June 4, 2014

Gary V. Powell

The Men in the Mirror *

We took seats around the stage, where the women could get right down in front of us. They danced so close we could smell them, musky beneath their perfume, so close we could see the sheen of perspiration on their thighs. They grabbed us by our shirt collars and rubbed their breasts in our faces. They bent double and smiled between long, muscular legs. They pulled g-strings aside so Jack, Bill, and Gene—nice guys just looking for a little fun—could slip a dollar inside. They squatted over our faces and snatched fives from our teeth—Lisa from Dixon, Debbie from Mishawaka, and Mae from Chicago—nice girls just trying to make a living. They pirouetted and gyrated, teased and taunted on a stage swept by strobe lights. We drank beer and smoked, rolled up our sleeves and joked. Behind the stage, a mirrored wall reflected the faces of the strangers in the room—bored and beaten women grinding for slack-jawed men, men desperate for love and recognition behind their jokes and drunkenness. Now and then, we winked, raised a glass, and waved, and the men in the mirror waved back.


Gary V. Powell is a retired lawyer. His work has appeared in Bartleby Snopes, Literary Orphans, Thrice Fiction, Connotation Press, and other fine places. His first novel, Lucky Bastard, released in December 2012, is available through Main Street Rag Press at http://www.mainstreetrag.com/GPowell.html.

* The Men in the Mirror is a 2014 Editor's Favorite


David N. James said...

Terrific story. Thanks, Gary, And, thanks, Barry for publishing it.

susan tepper said...

this was such a realistic snapshot into that seedy world that men enjoy (some men). frankly, I don't get it but I'm not a man. Or a lap dancer. Gary Powell did one hell of a job writing this with no fluff or frills to soften the heat.