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Home / Articles / Opinion / Sordid Tales /  Shooting stars
. . . .
Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010

Shooting stars

A goofy Valentine yarn about how I met my wife

By Edwin Decker

It was February 1999. I had just written a Sordid rant condemning a cluster of City Council-proposed anti-stripper laws that prompted a dozen or so local dancers to e-mail me in gratitude. It was an exciting chapter in my life as I had—for a brief moment—realized my boyhood dreams and became a hero to the strippers of the land.

Among these e-mails was a complimentary letter from a gal named Willow in which she noted, among other things, that she was not an exotic dancer. Somehow, I missed that part because, during our subsequent e-mail conversations, I got it in my head that Willow—a stripper alias to be sure—did make her living hanging upside-down upon the glittery poles of golden grandeur.

Fast forward two weeks: I’m at the gym when I notice this scary-looking wife-beater type—arms, legs and face popping with muscles and prison tats—staring at me in such a manner that I can’t tell if he wants to shank me or be my Valentine. Eventually, he approaches and asks if my name is Ed Decker.

“Um, yeah,” I respond, timidly, hoping and praying that it’s a Hallmark card he’s reaching for and not a shiv.

It’s a cell phone.

“I know somebody who wants to meet you,” he informs me, dialing.

“Hey, Willow, it’s Scott,” he says into the mouthpiece. “That Ed Decker guy you were talking about is here in the gym” and hands me the phone.

As Willow is on the other end explaining how embarrassed she is, that her friend Scott is nuts and that she swears she is not stalking me, I’m thinking, How cool is this? Willow the upside-down-stripper-pole-hanging hot-dancer mama digs me so much that she appointed her gangster pimp bodyguard to locate me. I must be supa-bad!

We agree to meet that night, midnight, at a bar in Ocean Beach, and, man, I have to say, I am psyched! I’ve dated a couple of strippers in my day, and my impression was, up until the time they go batshit crazy from hanging upside-down on stripper poles all the time, they’re a blast to run with. And I know, as long as I don’t bungle this thing, that the night will most certainly end up back at her kick-ass stripper apartment, with her big, bay bedroom windows—overlooking the ocean, or some kick-ass canyon—balling each other till sunrise with a handle of Jack and a pile of blow on the nightstand.

When I arrive, Willow is already seated. She’s a hottie, to be sure, but I am surprised by her lack of stereotypical stripper qualities. She isn’t all that busty or sparkly; rather, she’s more what I call a “pecutie” (petite cutie), with cream-colored skin, shoulder-length amaretto hair, slender figure and a juicy-wide Jew nose, which, for me, seals the deal.

We introduce ourselves, order drinks, and are off and running, quickly settling into a conversation devoid of any contrivance or awkwardness—until, that is, I inquire about her occupation.

“So, where do you dance?” I ask.

“Huh?” she snaps.

“In which gentleman’s club do you work?”

I’m not a stripper!” she protests. And just like that, it’s up—The Great Wall of YouBlewIt towering over us as she sits on the other side metaphorically filing her nails.

“Look,” I say, “it was an honest mistake: You responded to a column about strippers, you have ex-con gangster pimps arranging your dates, you meet strangers in bars at midnight and you’ve got a stripper name. What am I supposed to take from all that?”

“My parents gave me that name!” she snorts and, like a strong, smart game fish, wrenches herself off the hook and swims away. In a panic, I do the only thing a man can do when a fish goes rogue, and that is to ditch the lures and use a worm instead—and by “worm” I mean shots of Mezcal, and more shots, and more, and soon we’re back to effortlessly laughing and drinking our way through closing time. Then we stumble back to her place, which, sadly, is nothing like a stripper pad—totally lacking a view, or whiskey, or drugs, or all-night balling, for that matter, as she repeatedly throws me out trying to steal third base. No matter, though; I’m crazy about her. That much is clear.

At about 4 a.m., we kiss goodnight and I step out onto her courtyard.

Now, this is where the story gets goofy. And, I swear, what happens next is not a bogus literary device intended to create some sweetly clean Sleepless in San Diego ending for you. It happened just as it is written, in all its goofball glory.

Stepping off the stoop, I look up to see—as if on cue, as if it had been sitting there the whole time waiting for me to look up—the biggest, brightest, bitchinest shooting star streak across the width of the sky in a blaze of ultra-white. I have seen shooting stars before but never anything like this. It is—no exaggeration—10 times as big, 10 times as bright, with a tail 10 times as long as any I’d witnessed, causing me to freeze in my tracks and my jaw to drop. And though I’m neither a superstitious person nor a believer in destiny, nor a subscriber to the theory of “The One,” I can’t help but perceive this encounter as a signal that I have met the one girl in the universe I could love forever, and that the universe is happy about that and wanted me to know.    

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