The curse




 Go-go girls don't usually sit by themselves at the bar, but tonight this one does, ignoring the requests for attention the men make with their lusting eyes, waving off the drinks they send her way with a wave of her hand.

 She had the bar owner fuming -- a man who makes his money by the number of drinks men buy, for themselves and for her -- but she ignores him, too, apparently having too much else on her mind.

 Most dancers are full of stories or dope or both, deluding themselves with lies about having some place better to go when they are through here, this always as the interim step to some place else, a step that seems to last forever, or goes somewhere they'd not expected.

 This town is full of prostitutes who once thought they would make it as other things, as legitimate dancers, as legitimate actors, looking to Broadway, TV or Hollywood for their salvation. I've listened to their tales night after night. One woman a few months back told me an elaborate tale about how she should have been on Broadway and would have been had her agent done his job, and then laughed uproariously when ... after she asked what I was doing with pad and pen ... I said I was a writer.

 It is all a put on here, each wearing a mask indicating some other level of importance, because if this is all these women have they would go crazy.

 But this one tonight, stares at her drink and her thin-fingered hands, and seems to sense the truth. She is not drunk, she is not high, she is only aware, and that is the problem.

 Down here, sometimes awareness is a curse.

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