Since publishing Shadow of the Drill, I’ve been asked many times about the Toybox, which is the strip club that Decker and Rudy co-own. Is it real? If so, where is it? Do the drinks really cost THAT much?
The Toybox, as it exists in my books, is fictional. When I first moved to Oklahoma City, many years ago, my then-boyfriend introduced me to a little store called the Adult Toybox. It carried numerous items, such as X-rated videos, lingerie, lotions and toys. Today, stores like this are everywhere, but 30 years ago, the Adult Toybox was unique.
I’m not sure why I chose the Toybox as the name of Rudy’s club. Maybe it was nostalgia, I really don’t know.
As for the club itself, it’s basically a hybrid of a couple of different places. The building itself, and the interior layout, came from one of my favorite bars in Tacoma, the 24th Street Tavern. I also used the 24th Street as the setting for my short story, A Perilous Thirst. It’s been gone a long time now, but I can still see it as clearly as the last time I walked through its doors.
The way that the girls make their money at the Toybox came from the clubs I danced in when I was in Oklahoma City. We sold “dancer’s drinks” to our customers and then received a percentage of the amount sold. The percentage varied depending on whether we were being paid a straight commission or if we were also getting a salary. A salary was nice security, but we made a heck of a lot more money if we just took commission.
At the club I danced at most often back then, a dancer’s drink was $7.50 for the smallest one, and then increased in price depending on the size of the glass. Most of the clubs had a similar range of glasses for the girls, starting at about $7, and going up in price to what we called the fish bowls. Those things were fairly large, and it was quite common to see the smaller one go for $300, while the larger one went for $500 and up. Our drinks did contain alcohol, so you can imagine how toasty we were by the end of our shift.
There were two kinds of clubs in those days: beer bars and bottle bars. A beer bar only sold beer and wine, and the age to enter was 18. It was illegal to sell beer past midnight, except on Saturday nights, so the beer bars had to shut down by 12.
Bottle bars, on the other hand, had pretty much everything. They served the over 21 crowd, and stayed open until 2. However, they had to stop selling beer at midnight, except on Saturdays. It was legal to buy several bottles of beer before 12 and drink them after, but the bar couldn’t sell them. Makes no sense to me. Also, it was illegal for a bottle bar to sell hard alcohol. Regular customers brought their own bottle of booze with their name on it, and it was kept behind the bar. They then purchased overpriced mixer, and their own alcohol was poured in. If a customer visited from out of town/state, and didn’t have his own bottle, he could purchase a dancer’s drink for the girl he was sitting with, and she would “give” him a shot from her bottle. This was also legal, though I’m not sure why since the point of a bottle bar was so that liquor control could match every bottle on the customer shelf with a person sitting at a table. But Oklahoma drinking laws were strange in the early 80s, and I gave up trying to understand them.
So now you know a little bit about how the Toybox came to be. A blend of fact and fiction, it’s become very close to my heart. I’ll give you a bit of a spoiler here: there will come a day when circumstances will most likely force the closure of the Toybox. I don’t know exactly when this will happen, but I’m going to be very sad when it does.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek behind the curtain of the Drill series. And remember, if you can identify one or both of these men (who have been my inspiration for Decker) please email their name(s) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog. I hope to see you again, next time.
Twitter: @rhanidchae @rhanidchaaebooks
Direct contact: 253 224 7410