Lightning Never Strikes Twice
Xander Harris knew he'd jinxed himself when he started thinking about how he liked his life.
It was a typical Wednesday night at The Fabulous Ladies Night Club. Xander had been working
at the club for months, trying to earn money to repair his car in order to continue his travels on
the open road. Not that he had gotten very far in his travels before his engine had decided it
would be more comfortable on the ground than under the hood of his car.
Oxnard was roughly three hours from Sunnydale, due west. The town wasn't that bad. It had a
cheap, mostly bug-free motel, a Twinkie-stocked grocery store, a gas station/repair shop where
his car was in ICU, and a strip club called The Fabulous Ladies Night Club, which catered to both
women and men, and had been the only place in town hiring when Xander's car went kaput.
Xander actually liked working at the club. He had gone out on his own with the purpose
of broadening his horizons and experiencing what life had to offer. What better way to do that
than to work in a dimly lit, raucous strip bar?
In the beginning, Xander had felt awkward clearing tables and cleaning up vomit while men of
various shapes and sizes writhed on stage to the music pounding from the speakers. The first
time he'd gotten a good look at one of the male dancers, he'd had to quickly go out back until
he'd overcome his embarrassment. Seeing another man's parts bounce and grow hard for the
audience's benefit was not something high school had prepared him for, not even in Mr.
Murphy's very detailed sex ed class.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays were Ladies' Nights at the club. Mondays, Wednesdays, and
Fridays were the Men's Nights. Men's Nights as in men dancing for the benefit of other men. It
should have made Xander uncomfortable, but, in fact, he felt the complete opposite when he was
in a club filled with gay and bi-sexual men.
The women who came to the club on their nights were literal animals. They hooted and hollered
and pinched Xander's ass until it was black and blue. Their language could not only make a
sailor blush, but the entire US Navy as well. And, worst of all, they didn't take "no" for an
answer. It should have been a 19-going-on-20-year-old's dream, but after the fiftieth proposition
and accompanying painful pinch, Xander felt like Amy the ex-rat witch had miscast her love spell again.
The men, however, acted entirely different. Sure, they hooted and hollered, but instead of
pinching Xander's ass, they tended to only "accidentally" brush against him as he passed. The
propositions he received were either bluntly or shyly asked, but his "no thanks'" were always
taken with a shrug and an "okay," sometimes followed by a "your loss."
Then came the night that Mario broke his ankle, and Xander quickly found out that being labeled
a dork in high school had major monetary benefits.
Darlene, Xander's boss, had asked quite nicely if he'd be willing to take Mario's place as one of
the private dancers for a bachelorette party in the back rooms of the club. Xander had refused at
first, then Darlene had told him he'd be paid $300.00 not including tips -- an equal to a week's
wages -- and all he needed to do was take off his clothes to the music.
Three hundred bucks was a lot for ten minutes of shaking his groove, so Xander chose to make it
into a life-experiencing adventure that he'd never tell anyone. Armed with Darlene's instructions
to first get the money, then to have fun, Xander disappeared into the back room and proceeded to
make a total fool of himself.
As the stereo blared Staying Alive by the Bee Gees, Xander wiggled, shook, bounced and
tripped over his feet while removing his clothing. The women at the party ate it up. They
thought his fumbling, awkward, stiff movements were part of the act, and Xander made close to
$100.00 in tips.
In fact, he was so popular Darlene asked him to work another party, and then another. "High School
Geek" became the stripper to have at a private party at The Fabulous Ladies Night Club, for both
sexes. The women loved him because he invoked memories from their high school days. The
men just thought he was sexy, which never ceased to amaze him.
Xander was sitting out on the back stoop on break, chewing on a swizzle stick. The night was hot
and humid, but he didn't mind being outside. Shirtless, he watched the stars winking in the
distant sky and found himself wondering what Willow and Buffy would think if they could see
him right now. Would they laugh at the fact that he'd only reached Oxnard, or would they
commiserate with him on the death of his car? Would they be open-minded to the fact that he
was a stripper, or that he was starting to prefer the company of men to women?
The brunet sighed and leaned back on his elbows. He stretched his legs out in front of him and
crossed his ankles. He could hear the cars on the county highway, and he could tell which
drivers were locals and which were just passing thru town.
It was getting near the end of September. Buffy and Willow would have been in college for
almost a month, learning stuff that Xander had been told he'd never understand. Which was the
truth, in his own opinion. He didn't like to learn things that came from books unless it had to
deal with destroying evil. Besides, life was more than just school, school, school, and he was out
experiencing it. He was experiencing it naked most of the time, but experiencing it he was.
Ralph had stopped by late last week to the motel Xander had made his home and the old
repairman had told him his car was fixed. Xander could leave Oxnard at any time he wanted.
But, now that he could, he was reluctant to do so. He'd found a niche that he fit into working at
the club. He'd made several friends, flirted shamelessly with both men and women, and made a
good deal of money by just being his dorkable self.
Xander glanced at his watch, then returned his eyes to the clear sky. He had five more minutes
before he had to return to work. Five minutes to sit outside in the heat and--
From out of the cloudless sky, a bolt of lightning slammed into Xander's chest. His head
smacked against the concrete stoop on impact. His eyes were frozen open in shock at the searing
pain coursing through him.
Therefore, he was witness to a second bolt of lightning coming straight at him.
Xander let out a garbled scream a moment before he was struck by lightning for the second time.
It hit him in the same exact spot as the first bolt, right in the center of his chest. The acrid smell
of burnt flesh floated up to his nostrils and he mentally crossed "getting hit by lightning" off his
Things To Do list.
Then, everything went dark.