I met Lena at one of our advertiser's strip clubs (which I won't name to avoid this paper losing their services, and to protect Lena from getting a right good beating, which, frankly, she deserves). She had this languid, sleepy look on her face -- you got the feeling she wouldn't put up much of a fight if it came down to that. And for me, it came down to that.
Most strippers, close-up, have huge moles or rot in their teeth or scars. Not Lena. Pale baby face, snout-nosed, slack mouth, red hair and slow, Quaalude indifference.
With barely-opened eyes, she asked me if I wanted a lap dance. After several vodka tonics na halyava, I agreed. I followed her to a curtained-off room in the back of the club, past all the Chinese, Turkish and Arab clientele. She had caked her face and tits in sparkles, which she rubbed over my cheeks, neck and jacket. Then she turned around and did that lap-dance thing where they use their snapper lips to locate and grip your unit, which they then rub furiously with their thonged snappers. "Frreekshun" as they call it. I rarely enjoy lap dances, but something about Lena's friction job got my spavined unit to rise from its sick bed.
At that point my attorney, Moe Snideman, poked his head in.
"Leave that tart alone, Ames, you'll just get her hopes up," he said, beads of sweat wetting his comb-over. His eyes darted around the little private kabinet. "Let's get the fuck out of here before I rape another stripper. Hurry!"
"It's okay, it's all taken care of."
"You promised to behave, Mr. Snideman. This club is a client."
"I said, everything's taken care of, you spineless fraud. The director agreed to extend his club's contract with the eXile, and I agreed not to pore over their charter documents."
"What about the body?" I asked.
"She'll be fine. A little kink in her neck, she'll get used to the lame knee. Humans are amazingly durable creatures. Anyway, she's from bumfuck, Vologda. No one will miss her. People disappear from there every day."
With Snideman it's hard to tell when he's being brutally literal, or brutally metaphorical. In either case, you don't argue with him. Once he gave such a thorough tongue-lashing to a Federal Appeals judge in Brooklyn that she bludgeoned herself with her own gavel just to get removed from the case.
"It was a procedural issue. The judge fucked it up," Snideman told me. "How hard is it to follow the fucking rules? It's all black-and-white."
Snideman was suing Lufthansa for not putting ice in his whiskey-and-water cocktails on a flight from Frankfurt to Chicago.
"Ten fucking hours without ice."
They settled out of court, but only after Snideman was able to impound their entire US fleet.
"I fly first class, I expect ice in my fucking drinks."
Now he is in Washington D.C., where he has initiated a reverse class-action suit: Snideman v. The United States Transportation Board, The Office of Homeland Security and every single airport in America... for not allowing First Class passengers to go through VIP security.
"I don't wait in lines with Economy class suckers," Snideman told me. "Those people are like you, Ames: they stink of lowered expectations."
* * *
Lena couldn't give me her mobile number after the lap dance -- if her masters saw that, she'd be sure to get driven out to the forest for a gang-bang face-first in an ice pond, finished off with a birch trunk to the skull.
I told her my number and she promised to memorize it.
Amazingly, languid Lena called me about a week later. We met at the Taganskaya metro an hour later. I bought her a 365 ruble card for her mobile phone, then took her to Kult, where we engaged in fascination conversation.
Me: "So, what kind of music do you like?"
Me: "Total fucking silence, huh?"
Lena: "I always have to dance to loud music. Sick of it."
Me: "What do you like doing?"