“You better not tell this to anyone,” a voice croaked. I squirmed out a sort of supine twist pose, hoisted my back off the hard linoleum and crawled to the George Washington teetering on the brink of the stage. He stood with his palms in front of his crotch, slacked his crimson necktie, leered. With the full curiosity of a lioness observing its game, I crept towards the brink. I cramponed his ironwood tailbone within the arch of my leg, shifted the bristly raven-black curl that dangled upon his bronze forehead so that virility—his true masculinity could be perceived and for good measure gave a stroke to the back of his neck. As he exhaled, the refreshing smell of sweet spearmint leaves made way into my nose. He drew nearer, and as he did, his soft, moist lips swept across my ear, “You can‟t—I mean…Jesus, what are those, double d‟s?”

As I hooked his body closer, the coarseness of George Washington swept across the curvature of my hip into my g-string.

“Thank you,” I said in a seductive whisper.

“How is that your—your waist is, what are those time things called—uh!”

An hour-glass. “I can‟t think of it, its—girl you‟re, geez.”

His body shivered as my fingertips tiptoed across the reedy hairs upon his neck on which rose like morning-glory.

“You don‟t look like your from—not that it matters, are you—are you African? I mean, I love black women.”

Jagged brows sprouted out of his forehead, and those eyes, eclectic and peculiar, lustrous and unfamiliar—almost alien, watched me as I examined the studded ring nailed into his nose. Perhaps I was alien to him too, the manner in which my doleful eyes amplified in wonder and how it took a key, a skeleton perhaps to unlock the gate that bolted in—words—a key, well, one he just didn‟t have. I smirked under the suspension of selfhood; smirked through this deferral of time; smirked at my moral restraint; with a smirk, I dressed up a couple of words even though I didn‟t want to.

I‟m Kimber in this disgraceful cabaret, the name Kimber is never mentioned to my genuine lovers, and Quianna—my real name, is never cross-contaminated, never to Johns. The clothes I wore, fitted to perfection, were at all times chic and nobby and tonight I wore a couture two-piece bikini bedazzled in Swarovski crystals that I wore ever since I clocked in except when I sat in filthy upholstery or outdoors in front. Besides, I loved to sneak out on slow days like today—into boutique hotels where my body can be valued more by the swarm of Johns from out-of-state and those from overseas.

Strippers „breaking the bank‟—at least, that‟s what they‟re known for, and because of this, those around me wouldn‟t have predicted that I: lost the art of managing my finances flopped on my lease and that I had become a turncoat to my credit score.

The money in the cabaret had dwindled and amounted to zilch, and on some days, what money I did make went into my gas tank. One-thousand-dollar nights had become an archaic custom, expecting to earn more than one-hundred became a passing trend now breaking even was the new hit...

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