Dreamcatchers James McAdams Evan Klankerty avoided The Dancin’ Bare for eight days after he stuck his business card into Caelin’s thong. Since the stomach pains had started two months ago, just before his fortieth birthday, his frequency visiting the club had increased from weekly to daily, and his attraction to Caelin developed from something sexual to what he now considered love. He declined to be serviced by any of the other dancers, patiently sitting in the corner by the Trivia! machine, where he’d record inspiring quotes in what his therapist called his “Positivity Journal” until Caelin appeared on stage, lit by compact fluorescents, aiming a smile towards him as she scanned the other men in the club, her dreamcatcher belly-chain coiling around the stripper’s pole.
“It’s just something to help when I’m in trouble.” “Are you in trouble?” “Do I look like I am?” she asked, smiling luridly. She grinded harder into him and grabbed his shoulders, her nipple he wasn’t permitted to touch grazing his double chin, her red hair tickling his receding hairline, and they didn’t talk anymore that night. The business card identified him as a substance abuse counselor at Keystone Services, Lancaster, PA, and included his office- and cell -numbers, his office- and private -email accounts, and at the bottom the following quote: While there’s life there’s hope. In the days since he’d given Caelin his card, Evan had lived in a state of fluctuating hope. Every time the phone rang or his email chirped, he imagined it was Caelin and told himself a story of being her boyfriend, sharing his life with her and thereby escaping the vortex of his own fears and regrets. Sometimes he let the phone sit with the call missed or the email unopened, increasing the zone of expectation to hours during which he would tell himself even more elaborate stories about his future with Caelin. Eventually, though, he would check in a state of exhilaration and instantly become depressed and hopeless, again, because the only people who called or emailed him were
On that last night, he copied on the back of his business card: A thing of beauty is a joy forever—Keats. Caelin and he were in the back room, which used LED “spot lighting” to illuminate the dancers but leave customers feeling unexposed. After slipping the card with a wad of $20’s inside Caelin’s thong’s hem, he asked her what the dreamcatcher chain signified. Caelin swayed with her hands behind her head, eyes closed, less than a foot from him. She notched his knees apart and moved in closer with her one knee pressuring his crotch.