A Veil of Silk

by Jared Angel

“Have fun,” Yumi said, refusing to make eye contact. “If you miss the last train and aren’t up for an all-nighter, stay at a business hotel.”

“Yeah, okay. Listen, are you sure this is okay? I mean, I know you’re not thrilled with me going.”

She groaned. “We’ve been through this a thousand times, Justin. Of course I’m not happy that you’re going, but it’s for Kenji. Please stop offering not to go.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll definitely make it home tonight. I don’t think I could do an all-nighter any more even if I wanted to.” I kissed her on the cheek, bent down and said to her watermelon-sized stomach, “Sleep well in there. Keep Mommy company.” Without kissing me back, she shut the door in my face and clicked the lock into place.

I glared through the brown chipped door and said too quietly for her to hear, “No wonder why men cheat.”

We hadn’t had sex for seven months. Even though the doctor had said it was safe, Yumi kept imagining that I was thrusting up against the baby. Since she couldn’t enjoy it, I couldn’t pressure her. She didn’t even have the decency to help me release my frustration and fully expected me to take care of myself.

 For the entire two weeks since I told her I was going to a strip club with three friends for Kenji’s bachelor’s party, she had a perpetual dark glint in her eye. She wasn’t upset that I was going to a strip club. She had hired a male stripper for her best friend’s bachelorette party, and had even suggested that we go together some time. She was worried that with my current level of frustration, watching a bunch of naked women without her there would tempt me to stray. When I had tried to convince her that going to a normal bar was more dangerous since strippers didn’t sleep with customers, whereas drunk women at bars did, she had refused to talk to me for two days.

 

I boarded the 6:56 train heading towards Osaka. It was Sunday, which meant women and girls of all ages heading home from a long day of shopping filled all of the seats leaving me no room to sit. I stared out the window at the dark round mountaintops in the distance. After transferring trains twice, I was the first one to arrive at the OCAT building in Namba.

Genki came strolling up a couple minutes later, his thin eyebrows and pointy hair making him look like a new-age elf. He smiled from ear to ear. “Hey, Justin, long time no see.”

“How’s it going?”

“Did you tell Thom to come at 8:00 so we won’t have to wait for him?”

“I thought about it, but didn’t,” I said. “Besides, we’re not in a hurry.”

“True.” He shrugged his shoulders. “How’s Yumi?”

“Big. She’s not too thrilled about where we’re going tonight.”

“You told her? I told Keiko we were going to an izakaya.”

“Would she have been upset?”

“Don’t know.” He shrugged again. “Didn’t want to deal with her whining, though.”

“How could you not tell her? That’s totally not cool.”

Before Genki could respond, Kenji came up behind me. “Hey, what’s up? Where’s Thom? Did you tell him to meet us at 8:00?”

“Nah,” I said. “Anne knows this is your bachelor’s party, right?”

“Yeah, she was there when we planned it. Remember?”

“Yeah, that’s right.” Of course I remembered. I was using the Japanese method of indirectly telling Genki I disapproved of his not telling Keiko.  “She doesn’t care, does she?”

“Not at all,” Kenji replied. “Why? Is Yumi upset? I thought she wanted to go with you someday.”

“She’s a little upset, but Genki didn’t even…”

Genki shouted directly through my ear at Thom who was coming out of the underground tunnel. “You’re only ten minutes late!”

Thom’s long beard had more gray in it than brown making him look ten years older than he really was. He rolled his eyes and made no attempt to hide his irritation. “I am definitely living in the wrong country. Back home ten minutes late is early.”

I led the way up the escalator onto Midosuji Street and said, “Has anyone ever been to a strip club in Japan? I have no idea what to expect.”

Kenji and Thom answered at the same time, “No.”

“I have,” Genki said. “A friend of mine really likes them. The places he took me to a long time ago were really cheap so the girls weren’t that cute.”

“Cute?” Thom smirked. “Japanese men’s priorities are not in the right places – literally. I don’t care about cute faces. I want to see hot chicks with big tits.”

“But what’s the point if you can’t look at their faces?” Genki countered. “Besides, big tits are nothing but fat.”

We turned left at the next corner and a squat six-story building with blacked-out windows loomed before us. “That’s it,” I said in a rush of words, cutting off Genki and Thom’s argument before it became heated.

