Confessions from a Bada-Bing Showgirl

Note: This Sopranos fan-fiction is inspired by one of the e-mails I read on the HBO.com website concerning "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero sightings. This is told from the point of view of a stripper named "Monica", but her stage name is Siren. She is a real lady of class, but has to do this in order to make a living taking care of her sickly grandfather.

"Isn't anyone trying to find me ? Won't somebody come take me home ? It's a damn cold night. Trying to figure out this life. Would you take me by the hand ? Take me somewhere new. I don't know who you are, but I'm with you."—Avril Lavinge's 'I'm With You'

Monday Night, August 5...

It's a slow night here at Bada Bing. Not very many men are here and that means fewer tips and a smaller paycheck for me. I'm struggling just to get by and take care of my grandpa Joe. Grandpa has altzheimers and he has difficulty remembering small details, but his long-term memory is perfect. He is in failing health, thanks to his addiction to cigars. His emphysema is terrible. He has already suffered massive heart attacks and a close call with death with a recent stroke. I tried reasoning with him, but he said to me, "Levinia, it's hard times right now. I need my smokes. I can't live without 'em. If I go an hour without one, I get the shakes. And you know that ain't pretty. You can't convince me. I just hope that there are cigars are in Heaven, or so help me I'll do something to get me kicked out of there !" I would often roll my eyes at this. I knew my grandfather was stubborn, but he didn't realize how difficult he was making it for me. I too, had to buy groceries, clothes, and costumes for my nighttime job. I loved Grandpa, but there were times I wanted to bop him a good one. It was very hard to keep myself from blowing up around him, but I knew it would be wrong striking an elder, especially one I loved so much. Besides, violence wasn't the answer. If I were angry, I would just think of the satisfaction I received from helping my Grandfather.

I did my usual dance for the night without exposing myself to the men who were transfixed on my perfect curves. I wasn't like some of the women at the Bada Bing. Most of them were what I would call "cheap thrills". They would do anything to get paid. And when I say anything I mean anything. I wouldn't dare make myself seem like a hussy to the men that come in here. Sometimes, the Mafia comes to pay the girls and myself a little visit. They hadn't come in a long time, which put me more at ease since mobsters make me feel rather paranoid. You never know who is connected with whom or what they could do to you if you don't satisfy their desires. I wasn't one to argue with the mob. I never did anything promiscuous, but I did let a gangster hold me round the waist one time in the VIP Fantasy Room while he whispered sweet poetry in my ear. Even though it was frightening, he was the most exceptional and well-versed poet I had ever come across. Fortunately, neither he nor his friends have returned.

Tuesday Night, August 6...

I don't mind the business much at all, even though some of my friends say I am degrading myself just to get paid. I don't think that at all, although some of the girls here would make you think all strippers were cheap sluts just wanting a quick fix and easy money. I hoped someday to get myself out of the Bada Bing and do respectable work somewhere else. I didn't dare tell my supervisor because he absolutely adored me. He said I was one of the "more classy dames" and that I "had a certain pizzazz that the other gals lacked". I adored my supervisor. He was like a father to me, especially since the fateful night my parents died in a horrible car wreck. I felt trapped, but I knew one day some other woman would probably outshine me. Yet, I was still young and I had plenty of pep and vinegar in me to last a long time. It was difficult to be happy even though I knew that I would earn my keep tonight like every other night.

Wednesday, August 7...

It's been a long hard night, and I was just walking home to pay a visit to my parents' grave and pay my respects. Today was the day they were killed by a drunk driver. I placed a bouquet of flowers on their grave, and thanked them for watching over me and keeping me safe all these years.

Walking home, I passed a gentleman who asked me why I had such a long face. I told him that I was simply paying my respects to my parents. I also confessed that I missed them from time to time. Every so often, I stopped at my parents' gravestone to visit when it was their anniversary or birthday. "A frown doesn't become you, Siren. You need to smile even if you don't feel like it.", he said, winking flirtatiously at me. I laughed. I liked his sense of optimism. But, he had no idea how tiring my job was. It was difficult to smile, but the gentleman's theory was very interesting indeed.

I pondered the mysterious man's theory as I walked home and saw my Grandfather in front of the TV watching Pay-Per-View boxing, fast asleep and snoring loudly. I snickered softly, tip-toeing past him. I also tried not to wake up our mutt Diana who was deep in slumber with a bone in her mouth.

Thursday Night, August 8...

The mysterious gentleman who had cheered me up the night before had come by to the Bada Bing to see me lounge about in my lingerie. He winked at me again as he had done before, and then I realized that this gentleman was familiar. I knew he had come into the Bada Bing before. He was part of the Sopranos gang. His name was Furio Giunta. No wonder I didn't recognize him in the darkness. He had been wearing dark navy blue clothes, so there wasn't any possible way for me to recognize him. That was the reason he knew who I was. I felt chagrin not knowing it was Furio who had been a little flirtatious with me before. I was feeling a little on edge. If he was here, then Paulie, Silvio, Bobby and the others in the gang would be close by. I started to sweat, feeling as if the walls were about to close in on me. But I had to keep my cool. These men, albeit they were criminals, were also customers, and the customer is always right. I prayed to God that nothing would befall me, and I felt that indeed, as always, God would always protect and shelter me.

