The Rise And Fall of the Vertically Challenged – Hitting Below The Belt

Ouwwwwch! My fucking vagina!
I stay cool. I make my face light while inside I battle my reflex to fold over
myself.
What the fucking fuck just torpedoed MY VAGINA?
I take stock of the people. Scan for signs of a smug expression, someone
trying too hard to act natural…
Did I walk into the corner of the pool table? A bar stool?
I look down and what the hell am I looking at, but a midget, or do I say dwarf?
Dwarf.
I look down at the dwarf.
“Did you just punch me in the vagina?”
He looks up at me, shrugs his shoulders and raises one eyebrow,
“Meh.”
Fucker.
I take dignified strides to the elevated DJ booth and climb the steps to his eye
level,
“Andy!”
Thrusting my arm behind me in the direction of my assailant.
“That dwarf just punched me in the vagina!”
When I turn my head my rigid index finger points at an empty space. The
dwarf now stands at the foot of the steps taking a long swig of beer and a hard stare
directly up into my butt cheeks. A snort and a ripple of laughter from the DJ booth
override the music blaring in the club.
The dwarf shrugs his shoulders, his eyes drill a hole through the fabric of my
outfit and into the center of my ass-universe.
“Ew!” I say, “Gross.”
“Meh.”
He walks a few steps to discard his empty beer.
I turn toward him until I feel my ass rest upon the booth door. Smirking, his
gaze settles on my chest. My tits have fallen out of my playsuit.
Oh yes, here I stand, righteously perched on the highest platform in the club,
beaming my breasts to an audience of 300 or more.
“Andy,” I hiss at the DJ, “That man punched me INTHEVAGINA. Aren’t you
gonna get security?”
“Can I have security to the DJ booth? Securityyy.” He croons.
Minutes pass until a tall lurch with a Viking beard and a shaved head ambles
over to Andy. They lean in toward one another, covering their mouths in the
exchange. Security straightens up and while he walks toward my assailant I consider
what response would best prop up the remains of my dignity as the dwarf is
escorted from the venue? A flood of breathless relief; a triumphant fist pump; or,
shall I hold myself above it all with dignity and refuse to acknowledge him at all?
The Viking bends over the dwarf, pats him on the back and laughs.
“This is a fucking joke!” Even as I clamber down from my perch I’m annoyed
by my poor choice of words. I push my way through the backstage door,
A dwarf, a DJ, and a stripper walk into a bar….
I imagine the trio swaying with laughter as they finish the joke I started.

Two flights down, sixteen steps each, four landings, five doorways to reach a
safe place. In the filthy cubicle of almost privacy I flick the toilet lid down with my
stiletto, furiously pull reams of z-grade toilet paper to cover a space big enough for
my butt and sit. Alone, weeping in a toilet stall at a strip club on a Saturday night.

How is this my life?

At 4.45a.m, I have to move my car and get back to the club before the car park closes
in fifteen minutes. The sky is still black but the street is lit with headlights and neon
signs. The summer city air thickened further by layers of noise, cars, drunkards, and
the echo of bass from the clubs. A roll of hot wind stirs trash and a confetti of debris
falls from the trees. It is the busiest time of night as the streets overflow with
clammy revelers hailing taxis back out to the suburbs or on the 24 hour clubs
outside the city.
Please night, end.
I don’t look much better. A puffy after-cry face full of reapplied makeup, my
track pants sagging off my ass, and a wife beater singlet with no bra. On my way
back to the club there is a commotion outside the kebab shop. The area is roped off
by police tape and a paddy wagon parked by the curb with flashing lights but no
siren. People stumble by underwhelmed. I crane my neck and I see him…
The Vagina Dwarf.
His hands are in cuffs behind his back. The police are hoisting him from the
ground into the back of the wagon.
Across the wide expanse of the intersection I hear myself yelling,
“SUCK IIIIT MIDGEHHHHT!”
People turn their heads to me, to him, back to me. Scrunching their faces at
the nasty shrew screaming with such abandon. I don’t care.

 

 

 

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Shell Shocked

shell-shocked or shell·shocked (shlshkt)

adj.

