Authors: Morgana Blackrose
Phoenyx: Flesh and Fire
Erotic Memoirs of a Striptease Artist
by Morgana Blackrose
A Pink Flamingo Ebook Publication
Copyright © 2015, All rights reserved
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Number 101 Freudlose Gasse, the end of a side-street in Old Berlin - that’s where the Kitty Klub used to be, a delta of debauchery and a temple to Venus in all her forms; a place where myths and goddesses were born. Since the early 1920s, it had hosted shows, cabarets and every entertainment of the adult kind, and had managed to keep all its original decadent character intact despite the spit-roasting rape of Nazi tyranny and Allied firebombs, which it somehow escaped mostly unscathed – almost as if it was destined to survive for the benefit of future generations, and shake a fist at the cruel ravages of war. Never quite grand enough to appeal to the elite, never cheap enough to be embarrassing or tacky either, the Klub bared its soul with the charm, honesty and humor of a hooker with a heart of gold, as if the venue itself was as much a character as those who lived and worked within.
And in many ways it was.
I was unwise enough to have returned to that spot, many years after my associations with the Klub were over – almost exactly thirty years since my arrival, in fact – to find that not only the building, but the entire street, had been completely erased from existence and replaced by several rows of faceless, soulless apartment blocks, doubtless inhabited by faceless, soulless individuals who knew nothing of the history, the passion, the drama, the tragedy and the excitement which had been enacted within those old walls for the best part of a century.
The sight would have brought tears to my eyes had it not been so totally, utterly inevitable. I did, however, spend about half an hour sitting on one of the street benches (the cast-iron sort which brand vertical bars of numbness into your backside), looking down that avenue not with my eyes, but with my memory – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the sensations, the hopes, dreams, disasters and pains. The music – always the music – the trumpeting, triumphant, bumping jazz of playful horns and scuffing cymbals, tittering pianos and gutsy guitars, the soundtrack to our endless displays of flesh gradually revealed. The faces, the voices, the names, the clothes, and the crumbs of conversation all stirred back into life again, like clouds of dust swept up off an old floor by a vigorous broom. Once again, I felt the creaking stage boards under my feet, felt the blazing house lights caressing my moist skin, heard the roar of rapturous applause and saw seas of happy, cheering, curious, lecherous faces drift before me as if they were pond life in an aquarium. I heard voices in my ear, felt my hair swish across my bare back as I clumped past the heavy burgundy curtains backstage to the dark wood-paneled corridor beyond, where I was greeted by old friends, smiling, laughing, joking, welcoming; the routine of a day job unlike any other.
Had anyone bothered to look at me as I sat and stared, they would have seen a lithe and elegant fifty-one year-old in a long black dress, waves of strawberry blonde hair cascading over her velvet back from beneath a wide-brimmed hat with a yellow rose, which had been liberated earlier that afternoon from one of the public gardens in the old Green Quarter. Picking flowers to put in my hair or in a hat was one of the few rituals I still clung to from my youngest days, the days when I was young and virginal, before I passed through the alchemical fires of the Klub.
I stood up and fumbled around inside my shoulder bag for my sunglasses. I didn’t feel the cut in my heart until I turned away; knowing that it – my past, the best years of my life, the very fabric of my wild existence – was gone forever now. I got the shades on just in time, before the hot treacle ran from my eyes. The black I wore from head to foot might as well have been mourning wear as I scuffed to the edge of the pavement with tiny steps, uncertain of where my feet ought to go, wobbling in my four-inch heels. The paving stones were clean and shiny, unfamiliar, unlike the old rugged slabs I remembered. All that remained were the elderly iron lamp-posts, and even they seemed to be there as much for decoration as they now shared space with tall, sleek and swan-necked modern counterparts.
Much like myself, really.
Yet in a strange way, I felt fulfilled now. I had brought to a close not just one but several whole chapters of my life, and it was time to move away, onwards, upwards; to spread my wings and be free once again, my pilgrimage complete and all my old debts paid off.
