Robert (excerpt from Pour Some Sugar On Me: Tales From an Ex-Stripper)

Robert and I - Late 80s

Memoir excerpt:

Somewhere between smuggling four kilograms of cocaine and boarding the flight home to Hawaii, Robert disappeared.

After my apartment was broken into, I was used to being followed and questioned by his boss. I understood why he thought I was in on Robert’s disappearing act, but nothing was further from the truth.

“You can tap my phones, break in to my place, and keep following me.” I looked Rick square in the eye. “I have no idea where he is.”

“I know you do.”

“I really don’t.”

Rick and his muscle men didn’t believe me. My place was rummaged through every week and I was certain my phones were tapped. What little belongings Robert left behind in my apartment, Rick and his boys quickly picked up.

The fact that I was being followed by drug lords didn’t scare me as much as it should have. I was telling the truth so I welcomed their prodding. I felt like I was on a Hollywood set: Drug Dealers and Strippers: The Movie. It never dawned on me, the type of men I was dealing with. I was just happy Robert was gone and at least part of my chaos was dissipating.

# #

It was four in the morning and Robert came home with three strippers in town from Los Angeles. One of the girls woke me up on her way to the bathroom and asked me if I wanted a bump. Realizing I wasn’t going to get back to bed anytime soon, I joined her. She chopped up the coke on the bathroom counter as she peed and I stood there in my boxers and t-shirt rubbing my eyes.

“What are you doing in there?” Robert sounded pissed.

“Keep your shirt on, dude I’m peeing.”

I took a dollar bill and started rolling it, smiling at this strange, loud girl who was peeing in my apartment. We both rolled our eyes at the thought of Robert getting annoyed. He hated when I hung out with his other women. We shared a line, and as she stood up I noticed something about her body.

“Oh, yea…” she exclaimed, proudly raising her spandex dress to show me her goods. “I just did this. Cool, right?”

I rubbed my nose a little and then my eyes trying to digest what I was seeing.

“It’s a lightning bolt.”

It sure was. And it was bright pink.

“The customer’s love it.”

“Cool!” I didn’t know what else to say. Is there a pubic hair chapter in Emily Post’s book of etiquette?

After the strippers left Robert stayed behind to have his way with me and we finally passed out around 7:00 am.

# #

Drug Lord Drama aside, I was getting used to sleeping through the night. Walking to the front door in disbelief, I checked the lock to see if it was still fastened. Pulling the curtain to one side, I hadn’t seen the police all night, and didn’t see any women hiding in the bushes next to my three-story apartment building.

Robert was gone. Teased with the idea of being relaxed, I was learning to breathe this reality.

I don’t remember the exact moment it happened but something inside me changed with Robert’s disappearance. I always imagined I was nothing without him. A piece of garbage left of the street. His leaving and my standing up to his boss catapulted a shift inside my spirit. I suddenly realized I was only as weak as I chose to be. I allowed Robert to throw me around, treat me like that piece of trash.

I realized my choices were my own – that I could change my mind. That I was better than the common denominator I was living. The bar was low, but I was slowly realizing I had the power to move it.