I'm moody by nature. It's in my bipolar genes. Sometimes I get an itch, a crazy itch inside my brain, and I have this insuppressible urge to find trouble. In the summer of 2006, I was sitting alone at the rail at a strip club called the Acropolis, and I actually found Trouble. She lived up to her name.
The girl named Trouble was so unbearably gorgeous she could crush your soul between her perfect breasts and crap the universe out of her perfect ass. Normally a girl like this would send me whimpering to some dark corner of the bar, clawing at my eyes, questioning my existence, but on this particular day I was feeling brazen, so I struck up a conversation as if we were two fully-clothed strangers at a cocktail party. I spoke with confidence. I was smart. I was funny. I was Bruce fucking Wayne.
“Can I show you a trick I've been working on?” Trouble asked.
She carefully folded two one-dollar bills longways and then twisted and pulled both her nipples until they were fully erect. She balanced the bills on both of her breasts and then bounced her left breast until the bill hopped over to her right breast and perfectly covered the other bill.
I was speechless. Clapping like an idiot, I looked around – no one else in the club had seen Trouble's amazing trick. My friends were chatting idly in the corner, dipping fries in steak sauce, and a few old men were staring into their beers or playing video poker.
During her next set Trouble told me she would be DJing at Lush later that night. “You should come,” she said, and then, “Here, I'll give you my email. Are you on MySpace? Do you have a piece of paper?”
She wrote down her information and even gave me her real name.
Lush was a strip club downtown in that doomed space at 6th and Couch (it has since been a gay bar, which failed, and from what I hear it will soon be an underage dance club – good luck). She was behind the turntables when I arrived, holding headphones up to her ear and messing with the mixer, and when she saw me she smiled and said, “You made it!”
We chatted while she worked. It was also Trouble's job to organize the strippers, so between each set of songs she would use the PA to call out the names of the girls who would be up next on each of the three stages in the club. After a couple of hours hanging out and talking, she said, “Alright, I'm gonna dance downstairs for this set.” She was a stripping DJ! She pulled out a small bag and opened it up to show me it was full of crumpled up dollar bills. “I don't wanna bother you, but would you mind doing me a favor and straightening these bills out for me?”
“Uh, sure!” If she'd asked me to smash my hand with a hammer I'd have done it. While Trouble went downstairs to strip, I worked on straightening out the wrinkled bills. While I was doing this a bouncer lumbered up to me. “Hey, you seen Margarita?” he said.
“Margarita. She's next up on the main stage.”
“Uh, no, I'm sorry. I haven't seen her.” Did he think I worked here? And if so, couldn't he see I was busy? I went on flattening the creased bills until they were all neatly stacked. Trouble came back and thanked me for the job I'd done, resuming her post behind the turntables.
I continued to visit Trouble over the next couple months, and we sent messages back and forth online. During that time I lost my job, moved in with a girl I had an awkward open relationship with, and got a new crappy job. I knew Trouble liked me. We'd exchanged phone numbers, and I desperately wanted to ask her out on a date, but I always had some excuse not to. My van was leaking gas and was packed with all my stuff, so I wouldn't want to pick her up in it. I was too broke to take her anywhere nice. I was so broke I was selling my plasma for booze money.
Finally I met Kimbot and fell for her pretty hard. She was smart, funny, and artistic. The two of us ended up hooking up and decided to become exclusive. I hadn't been looking for a monogamous relationship, but this was pretty good, and I was determined not to fuck it up.
A week and a half later, I was standing alone in my apartment when my cell phone started ringing. The caller ID said “Trouble.” I froze. She'd had my number for a while but had never actually called me before. My heart stopped. It went to voice mail. She left a message. She wanted to get together for coffee. She was asking me out on a date.
This was one of the most horrible decisions I've ever had to make in my life. It's right up there with pulling the plug on Mom. I have to admit, for a moment I was almost able to convince myself that it would be okay to meet up with Trouble for coffee. Perhaps if she'd had another name, any other name, but alas, this was an itch I would never be able to scratch, no matter how crazy it made me. I never returned the phone call. I forced myself to turn away from Trouble, and I never looked back.
Okay, so maybe I look back occasionally, but what's the harm in looking?