The Rolling Stones play on the juke box like an anthem for the living dead.
The strippers wonít dance to it, and glare at me behind the bar, as if Iím suppose to turn it off and let them get on with some more modern tune none of the patrons can stand.
Although the old men come here to glimpse a bit of tit and ass while they get drunk, itís their fifty cents and their entitled to get nostalgic from time to time.
I wave for the strippers to dance, getting the finger in response.
It is Wednesday.
The girls call it ďOldies NightĒ because the yuppies donít come out midweek.
While the old men tip better, they donít supply cocaine or go upstairs with the girls where the girls make their real money.
I like Wednesdays best because Iím an oldie, too, hating the racket of rap and other trash the girls play on the jukebox the other six days a week.
I need the rest, and sometimes even take a nip on these nights, as if this collection of freaks that populates the oval of my bar, were anything more than a pack of horny toads basking in those few moments when contract with the agent requires the girls to look at them.
Some of the kinder girls eventually get into their act, giving us old men some cheap thrills. Some even find the old man less offensive than the yuppies, because they donít expect anything and are as grateful as dogs for a little flash of tit or clit.
Weíve been busted a few times for what the city calls ďlurid behavior,Ē although never on oldies night, as if even the vice squad has a streak of kindness somewhere deep in their otherwise cancerous bones.
No one busts the apartments upstairs or the men with pistols who protect it.
Too much money in that to screw around collecting fines.
Bust the bar, yes, but donít mess with the bribes the big boys pay downtown.
Sometimes, I feel the urge to go
upstairs, knowing that I could have any of the girls any time, the way most of
the other bartenders here do.
It is a passing urge, more out of loneliness than need. Iím too much like the old men here to truly appreciate the act. I want to be teased a little, my head patted with their attention, allowing the old hormones to stir again the way they did when the Stones were really tops on the charts and not just a convenience on our juke box.
Like my customers, I even get the urge to touch the girls for more than just the time it takes to stick a bill in their panties, to feel the softness of flesh, to cradle its warmth, when the rest of the world seems too hard and so cold.
Maybe thatís all their really is: the thrill of the tease.
The rest is just a joke, played out, paid for, lost in a haze of alcohol or cocaine, never nearly as satisfying as that thought of what might be.
The girl on the stage tonight is one of the spoiled bitches, glaring at me when I yell again for her to dance, telling me she canít dance to this shit, and I shout back, generations have: get in the groove bitch, or you wonít get paid.
And from the weary gray faces around the bar, I get a grateful look.
It makes my night almost as much as a good blow job.