I clutch my leather satchel with a tension that turns my knuckles white; and I haven’t even gotten to my gate yet. My anxiety is eclipsed by every well-toned, brown-haired man that enters my peripheral vision – as if I’m watching the final results of the power ball tease their way into place.
For what God-awful reason am I sweating in this suffocating airport, scrutinizing traveling businessmen? I suppose you’d like to know?
Sigh, ok, but get ready. It’s a long story and you might not like me very much when it’s done.
You see, I’m a stripper (did I not warn you that you wouldn’t like me?). Well, I was a stripper; before I made the fateful decision to pack up and escape to this god-forsaken airport. It may have been an incredibly stupid decision; I’m not really sure yet. Maybe you can tell me?
I know, I know, the age-old story of the innocent stripper with a heart of gold. You’ve heard it before, right? Well, that’s not exactly how this goes. As you will soon discover, I definitely do not have a heart of gold. And I definitely did not go out seeking the career I’ve embraced; I kind of fell into the exotic dancing lifestyle – quite literally.
I was bagging groceries for a living at the time, working on my post-undergrad writing career while trying to get over the disappointment that was the writers’ job market. I bumped into a girl in the parking lot after my shift and just about knocked her into a light pole – which is really too bad because I was working a really great line in my head at the time and the incident completely wiped it from my memory.
I helped right her, apologizing profusely and checking for damages. She was kind enough, which was great, because it turned out she worked there too: it was her first day. And it was just her day job; at night she was a dancer. It was no surprise – she was gorgeous with penetrating blue eyes, long legs, great figure…everyone wanted to be friends with her. I guess I was one of the lucky ones, especially considering I nearly knocked her unconscious at our first encounter.
It didn’t occur to me, of course, to ask what kind of dancer she was. I just assumed it was a post-economic-downturn talent-turned-hobby she liked to indulge at the rec center. It didn’t take me long to notice that the rec center paid her very well…in stacks of small bills…
“I’m a stripper in the evenings,” she explained with a giggle. “It pays very well. You should try it sometime. You’ve got the body for it.”
I almost laughed in her face, but kept my composure. I didn’t take her up on her offer, but she knew better than to leave me alone about it.
“It’s really fun,” she’d say. “And the money’s great. If you want to quit someday to focus on your writing, you’re not going to get there bagging groceries.” She was so sensible. It was hard to ignore her reasoning.
Let me just point out that I was by no means innocent; I wasn’t turning her down for any moral reason. I’d had a few boyfriends and lots of good fucks – some which involved a personal exotic dance performance – I’d just never fancied myself a public performer.
But I guess I’m more amenable to flattery than I thought. Three weeks after meeting her, I agreed to meet with her boss. “Just to talk,” I emphasized. “I’m not doing any shaking or gyrating for him, okay? I just want to find out what it’s like.” She smiled because she knew she had me.
And, well, much to my chagrin, she did. Even before that momentous day when I shuffled shyly into the club behind Mia to meet her boss, I knew I wanted to do this. The shoddy buildings that flanked the club on both sides didn’t deter me, nor did the graffiti on the outer cement walls or the vagrants building their nests in the nearby ditch – though they did inspire me to enter with an air of caution. Something about this – maybe Mia, maybe the rebellion of it, maybe it was just the mystery, who knows – had me hooked.
It was still daylight outside when Mia threw her body into the handle of the back door of the club, forcing it open against its own will. Tendrils of smoke made a hasty exit from the dark and dank interior, but Mia blew right past without hesitation. I must’ve looked like a scared cat walking in behind her, maintaining no more than a few inches between us. Luckily the other dancers hadn’t arrive yet so our only audience was the owner, slouching on a couch in the dressing room just inside the door, flipping through a porn magazine while he enjoyed his cigarette.
“Randy!” Mia ordered. “Get your ass up, your new girl is here.” He didn’t move immediately, but took another nice long draw from his cigarette, resting his head against the couch as a few pieces of hot red ash dusted his wrinkled t-shirt and baggy black jeans. He flicked them aside like would-be crumbs and held the stub out for Mia. She took it gratefully at first enjoying her own long draw, then gave him an expectant look that would’ve had me on my knees begging for mercy. He rolled is eyes and glanced back at me.