We all stared at it, the flashing green and pink neon lights pulling us mindlessly forward like giant stadium lights luring insects to their deaths.

“Is it the whole building?” Thom said in awe.

“Kind of,” I answered. “Each floor has a different club. We’re going to the one on the first floor.”

“Are you sure it’s a strip club?” Kenji asked. The first floor didn’t have any windows, marquees or neon lights. The only indication of it not being deserted was a light blue door with the words Passion Blue written across it in bold white letters. “It feels like the entrance to a yakuza den, not a strip club.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the yakuza own it.” I took a deep breath and reached for the worn-out brass knob, my hands trembling like a prepubescent boy turning his first Playboy page. I looked back ready to make a joke about my hands to find none of them following me. “Afraid of seeing a bunch of naked girls?”

They laughed nervously and crowded after me as I stepped inside. We squeezed into a tiny entranceway that had another blue door leading into the club. I was about to open the second door when it swung open to reveal a Japanese man the same height as me in his mid-twenties in a black shirt and black jeans.

He looked me in the eyes, shook his head and said in Japanese, “No foreigners.”

At the same time that he noticed Kenji and Genki behind me, I replied in Japanese, “We’re with two Japanese guys, besides both of us foreign guys can speak Japanese.”

He sighed in relief. “Come on in.”

Two young women in g-string red lingerie with seductive smiles were waiting inside the door. One was very skinny with firm muscles and shoulder length dark brown hair. Her sheer bra revealed small round tits with light brown nipples. The other one had cascading light brown hair with blond highlights. While her bra was not see-through, it fit snugly around her peach-sized perky tits.

The club itself was bright, lit up like an ordinary living room that was perfect for reading or playing games with the family. Tattered and stained blue curtains covered old cold concrete walls. Immediately to our right was the bathroom and to the left a small room with another blue curtain hanging halfway down its entrance. On the other side of the room was a small bar and an even smaller DJ booth with another young man sitting behind it.The middle-aged mamasan stood in front of a wooden door on the other side of the DJ. She wore a tight black dress wrapped around three layers of fat. She smiled at us and swung her hand towards the sitting area.

The room was about fifty feet long by thirty feet wide. The stage filled half the space with stools all the way around it. Behind the stools and along the walls were small tables and chairs. Four Japanese men sat at the tables. One, in his forties, had huge muscles bulging out of tight green T-shirt. Another, with a greasy gray comb-over, wore a white collared shirt with bursting buttons from the girth of his stomach.  The other two, quite young, sat together smoking and laughing over a couple of beers.

The young man in black seated us on stools right in front of the stage and explained the prices. “The entrance fee is 9,000 yen and includes soft drinks. Alcohol is an additional 1,000 yen for all you can drink. Extended lap dances are done in the side room that we passed on our way in. It’s 3,000 yen for three minutes, 5,000 yen for five minutes and 10,000 yen for ten minutes.”

The moment we had handed over the cash, the girls brought us a basket for our coats and introduced themselves. The one in the see-through top clasped both my hands. Her bright pink fingernails were decorated with dozens of shiny beads. “I’m Ahmei. It’s nice to meet you.” She winked and turned to Genki.

The other girl had started with Thom and graced her way to Kenji, Genki and finally me. She ran her hand along my cheek with pale purple fingernails and said in a voice that dripped honey, “I’m Silk.”  Her face hid behind a veil of caked-on mascara, foundation and purple eye shadow that matched her fingernails. I looked deeply into her dark brown eyes in search of a sparkle of the true woman behind the makeup. She uncomfortably lowered her head and whispered in my ear, “You’re cute.”

My pulse quickened and I forced a laugh. “You have to say that; it’s your job. I bet you said that to my friends, too.”

“You’re right, it is my job.” Her voice suddenly dropped three octaves. “But, I really mean it this time and I didn’t say it to your friends.”

Lifting her head back up, she smiled tenderly and the veil covering her face disappeared from her penetrating brown eyes. I sat stunned, unable to speak at Silk’s sudden transformation from a sex object into a real woman. She responded to my silence by gently rubbing my cheek with her delicate fingers again. The veil reappeared and she said in her honey voice, “I have to greet our other guests, but I’ll be back soon.” She turned away from me and headed to the old balding man sitting at a table behind us. I watched in awe as her beautifully round ass swayed from side to side.

