Crystal

Crystal

A Story by Sophie McN

I finished writing in my leather-bound notebook and placed it back in my bag. My rapidly growing baby sloshed around inside my bubbling, warm, washing machine stomach as I stood up on the bus. I hugged my swelling bump with one hand and gripped the bar next to the driver’s booth with the other, before getting off the shiny red bus and bracing for the torrential conditions of the city.

Straight across the street was Allure. Already drenched by the pouring rain, I waddled along the zebra crossing and into the glossy, silver building. I went down the stairs and into the huge club.

The place was dark and empty because it was daytime. It stank of cheap perfume and choking, glittery hairspray. I toddled over to the reception desk on my aching, swollen feet and rang the bell. A middle-aged woman with fake blonde hair, dressed in a pantsuit immerged from the back office.

“Hi, I’m Sherri. How can I help you, doll?” She asked with a smoky voice as she shook my hand.

“Hi, eh, my name is Chantelle and I’m looking for a job,” I blurted out in one breath.

Sherri raised an eyebrow and gestured towards my bulging baby bump.

“After I’ve had the baby, of course,” I clarified.

“How old are you, darling?” she asked as she came closer and revealed her hard, aging face in the florescent light.

“I’m seventeen. But I’ll be eighteen in two weeks.”

“And when are you due?” she inquired as she lit a cigarette.

“One month today,” I said.

She walked over from behind the counter, circled around me and studied my body from head to toe with a deliberating expression. Then she held me by the chin and examined my young, daunted face.

“Well, you’re skinny. You’ve got a neat little bump. You haven’t gained weight anywhere else on the body, so I don’t imagine it’ll take you long to lose the baby weight and get back to your usual size. Have you done much dancing before?”

“Y-Yes. Well, I mean, I used to do ballet but I haven’t danced in years,” I stammered.

“Great. I’ll tell you what. Once you’ve had the baby and lost a few pounds, come back down and we’ll sort you out with some lingerie and you can have a trial shift.”

“Really? Oh, thank you! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it,” I gushed.

“But I’ll warn you darling, this line of work isn’t for the faint-heartened,” she cautioned.

“I realise that. But soon I’ll have a baby to look after so I need this. I won’t let you down,” I promised.

“Alright then. We’ll look after you,” she smiled sweetly.

*

I layered on mascara as I got ready for what felt like my hundredth shift at Allure.

“Thanks again for doing this, Mrs Turner,” I said to my old-age next door neighbour/babysitter who was cradling baby Lily.

“Oh, it’s no bother at all. She’s an angel,” Mrs Turner replied.

I kissed Lily on the head before speedily heading out my flat before Mrs Turner saw that I was about to cry.

I hated leaving Lily. She was only six months old and I already felt like I was missing every new, adorable, little mannerism she was developing. I had become progressively more and more miserable in my job. After every shift, I would come home feeling cheap and worthless and so dirty that I would scrub myself vigorously in the shower. But I had no choice.

I arrived at the club early so I continued to apply my makeup in the dressing room and picked out black, high waist lingerie to conceal the red stretchmark’s. I had around ten minutes to spare so I took out my notebook, as I often did, and began to scribble down my thoughts.

It was Saturday night and the strip club was overflowing with the usual types: sleazy, hormone-fuelled young boys; slimy and shameful, married businessmen; and seedy, dirty, old grandpas. The lights tinted the whole place dark red and sordid, trance music boomed from the speakers as girls danced round the poles on high podiums. I made my way over to my booth in my glittery, tight, platform heels and black corseted underwear. The typical pathetic, married businessman type was my first client of the night.

“How much, Crystal?” the drooling, suited man asked.

“£50 per lap dance,” I told him, trying to conceal my disgust.

“Yes, yes. Fine, okay,” he rushed and threw the money at me as he sat down on the purple, diamanté encrusted, leather couch.

I stood still for a moment and looked at him. His expression was so animalistic, desperate and sleazy that I started to feel sick. I finally snapped.

“I’m can’t do this anymore,” I thought aloud.

I pulled the pink, chiffon curtains back and ran out of the booth.

“Hey! Come back here! I paid you…” I heard the man shout in the distance.

I rushed back into the dressing room and slid against the door and down to the ground.

What am I doing?! I thought as I cried in anger at myself.

“What’s this?” I heard a voice say from above me. I looked up to see Sherri holding my notebook.

“That’s private!” I shouted as I jumped to my feet and snatched it from her yellow, liver spotted hands.

“I’m sorry. You left it sitting out. I always see you clutching it to your chest and I was curious. There’s some really good stuff in there,” she said kindly.

“You still shouldn’t have read it!” I continued to cry.

“I know, I know. I’m sorry, darling,” she said as she hugged me.

“What’s the matter anyway?” she asked as she pulled back to look at me. “Did someone touch you? I’ll kill them! Come on, show me who it was,” she said, took my hand and started towards the door.

“No! Nobody touched me. I just-just,” I broke down in sobs.

Sherri didn’t ask any more questions. She gave me the rest of the night off, told me to feel better and sent me home in a taxi.

*

The next night, I walked into Allure, ready for my shift, to find Sherri packing up my things.

“Oh, Chantelle,” she said, surprised to see me. “I tried to call you earlier but you must have already left. You didn’t need to come in tonight.”

“What? Why? Are you firing me? I promise, I won’t act like I did last night ever again. It just all got a bit much,” I panicked.

“No, of course I’m not firing you, doll,” she said softly as she walked over and hugged me tight. “You’ve been unhappy for a long time. I can see it. I’ve been in your position. How do you think I ended up in the job I am in now? I just couldn’t get out of the business. But it doesn’t have to be that way for you.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked, confused.

“I have an old client who works at The Times. He owes me a favour,” she winked. “I’ve got you an interview for a paid internship as a journalist. Your appointment is tomorrow at two o’clock in the afternoon and I’ve sent a nice Chanel outfit to your house for the interview that your neighbour has taken in for you. You’re all set.”

“Are you being serious?” I asked in shock as I threw my arms around Sherri and thanked her repeatedly.

Half an hour later, I strode out of Allure, more excited than I had ever been in my life. I couldn’t wait to get home and see Lily. I glanced back to see Sherri standing at the door and waving goodbye. I smiled and waved back to her.

© 2014 Sophie McN


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Reviews

I've (ahem) been acquainted with exotic dancers, and I'll say I've had some amazing conversations with the women who chose dancing as a means of employment. Your protagonist lives a somewhat charmed life, it seems, we root for her- I'd enjoy reading a fully-fleshed account.


Posted 6 Years Ago


Happy ending! I like it :D

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Sophie McN

6 Years Ago

thank you!
Pretty good. The story isn't very realistic, but the dialogue is, and it ends well.

Posted 6 Years Ago


It's well written. From stripper to journalist, that's quite a transition.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Sophie McN

6 Years Ago

thank you! :D

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313 Views
4 Reviews
Added on March 8, 2014
Last Updated on March 8, 2014
Tags: city, stripper, strip club, dancer, exotic, lap dance, mother, daughter, teenager, troubled, sad, boss, job, work, money, sex

Author

Sophie McN
Sophie McN

Ayrshire, Scotland, United Kingdom



About
I'm an undergraduate English Literature and Creative Writing/Journalism student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. I'll post some of my uni work here and some other short stories/poems too. .. more..

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