Excerpt From Jesus Loves Strippers by R. Leo Olson

Editor Acacia Blackwell, Fiction, February 25th, 2015

Strippers were sexy, but not my mom. My mom was a sexy stripper, but not to me.

jesus loves strippers by R. leo olson
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

On the first morning of the week I visited my mom, the stripper, she told me masturbating was better than forcing it on a girl if she wasn’t ready for sex. And there’s probably better things to do with my hands.

Totally out of the blue like that. She was making French toast on an electric griddle.

Then, without missing a beat, she asked me if I wanted some scrambled eggs. Now you need to know that my mom, the stripper, she makes the best French toast on the planet. Wonder Bread, soft and bready where you could pinch a piece and it never gets back to normal looking. On the plate in front of me, fork to the left, it glittered with cinnamon, drowning in Log Cabin syrup and margarine. The smell was delicious. Smells are memories.

When people see stripper moms, they tend to think how fucked up things are for the kid. But they don’t think too long about it. No one thinks too long about kids like me unless that person is a professional therapist. That person thinks, future patient.

Cha-ching.

After my mom said that, I sat there in my shorts and shirt in the dining area with both my hands, my masturbating hands, soft and supple on the table, palms down. This was the same woman who asked me about my virginity last night. She wanted to know if I was getting any.

My dad, that fucking born again dictator. He must have told her told her I had an obsessive sinful problem. Before I left to visit my mom, he walked in on me in the shower right in the middle of an intimate session with a bar of soap. He told me Jesus better not catch you doing that when he ‘raptures’ up the true believers. You might just be left behind.

I squinted my eyes, which were mom’s green eyes, in a mean way, but she didn’t look my way. I cracked my knuckles, each finger. She was standing at the barely used electric stove, griddle next it, and I was rehearsing the zingers I wouldn’t say. I wasn’t afraid to talk back to her like dad, but there was a meanness to my zingers I didn’t want her to know. She is my mom after all, so sweet in a hurtful way.

I was like my mom in this way, sweet but hurtful. Zingers made me mysterious, no one really knew what I was really thinking, how clever I was. People always said, ah Benny, such a good boy, but they didn’t know how mean I could be with the words in my mind, during my zinger time.

My mom was tall but not too tall to intimidate anyone. Clear okay looking skin when she was tan. Dark almost black chemical colored hair with a bleached blond streak in it, sometimes red, sometimes pink, but mostly blonde. A rebel streak that said blonds have more fun. I wouldn’t call her muscular but the cellulite didn’t show about her legs yet, so they looked strong. Hips, breasts, skinny, arms and legs that worked together like an athlete, although I never knew her to exercise. A natural exotic dancer type. Like when you see a woman at the grocery store and say in your head, she’s a butter face—huge tits and everything else is hot but her face—she’s probably a dancer. Mom was a semi-butter face because of her slight over bite but she had a cute dimple.

I know it’s wrong to talk about your mom like that but I had a stripper mom and that means there was some complicated shit rolling around in my head. I’m sure I’ll pay for my future therapist’s office rent for a whole year.

Cha-ching.

I look at women differently. Like hair on a woman’s body. Mom had no hair on her body, at least the parts of her body I could see. The other parts I wasn’t sure but could probably guess. Strippers are mostly hairless, I don’t know if you know that. Strippers have to look as best they can, like the porno mags, for the fantasy to work. To really get the most money out of their clients. They sell a fantasy to horny guys who need something to think about when they go home to their fat wives or baby mamas. At least that’s what Clyde told me. He told me a lot stuff I didn’t know. He owned the Swamp Fox Strip club where my mom danced.

I went once. I guess it was take your kid to work day.

Mom handed me another French toast. The butt piece. The last of the loaf. Her arm reached over the table and her breast cleavage swallow a chintzy fake gold cross. A couple of Mount Cavalry’s, cleavage, tits, the Cross, Jesus. I can never get away from all the fucked up sex talk and God talk in my head. My future therapist’s new car.

Cha-ching.

Even though my mom and I looked alike, it’s still all in the hands for me. Hers were boney at the knuckles, with thin skin showing the veins on the backs, disappearing at the wrists. No callouses, soft padded and strong but delicate. Fake nails of course but that’s just part of the pageantry of women like her: Glitter, face paint, high gloss passion scratching nails, leather, chains, feathers, leopard prints, high heel shoes and a rainbow of G-strings in the closet. A uniform where her ass smiled at everyone. That was her uniform, not like my dad and his clothes that never fit him and his butt crack smiles. Two different kinds of smiles, but they both wore ass smiling uniforms. One happy smiling sexy family.

I wouldn’t say my mom was sexy. If I did that would be college tuition for a whole year for my future therapist’s kid.

Cha-ching.

