Aubrey (her first stage name) was just an average 22-year old girl (with a knockout body) from Salem, Oregon, selling cosmetics, doing nails and dating a musician. But her brother was a dealer (black jack, not drugs) in Vegas and his wife was a stripper there. Their stories of the glittering nightlife started Aubrey thinking of also becoming a stripper. In September of `92, Aubrey bought a one-way ticket to Vegas and touched down at McCarran Airport with $40.00 to her name. Little did she know she’d soon be raking in over $2,000 a week and betting black chips (hundreds) at the tables.

Her sis-in-law landed her a job at the Tender Trap. It was sleazy but Aubrey made a lot of money and excelled as a stage dancer. “Some girls have it, some don’t... I know how to dance and work the guys and be sexy at the same time.” Aubrey said, blowing her own horn. “And you know I’m not one to brag, so...” She was rolling 7’s and 11’s from the time she first stepped up onto the stage. She was a natural.

After bouncing around two more clubs – Crazy Girls 2 and Topless Girls of Glitter Gulch – the going got weird. It was a simple choice, to the left or the right, and Aubrey turned left into the parking lot of one of the sleaziest sexual con games Vegas has ever known; The Black Garter. A little sign said, “Help Wanted.” Aubrey was tired of the grind action, dancing for dollars and sometimes 5’s, 10’s and 20’s. She was bored, itchy and curious. She went inside what she would soon learn was a phony swingers club. Right off the bat she told them, “I’m not going to work here if I have to do anything at all with the guys.”

And they replied, “You’re the first girl that’s come in and said that. We want you to work here.” That was the whole point of this robber’s roost: you never, ever do anything with the guy but lead him on while extracting as much money as possible from him in exchange for absolutely nothing. Or, as Aubrey summed it up, “You rip men off for great amounts of money and make a commission, almost like selling cosmetics.”

A lizard king by the name of Terry Gordon, lauded in some circles as one of America’s best businessmen and entrepreneurs, owned this spider’s trap. Terry Gordon’s brother is married to LaToya Jackson; somehow that says it all.

Let’s journey through the twisted web that Aubrey and the Black Garter wove. You pull into the parking lot off Paradise Street and walk up to the cage – a clear glass booth where a woman explains, “This is a swingers club and it costs $10 to get in.” The cashier also uses empty come-ons like, “You can have the lady of your choice; you can party naked; you can touch (meaning yourself only, after a few desperate, expensive hours); you can stay as long as you can handle it (meaning afford getting ripped off for thousands of dollars).”

When you take the hook, the cashier beeps you in. The music is cranked up loud (disorientation). A long black hallway is lit with no more than little Christmas lights. You careen down the hallway, feeling your way along the walls with your excited palms. “Oh boy,” you think, “I’m going to have sex all night in Vegas with the girl of my choice.”

At the end of the hall is a sleazy little bar. The girls have an “up” system. Aubrey is there to greet you because it’s her “up.” You sit down with her. Look at her long curvaceous legs filling out her black seamed nylons, her thick painted lips, long blonde hair and bewitching smile. She starts to size you up, “Separating the men from the boys,” is what she calls it now. She delicately pumps you for information about how much money you have on you, how much money you make, how much money you have to throw away on real lies and empty promises. The bartender appears. Aubrey asks you if you’ve been here before – a ridiculous question because no one ever comes back for more. It’s a nonalcoholic bar. But they don’t tell you that. The bartender tells you that a beer is $7.50 and a mixed drink is $20.00. You order a beer. Aubrey asks you to buy her a daiquiri. If you balk at the $27.00 bucks for the drinks, she pegs you for a chump. Luckily, she won’t waste much more time on you.

But you don’t complain, because you’re taking in an aching eyeful of Aubrey and your little pencil prick is erasing the image of your wife and kiddies. So the bartender gives you the lowdown. He actually tells you the truth, but in a way that you don’t listen, when he says, “Prostitution is illegal in Clark County (Las Vegas) so we can’t sell you a lady, can’t sell a room and can’t sell time. But what we can sell you is an entertainment package (wink, wink) that includes a bottle of champagne to enjoy with the lady of your choice.”

The bartender has just told you all you’re buying is a bottle of champagne – non-alcoholic, cheap, gives you the runs, sparkling cider. But you, sucker, salivating over Aubrey’s flawless white skin, just wanna believe. So Gullible’s Travels continues. The bartender explains that the three entertainment packages are: The Presidential for $1,200, where you can have two girls in any room of your choice, e.g., the Pillow Room, the Domination Room, the Fireplace Room or the Mirror Room, none of which actually exist. And two other packages for $1,000 and $1,100. He explains that this is a membership package entitling you to come any time, day or night, to party with the girl of your dreams. It’s a one-time only fee that enables you – the sex addict who still suffers – to enjoy unlimited time and privileges. “And you can stay as long as you can handle it,” he adds with a wink, as Aubrey slowly uncrosses her legs, flashing the crotch of her teddy and giving you, Mr. Studly Party Long Time, a knowing, lascivious wink. If you’re a tough sell, they may drop the price of the first package, down to $500. Aubrey gets 20% of the first bottle you buy, so you know she’s working you hard.

