excerpt from Head for Salome from Billy Arioch’s Introduction
Ten years have passed since the original publication of Head for Salome, written two years after its companion novel The Wounded. Both books have their origins in the post 9-11 events which seemed to have baptized a number of young and hard working Americans into a Brave New World of sorts. Head for Salome was written in 2004, at a time of change for America. For it was no longer the world the Great Experiment, no longer the world of Manifest Destiny, and certainly not the world of the American Dream and Rags to Riches tales of Horatio Alger. It was now the world of a different sort, of the likes of Henry Miller and the Charles Bukowski, of Georges Bataille La Cupable and L’Impossible. One found there was suddenly a crossroads, to go the way of Edgar Allen Poe and Lovecraft into the darkness to seek the fear, or to turn to oppositely toward the way of a Nerval or Charles Baudlelaire, into the that illuminating darkness of infatuation with the brothels. And so came the turning, into the strip clubs at the dawn of the Fall of America.
Head for Salome finds at its heart more then the tale of four strippers, Mika, Kiana, Avalon, and Jada (the fifth stirpper being Miranda, who makes her appearance here, and is in fact one in the same with the central character M____ of my first novel The Wounded, before her untimely death in a car crash on icy winter road in New England), but in the economy of desire that they present. Notice the word stripper, not erotic dancer (Miranda had always said ‘We’re strippers. Get over it.” when confronted the choice for names.).
The divesting of clothing, the divesting of cash, are but the first steps in the nudity of such places, especially in the early 2000’s. For soon all would be divested of there cash, in the economic crisis to come, and in the sustaining downward pressures of the Great Recession, the Global Economic Crisis, and one to the the Collapse of the Global Financial Network. Only time can tell.
According to Mark 6:21-29 a daughter of Herodias danced before Herod and her mother Herodias at the occasion of his birthday, and in doing so gave her mother the opportunity to obtain the head of John the Baptist. This daughter of Herodias is often identified with Salome.
So here we get a glimpse of the world of these four women not from the position of economic ruin, but instead, at the peak of the 21st Century American Prosperity. We find four women stripping for money, and out earning many of the businessmen, rock stars, crime bosses, and sports figures who frequented there club. These women worked from a position of strength and power, just one more thing to reveal in the striptease of life. I know because I was there.