I’m not sure what compels me to visit “Shimmyin’ Shirley’s.” Not normally one of those guys who likes to go to strip clubs. Hell, I’m not even from Western Massachusetts. Just down this way for a business conference. Why my company insisted on holding it at a Marriott in the middle of fucking nowhere is beyond me.
I’m driving down a barely lit road, flanked on either side by dense forest, when I see the pink, neon sign. There’s an incredibly lewd caricature of a woman shaking her prodigious, neon boobs in the glaring light. Even as I’m pulling the car into the lot I’m wondering, what am I doing?
An impressively greasy biker bouncer (who smells like stale cigarettes and meth) informs me that I’m “in for a treat, pal, we got our finest herky-jerky women things on the pole tonight.” He slaps my shoulder with a meaty palm, and I’m not successful quelling my cry of alarm. I don’t like the way his pupils dilate when I flinch.
“Woah! Jumpy fella, ain’t ya? Well, the girly-whirlies will fix ya right up, yesiree.”
Nameless biker freak #3 walks me into the club, and I’m assaulted by a powerful, malingering stench: something like low tide mixed with piles of burning tires. There’s another stink below I can’t place.
Strobe lights flash to and fro, as what I can only describe as a mix of dubstep and polka thunders out of speakers, tied at sporadic intervals with what appears to be a mixture of rope made from human hair intertwined with snakeskin, and used condoms.
I belly up to the bar, and an enormous albino woman asks me “what’s your poison?”
There’s a blacklight running the length of the dusty bottles behind the bartender, and I swear one of them has a leech floating in it.
When I squint, I see all manner of foul stains along her taut, cotton tank top, and more lit on her alabaster skin, on top of crude cartoonish tattoos of goats, witches, and, strangely enough, one of The Pope.
“Uh, just a beer, imported if you have it,” I say, trying to be nonchalant, and failing.
The bartender makes a face like I just told her I stabbed her uncle, and hands me a chipped glass, with a faded, photo realistic picture of a cat’s face on it, filled with foamy suds.
“Only thing imported here is Svetnanya,” she says, then belches.
“That sounds like a made up Russian name,” I half-heartedly mutter, but the bartender’s already turned her massive back to me, and has snatched a bottle of whiskey off the bar, which she proceeds to glug with the finesse of an established alcoholic as she stomps away.
I take my beer (god I hope it’s a beer) to a small table by the stage. The club only has three other patrons, which stands to reason as it’s a Sunday night.
There’s an anorexic looking guy in plaid pajama pants, and one of those winter hats with the ear flaps, putting a dollar into the swamp green g-string of a wrinkly older woman, who legitimately looks like she’s seventy if she’s a day. This geriatric’s pendulous breasts are sweeping against ear-flaps slack-jawed face, and I retch a little. Yet, I don’t leave, and frankly, my lack of action alarms me.
Why am I still in here? I wonder. This establishment is the very definition of disgusting.
And yet, I’m strangely drawn to the grotesqueries of the scene.
A blonde guy, with a tan and surfer shorts is getting a lap dance from a bald woman wearing a zebra print vest, who, on closer examination, is missing her two front teeth, and appears to be cross-eyed. She twirls nipple tassels made from worms hot glued on. I down my oh-please-be-beer in a frantic gulp, and the stirrings in my loins alarm me to no end.
There’s an incredibly strong woman, with a bright red mullet, chewing on snuff, feeling up a stripper in some kind of pale leather bikini. Shades of Ed Gein float into my noggin’, which I will away.
“Boy howdy, take my money Misty!” strong mullet yells, then whoops and hollers.
Misty gyrates, shoving her crotch into the strong woman’s face. When the dancer’s countenance is visible, I recoil, knocking over my empty glass.
Misty has no eyes. Shoved into the empty sockets are twigs, and rocks.
Someone grabs my shoulder, and I scream.
“Wait until you see Lillybridge,” biker-bouncer whispers in my ear, and his hot breath so close sends slivers of ice down my spine. The strobes have me seizurous, and the smell has me woozy.