But the jocks at my school would say my mom was sexy. Other women who dressed and looked like her were very sexy to me. So strippers were sexy, but not my mom, but my mom was a sexy stripper, but not to me. I love G-strings and ass smiles and tits and smooth strong legs and all that sexy stuff. But, to me, all her stripperness was embarrassing. Shameful. Sexy but sinful.

Like I said, I’m my future therapist’s golden ticket.

Cha-ching.

I loved her and hated her. She was my mom but I was pissed at her because she was the reason I was labeled a perv at school, stripper boy Ben, butt floss Ben, B-Job and on and on. And now she had the nerve, the balls, to try to mother me by giving me a warning about masturbating too much.

All these things rattled around in my zinger time. I sat at the table, cracked my knuckles again, one finger at a time. Snap, crack, pop. The orange hot neon lighted coils made mom’s hands glow, her skin orangeish probably like the lights at the Swamp Fox. She cracked an egg with one hand and the clear goo turned sperm white as is dripped down the outside of the black iron skillet. She tossed the cracked shell in the sink, rinsed, and wiped her hands on her red and white checkered apron. A real Aunt Jemima wannabe.

What a joke, my mom trying to be domestic, trying to make up for lost mothering. Wearing frayed cut off Lee short shorts, red Reebok high tops, and a white tank top, no bra, under the apron. Fake gold necklaces, rings on every finger, and bracelets chimed their cheapness as she tried to finagle an assembly line of bread to egg batter to griddle—French toast. It was funny watching her trying to figure the cooking out. Trying to figure me out. Concentrating so much. Left over stripper glitter in her blonde streak and on her temple. She was burning the scrambled eggs. Smells are memories.

The morning she sent me to live with my born again dictator Vietnam veteran dad, she made me French toast. I remember the egg soaked soggy bread burning, sizzling, on an iron skillet. The smell of French toast. The last thing she cooked for me when I was a boy and the first thing she cooks for me every time I see her. Hello and goodbye, the horribleness of those two things is ironic.

I was disgusted by the hypocrisy of that woman. My mom. Hypocrites were what Jesus called the Pharisees.

I laser focused my green eyes, her green eyes, back at her. Practiced my zinger: Hey you stripper, you bare breasted sexy dancer. You ass smiling tantalizer of men. You egg cracking, French toast making, wannbe Aunt Jemima Pharisee mother, don’t you dare tell me what to do or not to do with my hands and my dick, my choad, my grow’er not a show’er. That silent zinger was a mean one and just for me.

But she didn’t look at me when what I really said was, Hey mom, I’ve been meaning to ask you, were you done breast feeding me before you started topless dancing?

She clicked the stove off. Her green eyes down to the ground. Probably zingering herself in her head. Her bracelets clanged and glittered when she dried her hands with a kitchen towel at the sink. It’s all there was to hear in that moment that seemed longer than a moment. Her green eyes—my green eyes—saying different things without words. Her jaw clenching. I could see her jaw muscles throbbing. No cute dimple, just a clenched overbite.

Then she threw the towel down on the ground and thud, thudded past me into her bedroom. Door slammed. She lived loud. Mad as hell and hurt feelings. Sweet but hurtful.

We were just alike. We were still surviving each other.

I felt bad about what I said after I said it. Zingers are like that. She was a stripper and I was her son. I didn’t know how to be a son and she didn’t know how to be a mother and the last thing we should have been talking about was masturbation. But that’s what breakfast talk is like when you’re the son of stripper. A good start on my future therapist’s retirement fund.

Cha-ching.

I sat on the vinyl covered chair that had brown wagons and horses on them. Ripped at the corners with the yellow foam padding popping out. Used up broken rental chairs. The thrones of poor folks.

I cut a perfect triangle out of the center of the bread. Swirled it in the syrup and butter glaze. Put it in my mouth and chewed it slow. I guess I wouldn’t get those eggs after all, but the French toast was amazing and the whole house smelled of it.

Smells are memories.

+ + +

If you enjoyed reading this fiction, you might also enjoy reading “Know My Name,” by Davis Slater, here.

+ + +

R. Leo OlsonR. Leo Olson lives in West Michigan. His writing explores the sacred and profane elements of human experiences through humorous and transgressive literary styled fiction. He writes in the tradition of ‘Dangerous Writers’ founded by Tom Spanbauer. More info at RLeoOlson.com.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Acacia Blackwell

Acacia is a writer from Portland, OR, which suits her because sunshine gives her anxiety. She is currently completing an MFA, despite being recently told by Tom Spanbauer that to become a better writer, she needs to "unlearn all that grad school stuff." She listened, and it seems to be working. Acacia is working on a collection of personal essays that she really doesn't want to admit might be a memoir, and a memoir that she really doesn't want to admit might be a novel.