In the name of the father Every day, Troy Lowrie passes the bronze bust of his father, Hal, in the VCG offices. His plan: To take his father's small chain of topless bars and create a 21st-century skin dynasty-while avoiding the fate that befell Hal.
"Aren't you Troy?" a dancer asks him. "I really like the redecorating you've done here." (After buying the Diamond, Lowrie invested another million into an ongoing renovation, including the new nontopless, self-described "ultra dance lounge," Tabu, upstairs.) He thanks the stripper and mentions plans to spruce up the VIP room next. She points to the Diamond's main floor, where most of the entertainment occurs. "There's only one thing," she says. "Are you going to put railings on the tables out there? The tables are great, but it's pretty hard for us to walk the steps in these shoes," she says pointing to her own four-inch heels. "Yes, yes, the railings have already been ordered," he says. The dancer thanks him and leaves, clearly pleased with the response. Happy strippers are good for business, and railings are a small investment in happy strippers. Lowrie knows his master plan rests on those legs. But as with any business decision Lowrie makes, his motivation is more complex than profit margins. The careful attention he gives his entertainers is also something of a duty, a family-imposed obligation. For in every club Lowrie sees a chance to gild his father's legacy, and in every stripper he sees a bit of a mother he barely knew.
Attempted murder has a way of changing a family. For Lowrie it happened when he was 15 years old. One evening, after football practice, he was changing clothes in his bedroom before dinner when he heard gunshots. He took off to his parents' bedroom, and there on the floor lay his adoptive father, Hal, in a pool of blood; his adoptive mother, Lu, stood above him, a pistol in her hand. Lowrie tackled his mom and wrestled away the gun; he quickly emptied the chamber and hid the weapon in the bathroom. He smacked the button that activated the home alarm system and tore back to the bedroom. He had one thought: Was his dad still alive? Yes, he could see that Hal was still breathing and that his mother once again hovered above him. The gun was gone, but what would she do next? He carried his mother kicking and screaming outside, came back inside, and locked the door.
Hal was conscious despite receiving three shots: one each into his arm, hand, and rib cage. Blood was everywhere. Hal directed his son to remove his belt and use it as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Lowrie followed the directions and stabilized his father. When the cops and emergency medical techs finally busted in, he was covered in Hal's blood. The EMTs went directly to Hal while the police handcuffed Lowrie. It wasn't me, he insisted. But no one listened. Lu had gotten to the cops first, and she blamed the shooting on her son. From the backseat of the police car, Lowrie watched the ambulance speed his father to the hospital, terrified he'd seen his dad for the last time.