Piece: Smiley Faces Gentlemen's Club
Word Count: 848
Genre: Expositional, Tarantino, Bleak Humor
This story uses a lot of explicit language. I would not like critiques on the language or the grammar. Critique the character development, plot development, and whether or not you believe this storyline could be continued.
A lanky eighteen-year-old steps into my office without knocking. He pulls out a stack of papers with something written on the front of them in fancy print.
Top-Shelf Boozers. Sincere Dancers. Smiley Faces Gentlemen’s Club.
“Tom, what are these? Brochures? For the club? For MY CLUB?” My head hurts. I need some sizzling water or some snake oil. There needs to be a cure-all for pain in the asses. For people like Tom. Eighteen years old and the kid can’t advertise for nude women. Maybe times have changed.
“You asked me to advertise. We put this at civic centers and public places and people will come to S.F. Trust me. I took Advertising in high school.” He wipes his nose on his sleeve. Not subtle. Not sexy. I want this little fucker out of my club. I want him off my planet.
“Okay, Tom, listen…first off, no. We will not be giving out brochures. You cannot advertise a tit bar at the Lion’s Club. Secondly, you didn’t use the correct form of the word booze. And when I said ‘let people know we have top-shelf booze’, I didn’t mean make it your lead ad campaign. Do you know how far up my ass those alcohol awareness groups would be if they saw this?” I rub my temples. My desk doesn’t seem small enough to flip over out of frustration. Would be worth a try in an occasion like this.
I continue, going into him more and more fiercely, “And what’s this supposed to mean: sincere dancers
? They are strippers, Tom, not fucking politicians. People already know that the girls’ performances are going to be convincing. Music. Strip. Applause. Erections. And done. My God, why choose the word ‘sincere’? Why not sexy, or buxom or fucking nude?”
“I don’t believe you can use the term ‘fucking nude’ on the front of a brochure? Just seems off-putting, Mr. Luigi.”
I’ll murder him. Right now. I will throw my trash can at his throat to make it so he can’t scream. Yeah, silence him. Once and for all. “Tom, I was making a point. Not offering a suggestion.”
Tom picks up one of his screw-up brochures. He peers at it for about ten seconds. Mouth open, head sweating, I’m about to stab him with my nameplate. I’ll paint the white walls of my office red if the blood splatters. He finally speaks, “So, you don’t
like the brochures?”
Control yourself, Luigi. He’s young. He needs a steady hand to lead him into the future. The future starts tomorrow morning. I can’t take this anymore tonight. I have to calmly ask him to leave for the night. I point at the door. “GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY CLUB, YOU LITTLE SHIT-FOR-BRAINS.”
“Can I keep the brochures? You know, test them out on people? See how they respond?” He fixes his horn-rimmed glasses with the hand not holding the brochure. Glasses? Him owning those leads me to question the intelligence of his eye doctor as he cannot obviously see.
“Tom, when I hired you here, you were an 18-year-old son-of-a-high-school-buddy. I remember saying to myself ‘he’s got to learn the business before I try to let him do anything with the club’. When you asked me if you could advertise for the club, I thought you meant a billboard or a bigger neon sign for the outside of the building. At minimum, a little set of sticker-text for the outside of my car telling people to go to the club. But not these brochures.” I open the top drawer of my desk and pull out an Alka-Seltzer packet. No water. Fuck it. I plop them right into my mouth. It burns. In a good way though.
“Mr. Luigi, I don’t understand what’s so wrong with trying out brochure advertisement? It’s a cheap ad campaign. Only forty-five bucks for a set of 100.” He places the brochure back on my desk.
“Forty-five for a hundred? You spent half of what I gave you on a hundred useless brochures?”
“I didn’t spend half…”
“Thank God. So the printer gave you a sample before you mass-ordered? Jesus, Tom, you scared me for a minute there.” My head is throbbing. I spit out the Seltzer tabs.
“I spent the full hundred dollars you gave me and bought two-hundred.”
I’m going to kill him. So help me God, I will strangle him on the center stage with all the stressed-out soccer dads watching. “Tom?”
“Yes, Mr. Luigi?”
“GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY CLUB AND DO NOT COME BACK!”
Yes, Tom, I want you to come back…when I have the club empty…just me and you. “EVER!”
“Sorry to let you down, sir.” His lip quivers and he walks out my door solemnly.
This business is cruel and I’m the cruelest. I pick up the brochure and throw it into my garbage can. I stand up and walk to the door of my office taking in the last five minutes of my life like a slow, painful shot of Jack. Or as the kids call it: top-shelf boozer.