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Now I’m Nothing

An excerpt from my memoir, Too Pretty To Be Good

On my first night ever stripping, I destroyed my car.

I say “my car,” and I suppose technically it was, but the vehicle had, in fact, belonged to Daddy. Evidence of him was everywhere. The upholstery, once grey, stained brown from cigarette smoke; a fingerprint grease stain forever marking the glove box. And most poignantly to me, a ping-pong ball sporting a smiley face rolled around the interior of the vehicle, the face drawn in Daddy’s hand.

When somebody dies, it’s the details you miss, the roughness of the palm, the blackness of the nail, a pack of oil paint gathering dust on an easel, a face drawn on a ball—these precious things announcing, Look! Not long ago I was here, alive, carefree, and now—I am nothing at all.

I had a lot on my mind.

And so my drive to my first shift was harried, unfocused. After a rushed shopping spree at the stripper store, high on the purchase of a spandex pantsuit and six-inch pumps, I sped toward Club Hot Styxx—

And drove full-speed into the car stopped in front of me.

As I lurched my battered car into the parking lot of the Styxx, beneath my foot I felt an object crunch. Perhaps part of the dash had fallen in the wreckage, was rolling around the floorboard?

Beneath my foot, I found not a broken piece of the Honda, not a piece of garbage, not collision debris. Instead, I found a single ping-pong ball, smiling at me in the precious hand of my father, half-crushed by my foot in the haste of getting here.

That car and everything in it was all I had left of him.


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