Authors: Sherrie Weynand
Dancing In Darkness
This is a work of fiction. The characters and events described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or to living persons alive or dead. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording or other electronic or mechanical methods without the prior written permission of the publisher except for brief quotations embodied in critical reviews.
© Oct. 23, 2015 by: Sherrie Weynand
Throwing the fuzzy blanket to the side, Priscilla sighed. She knew that she needed to make some really big changes in her life. The struggle to survive had become much too difficult. There were bills not paid, she was skipping meals to make ends meet and she couldn’t find a steady job that was worth keeping. Waitressing at her age was not her idea of a dream career, but it kept her from being on the streets.
After high school graduation, Priscilla moved from a small town in central Pennsylvania to West Palm Beach, Florida. Unlike many others before her, she didn’t choose the big city of New York. She wanted sun and ocean and warmth. She had been able to save money during her school years with a part time job at the local hardware store. Making friends had been difficult for her during school and she always felt she was different from a lot of the kids her age. There wasn’t anything definitive, just something different. She didn’t fit in. It all made it much easier for her to save money. Since she worked every hour that she could get she didn’t spend it all each weekend. While her classmates went out and spent their entire paychecks.
At twenty eight she was in the prime of her life and still felt weighted down. Reality had set in several years back when she received the call that her daddy had passed away. While the two of them had only spoken a handful of times after she left, she loved the man more than life itself. When she went home for the funeral, she knew it was the last time she would be back and that in this big, cold world, she was truly all alone. It wasn’t something that she wanted to dwell on this morning. This morning, like nearly all mornings before it, she had to hit the newspaper and the online employment services. It seemed as if any place that would give her a chance, paid even less than her waitressing. At least there on the weekends, the chance for tips was much higher. She was quickly learning that the old adage was true, education is important. Without a degree of any kind, she was finding it extremely difficult to even get an interview.
Placing several phone calls and emailing her resume to four different companies, she knew now all she could do was wait. In the back of her mind she kept hoping the neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal would hold out for her. She couldn’t afford internet and cable service of her own, it was all she could do to keep her cellphone service on. That was a necessity however. If she needed to check her email she could always go to the public library. Contact with the outside world was imperative when job searching and if she didn’t find something soon, she didn’t know what she would do.
Stepping into the shower, she allowed the lukewarm water to flow over her. Being accustomed to semi-cold showers because her slumlord wouldn’t put a big enough water heater in the building, she found it nice on the mornings that she beat the other tenants to the shower and had somewhat warm water from the faucet. These were the moments when she let her dreams float through her mind. It was almost therapeutic for her. As she started to step out, she heard the music blaring from her phone. Rushing to answer it, she slammed her knee into the table. There was no time to cry about it, it was an unknown number and could be about a job.
“Hello.” She said after pushing talk.
“Pris, its Megan.” Came the voice from the other end.
“Hey Megan. What’s up girl?” She asked.
“I know it isn’t you, but if you need cash, one of our girls left and we could use someone. Starting tonight. Cash plus any tips.” Megan told her.
Priscilla let the girl’s words sink in. It was something that she had pushed aside as a job choice. She didn’t want to have dirty, nasty old men watching her dance, even if it wasn’t completely nude. It was topless and that was enough for her. Now she was at a place where that seemed to be a viable short term solution to her crisis.
“I don’t know, Meg. I mean, ugh. How do you do it? You know, let them drool all over you and most of them are disgusting.” Priscilla asked Megan.
“You just dance. Ignore them, the lighting makes it hard to see and they definitely are not allowed to touch. Yeah, a few of the girls work for extras but not most of us.” She replied. “Nina would kill us.”
“Can I think about it for a little while? It’s a huge jump. Plus, I would have to have at least Saturday and Sunday nights off. Those are my big tip nights and I don’t want to miss those.” Priscilla asked.
“Don’t think too long, someone will fill it up. Girl, everyone needs money nowadays.” She said.
“Fine, I’ll do it. When do I need to be there?” She questioned.
“If you can come in around eleven that would be great. It will give you a chance to dance for Nina. She’ll want to see you before just hiring you. Needs to know that you are clean, not shooting up and shit.” Megan was honest with her.
“I don’t have anything to wear for something like this. This is crazy.” She responded.
“Look if you want to, you can share my closet backstage. Eventually you will have to start picking things up for yourself. I can show you where we get a lot of our things, including shoes.” Megan offered.
“It won’t last long enough for me to pick anything up. I will help fill in though, I really need the cash. If this rent isn’t paid, I’m going to find myself out on the street. Not where I want to be after fighting so long.” Priscilla admitted.
“Good, I’ll see you around ten thirty. I’ll show you my closet, tell you who to stay away from and give you the run down.” Megan said.
“I’ll see you there.” She answered.
Hanging the phone up, Priscilla laid her head on the table and cried. How had it gotten this far out of control? She was going to resort to taking her clothes off for money. At least she would have a place to live and it would be really nice to not go hungry most of the day. Her father would be so disappointed in her. When her father passed away, her mother showed her true colors. There was no one to hide her hatred from anymore. Priscilla Barnes was her mother’s worst nightmare. All of her dreams ripped away when Priscilla came into the world. From the age of nine, she was told by Nancy Barnes that she should have had an abortion when she wanted to. It was something that a little girl never forgets. Thinking about past events that had led her to this point in her life, always got her down.