1. Suffering from shell shock.
2. Stunned, distressed, or exhausted from a prolonged trauma or an unexpected difficulty.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Overall, the break for Christmas and the New Year was wonderful. I got to see my niece walking at 9.5 months, spend heaps of time with my sister, reacquaint myself with my brother-in-law and enjoy the sight of the dogs going mental on the beach. With the sad exception of my brother and his girls, I got to see everyone in the family. This is a feat in itself due to the fact that my sister lives in North Carolina, my dad in Laos, mum at the South Coast of NSW, and my stepmum in Sydney.

Last Christmas was a disaster. It was one of those Christmas’ I’d always heard about but never experienced. Suffice to say, my mother didn’t speak to me for almost three months following. I was nervous leading up to this Christmas. The trajectory of my thoughts always led me to sing the first phrases of Wham’s “Last Christmas” 

Mum and I did have a pretty big blowout. Ever since last Christmas (insert George Michael here) when I jogged her memory, leading her to tragically and dramatically rediscover that I am in fact NOT a burlesque dancer, our relations have been strained. Despite all that, my anxiety was more focused on seeing dad this year. My dad is a great person. He is kind, gentle, bi-polar, manic depressive, fragile, sensitive, academic, volatile and was once the most materialistic buddhist I’d ever met. He is a classic philosopher. One of those that will always mourn the state of the human race, and anguish over the rise of capitalism and greed. He sees little hope for us humans, but his face brightens and he becomes jovial when he talks about his dog back home in Vientienne – King KiKi.

While dad was there, mum took off to Sydney. My boyfriend drove 10 hours to come hang out with my family and meet dad. Eeeek! One night we went to the Bateman’s Bay Boathouse for the best fish and chips I’ve had in memory. My sister and I left the table and went outside to keep the baby occupied and left our partners to fend for themselves with dad. He has mellowed out over the years. There were no interrogations or lectures reported. My boyfriend did tell me that someone in the kitchen just behind our table dropped something that made a loud, metallic bang. Dad almost hit the floor. Literally.

I have seen this once before. When I was about 15 and my sister 18 at the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney. We were pleading with dad to take us closer to the action. He kept saying no and trying to divert us, but we were persistent. Reluctantly he led us closer to the noise and light. The streets of Sydney were vibrant. The fireworks were beautiful, raining glitter on the cityscape. One extra loud BANG and my dad went down. Forehead to the pavement, hands shielding his head. He remained there for a few seconds as people walking by turned their heads to look at him. It was heartbreaking. I held my breath. My heart expanded in my chest. Time froze. All the peculiarities, flaws and eccentricities of my father were explained in that moment. The feelings we had as kids when he picked us up every second weekend, not knowing whether he would be up, or down, manically happy or manically depressed, were, in that moment, compounded and magnified til I had a roaring deafness in my ears. How could we have been so stupid and selfish? I felt my sister and I had spent the years rolling our eyes at him, instead of responding with compassion. We couldn’t cope with his suffering, so we made light of it to each other.

When my boyfriend told me what had happened I was driving. I kept my voice steady and as we had a conversation about it, the tears welled up. Once again I felt the guilt of having dismissed the horrors of my father’s life. He was 19 when he was drafted to the Vietnam war. He hasn’t told us much. He wrote me a letter once when I was 17, I read it once then put it in a box and tried to forget it. Because of my father, I will never regard the armed forces with anything other than abhorrence and anxiety. When friends join the army or navy, I feel saddened that they might one day be a part of activity akin to that which fucked my dad up for life.

I once danced for a guy who was a sniper. I can’t remember which war it was for. Pre 2009 is all I can be sure of. I am not up to speed with the when and who of war. This guy was strange. At first he didn’t tell me what it was he did over there in that mystery war. We debated about the legitimacy and value of the army. Of war. I was starting to get upset so I stopped talking and just listened. That is when he told me he was a sniper. As he spoke his eyes glazed over and he acquired the vacant, soulless look of a serial killer. I guess he was actually a serial killer, so it makes sense. He explained to me how it was that he felt justified in killing these people. He had never met them. They had never done anything to him or his loved ones. None of the reasons I could imagine being incited to such violence applied here. He killed them in cold blood because he was told to do so. That’s that. We left on good terms. I gave up arguing. He got to tell his story and be a hero in his own telling. The music of the club receded as a familiar roaring silence filled my ears and I crossed the floor, went out the backstage door, walked downstairs to the dancer’s toilet, entered a cubicle and cried silently with my hands over my face. Shell shocked.