Monday, July 06, 2009

Summer 09 Contest Winner: Sarah Egelman

Writer Sarah Egelman blogs at Citizen Beta. Her excellent, multi-subject blog came to my attention via her entry in tryharder's distracted, but not forgotten, buddy Moonlight Ambulette's Mr. Wong contest. I found this story to be dark and intriguing, the perfect reading for a steamy summer night. I wish it were much, much longer. Send me your address Sarah!

Police end funereal striptease acts

“It will make more sense in the light of day,” Robinson said, to no one in particular.

The other officers and detectives were already heading to their cars, shaking their heads as if trying to knock water out of their ears; not a soft shake but a brisk one. They hoped to shake themselves back to reality, to the world they recognized. Because strippers should be jiggly, they all thought, and lusty, if not peppy. They should be curvy and bendy with thick ropes of bright blond hair and tiny tattoos of hearts or strawberries on their butts. They might have track marks or acne or stretch marks or bruises but they should not act like those girls in there were acting.

Robinson was the only one intrigued, or perhaps aroused, but what they found in the club that night.

“It will make more sense...” he said again and he turned slowly toward his squad car. Very slowly because, he realized, he could've stayed in there, watching, forever.

Back at the station the girls were divided up and assigned to various cops for questioning and processing. Some of the officers treated them roughly, like common whores. Some acted indifferent and some openly horrified. The girls seemed patient, weary, a bit bored and mostly bothered by the sunlight as it came in the east facing windows. One absentmindedly picked at a maze-like scab that ran the length of her left forearm.

But Robinson was agitated and sweaty and felt there was no way he could do his job in this moment or perhaps at any time in the future because Robinson realized that everything had changed. Never would he see the world the same way; men, women, light and sound, movement and skin, blood and bone, life and death—it all took on new meaning after seeing what he saw. Maybe the others didn't see what he did, they must not have because was fruitless to speculate.

Robinson took his girl by the arm, her dark brown hair swung lightly down her back, over her shoulders. He took her arm and as he led her to his desk, his fingers tightly gripping her, tighter now, he willed her to look at him. Look look look, he silently chanted. Because, he thought toward her, I know what you know now. I have seen the fabric fall from your skin, the fabric fall from the machinery of the universe, I have seen the crude and terrible, the mournful and horrible striptease, and I have seen you sway to the funereal music that has rendered me deaf to all else.

The headlines only gave the barest facts: strip club, arrests, women of all ages and backgrounds, fines and possible jail time. But Robinson knew the whole truth. Yes, he knew the whole truth now.