Uncle Brian is Hal’s baby brother by seven years. Too far apart in age to hang out during their formative years, they now enjoy each other’s company immensely. When they work on a project together, like the treehouse at the farm, they refer to themselves as H&B Construction. H&B doesn’t stand for Hal & Brian. It stands for Heavy & Bald. Who’s who, inquiring minds want to know?

Uncle Brian and his wife, Ain’t Peg, moved to Key West 5 years ago. Our lives have been richer for it. We love them so much, think so highly of them, in fact, that if something tragic happens to Hal and me, they get the boys. Sometimes we threaten to fake our own deaths just to torment them.

The hardest part of moving away from Key West was losing our daily contact with Brian and Peg. We miss them.

Brian is the bad boy version of Hal. So bad, in fact, that 20 years ago, he Went Away To College for 2 hellacious years for selling wacky powder. Bad, bad boy. A big tough gruff bad boy, at that. Trust me, nobody made Brian his bitch. He does have some pretty funny stories about working in the tomato fields and he really did have to say
"Yes, Sir, Mr. Boss."

Fishin_with_von_eiff_017Two years growing tomatoes for the great state of Texas was not quite enough punishment though. So, in its desire to punish him thoroughly, he also got 18 years probation. Eighteen years seeing a babysitter once a month – at $150 a date – for selling recreational drugs to adults. Don’t get me started. Child molesters don’t get this.

July 17th was day 7300 of his punishment, the last day, Emancipation Day. I was in Key West for this occasion, so Peg and I took UB out to dinner at Ambrosia. Then… where? How to celebrate… Movie? No. Play? No. Bar? Nah. Maybe later. Strip joint? OK.

I had never been to a strip joint, Peg had been once years ago, but never in Key West. We settled on the Red Garter. When I had my aerobics studio back in the early 80’s, plenty of my students were strippers. I mean dancers. And my friend, June Keith, worked at the Esquire waaaaaay back in the day. So I knew what they did. Or were supposed to do. Maybe just used to do…

‘Cause there was no stripping going on. You sit right next to the stage on a bar stool. The music starts, the woman hops up on the stage, drops her skimpy outfit, nothing on but the required shoes and a garter… and starts to, um, dance. I use the term loosely. There is movement, quite a bit of movement, but more gymnastic in nature than dance.

These girls are not shy. Gypsy Rose Lee would have been appalled. Sexy this was not.

Although, Peaches, our first girl was a stunner: tall, black, a big girl… UB said she was a linebacker during the day. Not fat, oh no. Tall, thighs and legs for days. Talk about your great butts. I wouldn’t mind having a big butt if mine looked like hers.

The "dance floor" featured a pole. Apparently Peaches took that class. She could turn her great big self upside down on that thing, do a whole hands-free gymnastic routine, slide down… fascinating. She could have been in Cirque du Soleil but I’ll bet the money is better at the Red Garter.

Fortunately, UB had plenty of singles. Clearly he’s done this before. When Peaches sees you holding up cash, she crawls right over, rubs her face against yours, practically gets in your lap, then takes the bill or presents her garter for the tip(s).

Just for fun (his), UB hands me a bill. So, ok, this is for him, right? I hold it up, Peaches scoots over – I can hardly look. She places her hands on the bar on either side of me and goes in for the rub. I blush and suggest that perhaps she just take the bill. She shakes her head no, takes the bill, folds it twice and commands that I hold it in my teeth. I do and squeeze my eyes shut. She very delicately covers my whole skinny little white-girl mouth with her delicious black one. Not wet, just all soft and kinda weird. But hot. If you can forget about where you are…

We stay for two more songs and two more girls and get our fill of stripping. Nobody fires an apple across the room or hides a quarter. It is incredibly fascinating and boring all at the same time. Save for my memorable Peaches’ moment.

Life is back to normal for UB. Work, play, Ain’t Peg. Emancipated life is absolutely everything it’s cracked up to be. Although he can never vote again, can’t own a gun, can’t become a resident in a score of countries. UB is an asset to Key West, to his family, a kind, generous, thoughtful person. The man is not a criminal, but he will always wear the badge. Complements of America, land of the free. Don’t get me started.

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