A large rectangle of yellowing white, the sign for the Wild Stallion Gentlemen’s Club beckoned to Clarence from its perch on the thin gray pole pocked with rust. He had noticed the sign on their first journey to campus, the spring of Andrew’s senior year in high school, and on each of his several journeys in the following year and a half he had noted its presence. Mary had been with him each time, so the opportunity had not presented itself for him to heed its call; yet now, free from all obligations, Clarence flicked his turn signal and raced down the exit ramp, charging toward the sign like a sailor bearing down on a lighthouse to escape from a gale.
A right, then a left (the club’s road signs were worn but large), and the Camry pulled into the club’s lot, a large dirt field covered with loose gravel. A sign reading TRUCKS pointed with its large red arrow to the rear of the lot, where five tractors (three bearing trailers and two deadheads) sat silent as sentinels. Seven cars were parked at an angle to the club’s broad southern side; although the lot had no marked parking spaces, the cars were arranged as if their drivers knew exactly where they were to leave their vehicles. There was an empty space between the fifth and sixth cars, more than enough room for the Camry; Clarence pulled in, the hard crunch of tires on gravel rumbling underneath.
A concrete walk in front of the cars lead around the building to the entrance. Clarence got out of his vehicle, noting how he appeared to be the only person currently outside the building. He heard music from inside, the typical bluesy swank, and then the smarmy call of the emcee, And NOW gentlemen … . The noise, combined with the familiar faint odor of amonia, caused him to chuckle with bemusement. It had been what, five years since he had last been to a strip club, and as he approached the unwindowed black entrance door he remembered why he had stopped going to the clubs near his home. He had become bored with them, their elicit appeal had worn off, the thrill had indeed seemed gone. But when he had seen that sign on that first trip, he could not escape from the thought that this club, so far from his home, would be different, would excite him in ways —
He had placed his hand on the door handle, had almost pulled, when his phone announced an incoming call.