As you are undoubtedly aware, Constant Reader, I have issues with self-confidence when it comes to writing–it’s kind of a bipolar thing, where I can run the gamut from oh wow I’m pretty good at this writing thing to oh my god, I’m a complete fraud why do I persist in this delusion that I can actually do this thing?
So, I tend to embrace moments when I get reassurances that those negative emotions aren’t based in any sort of reality other than the self-destructive corner of my mind.
I’m not sure how I wound up on the editorial radar for the Dark Yonder anthology, but somehow I did and was asked to write a story for it. The anthology celebrates noir writer Eryk Pruitt and his new bar, Yonder, in North Carolina, and all proceeds benefit the North Texas Food Bank. I said yes when I was asked to write a story–because I never say no, or very rarely do; the opportunity to get a short story published is so rare and hard to come by these days I always jump on them–with absolutely no idea what I was going to write about. But in one of those serendipitous moments, there was a conversation going on over at Twitter about, of all things, stripper cash. I commented on the thread that when I worked for a bank, we were located near some strip clubs, and we “always took the moist money.” Bill Loefhelm, a very fine New Orleans writer, replied that “Moist Money needs to be the sequel to Chlorine” and the proverbial light bulb flashed on for me.
Moist money IS an excellent title…and then I was off to the races.
The United States military trained my father to be a ruthless killing machine in Vietnam, then turned him loose on his hometown of Leicester, North Carolina.
Me? Yeah, no fucking thanks. Dad was enough military for me, thank you very much—waking me up every morning at 6 a.m., inspecting my room and testing the tightness of the made bed with a quarter. He was a drunk by then, and a mean one…but he was always up at six, always smelling like last night’s liquor, cigarettes and whore.
I’m paying for college by taking my clothes off for money. A male stripper—a go-go boy, if you prefer. It means I watch what I eat, spend a minimum of an hour in the gym almost every day, and get to write off bikinis, underwear, jockstraps, and thongs as business expenses.
It’s a fucking living, okay?
My preference is booking gay bars. I like gay bars. Gay men are friendlier, nicer, and tip better. I make bank when I dance in a gay bar, and it doesn’t really require a whole lot of work. Eye contact, some minor flirting, the occasional touch here and there—always good for a couple of bucks. The older ones are a lot more handsy than the younger ones, but they also have more cash in their wallets.
Bachelorette parties, like the one we’re doing tonight, are the fucking worst.
The story was a lot of fun to write, and it took me a couple of days of intense concentration and focus to get it done. The book is being released later this month, and I of course will be posting links and so forth when they are available.
And here is the TOC:
Introduction, by Eryk Pruitt
Hey Barkeep! By Eryk Pruitt
A True Yonder Tale, by Dan Barbour
Them’s Fighting Words, by Travis Richardson
Run Its Course, by Frank Zafiro
Popcorn, by Gabriel Valjan
Living Proof, by Will Viharo
Yonder Off-Label, by Terri Lynn Coop
Yonder Margarita, by Matt Phillips
The Regular, by Eric Beetner
Slappy Sacramento, by Todd Morr
Huey and the Burrito of Doom, by Nick Kolakowski
The Door in the Floor, by Allison Davis
Close Your Laptop, by Judy Wilkinson
They Have Drinks Named After Famous Writers, by S.A. Cosby
Legs Diamond, by Liam Sweeny
The Proposition, by Philip Kimbrough
Llama Juice, by Stacie A. Leininger
Moist Money, by Greg Herren
The Big Splash, by Renato Bratkovič
Noir at the Bar Fight, by Dana King
Two Clowns Walk into a Bar, by James Shaffer
Retribution, by David Nemeth
Not Enough to Drink, by Rob Pierce