He tilts his head back and forth like he’s deeply torn. And he is. “But, T-man, I also dig the Alice Cooper tune.”
Here’s a backstage secret from Edge: the long-haired, super-jacked, inked, and bearded dancer is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken marshmallow.
WHO CANNOT PICK HIS SONGS.
“Want me to pick for you?” I ask, keeping my voice nice and calm.
His face lights up, like I’ve given him free pizza for life. “Dude, would you? That’d be so chill.”
Um, yeah, I pick every time he can’t choose. “No problem, man.”
Stanley draws a couple of deep breaths, psyching himself up before he hits the stage here as Professor Bulge. As I like to say sometimes when I intro him, his PhD stands for Pleasing Her Deeply and he graduated cum louder.
He checks the buttons on his breakaway khakis as Sam bursts through the doors. “Woo-hoo. Gentlemen, it is hot out there tonight. Brittney is turning forty, and Mama is frisky.”
He grabs a towel and wipes the sweat and oil off his chest. Sam is exactly the kind of guy you’d expect to be one of the stars every weekend at Edge. His six-foot, two-inch frame and box cutter abs scream male entertainer so loudly he’s actually on the billboard for the club’s all-male revue.
Which is a damn good thing, since that billboard draws the crowds. We’re talking about a packed joint every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. When Edge operates as a traditional dance spot the other nights of the week, I do fine, but the revue gets booked months in advance. And since I earn an hourly wage and share the tips, I’m all for the signs that display the washboards to bring in the crowds.
“How frisky?” I ask, hoping it’s a good night. “Are we talking raining ones or a downpour of twenties?”
Sam scoffs. “Carlos is still out there picking up his greenbacks. But it was like a tropical sun-shower for me, bro. I love when the weather brings in the good stuff.”
That’s typical Sam—confident but chill. When everything with Tracy and me fell apart a year ago, Sam was there for me. There for late-night burrito runs, Van Damme movie marathons, and a place to live till I found my own unit in the same building. Plus, he snagged me a gig spinning tunes here at Edge, and hell, did I ever need the job.
“What up, teach?” he booms to Stanley, bear-hugging him.
“Hey, buddy, watch the shirt.” The burly man smooths the front of his argyle cardigan. “I just had this ironed,” Stanley says in mock frustration.
Sam puts his hands on his thighs and purses his lips. “Oh, I’m very sorry, professor. Do you need to see me after class?” he chirps in a terrible imitation of a sexy coed’s voice.
“I think we both need to see you put some pants on,” I say.
Sam glances down at his yellow spandex boxer briefs, which don’t leave much to the imagination, but that’s the point. “What’s the big deal, dude? I wear the same thing around the building too.”
“Yeah, and I’m pretty sure the HOA doesn’t list ‘banana hammock’ as appropriate attire for communal spaces.”
Sam claps me on the shoulder. “Mrs. Morales never complains. You’re just uptight because you haven’t been laid in a year.”
“Gee. I hadn’t thought of that.”
“Wait,” Stanley chimes in. “How about we get Teddy a date? I can set up a dating profile for our favorite deejay. I love doing those.”
“Not necessary,” I say, even though, my God, either of those would be fucking fantastic. A date or sex, that is, not a dating profile.
I tap my wrist to indicate the time. “On that note.”
I grab Bulge’s glasses from between the hair gel and coconut oil on the dressing room counter and toss them to Stanley. “Don’t forget the specs.”
He breathes another long sigh of relief. “Songs, glasses . . . What would I do without you, DJ Insomnia?”
“It’s a mystery to me too,” I say. I head back to the booth, my voice echoing over the loudspeakers as I turn on the mic while Carlos leaves the stage.
“And now, ladies and ladies and, yes, I see some gents too—it’s time to put your books away and sharpen those pencils because school is in session. Our next performer earned a bachelor’s degree in being a bachelor and a master’s in being your master . . . Give it up for Professor Bulge.”
And with that, Stanley pushes through the double doors, strobe light and fog hiding his face, and makes his way to the guest of honor as she hoots and hollers from a chair onstage. The dancer locks his hands on the back of birthday Brittney’s chair and rides her leg like he’s breaking in a prized colt.
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