I have been in a very bad way lately. Writers block, to the extreme. I know. Thankfully Collins seems to always have some wicked poems up her sleeve to keep you entertained. I decided to just write today. See what came to my mind. Dust out the cobwebs if you will. This is what tumbled out. I hope you enjoy. (Warning, this one contains some material that might make some uncomfortable.)
The number keeps increasing. Not even at a slow pace, at a rate so alarming I’m worried if I don’t hold on I’ll be taken out to sea and left to drown.
Hell, I was already there.
I hadn’t eaten all day, I spent the last of the grocery money on rent so I wouldn’t be homeless. Sacrifices and all that.
The lights were blinding as I made my way on stage, pushing my worries aside. Burying myself into my persona. I was no longer Evie Sharp. I was now Tiffany Crystal. I know, not the most unique stripper name, but I had to come up with something and fast and it was the cheapest name I could come up with.
The deep bass shakes the stage, my six inch clear heels taking the brunt of it. I run my hand up the smooth metal, wrapping my wrist around it and taking a jump to get myself up. I can hear the men screaming, hollering for me to take it off. But that isn’t how it works. I control what happens up here. This is my space. My way to a better life. They can’t take that away from me. They’ll get what they want as soon as I’m ready to give it to them. Not a moment sooner.
My long electric blue hair floats around me as I make a spin, pushing my chest onto the warm pole. The music infecting me as I slowly remove my crystal bra. Letting it slip down my arms as I bare myself to the faceless men in the crowd. I try not to think about it. If they want to admire what I have, and are willing to pay for it…I don’t have a problem with that. I’m not a prude.
I find myself on the chipped wood floor, working my way to the edge, rolling my neck, my hair covering my eyes which I peer through. Careful not to catch the eye of anyone. That’s my one rule. No eye contact. I know it bugs them, but they can have the image of my body. Not my soul. Never that.
I bring myself up to my knees, my head falling behind me, my hand falling to my small panties, playing with the edge but never dipping any lower.
“Come on, Tiff! Take it all off, hunny!”
I want to laugh at this guy, I recognize him, he’s a regular. The typical strip club guy. Old, balding, a pouchy stomach. I indulge him though, slowly slipping them down my legs til they are around my ankles. I gracefully stand up, turning my back to the crown and removing the rest of the material as I go.
I close my eyes at this part. I bend down, grabbing my ankles as the crowd goes wild. I shake, I shimmy, I dance my ass off, almost literally. I can hear the money hitting the stage. Each dollar adding up to another day I can survive without starving.
When the song comes to an end I immediately grab my bag, pulling out my skimpy night gown and pulling it over my head. Pulling my blue hair into a high knot on my head and grabbing the arm of Pete, our security guard who leads me down the steps and into the back room.
The girls congratulate me on a good show, I nod, but say nothing. I never do. They aren’t catty bitches like people would expect, they are extremely nice girls. Some have been doing this as a career for many years. You would never guess their age though.
I pull off my wig, revealing my short auburn hair. My eyelashes are next, throwing them in the trash. I grab a makeup wipe from my bag, wiping away the layers and layers of mask. My freckles come into view. Once I’m done I take a moment to look at myself. The real me. Evie Sharp. Twenty-two year old single mother extraordinaire. I push all my things into my bag and make my way to the managers office to grab my money for the night.
Tony, the night manager is sitting at his desk, a cigarette between his fingers as he clicks away at his computer.
He must sense me because his eyes snap up to mine. He smirks, a hint of his gold tooth peeking out. Tony isn’t too much of a sleaze but I still like to keep my distance.
“Evie.” He uses my real name, it makes me cringe. If I could stay in my costume all night I would so these people would never see the real me.
“I’m here for my cash out.”
“Sure, sure. Take a seat.” He gestures towards his disgusting chairs in front of his crappy desk.
“I’m okay, I have to get going.”
He eyes me. I know he’s been trying to make a play for me for awhile. Although he’s never acted too vulgar about it.
“Here you go.” He says as he grabs an envelope handing it to me.
I take the cash and wave at him slightly before quickly rushing out the door, through the crowd who don’t recognize me and outside into the fresh air.
I release a deep breath and turn my head to the sky, soaking in the sight of the stars. Wishing upon anyone I can to get me out this goddamn mess.
I called a cab earlier to pick me up in five minutes so I take a minute to check my phone for any updates from my sitter.
“Lyric is fine. In bed. See you soon.” the text from Marcy, my best friend and babysitter says. I smile, thinking about my little girl tucked into bed.
Just then the cab pulls up, I don’t glance back at the club. I’ll be back here in a two days, but until then. Tiffany Crystal is dead to me.