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"Make 'em sweat, ladies, make 'em sweat!" the DJ commands.
Little Luscious Lacy drops to all fours and, the high heels of her white leather boots pointing to the crowd, shakes like she was just Tasered. Her red sequined short-shorts wag feverishly enough to create a strobe effect that could blind a man.
At stage right, younger sister Little Pixie does her thing in what looks like a miniature Revolutionary War redcoat. She brings her fistfuls of dollar bills back to a faux lagoon below an impressively fake rocky outcropping. The scene suggests a remote canyon, yet untouched by explorers, where tongue-pierced dwarfs like themselves gather around a flickering fluorescent pole to shake their butts to the gods.
On this recent night, the Sassy Little Sisters are wrapping up a one-week residency at Splendor, an enormous topless club near Jersey Village. Manager Tommy Gerow says business has been great all week, and it's all been from the average-sized.
Call them a novelty act, call them exploitation squared, but the dwarf sisters are making five times what they were making feeding insomniacs and the perpetually stoned. Men and women crowd the lip of the stage to offer their dollar bills, and the sisters don't disappoint.
A female patron approaches the stage and gestures toward Lacy, who, still in doggy mode, backs up to the woman, who promptly smacks Lacy's rear.
The crowd -- consisting of couples as well as single men -- concentrates intensely on the event unfolding before them, gazing past the beautiful regular strippers on the prowl in the audience. There is no freak-show vibe here -- the sisters aren't hamming it up, and the crowd is respectful. Suddenly, Lacy spins upside down, a half-clad dwarf drilling through the stage with her head. Then Little Pixie peels off her bra.
"Oooooh, help me, help me, it's all good!" the DJ says.
What seems like miles above the dancers' heads is a gigantic flat-screen TV showing the Duke-Illinois basketball game. But Vegas oddsmakers would probably say, three to one, that all eyes are on the Sassy Little Sisters.
At break time before the midnight show, the Sisters Sassy have a chance to exhale.
Pixie is on the floor of a dressing room the size of a walk-in closet, her legs curled around a big orange bucket stuffed with cash. These are the proceeds from the stage show and the autographed Polaroid sessions afterward. For $15, patrons could sit in front of a fake fireplace and get cozy with the sisters, like a mall Santa in reverse.
Among the 17 customers in line for pictures were Anthony Butts, 29, and his girlfriend Roxanne Santiago, 22. They said they were occasional strip-club fans drawn in by an ad for the novel show.
"I've seen feature acts, but not sister acts," Butts said. Pause. "And especially not this size."
The fees for pictures net the sisters $255 for about a half-hour's worth of work. And they have one more shift, at midnight. Time to make the doughnuts, my ass!
In the dressing room, Lacy brushes her hair and sips from a glass of Kahlúa and milk. A lit cigarette rests in a clear ashtray nearby. Tucked in the corner are two massive suitcases stuffed with the theme outfits the sisters lug from city to city: schoolgirl, harem girl, Little Red Riding Hood.
The Boston-born duo travels about three weeks each month. Lacy lives in Beantown, and Pixie just moved into a rented house in South Carolina. They say they're really sisters, the daughters of a little mother and a six-foot-one father. They both date average-sized men. The sisters won't reveal their own height, but neither appears to clear four feet.
Three years ago, bored with making bupkis at Dunkin' Donuts, Lacy landed a job at a Boston strip club. Pixie, a DD shift manager, joined her nine months ago.
Yes, they were picked on by a lot of kids while growing up. But they learned to handle it, and if they're bitter, they do a hell of a job hiding it. They come across as intelligent, friendly women, comfortable with their appearance.
"If you had everyone running around with blond hair and blue eyes it would be a boring, boring Earth," Lacy says.
They say they haven't received criticism from other little people -- or from their family, for that matter. And even if they did, their response would be simple: If you don't like it, leave.
"We're all out to entertain," Pixie says in a thick Boston accent. Ultimately, the sisters want to open their own strip clubs, perhaps even start a franchise. But for the next few years, they'll keep dancing. And by the looks of it, people will keep paying.