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Woman in a Man’s Game

By Robin Brox
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It was another bullshit schmoozefest at a Condiment outlet store in some corncobber town.  They had a big printed sign out front– TODAY ONLY!  MEET ROBIN BOX.  I was going to say something but decided against it.

They put me in a chair at a table covered in orange linen.  Copies of my first book Succeeding in Condiments sat in a big pile.  

People started filing past.  At first, I put up with it.  Then, I started fucking around.

“What’s your name?” I asked a lardass.

“It’s Phil.  I’m a great admirer of yours, Miss Brox.”

“Alright, Phil.  Here’s your book.”  I signed it “To a God Damn Mary, Best Wishes.”  He’d shit later.

At one on the dot, as promised, the session was stopped.  I had a car waiting.

“Any male strip clubs around here?” I asked the driver.  He looked at me in the mirror.  “How the hell would I know?”  He started the car angrily.

“Female is fine too.  Just take me anywhere dark.”  He pulled out onto the highway and dropped me at a forlorn place surrounded by a pebbly lot.  There was a lighted arrow that pointed towards the door but it was temperamental and flashed irregularly.  A light breeze picked up.

“Fucking bag of shit,” I said, senselessly.  That breeze threw me off.  Everything was going to be different now.  I knew it.

Inside, there were a bunch of filthy tables and a stage covered in poorly-heaped mounds of tinsel.  The pole had a red band around it.  Nobody was around.  Finally, an awkward brunette came out in a bikini.  She had a tiny, provincial voice.  The kind of girl that would forever get taken advantage of in some desperate, hopeless search for love.  The kind of girl that would inevitably end up in a place like this.  I thought about offering her a job.

“Know anything about condiments, sweetheart?” I said.

She surprised me.  She knew it all.  She summarized the whole damn business in fifteen minutes.

“I can put you on as a mustard determiner,” I offered.  “It’s mustard but it’s not yellow.  It’s colorless.”

“Why?” she asked, genuinely.  I was perplexed.  I had no idea.

“Listen honey, in Lankville you feed the lumbering beast.  If the lumbering beast likes it, you keep on feeding.  Maybe later, you can plow some guy.  That’s the Lankville way.”

She looked confused.  I let it go.

She’s been my mustard determiner for fifteen years.

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