As reality swept around me in the form of buses and cars blaring past, I excavated my cell phone from the depths of my bag. My gloved thumb had some difficulty finding the right menu on the damnable newfangled gadget, but eventually I called up the correct number and waited for it to be answered with a growing, swelling sensation of bitter-sweet excitement.
My melancholy soul began to wither and fade, to be ousted by the buds of new growth, new life, and new glories born from old ashes.
For I had a dinner date in Marrakesh, and I couldn’t possibly be late.
I first turned up at the Kitty Klub one afternoon in ‘79 as little more than a kid needing money, friends, and a place to live. I’d just moved into the city from my mother’s old place out in the country and was preparing to make my way, somehow, in the big, colorful, scary and noisy adult world. The sign outside the door had read: “Performers Wanted – Apply Within!” Somebody had gone to the bother of making the vertical shaft of the ‘!’ mark look like a cartoon penis, and the point below it into a circular breast with a huge nipple, a demonstration of earthy schoolroom humor which my unsophisticated mind appreciated and welcomed in that otherwise hostile kingdom of The Big City.
By now I was genuinely desperate, and willing to try anything once. I stomped up the stone steps to the big doors and pushed my way through into a dim and decadent bar smelling of varnish and liquor. The walls were draped in heavy velvet hangings, and mock-classical statues of naked women towered over me from grand plinths, and all at once I felt as if I had entered a different world, or stepped back into a different time. This décor, its furnishings, flooring, and everything had no connection at all with the cool, funky world of 1979 which I had just stepped out of, the world of sports cars and disco. Perhaps that was why I loved it at first sight and chose to investigate it further.
I didn’t know exactly what I was letting myself in for, but I decided to give it a shot. What happened then changed my life forever.
My First Time
And so it was that my career as a stripper happened almost by accident.
Back then, I knew I had looks, but little more. I’d never really danced or performed in my life, except at discos and at school, and in my bedroom when nobody else was around. As the heavy old doors swung shut behind me, I was pushed forward into that antique bar with dark wood furnishing and a beautiful marble mosaic floor covered in stylized animals and plants.
And opposite me, on the long stage, a couple of half-naked women limped off with their clothes bundled up in front of them. Neither looked very happy so I had to assume that the heavy-set man standing in front had just given them the ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you’ brush-off which I had become all too familiar with in recent days myself whilst seeking some –
– kind of employment. My landlady had been patient so far, as I had promised her from the outset that I’d find a job soon enough – after all, the City was where it was all happening, wasn’t it? But my wide-eyed expectations had been dashed after I lost count of how many times I was shown the door in various stores, offices, and shops. By the end of the week I was reduced to begging for part-time employment in the bakery shop down the road, but nobody wanted to know me, no matter how much I fluttered my lashes or swept my hair aside or straightened my shoulders to make my chest stick out. I didn’t have experience in doing anything, at least, nothing they needed or wanted, and I couldn’t figure out how to get that experience if nobody was willing to teach me or give me the chance. I had spent several nights near tears, unable to go anywhere or do anything as I clung to my last few precious pfennigs, all that remained of my savings from my rent deposit and all the food I could carry from the shop at the end of the road. What had seemed like a feast and filled my cupboards to near-overflowing was now all but gone, and I had been walking the streets with a grumbling in my stomach and a growing ache in my heart as I wondered how I was going to survive the weekend. I had enough money to telephone my mother and beg her to come out and bring me home again, which was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. That was defeat, failure, and all of her ‘I told you so’ warnings made flesh and truth, and I would never be able to stomach that. Not that we didn’t get on, but I had grown too big for the old house and my mother’s curfews and orders (not to mention her menial chores), and continuing insistence on me ‘acting my age’ – whatever that meant. I was grown-up now, was I not, so surely that meant I ought to be doing grown-up things – like finding my own place, a real job, and making money? I had never expected life to be so difficult or complicated, and I had begun to wonder how everyone else managed to make do okay. Not only that, but if there were things my mother should have told me, but never did.