Instead of wallowing in her memories, she started to fix her hair and do her makeup. The club wasn’t far away, but walking took time. She wouldn’t do much to her hair because the wind would mess it up anyway. Pulling it up into a loose messy bun she smiled at herself. She didn’t consider the image in the mirror ugly by any means but still managed to find flaws. It was the way most women were wired. From her upper lip being too thin to her eyes slightly too far apart. She found the little nitpicky things that unless you were studying her face to sculpture, you wouldn’t ever notice. With no makeup she had a natural beauty that most women would kill for. When she took the time to do her makeup, she was a knockout. Today, she chose to be positive. If she was going to pull this gig off to make rent, she had to act like she had every ounce of confidence she could have.
Walking into the club was different at this hour of the morning compared to midnight. There was no one around and it was extremely quiet. As she was opening the doors her jumbled nerves started to get the best of her.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” She asked herself. “Well we want a place to live, don’t we?” Her inner voice asked her.
Taking a deep breath, she stepped inside. She was inundated with loud, pulsating music and flashing lights. Even at ten thirty in the morning there were dancers on the stage. There were only a couple men sitting around the bar closest to the stage. She noticed a bartender cleaning and drying glasses, and there was a short, older woman standing next to the bar. She was wearing jeans and a tank top which showed that for her age, her body was still in good shape. Megan walked out from the back room.
“Priscilla!” She called.
When Megan said her name, both the older woman and the bartender turned to look at her. She guessed the woman was Nina. Somehow she didn’t think her current appearance was going to impress the woman much. She was going to have to get over her nerves and just do this. It wasn’t the end of the world and it was a decent club. Not much trouble. She had known a few girls that had worked here over the years. They seemed to like it much better than some of the other clubs in town. There was a higher end clientele that filled the place most nights.
“Megan.” She said as she smiled at her friend.
Megan was one of the first people that Priscilla had met when she moved to West Palm Beach. They became fast friends and had always kept in contact. A few of the others had found themselves strung out on various drugs and that was something that Priscilla had no use for. She stayed clean and most of the time wouldn’t even drink. She had watched the downfall of too many.
“Priscilla, meet Nina. Nina, this is Priscilla.” Megan introduced the two women.
Priscilla reached a hand out to Nina. “Hello, it’s nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too.” The older woman said. “Megan here tells me that I should give you a chance on my stage.”
“Megan might be a little too excited because she’s my friend.” Priscilla smiled at her.
“A little sass too. That never hurts.” Nina told her. “Do you have your own music tracks?”
“Umm, no. I don’t. I haven’t ever danced before. I mean I haven’t ever danced this way before,” Priscilla admitted. She stared at the floor waiting for the woman to dismiss her. “How much of a failure do you have to be to get asked to leave a strip club?”
“That’s fine. We can find something for you in house. If you stay, you might find it preferable to have your own premade. It gives you more control over what or who you will be that night or day.” She told her.
“Thank you.” Priscilla answered, relieved that she still at least had a shot at getting in for a few nights.
Megan interrupted, “I’ll take her back so she can get ready. Give us just a few minutes, Nina. I’ll find her one of my tracks and she can use that today. No point in having to dig around for something.”
“I’ll be waiting.” Nina replied. The older woman walked away back towards the bar.
Walking around the stage, Priscilla was wide eyed as she took everything in. The stage was larger than it appeared and would easily fit several girls at once. The backstage area was a wall of mirrors and chairs on one side, with individual storage lockers on the other wall. Everything looked clean and in order.
“We keep everything locked that is our personal property. While we don’t want to think we work with any thieves, the fact remains that some of these girls are ratchet as hell.” Megan told her only half smiling this time. “Nina likes everything cleaned up before we go on stage. We do the cleanup, the less she has to pay someone to do it, the more cash we make at the end of a shift.”
“That makes sense.” Priscilla said. “I’m sorry, I’m still trying to deal with the fact that I am even here.”
“Don’t be sorry. If you weren’t nervous, I would be really concerned.” Megan said honestly. “Okay, let’s see what we have. Who do you want to be today?” She asked her.
“Oh, I have no idea. Something not completely wild. I don’t know if I’m ready for that.” Priscilla said.
“Hmmm, we could do a school teacher. That is pretty tame. Your hair is already up in the bun. With the right clothes to take off and letting that gorgeous brown hair down at some point, it could catch their attention quick.” Megan suggested.
Priscilla laughed but went along with the plan. Her a teacher. A teacher that was going to take her clothes off at that. “That works for me.”
“I would use Pris as your stage name. Still you, shortened, but sounds I don’t know, Prissy.” Megan smiled at her. “Yes. I crown you Pris from here on out. Well, you’ll always be Pris to me anyway.”
“Where should I change?” She asked Megan.
“Seriously? You are here to strip and you want to know where to change? Honey, we change right here.” Megan looked at her in disbelief. Shaking her head at her friend, she tossed her the clothes.
There was a lacy, black pushup bra and matching thong, along with a tight, black knit mini-skirt and a matching shrug. As she was changing, Megan handed her a pair of small tortoise shell glasses.
“These will go back in the community pile. Everyone shares what is in there. It’s usually non-personal items that can be used in a variety of stage shows. If you can’t find something, check there.” Megan showed her the large box of things.
Priscilla was still in a state of shock. She stood there quietly dressed like it was some type of sexy Halloween costume and that is exactly how she felt.
“Remember, with the lighting, when you do your makeup for a show, more is better. You have to forget every makeup rule you know. Alright, are you ready?” Megan asked her.
“I guess I’m as ready as I will ever be.” Priscilla said.
“When you hear me introduce you, come out like you would if it were a normal shift. I’ll get the music started for you.” Megan instructed before walking away.
She heard the overhead speakers kick on followed with, “This morning we have a treat for you. Don’t misbehave boys, welcome Ms. Pris.” Megan’s voice flowed through the speakers like honey. Priscilla heard the music start. It was something that she wasn’t familiar with, but there was a good beat and it would be pretty easy to dance to. If she didn’t kill herself in these shoes first.