Truth Be Told

By: Holly Ryan

The smile works. They don’t let up their cash flow, and their expressions of glee plaster their obliviousness all over their faces.

For crying out loud. They’re like kids in a freaking candy store. I need to get a better job, I think as I send my hair flying.

Although, that isn’t quite true because this isn’t my main job. I should have said, I need to get a better side job. That’s all this is. A side gig that I just so happen to be pretty good at, and a side gig that just so happens to, so far, be pretty good to me in return.

A few minutes into my dance I catch sight of a lone man sitting at a table in the corner of the room. He’s drinking a beer. Well…he has a beer in front of him. I shouldn’t say he’s drinking it, because the entire time I’ve noticed him, he hasn’t taken one sip. He’s watching me. At least…I think he is. It’s hard to tell with the way the light’s shadows are falling over his eyes, and his prominent brow creates a perfect combination of concealing his gaze.

I might as well give it a shot. Tonight could use a little excitement, anyway. Who knows? Maybe he’s loaded and he’ll be blown away by my charm and elegant sexuality, come on over and pour out louds of cash onto me as I practically bathe in it. I roll my eyes, this time not trying to hide my expression from the watchful eyes upon me. Get over yourself. You’ve been at this for, what, two months now? You’re not the best. You’re not even the best in this room. Lorelei’s over there kicking ass, and here you are rolling your eyes and checking out the mysterious clientele lurking in the shadows.

That’s bad. The ones who lurk in the shadows, who give off that mysterious vibe, are usually the ones you’d least want to interact with.

There’s something about him though. Maybe it’s the way his hair falls perfectly down his forehead, over his right brow, threatening to descend over his eye, and his attitude that makes me feel like he planned the whole thing. Or maybe it’s the way he’s dressed, which would be impeccably if it weren’t for the top three buttons of his dress shirt that he has hanging open. The undone buttons expose the top of his chest, and pull my suddenly-magnetic eyes down to the very beginnings of a white undershirt.

I try to flirt with him with my eyes, desperately trying to keep the hope alive that maybe he’ll come over and join in on contributing to my cash pool, but the longer I watch him the more disinterested he seems. Right as I’m about to give up, he rises and reaches into one of his back pockets. He pulls out some money and tosses it onto the table, then walks away, leaving his beer.

It takes a lot to throw me. Since taking this job, I’ve learned how to put up with a lot of shit: catcalls (those are to be expected), drinks being spilled on me (both accidentally and intentionally), and touching (which is, by the way, strictly forbidden). So it should go without saying that I can take the heat. But that guy, the way he was looking at me, and the way he got up and flat out left just because I started looking at him…that threw me.

I regain my composure enough to finish my performance, and by one thirty, I’m beat. My feet ache and cramp in their compressing still patent leather. I’m dying here.

I’m breathing hard, and a fine layer of sweat breaks out across my skin as it does every night I dance. You may not think it’s possible for stripping to be one of the best workouts in the world, but you’d be wrong. I fan my face as I descend the few stairs, looking forward to some nice cold ice water and leaving the whistling and drooling of the men far behind, although I can still feel their eyes on me as I walk away.

I meet up with Lorelei as we converge on our way to the locker room. She raises her hand for a high five. “We did it,” she says.

“One mini-shift down,” I reply, smacking her hand.

We call them mini-shifts, the small segments of dancing we do before taking our thirty minute breaks. So far, it’s been my experience that you’re given more breaks in this job than any other “normal” job. I suppose you have to.

Just as we’re about to reach the freedom of the locker room, and with my hand on the door ready to open and get that nice glass of water, the fire alarm sounds. A loud, wailing sea of men’s voices flows through the building.

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