At the same time that I reluctantly forced my eyes away from her, three more strippers came out of the wooden door. The first one had a lime colored see-through top with a frilly thong. Her tits were enormous and her pink nipples, twice as large as silver dollars, playfully poked through the thin cloth. She sauntered up to me, placed her hand on my shoulder and rubbed her left tit against my cheek. “Hi, my name’s Pudding.”

 “I’m sure it is.” 

She giggled. “Look.” She jiggled her tits making them bounce up and down in an onslaught of flesh and flab.

“Be careful with those,” I said leaning back. “You’re going to hurt someone.”

She giggled again. “You’re funny.”

Pudding turned to Genki and pulled his entire face into that tremendous cleavage. The next girl in line, wearing a long purple skin-tight evening dress, rubbed her small tit against my cheek. She said her name in a shrilling rush of words making it impossible to catch. Before I could ask her to repeat it, she winked and moved on to Genki.

The third girl was extremely tall and, with her stilettos, towered over every man in the club except Thom. She was wearing a white silk bra and panties that fit snugly without revealing any of the flesh beneath. She cat-walked up to me as if she were doing the runway for Victoria’s Secret.

“I’m Rina.” She snarled at me, grabbed my hand and rubbed it up and down her warm crotch twice. She suddenly pushed it away and commanded, “Smell it.”

I obediently lifted my hand up to my nose and took a deep breath of lilies blowing in a spring breeze.

“Good smell, isn’t it? I’ll chat with you later.” Still without a single smile, she grabbed Genki’s hand and rubbed it along her crotch.

The young man in black brought us our first round of beer. “You’re in for a treat. Ahmei is going to dance.” He pointed over to the DJ, who flipped a switch and a J-pop song with a screeching female singer blared out from the PA system.

I raised my glass and shouted over the music, “To Kenji, may you find marriage as truly amazing as I do.”

“I had better,” Kenji replied with a huge smile.

We all took a deep long drink and focused our eyes on Ahmei as she climbed up the three steps to the stage. She grabbed the pole directly in front of Thom and swung her leg up in the air in a long circle around the shiny metal phallus. Twirling back onto the stage, she worked her way to the pole in front of me in a rapid succession of thrusts and grinds. She grabbed the pole with both hands, swung her legs up high above her head and slowly brought her legs back down spread-eagle.

“She’s so sexy,” Silk’s honey voice whispered from behind me.

My heart skipped a beat and I said as casually as I could, “Yeah, she’s in great shape. Great legs and ass.”

We watched the rest of the dance in silence, Silk’s hands on my shoulders and her breath slowly blowing across my ear. For Ahmei’s last move, she pulled herself upside down on the pole again, spun completely around, slid downwards until her head almost hit the floor, gracefully lowered her legs and firmly planted her stilettos on the stage.

“She’s really talented,” Silk said in admiration. “I can’t do that.”

“Are you going to dance next?” I turned around to look into her veiled eyes.

“No, I already danced tonight.”

“You only dance once?” Back home, the strippers went up on stage as often as they could for the tips.

“Yeah, just once. Did you want to watch me?”

“Of course,” I said. “You’re the sexiest girl in here.”

“Really? That makes me very happy, but my tits are too small.”

“You can’t be serious,” I replied. “They’re so perky. Big tits often sag and for me, the shape is much more important than the size.”

Her brown eyes sparkled so brightly they broke through her veil once again. She said in a voice without honey, “Thank you.” She bent down and kissed me softly on the corner on my mouth. Pulling her eyes away from mine, she turned and slowly walked around the stage.

 “Ahmei didn’t take her top or bottom off while she was dancing,” Thom said. “They don’t get naked here?”

“I guess not,” Genki replied. “Half of the places do and half don’t. Not sure why.”

“I prefer that they leave their bottoms on,” Kenji said. “A little bit of mystery makes it more exciting.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Thom rolled his eyes again. “I want to see some pussy. If we tip them, will they take it all off?”

“Hey, nobody tipped her,” I said. “Is this because people don’t tip in Japan?”

“No,” Genki said. “You can definitely tip them, and if you do, they’ll do something special for you. But, it’s kind of expensive, don’t you think?”

