Another night, another dance.
Another couple hundred dollars.
Erica slipped her fingerless red lace gloves onto her hands, adjusting their frills at her wrist. She stood up and admired her outfit in the full length mirror.
Cheers and whistles outside the dressing room rose over the fading music reminding her she was up soon.
Erica ignored the chatter and commotion the other girls made as they changed clothes, fussed with their hair, and fixed their lipstick.
Instead, she eyed the details of her hand-sewn, home-made ensemble with satisfaction. It had her taken almost a month to put together the sheer two piece design. Her top was adorned with red lace accents that stopped just under her nipples; the bottom almost completely nude, save for the strip of red lace down her backside and the sheer triangle covering her front with a red lace heart at the center.
Red was definitely her color. She was going to make a killing tonight.
Erica smiled at her reflection before she left the dressing room. She crossed the narrow walkway toward the stage, and waited behind the curtain for her cue, fingers carefully placed between the dry, old pieces of cloth.
The instant the first drum beat sounded she flung apart the faded black curtains, strutting through them with both arms outstretched above her head. Erica stepped onto the main stage dramatically, lifting and dropping her red leather high heels to the beat of the drum intro on her song.
She slapped her hands onto her hips as she moved toward the center of the platform, switching her hips and shoulders smoothly in time to the rock and roll guitar, and throwing sultry glances out over the audience, to no one in particular.
Erica knew every corner, table, chair, and doorway in the club where there was never any one standing. She was an expert now, careful never to look directly at those howling, whistling pricks. She barely heard them holler anymore over the guitar riffs in the music.
When she danced they got closer to the stage, hoping for her attention, and making it even easier for her to look past them.
The lyrics began as she reached the pole.
Erica wrapped one hand around the wide metal cylinder, pressed her stomach against it, threw back her head, and played her tongue across her lips. She twirled about the pole, swinging her hips and tossing her hair in turn as the first verse built toward the crowd’s favorite part.
Playing her fingertips across her lips, Erica pulled her gloves off with her teeth and sashayed toward the front of the stage. Her fan club erupted into roar of cheers when she dropped her body, palms flattened, with her legs split on either side. As the men clamored louder and Erica accidentally locked into the gaze of a serious-looking drinker sitting alone at the far end of the bar.
She’d seen him before. Though she’d made a strong practice of forgetting faces and names, he stood out from the others.
Maybe it was because good-looking, despite a tightened jaw and scowling face. His golden blond hair, parted down the middle, was perfectly feathered. But he didn’t seem like the type of man who cared about getting his hair right. Even though he sat hunched over, his shoulders pulled in tight, Erica could tell he was well built.
He was too attractive to be in a strip club, drinking by himself, brooding.
This guy was new, had probably come in a few nights in the last couple of weeks. He always sat right there, in the same corner of the bar, directly facing the front of the stage.
Now he stared right at Erica, almost angrily, as he pulled in his lips, his rocks glass dangling from his circled fingertips.
Erica dropped her head and tossed her hair again before getting up to continue her routine.
The losers surrounding the stage went crazy as she danced, slipped off her bra straps, bent over, spun around, gripped the pole, and slid her body up and down along the metal.
After the song faded out Erica began to gather her cash. When she’d picked up all the money, she glanced at the bar again and the handsome blond was gone.
A stocky, half-bald man with a thin comb-over and a thick, bristly-looking moustache, approached the edge of the stage.
“Can I get a private dance?” he asked her.
Perspiration rolled down the sides of his face toward his invisible neck. His sweat had saturated the stretched out the top of his white tee shirt, which was visible beneath the unbuttoned collar of his brown, blue, and white plaid shirt. Short sleeves revealed a light layer of bushy brown and grey hair on his forearms.
He looked tired, like he hadn’t been home since yesterday, or slept or showered in more than a day.
Erica noticed a gold wedding band lodged onto one of his sausage shaped fingers. Poor thing probably couldn’t get it off now if he tried. She raised her eyebrows in effort to keep her face even, careful not to pout at his sad and sorry appearance.
“Here,” he reached forward, gripping her wrist tightly. “Let me help you down.”
Erica’s eyes quickly scanned the club for Bernice, the giant butch responsible for deciding who got private dances. She wasn’t on this side of the stage.
“I have to put my money away,” she told him.
“Relax, sweetheart,” he gave a fleeting smirk underneath his bristled moustache. “I’m not gonna steal your money. I just want one quick dance.”
Erica tried in vain to pull herself from his hold. Her skin began to burn. She knew how this was going to.
“I can get off the stage just fine,” she looked the sweaty stranger in his drunk and glassy green eyes, and spoke calmly. “Please let go of me.”
“Bring the money with you,” he told her, still squeezing her wrist in his tight palm.
With her free hand Erica shoved her stack of bills into her top, patting the money secure against her left tit. She brought her legs over the edge of the stage and jumped off, quickly keeping step behind bald-and-sweaty as he pulled her toward the side rooms.