Alice was dancing on the center stage. It was her first round, and after having danced on the left and right and now center stage, her ankles were killing her. None of the other girls ever talked about looking forward to coming back stage and sitting down to give their feet a rest, so maybe she was the only one, maybe this wasn’t really for her. The money was great, sure, but Jesus she’d nearly give up all her money right now for a fucking chair.
She stared at the bar at the back while she danced, watching the guys sitting there drinking their drinks and looking from her to the other girls dancing as well as the girls walking around for tips. She looked down to those around the stage and noticed then that the center stage area seemed to be a bit more full than usual, especially the first row. She looked at those in pervert row and noticed they were all wearing uniforms from the same company, as if their shifts had just finished and they’d gone directly to the strip bar – which wasn’t entirely out of the ordinary, but these guys who had just gotten off work were a bit older and awfully clean cut for just having finished their shift.
With her song finished she collected the cash on the floor around her and went back stage to sit down. Donnie who worked the music booth was calling for Star to head to the center stage.
Star came and stood beside Alice while she waited for her song to start. “How you doin’ babe?”
“Tired, sore, hungry too actually, and I need a cigarette. You?”
Star thought about it and answered: “Same. Job for you or no?”
Alice had been dancing for almost a month now and still the girls often asked if she was going to stick with it or not. “Unless you know a guy who’s hiring at what we make an hour?” She lifted her right foot off the ground to give it a rest.
“Baby if I knew that guy I’d be wearin’ his weddin’ ring and cookin’ him his fuckin’ dinner right now.” They both laughed and Alice switched feet. “Stay strong girl, it’s fifty physical and fifty mental, you know it?”
“I get ya Susan.”
“Uh uh, Susan back home in bed sleeping nice and tight, Star is workin’ it tonight and every night, you know it?”
Alice nodded. “Sorry, yeah.”
Star nodded, “Yeah, we can’t all have good parents smart enough to give us a name that works for the pole and the real world too, alright baby?”
Alice nodded again, “If only I had a nickel for every time my parents heard that one.”
“Just . . . nothin’, me bein’ stupid.”