Some years ago, a friend had a bachelor party and invited a dozen friends out to dinner. After dinner, someone said, “Hey, let’s go to a strip bar”.

An hour later, we were seated next to an s-shaped stage, as a buxom blond raised her leg 180 degrees onto a silver dancing pole. As we watched, Rod Stewart screamed, “If you want my body, and you think I’m sexy…” so loudly that everyone within earshot was guaranteed a visit to the House clinic, a famous ear hospital in LA, for middle ear surgery. Just as I was wondering whether my insurance covered such a procedure, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear.

“Are you Doctor Smukler?”

“What?” I said, startled, and pivoted toward the pretty, sweet-smelling whisperer.

“Remember me? I’m Cathy. They call me Candy here.” She had full, pouty lips, 5’6” tall, long dark hair, and a costume that left nothing about her figure to the imagination.

“I do. I remember you,” I said, getting my surprise and embarrassment under control. A year ago, 22-year-old Cathy/Candy was sent for therapy by her parents to help her “find herself”. She attended 3 sessions and never scheduled another appointment.

“You really helped me, ” she said.

“Jesus”, I thought, wondering what sort of help that might have been.

“Thanks!” I said loudly, having to compete with Rod.

“Bye. Nice seeing you,” she said, and undulated away, leaving me staring at the naked, blond woman dancing around the pole.

A few weeks later, I signed up for a class on how to start and run your own strip bar. Really! There were a lot of Tony Soprano types, women with big boobs, and me.
After a few more months of research , the journal kind, I started my own strip club — just kidding. What I did do was start writing Skin Dance, a mystery.

Our experiences, often the most embarrassing ones, can be the nidus that begins our story. It takes a lot of passion to write 300 or so pages. Accepting that it’s okay to have all sorts of feelings, especially the politically incorrect ones, is as necessary as including sugar in a cookie mix.

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

6 thoughts on “ALL MYSTERIES START SOMEWHERE; THIS ONE STARTED IN A STRIP CLUB, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

  1. It just goes to show you that everyone, everywhere are people that are real…even strippers! Sometimes we look down our noses at areas of the world that are foreign to us. I have made it a habit to respect people for who they are where they are. I leaned that trick in the sixty’s from a sales manager who turned out to be really human. He did a good job for the boss as well. One of his famous sayings was, “That woman don’t know whether she is washing or hanging out.”
    There is a longer story attached to that for later. Did you ever know a man named Marshall Saper in Birmingham? He was in your profession and did an extra job daily on the radio. I met him at a social function and grew to enjoy his conversation as I was an on the road guy. He did away with himself in the eighties. He wrote a good book titled ‘Without a net.’
    I wish you lot’s of luck with your novel. It’ll take time. I’ve been writing since 2006 and only have five books published. Look at Amazon for Books and James M. Copeland.
    James M. Copeland


  2. I saw AJ DiMarino today. Sheryle had a routine exam. I showed him your book, Skin Dance. He wrote it down to order it. He was impressed. Tomorrow, he is being honored at Jefferson. They are mounting an oil picture of him on the wall inside at Jefferson Medical School or Hospital. This is a big honor. He is the only person I personally know who has his photo on the wall forever, anywhere. He has been Chief of GI at Jefferson for 25 years. MY photo is on the wall at the post office.
    Ken Rosen MD


  3. Art,

    I really enjoyed “Skin Dance”. It was suspenseful until the end. I loved late in the book where the schizophrenic with the personalities of Toni/Carlo were talking and arguing with each other. I think this would make a great scene in a film with both talking smack to each other even though they are contained in the body of a single human being.

    Keep the novels coming. Although I suspect you work as a doctor because it’s your JOB, and you sincerely like to help your patients, I think your real passion is writing.

    My best,



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