The man turned around slowly as I made my anxious, and very hesitant, way towards him; no doubt expecting another podgy mother-of-three who believed herself to be the next Olivia Newton-John.
I don’t think he expected a tall, flaming-haired figure in tight black leather jeans and matching go-go boots. (I’d always wanted a zip-up jumpsuit like Marianne Faithfull in Naked Under Leather, or Suzi Quatro, but was never able to save enough money for it, so instead I had to make do with my old hand-knitted brown wool cardigan, which was stretched just a bit too tight across my breasts – it being quite a few years old now, and me having expanded rather a lot since it was made for me).
His eyes widened as I approached. I didn’t know what to do or say, so I just stood and stared at him as if he had three heads.
He stubbed out his cigarette on the table beside him.
“Have you come about the job?” he asked in a thick, pleasant voice which resonated all around the bar-room. It sounded as though he was used to speaking to people. He was full of confidence, and I wished I could steal a little of it for myself at that moment.
I nodded dumbly. Suddenly I felt terrified of myself, and the stupid impulses which had brought me here. This was crazy. It was an adult nightclub, and here was I, an upstart who could barely be called an adult at just over twenty-one years old, still wearing the ridiculous big freckles which had plagued me since I was old enough to have memories of such things. And hoping to compete with professionals and get up in front of an audience of demanding, and probably very lustful, strangers. Life was getting difficult for me but it surely wasn’t going to become
impossible? I wanted to turn around and run like hell, but his smile melted me a little, warming and reassuring me, inviting me to linger just a little longer.
“Name’s Bruno,” he said, holding out his hand. I drew myself forward and reached out to shake it.
“Thanks,” I said, completely meaninglessly. I had no idea why I was thanking him. Perhaps for being nice, for shaking my hand, and not grabbing my tits and acting like a complete beast, or kicking me out the door. I was also trying very hard not to laugh, so saying something – anything – was preferable to standing giggling like an imbecile.
“I have one vacancy,” he went on, “still looking for the right one to fill it. She’s not only got to be good, but look right. To fit in with the other ladies here and also stand out enough to be unique and original in her own way, too. Sorry, it sounds as if I’m pretty demanding. Don’t let it put you off.”
I shook my head. No, it hadn’t put me off. I had no idea what I was doing now anyway, so decided not to speak unless asked a direct, and very simple, question. That way, I couldn’t put my foot in it.
“You’re a bit quiet,” he observed with a sideways glance. “But that’s okay. I’m sure you’ll let rip once you hit the stage.” He sat down on a leather-backed chair with a squeak and a creak, and did something with the music centre on the table behind him. I could hear a cassette rewinding.
“So...” I started, trying to compose my question in my head before I blurted out the wrong words. “What exactly is...the job?”
“Stripping,” he said, without looking up. The cassette stopped with a heavy click, to emphasize the word and just what I really had opened myself up to. That was okay, I thought; it was pretty much what I’d expected to hear. “Dancing, getting naked, having a great time and helping others to have a great time, too. Giving the audience a touch of fantasy. Don’t worry; it’s not all dirty old men who come here. Some handsome young ones too. And women. Even couples.”
That was something I hadn’t considered: the effect I was supposed to have upon other people, the audience, the total strangers. It wasn’t enough to just
and run off-stage, chased by a ruffle of applause. No, I had to
, to arouse, and to inspire which meant
it with aplomb, panache, style, professionalism. Shaking my tits for five minutes just wasn’t going to cut it, and I felt my self-confidence draining into my boots along with the slushy ooze of sweat which grew out of my scalp and slithered the entire length of my body; down my neck, across my ribs, between my ass cheeks, and onwards, onwards, over my thighs and calves to the soles of my feet and the stripy woolen socks which now felt like wet blankets wrapped around my legs.