When I was a child we didn’t have much. One thing I do remember though, was a dollhouse we shared as kids. I wasn’t usually interested in playing with those sorts of toys, but I’ve always loved the idea of being able to control a doll. To organize its home, its life, its character, just the way you imagine it to be. You can play out any made- up scene you like, and then leave them on the floor and walk away- ready to come back to the next day, and start a new story fresh.
I once met an old man who loved to make up stories. He had a fat wallet and a sly grin. No one knew his real name, of course. But then, I suppose we didn’t even know each others’ real names where I was back then, either.
I was working another long day shift in one of the city’s notorious gentlemens’ clubs. (It was very rare to come across any real gentlemen here.) Most girls refused to work day shifts in this establishment; although the money was huge in comparison to the hundred- dollar- dances you’d be likely to score at night, it took longer to get a customer to open his wallet, and it was generally when all the “weirdos” came out to play.
He came in at one o’clock, right on schedule. I knew he had arrived because Stella, his “third- favorite”, rushed down to let me know it was time to get dressed. Impenitently I tugged on my thigh- high white stockings. It was a shame to say goodbye to them. They had been lovingly custom made for me with little white bows and Swarovski diamante, and there was no way they would withstand what they were about to go through. I tied my matching frilly panties against my tiny frame at the hips and slipped on the white bra, ironing out the crinkles in the ribbons with my hair straightener. This guy paid attention to detail, so everything had to be perfect. He’d be onto his second drink by now, so I had to hurry to force my feet into my shoes and paint my lips an innocent shade of pink. I secured the few run- away strands on my head back into their pigtails and practiced my cute- as- a- button smile one last time before heading upstairs to meet my fate.
Our sessions always began the same- “Good afternoon, Sir! Fancy seeing you here! And how are you on this fine afternoon?” A kiss on the hand and a few empty giggles. After complimenting Stella on her glowing complexion, Alison on her new dress and me on my stockings, Yes, they worked! He offered us all a drink and we sauntered over to our regular table. Alison always asked for red wine; stupid, in my opinion, as 1) her white dress wouldn’t stand a chance, and 2) because it made her character seem older, which didn’t help, as she really was the eldest of the three of us, and it showed. Stella would drink cute cocktails and I’d always have my signature cutesy drink- Midori with cranberry.
The story of Lolita has fascinated me ever since I wasn’t even legally allowed to have sex. This, I think, is why he captured my soul’s attention. I was his Lolita, and he, my Humbert. If you haven’t read Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, or seen the film, I seriously suggest it. Not because of its weird, freaky nature, but because it has a lot to teach about love, and what leads a man, or a child, to do the unthinkable.
Anyway, back to my story… Where was I? Ah, yes. The part where I sat on the armrest,
So in Alison’s glory days, you could tell she had really been something. Young and pretty, innocent and precious. These clubs had ruined her, but she still obviously held on to the prestige of her past. This included the attention of the particular client we were dealing with. He was her best regular customer. That is, until I came along.
Now, I’m definitely not one for customer- stealing. That is a huge offence under the stripper code. But I never chose Humbert; he most definitely chose me. When he did, it was one of my first nights. Of course he didn’t know I’d already danced in at least two other clubs previously and by then I was no newbie, but I had learnt the art of acting like I’d never been naked in front of men before, and he adored that childlike act. Alison quickly grew jealous of this fact, but she realized, I suppose, that her time as a dancer was running out, and it was probably about time she found customers who were into, shall we say, “older girls.”
Gosh, I’m sounding so mean right now! Anyway…
As his favorite, I’d have to sit right beside him, on the left arm of his chair. If this were any other club I’d have to sit on his lap, but where we were working we were not allowed physical contact with customers unless their hands were held in ours and we were directing them where to go. The conditions were very specific. Luckily for us, Humbert was not a toucher. But he was most definitely a watcher, and sometimes, even the touch of eyes can feel just as unpleasant.
Alison and Stella would sit on two chairs opposite, where they’d coo and play with their bra straps and hair. He would start by telling us a story. They never made any sense and often involved witches and made up creatures. He’d rarely speak of things of the real world, but we knew better than to ever ask. Throughout the story he would pause, smile at us with a devilish look in his eye and pull out fifty dollar notes one at a time, placing them in neat piles beside us. By the time he’d told his tales, which we patiently listened to, pretending to care, we’d have each stacked up around three hundred dollars each. He’d always slip me extras, which I’d tuck away in my skirt.
After he finished his story and we had all clapped and stroked his ego by commenting on how very “charming” and “clever” he was, he would snap, and turn into something I don’t enjoy remembering. He would demand to watch the two girls undress each other. Slowly they would place down their drinks and stand before him, and Stella would turn her back to Alison, who would untie the bows of her dress for her. She’d watch old Humbert the entire time, til she was on the ground around Stella’s ankles, pulling her dress to the ground.
He wouldn’t smile.
I think it scared me more that he didn’t. He’d just sit motionless, frozen in his real- life fantasy of these young, pretty dolls, coming apart before his eyes.
“My pretty girls. My pretty, pretty girls.”
We never took off our panties. Our stockings stayed on ’til the end. Alison was next to undress. She would watch his face for signs of satisfaction or pleasure, but he gave her nothing. His eyes just continued to bore into her face, body… maybe even into her soul.
He always saved me for last. The two girls would peel away my protective layers, piece by piece. We always let him tug at the ribbons himself. It was probably his favorite part of our session. He’d take them delicately in between his fat old fingers, scan my body with his eyes, and slowly draw them towards himself, taking in every inch of me as I was exposed. I did what I had to; what I did every single time; I let my mind escape my body, and it no longer belonged to me.
Once I was almost naked they would caress my skin, my face, my breasts, and to this day I can remember the feeling of their cold, soft hands. I can remember the smell of Alison’s perfume, and the wet feeling of Stella’s lips on my waist.
Again the tips would come out, and this time it was the girls who would snap. Like hungry dogs at the scent of blood they would hound my body, they would pull my hair and squeeze me. I’d close my eyes and drift away ’til I was seated back in the chair facing Humbert. He would throw several more notes at us over the course of the next fifteen minutes, and watch as they stripped off my stockings, tugging at them, ravenous under the rain of those falling yellow notes.
Once it was over and Humbert had to return to work, or his wife, or wherever it was he may have been needed in the real world, I would thank him, collect my things from the floor and my payment, and shakily head back downstairs to my dressing table. Once I was in the safety of my booth I’d spread my notes out in front of me, count them, record the amount in my little black book and take a long, cold shower. Here was the only place I felt safe to cry, as I washed the blood from my nipples and the wine out from my hair.
After I’d dressed and re- applied my makeup I would dart up to the smoking area. Alison would already be sitting up there on her own, a cigarette between her pursed, smudged- red lips, wearing the same stained dress from the hour before. Her eyes would stare out into the alleyway through the bars of our cage and they were totally empty. Dead. Not a soul to be seen. She wouldn’t even look at me, but she didn’t have to. She’d just say something along the lines of, “When’s your next stage spot?” And I knew she was feeling the same as me- she wanted nothing more than to forget, and imagine that none of this was real.
We were just playing dolls. This was just pretend.