Author: Joshua Valentine
Book title: Among Those You Know
Publish date: 1/03/2020
Everything seemed to be going fine in their lives; at least, that’s what it seemed like from one’s perspective. Despite them being strippers at the local strip club, The Kitten’s Purr, that group of friends and peers were living a great life.
They were making money; they were happy to be alive, living day after day with each other; and, nothing seemed to bother their peace. But, just when everything seemed to be going alright, a close friend of the stripper, Jules, drops dead; soon followed one by one by several others that die all of a sudden around the city of Detroit. All with the same thing in common: they’re all members of the LGBT community. Jules, a member of the community as well, soon disappears at random. No one can find the young stripper – not his new boyfriend, his father who’s also the sheriff, his deadbeat mother, or any of the men and women he worked with nightly. Soon becoming depressed and confused, all of the people that knew him so well are soon left finding Jules. If you enjoyed The Girl On The Train, you’ll enjoy the novel Among Those You Know.
Though, Cinnamon wasn’t lying. Strawberry wasn’t pacing herself in how fast she placed makeup on her porcelain face; this was evident in the pile of makeup brushes and sponges growing atop her table as she hurried through her collection, thick, powdery colors retiring on her skin. Darker colors, such as red, black, and even brown look decent at a distance; but, up close, they were placed unevenly across her face.
As soon as brushes began to roll off the edge of her table and Strawberry began to reach down for them, Cinnamon slowly strolls up to her side, Strawberry making little, high-pitched moans while doing so.
But, just as Strawberry began to pick her body up from the floor along with a few brushes she had managed to collect, Cinnamon placed a hand on her shoulder, quietly commanding her to stop. Strawberry did so, carefully taking the brushes and placing them at the back of the table. We waited there for a seemingly long, silent ten seconds, Strawberry pushing her messy, red bangs to the side.
“That man out there, the one that just walked in, you know, with the nice-ass, nice-body, nice-suit,” she pauses, biting down on something in her mouth. “that’s Congressman John Lawrence.”
A small gasp of shock explodes out of some of the people in the room; pretty much everyone as a whole exchange looks of shock. I had knowledge of why all of us as performers would be worried sick about Congressman Lawrence attending the strip club where we work. A queer strip club, more specifically, one which never welcomed a man knowingly against gay people.
“Why – why would he just be wandering around and randomly land in a queer strip club at night when he’s a politician? The election is in a few weeks, shouldn’t he be at home or something?”
Cinnamon’s question remains in our heads for a few moments. Nobody really could answer her question but – why would a person so notable, a politician, wind up in a strip club? It was a question that though unanswered, still was in our heads, not leaving until a proper response was received.
“I don’t know,” Strawberry began, suddenly returning to the conversation, both anxious and confused. “But, there’s been constant rumors running that he’s gay. And, in this day and age, anyone with his career could be butchered by that being a publicized fact.”
She stared down at her hands drawn together in a tense fist sitting in her lap. The words that Strawberry just spoke soon began to piece together in our minds this storyline, the scenario slowly unfolding.
All the pieces were soon connected in a massive puzzle, all of us waiting to witness an expectedly colorful outcome. Just waiting to see how this new stranger will affect this fierce, erotic night club – and, if re-election was even plausible for Congressman John Lawrence.
Joshua Valentine grew up in the Central Valley, California, with a profound love for writing that began around the age of 10 and continued onward until he wrote (and eventually self-published) his debut book, Among Those You Know. Joshua, in his writing and many other aspects of his artistry, largely takes influence from older, moreover unconventional musical artists, such as The B52s and Lene Lovich, along with the Eurythmics.