Rachel walked through the crisp December air, self-conscious in her borrowed heels.
The man at the door watched her as she approached. He smiled at her, but Rachel was somewhat shocked to see some form of pity in his eyes as she said,
"I'm here for an interview...uh- as a server. Do I-"
"Just go inside."
Her feet were swimming in her shoes. She steadied herself on the back bar as she took it all in. The center stage, the bright lights, the fishnets, the perfume, the body paint. The woman on the stage was covered in tattoos. She was moving gracefully between the poles, and for a second Rachel forgot she was at a strip club. Then the woman took off her bra after falling into the splits on the stage, and the suspension of disbelief vanished.
Robin approached, looking stunning in a corset and fishnets, waving an application excitedly at Rachel.
"Just fill this out, and he'll be in to talk to you soon! This is so exciting!"
Rachel felt out of place as she nervously scrawled her resume on a standard employment form, under a set of black lights and leering eyes. The manager was interviewing another girl before her, so Rachel tried to relax and watch the dancers. A man caught her eye as he walked over to her table. Rachel looked around for her friend, only to realize that Robin was taking drink orders from an older couple in the front. The man sat down, gently grabbed Rachel's arm, and asked, "so what time are you dancing, gorgeous?"
Rachel felt her face flash as she mumbled, "Oh..I'm not..I don't... I'm here for an interview."
"Well, when he hires you and you get on that stage, I've got a hundred dollar bills to spend on you."
"Um...I'm not...I'm interviewing to be a server. I don't want to dance."
"Oh, you'll dance. Let me buy you a drink."
At that point Robin had returned to Rachel's aid.
"What's going on?"
"I want to buy her a drink."
Rachel looked at Robin with a sigh of relief. She was sure Robin would make up an excuse for her. Maybe potential employees weren't supposed to drink with customers or something. No such luck.
Robin looked at Rachel and said, "okay, so I'll get you a vodka Redbull." She then turned back to the gentleman "What can I get for you?"
"Oh, I only drink on Sundays. You can just get me a Coke, sweetheart."
Robin smiled and sped off toward the bar.
He turned his dark brown eyes back to Rachel.
"So what brings a girl like you to a place like this?"
"I didn't graduate from college."
The man laughed as if Rachel had just told a funny joke. She used the opportunity to down half of her drink. Maybe this was part of the interview. Maybe how well she treated this regular would have some kind of bearing on her employment opportunities. Maybe she needed to get drunk.
"So are you going to dance for me?"
"I think maybe I need to be hired before I do anything like that. I'm still waiting to talk to the boss."
The man laughed again.
"He's not your boss, I am. I'm the one with a hundred bucks to blow on you right now."
Rachel laughed nervously before taking another drink. Where was Robin?
The banter continued. The minutes were taken up by the man showering her with insincere compliments, and Rachel laughing and drinking. Finally, she made a mistake.
"I'm not really looking to be with anyone right now."
That was it. She had shattered the illusion for this man. His laughter suddenly became cold, and his words had a cutting edge to them. Rachel finished her drink as a dancer was setting up on the stage next to them.
The man, intending to shake her confidence, said,
"I know why you want to keep your clothes on honey, too much competition." He then turned his attention, and his dollar bills, to the tattooed Asian dancer beside them. Rachel chose that moment to retreat to the bar, where several of the dancers were chatting.
"Are you going to dance with us?" asked a petite blond girl with big, blue eyes. She had lost her top earlier in the night, and the gold body paint drew attention to her nipples.
"I've thought about it, but no. I'm trying to get hired to be a server... but...What is it like?"
A brunette woman, the one who had been doing the splits earlier, spoke up first.
"It's not that hard. The lights are so bright and there are so many mirrors, you forget you have an audience. The first time you definitely want to be drunk, it just makes it so much easier. If you look like you're having fun, that's when you get the most money. Also the first night, girls tend to get a lot more...I think because people must feel sorry for you or something. It's not that bad though, really...and you forget about it when you're walking away with a grand a night."
Edit, because music.