That night, Furio came into the VIP room flirting with all the other women. I prayed that he wouldn't come my way, but blast my luck, he did. He gestured for me to come his way. "You've become even more beautiful, Siren. I don't understand why a gentlewoman like you hasn't got a husband. You're hard to resist.", he said, cupping my chin in his hand. I suppose I should've been flattered, but the thought of a criminal's hand caressing my cheek made me shiver involuntarily. I let him kiss my hand, cheek and lips. I tried not to quiver as he gently kissed me and stroked my hair. He had no intention of harming me. He tickled me underneath the chin and said, "I know you're afraid. But you have no reason to be. I know you are different than some of the women here. I would never destroy a woman's honor, and neither would my friends. So, if you ever need protection just give me a call at this number on my beeper, or take this for "insurance". He handed me an MP-5. I had never held a gun before, and it felt extremely awkward, but I knew it would protect me if I were in dire straits. I thanked him, and he smiled broadly. "No need to thank me, you've given me joy and there is no payment for such an unconditional gift. Just remember if you need me, I'll protect you." I never forgot these words, but I also knew that they meant my life was about to change. I didn't know if the change was for the better or the worse, but soon I would be freed from my cage.

Friday, August 9...

I had received an anonymous note in the mail before coming to work. It read,

"Dearest Siren, Me and the guys noticed how much you don't like the Bada Bing. You may be all smiles for the customers on and off stage, but you loathe the work you are doing. It shows in your eyes. I can see so much sadness in them. So, the guys and myself decided to lend you a little 'helping hand' as it were. We left you a little surprise. As long as we see you smile, we know we've done our part. A lovely woman like you deserves the very best, and baby, you are going to get that and more."

I knew at a glance that the note was from Furio. It had the distinctive Old Spice fragrance wafting from it. Furio wore Old Spice, and I admit it did suit him. I was still inquisitive about the 'surprise' Furio had mentioned before. I walked outside of our apartment and found a large sum of money in a big black leather bag. Elated, I brought the money in and showed it to Grandfather. Grandpa nearly had a heart attack again, but he was pleased. "Now you can do what you've always wanted to do, Livinia. You can send me to a retirement home...That real sweet number in upscale Jersey. You know the one I'm talkin' 'bout.", Grandpa Joe said, with a gentle smile. I knew which estate he meant, and I would pay for it in full. I would even have some money left over to have a place of my own. And, Diana would be coming with me.

Monday, August 25...

I've moved all of my possessions into my new establishment. It's in uptown Jersey where the most elite people go about their lives day to day. Also, there are those involved with the criminal underground here too, rival gangs and the like. I am glad I have my MP-5, even though I know I don't really need it with the maximum security they have here.

I've started my new job. I'm a financial consultant, and in my spare time, I enjoy reading, watching movies, and staying physically fit. Furio watches me from time to time, winking at me and saying, "Here comes the lovely ray of sunshine. Keep on smiling, sweetie." I couldn't help but smile now. Furio always made me laugh every time I saw him. He was a welcome sight to me, despite his dark past.

I had a life of my own at long last. I even had time to meet a well- mannered man at work who I had begun dating. His name was Henry, and he was simply divine. He never asked me about my past because he knew nothing of the Bada Bing or even what a strip club was. He was old-fashioned, but modern when it came to his sense of humor and his common sense. He even adored Diana, and helped me take care of Grandfather while he was in his final days.

Henry and I didn't know when he would pass on, but his health was still failing and he was getting weaker. But, he had such a sparkling attitude about all of it. He wasn't saying silly things like "If they don't make cigars in heaven, I ain't goin' !" He had become more realistic in the sense of what death would bring him. I wasn't worried about his soul. I knew it would go to Heaven.

Late October...

Grandfather passed away October 10th, and he was buried the next day. It's now October 21st, and I admit I miss Grandpa Joe a little. But, it brings me a lot of joy to know that he is in a far better place now, without pain. Henry and I are still deeply in love for one another and we plan to marry next year in April, which is Henry's month of birth.

For a while, this will be my last journal entry. I have been on national TV. I told them my story, leaving out the details of the Sopranos. I knew they liked me and trusted me. So I dared not tell the media about their "business". Henry was supportive of me all the way, although he was in the dark about what I had done in the past. He didn't seem to care, because he knew I was a lady of class and dignity.

I had my little claim to fame. In downtown Jersey, there was a restaurant opened called Monica's, which was my stage name, but it was also my mother's name. I was very touched by this. I knew that my "guardian Angels" were the ones responsible yet again. I kept my brilliant smile on to show them how grateful I was. Since this very day, Furio and his "boys" are still checking in on me to see how I am progressing. Furio still winks at me giving me that gleaming smile of his. Some things never change.

From the Journals of Levinia Suffolk

By: Elizabeth Berndt August 7, 2002