Beauties & Belles
A down-on-her-luck exotic dancer meets a down-on-his-luck customer.
Tropes – Mistaken Identity, Fairytale Retelling
“$500. Cool, cool, cool…” She sighed and looked up from her phone as she crossed Salsbury Street.
The fading sky was tinged with pink, purple, and orange hues. People were milling around in tank tops and shorts. Cars were cruising by with their windows and tops rolled down, blasting the latest summertime hits.
‘Bet that guy in the Benz has more than $500 to his name.’ Then again, maybe not. Looks can be deceiving. No one would guess what she did for a living just be looking at her.
“It’s all good,” she whispered to herself. “Rent isn’t due until next week. I’ll have it by then.”
She hung a left then ducked into an alley to her right. Phil was smoking a cigarette by the back entrance, as usual. She never saw him without one of those death sticks. It’s a wonder he didn’t have cancer or something. He coughed and let out a hoarse greeting, “Hey, Sweetness.” On second thought, maybe he did have cancer.
In the dressing room, 3 girls were primping and putting on their costumes for tonight. And by girls, she meant girls. She was the oldest in the room at 24. These girls couldn’t be more than 18 or 19. The oldest dancer in the club, Bobbi, was 31. After that, you either found another profession, got married, or went on welfare with your 3.5 kids. She wasn’t gonna end up like the latter. She had a plan. Sorta.
She got dressed and walked out onto the main floor. Tonight she was wearing her lucky red bikini bottoms trimmed with white lace and a matching mini corset top with her clear 6” Pleasers. She ditched her usual long blonde wig for a short strawberry blonde bob. The last time she wore this outfit, a customer tipped her $200 for a 20 minute couch dance.
Despite her best efforts, it was a typical Wednesday. Customers trickled in and out for a quick mid-week pick me up but they didn’t linger and neither did their wallets. She danced for a couple of men in the first hour, then whipped around a pole for another hour, earning a measly $60.
She was about to take a break when she noticed a guy sitting off to the side in a booth by himself. Mid-20s to early 30s. Too young to have any real money, unless he was a finance bro or trust fund kid. He sure didn’t look it.
He was leaning out of the booth, looking but not making eye contact with any of the dancers. His right knee was bouncing like crazy and his left hand was tapping a drum solo on the table. The other girls were avoiding him like the plague.
As she got closer, she could see he wasn’t unattractive. He might not be a Whale but under his faded green sweatsuit were lean, sculpted muscles. She could see it in the tight fit of his pants around his thighs and calves, the flex in his forearms as his sleeves rode up. His short, scruffy brown hair could use a wash and some gel, and the stubble on his cheeks could use a shave, but there was nothing a little makeover couldn’t fix.
She took pity on the shabby loner. “Hi, I’m Sweetness,” she said, running her fingers down his arm. “You can call me Sweetie. You looking for a dance?” He leaned into her touch, gazed at her with pale blue eyes. They were almost face to face even though he was sitting down.
“I don’t have any money.” His voice was low, deep, wistful. His eyes roamed up and down her figure, lingering on her exposed cleavage. She understood trying to find a little joy even when you couldn’t afford to enjoy it.
She smiled, turned around, then looked over her shoulder, “This one’s on the house.”
She bent at the waist so her derrière was in his face as she rotated her hips to the pulsing beat of “Pull The Trigger” by Russ, one of DJ Savage’s favorites. It played at least once or twice a night. She twirled around slowly, on beat, then sat in his lap. He kept his hands fisted at his sides, eyes fixed on her hips. She rolled against his thighs. Ran her hands up and down her legs, her chest, her neck, and into her hair.
As the song ended, he leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “When I get my shit together, I’m coming back for you, sweetheart.”
She smirked, “Sure, hun. I’ll be here, holding my breath.”
She could feel his gaze searing into her back as she walked away. He was gone when she came back from her 15 minute break. But 3 days later, he showed up with his hair swept back in a pompadour, a navy blue Armani suit, shiny black leather shoes, and an apology.
“Sorry I made you wait. You can breathe now.”