All the lights shut off at once, and “Shirley’s” is dark as the heart of a death row sociopath. I feel things slither over my business shoes; big, undulating creatures in the dark. Hear my fellow patrons whispering in excitement, moaning in pleasure, and underneath this noise, a thrum, as of a high-powered generator.
All at once, a spotlight hits the main stage, and a funeral dirge, with a little bass to it thumps out of the speakers.
“Coming to the stage we have the Empress of Ice Cream, she who was old when the world was young. The gal so nice she got to live twice. Revel in her form, for it is the shape of your damnation. Your screams are useless in this place, so it’s utter folly to attempt to cry for help, or to try to escape. Your filthy hands aren’t worthy of her dirty pillows, nor the juice in her caboose. Sanity is but a memory before the majesty of her terrible machinations. Welcome, LiiiiiiiiillllllllllyBriiiiiiiiiiiiiiidge.”
She must be twelve feet tall, wearing a bra and panties made of human faces, tanned and stretched. I trace the rigid muscle of her calves up to her thighs, gravity backflips, and suddenly she’s either on the ceiling, or I am. She grinds against a pole made of human spines, melted together. The strobes mask her expression, momentarily shadow her teeth, which are large, and sharp, in the pulse of the new light. She blows a kiss at me, and her fetid breath makes my body grow weak. I can easily smell her from ten feet away. I slump from my chair, and either fall to the floor, or jump onto the ceiling. LillyBridge tosses her face-bra at me, and I kick like a thrashing lunatic.
“LillyBridge, oh LillyBridge, we dug a very deep, deep ditch,” the DJ sings, and the rest of the club takes up the tune.
In unison they all sing “You crawled back out, we’re all finished, oh Lilly, Lilly, LillyBridge.”
And I’m laughing now, can’t stop laughing, and LillyBridge dances her way off the stage, in my direction. The flock of perverts around me sing the round louder, and louder still, until their voices boom over the thumping death-bass.
“We’re all finished, oh, LILLY, LILLY, LILLYBRIDGE!”
The giantess picks me up, and her body is festooned in dirt. She lifts me close to her face, and I see her hair is filled with wriggling maggots. She licks my cheek, and her tongue is long and black: a giraffe’s tongue, rotted beyond death.
LillyBridge whispers in my ear in an ancient rasp-
“They tried to bury me, but you can’t keep a good woman down. They always need someone to dance to the tunes they play, the songs they sing, on WXXT. Leeds appreciates a good woman, a strong woman. I’m one of the oldest, of dirt and rot, and the things that live deep under the world are my children. Everyone wants a good screw, and little man, after you meet me-”
Her tongue jams into my ear, deep, deep, my eyes roll back, my vision greys.
“You’re screwed,” she purrs, and bursts into a cackle which sets me twitching.
I kick, try to loosen her vice grip, but she’s too strong, and I can feel consciousness slipping away, though I’m pitching a tent in my business slacks. And still the chorus screams the words to the song, as Lillybridge rubs me along her grave-mud-caked body, and her tongue finally slithers out of my ear, to snake its way down my pants, and the other dancers gyrate demonically, and far off behind the stage flames crackle, and long for flesh.
“We can wait forever for you, lover,” Lillybridge whispers, as I feel blood bubble out of my eyes, ears, and nose, and my spine spasms as her foul appendage laps me to climax. I scream until my voice is nothing but a tinny rasp, as she thunders with laughter, the rest of the club dancing around us in a circle, hands entwined.
“Oblivion is only a lap dance away, and even when you leave, you’re never really gone. We take a piece of you, as payment, an offering to our humble little establishment.”
The strobes flash faster, and the dancers peel off their skin; toss it onto their clientele, and my brain feels as if it’s boiling, ready to leak out my ears. I shake, and shudder, and Lillybridge smiles real wide, exposing bits of human skin lodged in her enormous, crimson-stained, sharp teeth, under gums rotted and purple.
“Now, let’s have some real fun,” she says, and moans loudly, as funeral bells chime the end through the speakers.
And… heaven help me… it’s excruciating bliss.
Sean M. Thompson is a writer from Boston. He has a B.A. in English from The University of Massachusetts. He loves horror and anything weird. You can find him at SpookySean.com