“What do you mean, ‘special’?” Thom rubbed his hands in anticipation.

“Here’s your chance to find out.” Kenji nodded at Pudding, who was gliding onto the stage.

Thom’s eyes glowed like a little boy about to open a whole stack of brightly wrapped Christmas presents.

 “I really don’t get why guys like big tits,” I said to Genki.

“Me either,” he agreed. “But look at Kenji and Thom, especially Thom. They’re enthralled. I guess it would get boring if we all had the same taste.”

“True.”

Ignoring the pole and not even pretending to dance, Pudding strutted around the stage wiggling her hips and those huge tits. Thom hollered and Kenji applauded shyly. Thom held out a thousand yen bill. Pudding giggled and hopped over to Thom. She pulled him closer to the edge of the stage and pointed to the front of her g-string. He gently put the bill inside and tried to take a peak beneath. She giggled again, pushed his hand away, lifted her right leg up in the air and wrapped it around Thom’s head. She rubbed her crotch against his face from side to side. “Your beard tickles!”

When she finally pulled away, Thom plopped back onto his stool with glazed-over eyes.

Kenji patted him on the shoulder. “I guess we know what happens when you give them a tip.”

“Damn,” Thom said. “Kenji, it’s your party, you have to try it. My treat.”

Before he could pull out the money, Kenji said, “Nah, thanks, not my thing. I enjoy looking, but have no desire to touch them.”

“You’re joking, right?” When Kenji shook his head no, Thom gasped and looked at Genki. “How about you? Look at those massive hooters! You’ve got to tip her.”

“Me? Yikes, I’m with Kenji. I like drinking and watching, nothing more.” Emphasizing his point, Genki downed the rest of his beer in one gulp.

“Japanese guys!” Thom shook his head sadly. “Justin, help me out here, you’ve got to try this.”

“Thom, tonight’s your lucky night. All the girls are all yours,” I said with a grand flourish of my arms.

“You mean all three of you came here just to look? Well, all right, I’ll take them all!”

Pudding’s strutting came to an abrupt halt and the DJ shouted, “Game time!”

The mamasan, carrying two large fuzzy pink and yellow dice, led five more strippers onto the stage with Silk in the lead. The club was half-filled now, with most of the new arrivals young men in small groups already swaying from drinking too much with dinner. The mamasan handed one of the new arrivals in a navy blue business suit one of the die and told him to choose a girl. He picked the one in the purple dress. The mamasan handed the girl the other die and told both of them to roll. If the total came out to eight or higher, he would receive a one-minute lap dance. He threw the die across the stage with all his might. It bounded end over end, hit one of the poles and finally came to rest on a six. He and his friends cheered wildly and the stripper dropped her die gently onto the stage. It rolled over once and landed on a five. She clapped in delight, glided off the stage and sat down on his waiting lap.

The mamasan handed a die to Thom and I quietly prayed for him not to choose Silk. He pointed to Pudding and rolled a four. The mamasan handed Pudding the other die and she also rolled a four. More giggling and cheers as Pudding headed off to Thom’s open arms. I prayed even harder as the bodybuilder raised his die. He pointed at Rina and they rolled a combined nine.

The mamasan shouted, “Wow, it’s everyone’s lucky night!” She handed me one of the grime-encrusted die. “Let me guess, Silk?”

I looked at her in surprise and slowly nodded yes. I rolled the die gently towards Silk, willing it to land on a six – it rolled over three times, teetered on six and landed on two. Everyone moaned and Silk took the other die with her fingernails and held it up with the six facing the ceiling. She dropped it straight down; it bounced once, flipped all the way over and landed on one. Everyone moaned louder, Silk pouted and the mamasan said, “Don’t look so upset, you’ll get another chance.” She handed a die to Genki.

Without hesitation, he pointed to Silk and rolled a six. She dropped her die straight down again, this time landing on a six. Everyone cheered and Silk clapped excitedly.

As she sauntered down from the stage, I forced a smile and said with fake enthusiasm, “Good roll!”

Silk slid down onto Genki’s lap and with a guilty glint in his eyes, he said, “Sorry.”

“Sorry? Why are you sorry?” I forced my face to remain neutral, refusing to admit to myself that I was jealous.

