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Starbound – two

The drive to the city was two-and-a-half hours into a completely different universe. It was a warm evening in July, so Sylvia Volkov put the top down on her dark green Mustang convertible and cruised slowly down the long main street. She attracted a lot of attention and comments from the guys hanging around on the sidewalk. Dumb kids, she thought, like those fucking football assholes that I’m not done with.
Sylvia noticed a sign on the second floor of a store that sold shoes. The sign read: ‘Where Ladies Dance Nude’. She saw a guy go in through a doorway between the shoe store and the record store beside it. A second later, another guy went in. Sylvia inched along in the bumper-to-bumper curb cruising traffic noticing the bars and clubs that offered strippers to attract drinkers.
She found a parking building around the corner and parked her Mustang. She was stunned that the parking fee was nine dollars an hour up to forty-five dollars. She was not going to be able to afford that for long, even though she had quite a lot of money in her savings account. Her parents each were generous to her, and often gave her large cash gifts for no reason. There was nothing in town for her to spend it on, so she just kept it in the bank.
She made her way up the crowded sidewalk to the narrow door between the two stores. She opened the street door and faced a long, straight stairway up to another door. Sylvia mounted the stairs and opened the second door. It was a dark room except for the spotlight on the stage where a girl was dancing while she removed her shirt. Immediately inside the door was an old man seated at an old counter asking for five dollars admission.
“Where’s the manager?” Sylvia said. The old man pointed at what appeared to be a control room from whence they operated the lights and music. There was a window through which Sylvia could see a couple of young men in the subdued light of the control room. She ran a gauntlet of leering men that she had to pass on her way to the control room.
Sylvia opened the door to the control room and quickly ducked inside. Both young men turned and looked at her, and were almost transfixed by her beauty, even though there was a woman dancing naked on the stage at the same time.
“I want to see the manager,” she said.
“You want a job?” both men said together.
Sylvia was hired on the spot and was sent the dressing room that was in the backstage wings. There she met five girls who were seated at a long counter that was littered with cosmetics. Each seat had a large mirror before it, surrounded with bulbs. A white phone on the wall rang. One of the girls answered it, said nothing for a few seconds and hung up. She turned to a tall, buxom black girl who was dressed like Cleopatra.
“You’re up, Chocolate,” she said. The black girl continued to smoke a joint and blow clouds of smoke into the air. Suddenly, a naked girl came in from the stage entrance carrying her costume balled up in her arms. She glistened with sweat and happily waved around a pair of ten dollar bills her fans had tossed to her.
The loudspeaker in the theatre could be heard through the wall.
“And now, ladies and gentlemen, forget about your diet because here comes Chocolate,” the announcer said. The black girl stood up, handed her half joint to Sylvia and ducked out the stage door as the sound of “Hotel California” could be heard.
“Take a toke off that thing, sweetie and hand it to me,” a slender white girl with long blond hair said. Sylvia did take in a lungful of the smoke and handed the joint to the white girl. She idly noticed that her hands seemed to be unusually large.
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” the girl said and then sucked in enough smoke to finish the joint in one pull. “Do you have costumes?” she said.
“I got nuthin’,” Sylvia said, letting her style of speaking drop to the flippant speech that seemed to be spoken by these girls.
“You’ll come home with me and I’ll sort you out,” the girl said. “Call me Blue. I have some outfits you could use until you choose your persona.
“Persona?” Sylvia said?
“Yes. When you know if you want to stay in this racket for a while, you might want to perform dressed like a little school girl, or a school teacher, or a harem girl. Then I could make the right costumes for you.”
“When do we start?” Sylvia said, suddenly actually interested in the stripper way of life. Maybe few hours, good pay, lots of free time.
“I go on next,” Blue said, “then we can leave.”

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