Requiem for Jahna

Yes!" she said, looking like a beauty-pageant winner, smiling her thousand-watt smile. "Eight times!"

I began working at Crazy Girls in Las Vegas shortly after it opened in 1987. I had started working at the Riviera in 1979, when the hotel was still a classy place. By the mid-eighties, it was well on its way to being the shit hole it is today.

But back then, it was the perfect job: unclothed women, and Slots-A-Fun right across the street! Stagehand heaven.

Maybe it was unknown in the real world, but it was no secret to anyone backstage that "Jahna Steele":, the emcee, used to be a man. Some of the crew made comments, but there wasn’t anything about her that was anything less than female, at least as far as I could tell.

I mean, really. Here was Jahna, a guy who had wanted to be a girl so badly that he'd had himself surgically reconstructed to look like a Barbie doll. Magnificently sculpted breasts (which, by the way, were de rigueur for the majority of the cast). Slim hips. Shapely legs. Gracefully teetering around onstage and off in absurdly high heels. Stylish blond hair (a wig, sure, lots of wigs, but all the girls in the show wore wigs onstage). She was, indeed, a beautiful woman.

I recently saw an item about Jahna’s death and, I can’t explain why, it just made me sad, even though I hadn’t seen or even thought about her for years. Ah, Jahna, we hardly knew ye. I will resist the temptation to bestow any sadness or poignancy upon her posthumously. All I know is that I hope she had some real happiness before she left.

A story from one night many years ago: It was before the show, and Jahna seemed so happy. Really just giddy.
"What’re you grinnin’ about," we growled at her. "Ah," she said, beaming. She was aglow. "I’m in luuuhhv."

"Oh, really," we said. "Who’s the lucky boy?"

"Well, I met him last night," she said, so kittenishly, so guilelessly. "And we ended up at his place, and"—here her voice became breathless, still in thrall to this wonderful experience—"and we fucked eight times!"

"Eight times!" we said. "That’s a lot. Are you sure you counted right?"

"Yes!" she said, looking like a beauty-pageant winner, smiling her thousand-watt smile. "Eight times!"

"I dunno, Jahna. Eight times? No guy can fuck eight times in one night."

Undeterred, she smiled still. "Uh-huh," she said.

"Did he come every time? Eight times—jeez."

"Yes! He came eight times. I made him come eight times!" There was a combination of pride and wonder in her voice.

We were unconvinced: "Eight times! Did you see him come each time? Maybe he just spit on your back. I mean, I can’t even jerk off eight times in one night."

Her radiance disappeared, replaced by a glower. "Fuck you guys!" she snapped at us, and then whirled around to go to her dressing room.

She wouldn’t talk to us the rest of that night, but she got over it quickly enough. God, we could be assholes.


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