The game has just begun. After you spring for the first bottle, Aubrey takes you into a room – not much bigger than a closet, no door, vinyl strips hanging down over the doorway like a car wash. There’s a bare, dirty concrete floor coughing up a cheap vinyl, diner-style booth – the only furniture. It’s dimly lit, the music is blaring. You’re feeling disoriented when you wonder out loud, “Where’s the Pillow Room?”

“Oh, that room’s still occupied, so we’re gonna wait here for a little while and get to know each other till it’s ready for us,” Aubrey says. “And boy, I can’t wait to get you in there. I can show you things that your wife cannot, would not or doesn’t even know how to do...” Aubrey continues to work you over, touching herself, suggesting outrageous sexual favors, “Has anyone ever sucked your balls?”

After about 20 minutes of this foreplay, the bartender comes and knocks on the (imaginary) door. You may think this means the Pillow Room is ready, but Aubrey knows that it’s time to persuade you to buy another bottle. She makes a 30% commission on the second one.

Aubrey gets up, announcing that she’s going to check on the room. She’s really just going to have a cigarette and joke with the other girls about what a jerk you are and how much money she’s going to rake you for. Furthermore, her absence is a clever, psychological ploy to sweat you out; your growing disorientation and desire are all part of the con. By the time she comes back into the room you’re either ripe and ready to get conned into buying a second bottle or you’ve figured out the scam and are ready to bolt for the door.

When she returns to the room, she struts around like a restless cat who can’t wait to get into bed with you. She may dance a bit for you, using all of the bump and grind abilities she learned in her quick tour through the Las Vegas clubs. Then she might as well have hit you over the head with the second bottle when she tells you: “I don’t know if the bartender explained it to you, but the first bottle was just for the house. To have unlimited access to the place you need to pay your membership fee. But now you’ve got to do something for me.”

She starts you out high, like $5,000, and never settles for less than what you paid for the first bottle. At this point she may also get you to fork over $10 for the condom and lotion package, a little trick that gets you more excited, thinking something is really about to happen. If you complain about the price of the condom, she explains that if you use the first one you can have as many more as you need.

And it goes on and on like that. Aubrey says she’s sold as many as six bottles to one customer, ripping him off for over $5,000. Her average rake was two or three bottles for $1,000 to $2,000 total. Most of the guys left mad. Some had to be thrown out by the bouncer. A few left with smiles on their faces, shaking their heads because they couldn’t believe what a good con it was. One of those smiley guys owned a Volvo dealership in Boston and was so impressed with Aubrey’s sleazy sales pitch that he wanted her to come sell cars for him. He even offered her a manager’s position. She declined. Why sell cars when she could simply sell the idea of herself?

Aubrey’s psychological summary of the Black Garter experience: “Maybe I hate men. Maybe it made me think that all men are jerks; guys can’t keep their weenies in their pants. And once his hand is on his weenie, it’s all over. He can’t think straight...I could make him masturbate for an hour, waiting to come, trying to get his money’s worth, because he thinks, `I’ve got to come inside you.’”

The Black Garter was eventually closed down, about a year and a half ago. According to those in the know, Terry Gordon’s friends in very high and very low places enabled him to continue the con game for as long as he did.

Aubrey came back to Portland after three cash crazy months at the Black Garter, “because it was time to come home; I missed my boyfriend.” She didn’t leave because she was tired of ripping off men for thousands of dollars. She thinks they deserved it, because it was money that could have been spent on their wife and kids. She always felt sorry for his family.

Over the last few years in Portland, Aubrey has used her ability to extract money from men, working in the various lingerie modeling stores, otherwise known as Jack Shacks. But she’s leaving the business because of the new and ever increasing attitude of girls selling themselves for next to nothing in the rooms. Although she doesn’t have concrete proof of it, she has the strongest suspicions that customers are getting sexual favors: blow jobs, hand jobs, touching the model, sucking her breasts. “And these cheap, stupid hookers are giving it away for $30 or $40. I can make three or four times as much money off the guy and never give him anything. Sometimes they ask, `Well then, how much would it take?’ And I tell them, `not for the mortgage on your house!”

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This is reprinted from Exotic Magazine © 1996 X Publishing