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Starbound 10

The music store seemed to melt away and all Sylvia Volkov could see was this perfect male face.

“Huh? What? Excuse me!” Sylvia stammered when she found her voice.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“That’s okay,” Sylvia said. “I’m just looking around, not for anything special.”

“What genre do you prefer,” he said.

“It varies, but generally I like ballads, good seventies rock, and 40s crooners,” Sylvia said. “That doesn’t really cover it. I guess I like any kind of music, really, as long as it’s good quality music.”

“Perhaps I can help you,” he said.

“No, really, I just want to browse,” said Sylvia. “You must have other customers to serve.”

“No,” he said. “I don’t work here.”

“Oh,” Sylvia paused. “You’re just selling yourself.”

“I just wanted to meet you,” he said.

“Why?” Sylvia said. She did not hide her skepticism.

“Because you’re so beautiful,” he said, “and you dance with great talent. Have you had lessons? Do you study dance?” Sylvia stopped and looked him in the eye.

“So you’ve seen me dance,” Sylvia said. “Congratulations.” She turned and walked toward the music store exit. She had never before met someone who had seen her strip.

“Wait!” he said, walking after her. “Didn’t you want to select some music for your act? You’re really too good to dance to the programmed music that the theatre has.”

“You think so?” Sylvia stopped and turned to face him.

They went back to the racks of CDs and discussed the songs that might best suit Sylvia’s performance. She unexpectedly felt an easy comfort with this guy. She didn’t feel any kind of threat from him, but she didn’t expect that to be accurate. She knew from her bitter experience with the rapes that motivated her departure from her home.

“If it was up to me,” he said, “I’d think like a Broadway musical score. First, I’d open with something lively and swinging – let’s say Sinatra’s ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’.”

“What’s your name?” Sylvia said.

“Richard Silver,” he said, “and I only know you as ‘Sylvie’.”

“That will have to do,” she said. Richard made no protest.

“Your second song should be a bit livelier and a touch more suggestive,” he said. “I think “The Lady Is A Tramp” by Frank would fit the bill perfectly.

“But all the other girls use contemporary rock,” she said.

“They’re ignorant. They don’t understand the psychology of stripping and what it really means to the lonely guys and women sitting in the dark,” Richard said. “Primarily, aside from the blatant sexuality of dancing naked, it’s entertainment. They loved watching Fred Astaire with any of his leading ladies because they put themselves in Fred’s shoes and imagined dancing with one of those tall, slender, gorgeous women.”

“What are you getting at?” Sylvia said.

“You are the tall, slender, gorgeous woman of their fantasies,” he said. “You’re real, you’re the fantasy woman literally in the flesh. You don’t dance like you’re anybody’s like all the other girls do. You dance like you’re dancing for each person individually.”

“What kind of bullshit are you spouting here?” she said. “You’re laying it on a bit thick.

“For your third song, we’ll switch to Van Morrison, ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You’. Your final song will be another Van Morrison, ‘Someone Like You’. Come on, let’s find the CDs we need for four different shows and I’ll take you to my studio so we can make the best mixes.

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