She ran her hands along Genki’s shoulders, rubbed her legs along his and leaned against his chest placing her tits in his face. He was true to his word about not liking to touch; his hands remained motionless at his side. He did, however, laugh and turn bright red. While pressing her body hard up against Genki’s, she nibbled on his ear and he laughed harder.

The next moment she swung her leg off of him and stood directly in front of me. “Sorry we didn’t roll an eight.”

“No problem.” My hand unconsciously pulled out 1,000 yen.

She licked her lips and nodded towards her g-string. I slowly pulled the top of it back to insert the bill. Glancing at her shortly trimmed black pubic hair I licked my lips in imitation of her. She slid down onto my lap, nibbled on my ear, kissed me all the way across the cheek and onto my lips. Straddling my left leg, she rubbed her crotch up and down filling my entire body with her warmth. My left hand moved down behind her and ran its way up her leg and across her ass. My right hand moved its way up her stomach and towards her chest. Before I reached it, she briefly pulled aside the left side of her bra revealing a perfectly round tit with an exquisitely pink nipple. She let my hand gently brush up against it for a brief moment and then she covered back up and kissed me on the lips again. I held her face in my hands and stared into her eyes desperately hoping to see the real woman within. She turned her head away, her veil firmly in place. She stood, thanked me with an overly feminine squeal and departed.

“Dude, she really likes you.” Genki hit me hard on the shoulder.

Silk was making it quite clear that he was right. But, he would assume I liked her too, which I would never admit to even myself. I was loyal to Yumi. I explained, “It’s her job to pretend to like all of us.”

“She was totally making out with you. I haven’t seen her kiss anyone else on the lips,” he said with admiration in his voice.

“No one else has tipped her either,” I pointed out.

“Dude, take her in the back for a real lap dance,” Thom said, pointing to the curtained room.

“Me? You’re the one that likes touching. Besides, it’s Kenji’s party. If anyone is going in the lap dance room, it’s him. What do you say, Kenji? My treat.”

He waved his hands in refusal. “I really can’t imagine touching them like that. I mean, come on, they’re all over every guy in here. Too dirty for me. Justin, you should do it with Silk. It’s totally obvious you like her.”

“Like? I wouldn’t call it that,” I said carefully. “While she is the hottest girl in here, Yumi would kill me.”

“It’s a strip club!” Thom shouted. “You have to do it. Besides, how would Yumi ever find out?”

“Well, she is pretty hot and I haven’t had sex since Yumi got pregnant,” I said, trying to convince myself it wasn’t a big deal. “And, I have to admit that the one time I went to a strip club in the States, the whole place was so sleazy that I had no desire to try one. Here, though, everything’s well lit and Silk… Well…”

“Do it!” Genki said. “We all know you want to.”

Thom turned and waved to Silk, who was standing over three men begging her to show them her tits without making them pay for it. When she finally noticed Thom, he first pointed to the lap dance room and then at me. She smiled delightfully, said something to the three men, and headed back towards me. I stood to greet her with my stomach twisting in knots.

Her veiled eyes sparkled. “How many minutes?”

“Five,” I whispered and handed her the money.

“Thank you.” Honey dripped from her voice. “Wait a moment.” She walked over to the mamasan and handed her the money.

 “How much did you give her?” Genki said.

“Three thousand,” I lied.

Silk quickly returned and led me by the hand to the blue curtains. She pulled them aside for me and we stepped into a small room with three small blue sofas not more than two feet away from each other. Another curtain led to another smaller room to our right. She led me to the sofa furthest from the entrance and out of sight of passersby. I sat down and glanced into the other curtained room. It had a mattress on the floor and nothing else. Before I could ask what it was for, she sat down on top of me andset the timer attached to the back of the sofa for five minutes. She pulled off her top exposing her prefect tits mere inches from my face. She slowly started grinding on top of me and bent down and kissed me fully on the lips. I kissed her back, and our mouths opened for the briefest of moments.

 “That’s not allowed,” she whispered, but kissed me over and over again on the lips. My left hand reached back and grabbed her ass; my right one went up and fondled her tit. My fingers encircled her nipple and she let out a soft moan. She ran her hands along my chest, and I moved my hips in unison with her. She opened her mouth and kissed me with her tongue again. “No, I can’t.” She sighed and closed her mouth.

