Sometimes a little voice, one usually buried in one of the deeper chasms of my subconscious, emerges and takes over my brain – completely.

The voice is often troublesome, and it’s typically loudest after a few adult beverages. And what I’m hearing isn’t the proverbial devil-on-my-shoulder telling me to do bad things. If only it were that tame.

No, the voice I hear is one that encourages – nay, implores – me to explore the depraved side of my otherwise squeaky-clean imagination. An out-of-town guest recently provided me with both the excuse and the know-how to fully realize the nastiness inside me. I always expected that our sweet lil’ ol’ Cowtown was like every other thriving metropolis and had a seedy underbelly. But I had no idea.

the blok rectangle

Our night started innocuously enough: dinner with another friend at Sardines Italiano Ristorante. After the three of us downed a couple of bottles of Chianti, I suggested that we walk across the parking lot to the Blue Grotto for cocktails. The out-of-towner, however, had different plans. He told us he knew of a “great” place where we could all “hang out” and “just have fun.” “Nothing fancy or crazy,” he said – like the Great Satan Hisself, my buddy is a master of persuasion. “We’ll just drop in, see what’s up.”

A couple of minutes later, we found ourselves in a strip mall off Highway 377. We parked and walked toward a storefront hung with a piece of plywood on which was painted the silhouette of a long-haired, buxom lass – she looked like one of those gals on 18-wheelers’ mud flaps. Next to her, by the entrance, stood a suit of armor.

We walked in, and the light of dusk behind us had the same effect on the “customers” as it might have had on a coven. The room was long and narrow, with couches lining the perimeter and a pool table near the entrance. Lying languidly on the couches were about a half-dozen women in various stages of undress, watching the news on tv. Noticing us, one of the women groaned and said, “Looks like we have to go to work.”

Now, at this point, my normal self would have bolted. But that voice inside me, it just had to stay, just to see how bad things could get (which may explain my knack for journalism).

As my one friend and I glued ourselves to the pool table, the out-of-towner asked one of the “customers”: “So how does this work?” He was told that we could buy either a $20 cup of tea or a $40 cup of tea and have it “served” in the back of the room, where there were several cubicles separated by thin curtains. The out-of-towner forked over a 20, selected his “server,” and retired with her to Cubicleland.

Believe it or not, he probably fared better than my buddy and me. As we nervously lined up and missed gimmes, one of the “customers” approached us, and, well, let’s just say she began making us feel very uncomfortable. Mercifully, the out-of-towner reappeared, and we were on our way. Next stop: the comfort of a strip club on Camp Bowie West, where I never thought I’d be so glad to see a midget entertainer with an orthopedic shoe strut her stuff.

I have not heard from that little voice since.

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