It was 11 PM when I called the Surgeon from the dressing room of a strip club in Long Island City called Show Palace Cabaret. Let me tell you: it did not resemble a palace in the slightest. I was supposed to go out on stage and I was having a panic attack. The shitty hip-hop music was making everything vibrate. I’d just thrown up in the bathroom and I was crying through my false eyelashes. And yeah, I was drunk.
I guess I was hoping for sympathy. I expected him to be in a good mood. I expected him to break out the champagne.
But I didn’t get any sympathy. The Surgeon wasn’t exactly sympathetic.
He was fucking furious.
Wahh wahh I’m at a strip club in Long Island and I’m supposed to go dance but I’m scared to do it and my landlord is going to kick me out blah blah blah wahh wahh I applied for welfare wahh wahh I’m really sorry I don’t know what to do wahh cry cry cry says our heroine, Miss Margo.
“Be quiet. Listen to me. This is what you are going to do. You are going to get dressed, leave all your shit there except for your purse, get immediately into a cab, and go straight home. STRAIGHT HOME. RIGHT NOW. A fucking strip club. On Long Island! Are you out of your mind?”
I don’t have money for a cab! I took the train here! sniffle sniffle.
“What, you didn’t earn it rubbing on some asshole’s lap? Is that RAP MUSIC? Get in a cab and go home RIGHT NOW. Call me from the car. What the hell is the matter with you?”
I pulled off my stripper shoes, put my shorts and sneakers on, and ran out into the night. You could hear that shitty music from the parking lot. I ran to the train station. It was a crummy industrial neighborhood and I did not exactly look inconscpicious with my big velcro-rollered hair and face full of spangly Las Vegas Showgirl makeup.
I called him once I was inside the train.
“I told you to take a cab! Are you trying to get raped?”
Wow, what a question. That’s a good question, actually, I thought.
“You go STRAIGHT HOME and get on your webcam and call me. I want to see that you are home in your room! If I was there I’d come over right now and kick your ass, but I’m (out of town). I have to teach first thing tomorrow morning, and you pull this shit right now!”
The Surgeon is a very skilled surgeon. He invented (among other things) a new surgical technique. He can do it very fast, too. I’ve seen the video.
“I’m sorry! I didn’t know what else to do!” I wailed pathetically.
“You didn’t have these problems when you were with me! You did this to yourself. You get no sympathy from me. You call me when you get home. I want to see that you are there!”
It was past midnight when I dragged myself up the stairs. I wasn’t crying anymore when I called him back. I was cried out.
He wasn’t raged out, through. The Surgeon has rage in tremendous supply. You get on the wrong side of this guy and you won’t soon forget it.
“Hey! Nice hair!” He said when he saw me on webcam. “That’s great! That’s really great! You ought to wear it like that when you teach! What were you wearing tonight when you were at that bar? Show me!”
I waved my idiotic stripper shoes and bikini in front of the camera and set them on the desk.
“You go get scissors RIGHT NOW and cut them up! I want to see them destroyed. You are NEVER going to wear those things again! Go do it! THIS INSTANT! I can’t believe you let some random asshole off the street look at you. Nobody but me gets to watch you undress.”
I fetched my kitchen shears and I cut up the gold sequin bikini (FYI, my stripper name was gonna be “Goldie,” but then I remembered that Goldie was the name of my childhood Cocker Spaniel–I changed the name to “April”) and the straps of the stripper shoes. I was so embarassed. Thank God I had the apartment to myself.
He softened a bit. Not much, but a bit. “Now tell me exactly what’s going on. Tell me everything.”
I told him.
“I’ll be back late tomorrow. I can’t get there any sooner. Listen to me. You are not going to leave that apartment. Maybe you can go to the store to get food. Every fucking time I call, you are going to answer, and I want to see that you are home in your room. If I find out that you are at a bar or a fucking strip club, you can sleep on the street for all I care. You think I want to be with someone like that? What the hell is the matter with you?”
This coming from a man who met me at a dungeon. This guy is not Dr. Norman Normal. Trust me on this one. But I guess a strip club, watching pretty naked women dance, is beneath his dignity. Yeah, he’s a class act, all right.
“See! This is what happens when you don’t belong to me! You’ve probably been running around with some stupid college student assholes. And you let this landlord harass you. Fuck him! Seriously. Fuck him! He’s not GOD! I could buy that building ten times over! I’m going to call you tomorrow morning after my class, and you better fucking be there! In your room, young lady! I can’t believe you’re doing this to me!“
I was sort of hoping that there would be a honeymoon period. I guess not.