She grinded harder on top of me and for the first time that night, my jeans tightened. My mouth left hers and went to her nipple. She moaned loudly once and gently pulled my face up o kiss me again. As the passion and ecstasy poured through my body I imagined yanking off my pants and her g-string, and thrusting inside of her with every ounce of desire in my body. I looked up into her eyes smiling intimately, but her veil hid the real woman within and her return smile was as fake as her name. An image of Yumi’s heart breaking came crashing into my mind and my jeans instantly loosened.

My hand gently brushed Silk’s cheek. “Stop. Silk, please stop.”

She either didn’t hear me or simply didn’t understand what I was saying. She continued sliding back and forth along my lap and reached down to kiss me again. I put my finger on her lips. “Please, stop. This doesn’t feel right.” I turned and looked at the timer – we still had three minutes.

“What do you mean? What happened?”

“This doesn’t feel right. The only reason why you’re doing this with me is because I paid you. I… I don’t even know who you are.” When she didn’t reply, I said, “Why do you do this job?”

I expected her to answer in her honey voice that she liked it and had fun making me happy. Instead, she said in her normal voice, “For the money. The salary’s good.”

“How long have you been doing this job?”

“Two months. I was working in an office before this, but the pay was terrible and my boss was sexually harassing me. My friend told me I could make a great deal more doing this.”

“Do you enjoy it?”

“Well, I don’t know,” she said slowly. “I suppose I’m getting used to it.”

“Why did you choose the name Silk?”

“I didn’t. Mamasan chose it for me.”

“Can you tell me what your real name is?”

The veil covering her dark brown eyes completely disintegrated in a flash of shimmering brown. “Mika, but please don’t use it here.”

“Of course not.” I pulled my wallet out from my back pocket and handed her my business card. “I’d really like to know you outside the club.”

“Yeah, me too,” she said.

“Really?” I really hoped she wasn’t lying. “Are you saying that because I’m your customer and you have to?”

“No, I mean it.”

My heart skipped a beat, and to help hide my guilt from myself, I said in a rush of words, “I’ll introduce you to my wife. She’s really amazing. She actually wanted to come along tonight but she’s eight months pregnant so she couldn’t.”

“Really? Congratulations. Yeah, I’d like to meet her.” Silk stuck my business card in her g-string and put her top back on. “I have to get back to work now; it’s been six minutes.”

She stood up and offered me her hand. I took it and walked towards the curtain with my new friend.

She held the curtain open for me, but I waved my arm down low. “Ladies first.”

“Thank you.” She waltzed over to the mamasan. After whispering something into the older woman’s ear, Silk disappeared through the wooden door.

Rina, sliding her way up and down the pole in front of Thom, had every customer’s undivided attention. The only one who noticed my return was Genki in between mouthfuls of his sixth beer. “How was it?” His speech was already slurred.

Everything that I had done with Silk, every breast that had rubbed against my face, the cheap blue curtains covering the walls, the stupidity of the dice game, the amount of money I had spent filled me disgust. I looked at Genki hoping for a sign of the same revelation on his face, but only saw lust-driven curiosity. I answered his question slowly. “Strange.”

“Strange?”

He wouldn’t understand that Mika and I had become friends. “I guess I felt like I was cheating on Yumi and so after about a minute, I told Mi… Silk to stop. I was kind of excited by the touching at first, but I realized that I really don’t want them touching me.”

“Like we said before.”

Rina did a final twirl around the pole and gracefully descended the stairs to a standing ovation from Thom. When he had hollered himself out and sat back down, he finally noticed me. “Did you fuck her?”

“What? Of course not.”

“I didn’t think this was that kind of place, but you never know,” he said.

“You don’t actually want to have sex with one of them, do you?” I said, making my disgust clear.

He shrugged. “Why not?”

“That’s messed up, Thom. How would you feel if Miyuki did it to you?”

“She’s a girl, she wouldn’t,” he said as a matter of fact.

“Dude,” Kenji said. “Would you really fuck one of them? I’d be afraid of getting an STD.”

“That’s what condoms are for,” Thom replied.

“I can’t stand condoms,” Genki said.

Already feeling guilty about almost cheating on Yumi, being reminded of Genki and Kenji’s dislike of safe sex filled me with disgust. I couldn’t bear spending another minute inside the club. “Hey guys, I hate to break up this party, but I’ve got to get going.”

