But before I could get inside, I had to pass through an inflatable arch in the shape of the Grim Reaper and sign a two-page "declaration" that I "agree with the values expressed in the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States" and "will not be offended or affronted by any of these activities." I also had to swear that I had no ulterior motives and wasn't a police officer, undercover agent, religious nut, or journalist.
Oops! I signed it anyway (had to go along with the fun, after all) but owned up that I was a member of the fourth estate there on assignment.
"Oh, cool," I was told, and ushered in.
After passing through that gauntlet, I nabbed an open stool right in front of a bag of "blood" (actually just wine) hanging from a hook behind the bar. On the stage, a full-figured chick with black electrical tape X's over her nipples, boy shorts, and fishnet stockings writhed and smeared "blood" from her fanged mouth down her neck for the half-dozen dudes who tossed balled-up dollars so they'd make the distance.
For those who like their action clean, over on the little circular platform in the center of the room, a slender vixen in more traditional bordello-wear was doing some bloodless entertaining.
Flesh for fantasy: Rated PG-13.
Since making the transition from Gumwrappers to The G, things didn't look like they had changed much. The décor was pretty much the same. The little glowing skeletons still dangled from the ceiling. And the bikini dancers had been replaced with vampire equivalents.
Behind me, wholesome-looking Stephanie seemed a little out of place as she watched the action. She told me she'd been spotted by the event promoter while she was performing a show at a tattoo expo and was asked to join the coven. She was here to make a decision.
"I'm a little shy about dancing," she hedged with a half-smile. "And I have a boyfriend."
I left her with her issues so I could address mine a seeming unquenchable thirst. When the bartender asked me to name my poison, she smiled and flashed her spiky canines. Maybe it was the personal interaction, but she was the most irresistible of the bunch. After hooking me up with a beer, "Valeta from Valdosta" confessed her sins with a South Georgia drawl as sweet and thick as baby's blood: "Thanks to this night, I realized I have a bite fetish."
"You can actually bite someone with those things?" I asked, surprised that they didn't pop out.
"I have," she answered, offering another pretty, dangerous smile.
"Did you draw blood?"
"I could," she enticed with (I swear) a come-hither look. No sooner was I seduced than the wily woman flipped the switch from seductive to silly. "But when I sip out of a straw, I spew."
Then she fluttered off to charm the tips out of the next patron. To my right, some dude in a floral shirt was providing loud, drunken blow-by-blow commentary to the girl-on-girl action. To my left, a guy and his buddy were quietly enjoying the show. When I asked why they'd come, the one who called himself Harry patriotically defended his right to be there.
"It's a free country. If you wanna go see vampires... "
He had a point. As far as I know, bloodsuckers and their fans weren't on Homeland Security's national security threat list. But now that we were all signing declarations invoking our constitutional rights, who's to say that wouldn't soon change?
But let's get real. Vampires (like Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction) are the stuff of fantasy. In this case, it's David from Mad Monkey Laboratory (rather than Bush and his cronies) who creates the illusion.
"I keep the girls in teeth," the good-looking, special-effects makeup artist said with a disarming smile that had me distractedly twirling my hair around my finger as he told me the fine points of his profession.
"Lots of times, couples get fangs. Some get them for self-defense," he explained. "They're pretty great for rough sex. Pretty much everyone enjoys them at least once."
I was still imagining the possibilities when the stage show started. The main stage showcased the talents of Venice (I wasn't gonna ask if she was famous for her canals!), a wisp of a woman who sang, in a baby-doll voice, Madonna's "Hanky Panky" while a spanking orgy served as her backdrop. It was a shorter show than I expected (maybe five minutes at the most) and then we were back to the same old bump and grind.