women sat next to Lloyd. She sat next to the right person. I had no money. She gave him a sob story: going to school, working during the day, no husband, two kids and dancing at night.
He put two or three dollars on the stage during her act as we were leaving. Lloyd got a big coffee at the store next door and we sat in his rented car and talked about Mom and life. He’s married and he loves theater. He gave me enough money to get a six-pack of beer today. I wonder what he thinks about his older brother being what we use to call a “free loader,” someone who never has money and let’s other people pay his way?
Keep reading and keep writing that flash fiction.