“What are you talking about?” Thom said, beer spraying out of his mouth. “We haven’t even been here an hour. It’s Kenji’s bachelor’s party!”

 “If you want to go, it’s cool with me,” Kenji said. “I’m having a great time and will definitely stick around until closing.”

“Thanks. Tomorrow is a workday and I’d like to get home before Yumi goes to bed.”

Thom sighed. “Man, you are totally whipped.”

“Yeah, maybe. Too bad you aren’t. Kenji, see you at your wedding next weekend. Congrats, man. Genki, go ahead and do a lap dance. I know you want to.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” He pulled out a five thousand yen bill and shouted, “Pudding!”

I grabbed my coat and headed for the door. The mamasan poked her head inside the wooden door and Mika came running out. The two of them met me at the exit. The mamasan said, “Going so soon? Thank you for coming. I trust you enjoyed yourself.”

“Yes, thank you.”

“Silk will show you out. Please come again soon.”

The mamasan left us alone and I stared into Mika’s eyes, no sign of her veil.  

“Thank you for coming tonight,” she said in her normal voice. “I’ll text you soon.”

“I’ll be waiting,” I said casually, hiding my excitement. “To be honest, I normally don’t really like strip clubs very much, but meeting you totally made my night. Thank you.”

We hugged the same way as any two American friends would and she watched me depart.

I made it home in an hour and twelve minutes. I opened the door quietly to find all of the lights out. Yumi had gone to bed early. I peeked into the bedroom and whispered, “I guess it’s a good sign that you’re sleeping. You must not be too upset.”

I gently closed the door and went straight for the shower. I pealed off my smoke-filled clothes and scrubbed the night’s filth away as hard as I could under the steaming hot water. I looked down at myself while imagining Silk gyrating on top of me. Finding myself un-aroused, I turned off the water and stepped out of the shower.

I pulled on a pair of boxers and went into the living room to shut down the computer. My cell phone was flashing on the table from a number I didn’t recognize. I clicked on the message excitedly and read, “This is Mika. Thanks for coming tonight. I’m looking forward to seeing you outside the club and meeting your wife.”

My boxers tightened and I typed a quick response. “Yeah, I had fun. I’ll talk to Yumi tomorrow and hopefully we can make a plan to meet. Good night.”

 

Yumi kissed me awake the next morning. When I opened my eyes, she said, “Good morning. You made it home. I didn’t think you would.”

“Good morning.” I placed my face on her stomach. “Good morning to you too, little baby.”

“Did you have a good time?” she asked.

“I guess so,” I said.

“You guess so?”

“Yeah, it was kind of fun at first, but it got boring. I only stayed an hour.”

“Oh. What about Kenji, Thom and Genki?”

“They were having a great time and said they were going to stay until closing.”

“Why was it boring? Getting too old?” she laughed.

“I guess it’s weird talking to naked women like that. I mean, they’re don’t seem like real people. Strange thing happened though…” I paused a moment. “I… I think I might have become friends with one of the strippers.”

“Friends? What are you talking about?” Her tone became dangerous.

“It’s no big deal,” I replied as innocently as possible. “We were talking and she told me her real name and how she’s only been doing the job a couple months, but doesn’t really like it.”

“You want to become friends with a stripper?”

“Not only me, of course. She said she wants to meet you, too. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a stripper as a friend?”

“Me too? You can’t be serious. I have no desire to meet her or be her friend.”

“Really? Why not?” Forcing my voice to not give away my disappointment.

“Because she’s a stripper. She wasn’t really interested in being your friend; she was doing her job. I’m getting up,” she said with a grunt.

 

As soon as Yumi was safely in the shower, I sent a text to Mika. “Since Yumi is eight months pregnant, she’s not interested in making any new friends right now. She said maybe some time after having the baby.” My stomach twisted in a knot and my hands shook as I continued writing.“I don’t want to wait until then. I have some free time on Thursday. Let’s go out to lunch.”

I waited the entire day for her response. When it finally came, Yumi had already gone to bed. I flipped my phone open. “We should wait until Yumi’s ready. Send me another message when she is.”

I dropped my phone on the floor. The veil hadn’t been covering Silk’s eyes – it had been covering mine.

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