Bad Girl Gone Good(7)

By: N. Franko

“Hey Pat,” I said as I walked into the dressing room and found him touching up his eyeliner. The place was usually teaming with dancers but they weren’t around yet.

“Hey miss thang. How’s business?” Pat knew all about my little side hustle and didn’t judge. Sometimes I recruited him to help.

“It’s going okay. Hey, if someone called you their chocolate love goddess would you be offended?”

“Oh, are you a black girl this time?” Pat was always interested in my online personas. “I guess it depends on the context.”

“Well, the guy is an old, white man who gives me the creeps,” I said. I found an empty locker, put my purse away and changed into my work outfit—booty shorts and a low-cut tank.

“I’m not sure if I should be offended that you’re using an innocent black woman’s photo to scam men or be proud of you for finally diversifying,” Pat said.

I smiled at his comment. “Fair enough.

“And tell your brother to keep his product away from my girls. Carla called in sick but I know she’s on a bender,” Pat said, giving my reflection in the mirror a stern look.

“I’m sorry. I told him not to get involved with that stuff. I’ll talk to him,” I said, apologetically.

“See that you do. Next time, I’m making you get up there and dance.” Pat capped the eyeliner and tossed it onto the table as he stood up and diva walked out of the dressing room. “And fix your hair, girl. You’re in a strip club, not a homeless shelter.”

My reflection staring back at me through the vanity did look messy. My brown hair was a tangled heap thanks to the wind outside. I took public transit and after two different buses rides and another ten minutes of walking in the gusts, I was left looking like a crazy cat lady. Men might only look at my cleavage, but I figured I’d better at least run a brush through my hair just in case they happen to look up.

I searched the counter in front of the large, Hollywood style vanity where all the girls primped and prepped before going on stage and dancing for money. It was crowded with makeup, brushes, glitter and tiny bras and panties. I found a hairbrush under all the rubble and began combing my hair.

“That better not be my hairbrush,” a voice said, followed by a sweet cackled of a laugh.

Sylvia Sloan was the opposite of the quintessential stripper. She was tall, blond, smooth skinned and perfectly hairless except for the perfect waves of hair on her head. She looked like she stepped out of a lingerie catalog. It’s no wonder she was the most popular dancer at the club.

“I’ll use what I want,” I laughed as I playfully swatted at her as she walked by. “I thought you had the night off?”

“I’m filling in for Carla. She needs to learn how to hold her drugs,” she said. Sylvia undressed, and I immediately felt like a pudgy tractor tire even though my body bordered on underfed. I could probably get more tips if I’d gained a few curves here and there. Sylvia just had a way of captivating everyone’s attention as soon as she walked into a room. But, she wasn’t just a pretty face. She was as smart as she was beautiful. Not rocket science smart, but she knew just what to say and do to make any man drain his bank account and give her his life’s savings. Too bad she liked women.

“Hey, can I get your opinion on something?” I asked. I pulled out my phone and fired up my eLove app.

“Sure,” she said. “Cute,” she shrugged when I showed her the picture of Nolan Graham.

“You don’t know who he is?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s Nolan Graham. I’m not sure if it’s the real him, though. Why would he use his own dating site?”

“That’s what I thought. Should I even bother responding?” I don’t know why I was asking her. Maybe I was just attracted to a picture of a man I knew I would never have and needed someone to say that it was okay.

“Scam a scammer? You’d be a legend. Besides, you don’t want to miss out in case its the real Nolan,” she winked as she turned to the mirror to put on her makeup. “Can you imagine the payday?”

“So, you think I should go for it?”