We’re tooling up Columbus, in a taxi because, as I keep telling Heklina, there is no fucking way I am parking my new ‘cedes 500 AMG roadster in North Beach, even on a Thursday afternoon, when it should be possible, although still unlikely, to park near our destination – the Lusty Lady strip club. “No fucking way Heklina – you know I can’t afford insurance for that thing and I’m afraid it could get stolen in this neighborhood.”
“Sweet Pea” she says to me “you park in nasty alleys South of Market why be skittish about North Beach?”
“She couldn’t make it. Hair appointment I think.”
“H, I said bring pepper spray not Peppa Spray.” These drag queens. Has someone done a drag baby-names book yet? I’m interrupted by the taxi driver slamming on the brakes outside a building with a Las Vegas style marquee touting “Live Nude Grrrrlz.” H leaps out as if I hit the ejection button. She’s always singing me the got-no-money blues, as if Trannyshack wasn’t already big business. I pay the driver.
H waits under an awning, avoiding the sun to avoid melting her makeup. She is all tranny fierceness today but the Spring weather threatens to turn her into a hot mess instead. (Note to self – I am watching way to much BravoTV.
So I am about to start dialing and up pulls a cute white Prius with my pal Gavin riding shotgun. Gavin pops out, then turns and helps two staffers climb out of the back. “What, no limo today?” I ask. Gavin replies “Oh Aaron started to rag on me the other day about the limo. It’s bio-diesel but he just doesn’t like me I think.” He sips from a frosty can of Rockstar.
“Why not take Muni” I said and Gavin spews soda on me. “You goofball” he chuckles. I root around for a handkerchief to daub soda from my Modern Amusement and H, Gavin and the staffers pile through the double doors into the red-lit darkness that is the only employee-owned strip club in the country.
Gavin’s here to award the club with a “Green Citizen” certificate. He’s told me what it’s for – something to do with new strip poles of sustainably harvested timber bamboo rather than bad-for-the-environment brass. Anyway I know it’s more to needle Aaron because we are met by exactly two members of the press. SF Weekly is here, and that Glossip columnist again. Zero nada no TV crews. I know Gavin wants to trumpet his legacy in Aaron’s backyard but I’m wondering if Aaron isn’t having the last laugh.
We all want to leave a legacy as a reminder to everyone else of what a great job we did. Gavin’s still working on his. Used to be gay marriage, but that’s sadly turned into the career equivalent of nuclear waste – nobody wants to get too close. Then it was the Homeless. That’s not worked out so well. Then it was reducing the crime rate. Not so much, either.
So Gavin finally listened to moi and has glommed onto the environment. Not our environment mind you – I mean the City is as filthy as ever, right? Tomorrow’s environment – as in sustainability, anti-global warming, and $200 an hour consultants. I.e. Green. I told him he needed to get on board pronto because the Guvernator not to mention Bloomberg and Daley are grabbing for the same brass ring. “Green – its the new black” I told him.
Heklina by now is talking bust to bust with a stripper called Cinnamon Bunn. They’d be closer standing side by side. They’re working out H’s brainstorm idea of a Trannyshack – Lusty Lady cross promotion event benefitting sex workers. H is nothing if not ambitious – and a work-a-holic. Cinnamon takes H by a man-hand and ushers her to an office in back.
Gavin’s people are working the two journos who are scribbling as well as can be expected in the dim light while watching a g-string clad woman wrap her thighs around an exquisitely crafted wooden pole. I turn back to Gavin to ask who gets the certificate, but he is gone. Fuck! Last thing I need is him on the loose in a strip club. It was a close enough call at the Zeitgeist.
I can see he’s not in the crowd of doughy-looking khaki-clad businessmen watching the show. “Where can I get a lap dance” I shout over the thumpa-thumpa. A green-haired girl taller even than Heklina wearing a nurse’s cap, orthopedic shoes, and a white g-string with barely enough real-estate for the red cross, walks out, touches my arm, then takes me by the hand and leads me to a row of curtained booths.
I start shoving aside all the curtains, one by one. One, two flustered conventioneers then bingo – third time’s the charm. I open the curtain and its Gavin and, no really, Eliot Spitzer! “Christ on a cross” I gasp and duck inside and close the curtain behind me. Gavin burbles “Eliot’s going to hook me up with a worker-owned escort service being formed here” and then burps Champagne fumes at me.
“So that’s why we’re here, with no decent press, so you can meet under cover with freaking Client 9? Dude, he’s got to be wired.” I grab the bottle of champagne from the table and douse Spitzer, trying to short circuit him, and run out pulling Gavin behind me. “H – we’re going now Hon. Good luck with the show.” And I maneuver Gavin through the back of the club, leaving his assistants with the journos. And to top the afternoon off, three packed Muni buses go by before we can hail a cab.