ONE late July evening three years ago, Trog went to Club Maginoo on Timog Avenue in Quezon City. A friendly looking FM welcomed him in the lobby, ushered him inside and seated him at one of those tiny square tables positioned against the wall and opposite the seemingly large stage. He ordered pineapple juice as he was not alcoholic and some finger foods. He also offered to buy the manager who had joined him some drinks but she politely declined.
She suggested an all-cast show but he was quick to say it wasn’t necessary. Instead, he asked her for someone who knew how to smile, was rarely tabled, courteous, and wouldn’t talk much about one’s personal life. It seemed she knew exactly who he was looking for. He asked to be escorted to the holding area (or aquarium as some would call it) where he could choose from amongst the strippers. She led the way past the rest room. There were several in there: short, tall, very tall by Filipino standards, small, big, buffed, gym-toned, athletic, ugly, average-looking, good-looking, and truly attractive and appealing. He picked a young average-looking dancer over the hotties any MDB manager would die to offer to customers. Trog had this unusual preference for those least or rarely tabled entertainers who still managed to smile despite the constant rejection they went through each night they were in the bar.
As expected, the two exchanged pleasantries, with the stripper inquiring about his guest’s nature of work and place of residence, subjects Trog really hated being questioned about but to which inquiry he gave limited answers, just to satisfy his table-mate’s inquisitiveness. It seemed they easily got along well with each other, cracking jests from time to time to enliven their night. Every now and then, they shared their opinions on the performances of the dancer’s fellow strippers, but Trog’s young table-companion seemed to be kind of sympathetic to his own kind, withholding judgment on the shows they both had seen so far. Trog understood his soft stand and imagined how he would handle the same thing if he were in his shoes. As they carried on their talk well into midnight, a furry creature suddenly appeared near them from nowhere. Trog noticed it was a feline, greyish-white in color, staring at him, as if curious about his presence in a strip club. Then without any warning, it turned away and slowly made its way towards the cashier’s booth where it must have stayed until Trog left the bar just before sunrise.
“What’s a cat doing in a macho dancer bar?” Trog asked his table-mate who chuckled hearing his question.
“I don’t know how it got in here. It stays in the kitchen where he gets to eat left-over food,” the dancer replied smilingly.
“Has it ever jumped on stage during a show?” Trog continued.
“Thankfully, no,” the smiling entertainer assured his guest.
“Is it a straight cat or it must be a gay one, huh?” Trog jokingly asked.
“Can I table the cat?”
“Bwahahaha!” the two laughed out loud.