“This is your girl?” he drawled, lazily. He didn’t seem terribly impressed. I stood up a little straighter and sucked my belly in a little tighter.
“God, you are such an ass,” Mia scolded. “Get up and get a good look at her, for fuck’s sake!”.
Randy smiled, “I love it when you call me names,” he teased. He slapped her behind as he ambled towards me. Wow, he was rather tall – probably 6’3” and in decent shape. His 5 o’clock shadow in conjunction with the stench of cigarettes and rum indicated that first impressions weren’t his number one concern. I closed my eyes and let out a deep breath to calm myself. I wasn’t used to being scrutinized so meticulously.
“She’s nervous,” Randy barked. “How the fuck is she going to handle a whole crowd if she can’t even sit still while I’m evaluating her?” His irritation made me flinch. My eyes darted nervously towards Mia who just shrugged.
“You should have learned not to question me by now,” she countered, smugly. “You remember what I was like the first day I got in this business, don’t you?” Randy smirked. “And Candy, Charlotte, Tilly…I know when I see future talent.”
Randy’s deep blue eyes scaled my body from head to toe, his hands stroking my skin and raising goosebumps across my arms and legs. “She certainly has the equipment…” That particular comment made me flush. I was mortified, standing there like a pig on display at the state fair. I relaxed my stance, rested my hand on my hip, and looked Randy right in the eye – a stark reminder that he was dealing with a person, and a very stubborn one at that. He stared right back.
“You think you can handle this shit?” he asked. “You seem a bit soft, and I’m not talking about your well-moisturized skin.”
Um, excuse me? My eyes narrowed. This fucker clearly doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. His arrogance had my blood boiling, chasing my nervousness out with a vengeance.
“Depends – is this all you got?” I responded coolly, maintaining my composure. He studied my face, waiting for me to back down. I held his gaze until, almost without my permission, my hand snuck up to my mouth. I placed my index finger sensually on my bottom row of teeth, then tugged gently on my lower lip while my eyes gave his body a good long top-to-bottom analysis. “Doesn’t look like much of a challenge.” I heard Mia suppress a smirk.
He let slip a momentary flinch – I win. He stood a little straighter, cleared his throat, and turned to Mia. “You’ve got ten minutes to teach her something that convinces me she can dance. I’ll be in my office.”
Mia didn’t seem fazed. “Don’t worry, Ellie,” she consoled with a smile, “I know exactly how to convince Randy of pretty much anything.”
Fifteen minutes later, I was standing in the center of a dark and worn stage in nothing but my bra and panties (I really wish Mia had prepped me for that), with Mia a few inches away bedazzled in a similar manner. A single spotlight was concentrated on us, promising to reveal every zit and blemish on my skin, and Randy had slunk down in an old chair on the main floor, watching with interest and just a touch of disbelief. He waved his hand, signaling us to begin.
Mia set the music to a deep and delicious hip hop tune and strode to her pole, nodding at me to approach mine. The routine was simple and had Mia doing most of the work. We both did a couple of sexy turns around our two poles, eyeing each other the whole time. Then we came together in the middle, executing the age-old late-night club button-popper: the girl-on-girl floor grind. It was such a menial move, I wasn’t sure Randy would be impressed, but when I glanced over and saw his eyes bugging out of their sockets while he squirmed in his seat, I knew I was in.
Mia really did know how to get straight to a man’s dick.
From there, I was made an offer and began “training” the very next night. Don’t get too excited. Training basically consisted of watching the other girls throughout the night and then practicing on a wooden beam support in the back room while the girls critiqued me. It certainly wasn’t fun – especially not at first since I basically danced like a drunken toddler – but it got me out on the floor for the first time about two weeks later. And that’s when I realized something I hadn’t expected. See, up until that point, it was mostly about the competition – proving to Randy that I could do something he didn’t believe I could. But that first night I stood on stage I realized something critical:
I loved being a stripper.
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Or, give Ellie more time to convince you by reading Chapter 2 here.