The Lope was absolutely right about our destination. We were going to Show World. Below a large animated neon sign of animated neon women hopping around enthusiastically, there was a small sign in the window that said, “Show World
I don’t think that many couples went in to enjoy the peep show, but plenty of guys did. One of my straight guy friends told me how the business worked. You went in and bought tokens. You then went into a booth and put a token into a machine. A curtain opened and a woman behind glass showed you…stuff. The more tokens you fed into the machine, the more stuff you got to see. If you were cheap, you obviously got what you paid for, which was the showing of virtually no stuff. Spending a lot tokens got you the showing of some hair-raising stuff, and rumor had it that spending an outrageous number of tokens got you behind the glass. My friend claimed he’d only spent enough to get a glimpse of nipple, but I noticed that he carried a bag lunch to work for a month after his trip to Show World.
Show World was actually one of the last hold-outs on a 42nd Street that was no longer adult oriented entertainment friendly. Disney crept closer and closer from the east all of the time. The Live Girls would soon be wandering the street in Cinderella costumes, directing tourists to the nearest Disney Store. Or maybe not.
Moira and I weren’t going to Show World to enter a booth and see a show, but we couldn’t convince The Lope of that.
“Ho ho! You goils don’t owe me any tip at all! Giant boid attack got you all fired up, didn’t it? Going to see a little show! I love the city of my boith! Always entertaining to The Lope!”
“I’m. Not. A. Lesbian. She. Is. The. Lesbian. See? Everybody thinks I’m a lesbian because of YOU!” Moira turned her beet red face from Lope to me.
“Ho ho! Tell me another one, sister! Don’t be ashamed of who you are in front of The Lope! The Lope’s very own sister prefoirs the fairer sex.”
“Yes, Moira, don’t be ashamed of who we are.”
Moira drew back to slug me, but a low growl from Bethel made her reconsider.
The Lope’s taxi squealed to a stop at the corner. I handed him a twenty, he handed Moira a brand new joint, Moira forgave him immediately.
“It have been a pleasure, goils. A real pleasure! You keep an eye out for me. I’ll be in a yellow cab. You can’t miss me!”
And he was gone.
We really weren’t going to see a show. We were going to see Jill. Jill actually lived over Show World. It was her claim to fame. Better, quieter, nicer apartments had tried to seduce her away, but Jill refused to move. She said, “It’s like living in the White House. EVERYBODY knows the building, and everybody is impressed. It’s like being PRESIDENT!”
We walked to the southern entrance, which seemed like a different building entirely from the neon lady entrance. There was a doorman and everything. Bethel peed beside the giant ashtray/cement urn and the doorman jutted his jaw at me. “Oh, PULEEZE, ” I said, “This is still 42nd Street. Who HASN’T peed here?”
The doorman announced us via intercom to Madame President. “Ooooh, let them up, Manuel!,” Jill’s enthusiastic voice crackled.
An elevator ride later, we were on the 12th floor of the Show World building and Jill was throwing open her door.
“Get in here!,” Jill shrieked, “There is mass hysteria uptown! A bunch of people went crazy all at once and they are claiming they saw giant birds!”