Jessie checked herself out in the mirror of the employee locker room of the Prime Meridian. She looked OK, she guessed. Or at least all of her clothes were tight and she wasn’t making them look bad. It wasn’t what she would have chosen but it was the waitress uniform and it would earn her tips. She sighed. It was time to start earning those tips.
Jessie threaded her way from the employee lockers through the club. “So what’s up Eddi?” She asked one of the bouncers by the as yet unopened main door.
“Looks like it’s gonna be pretty dead.”
“It sucks, I can’t make any money.”
“Yeah, well you can fool the customers into bribing your worthless hide some other day. Today I’m happy they’re planning to make trouble elsewhere.”
The floor manager, an impressively gay man, flitted up to her as she made it to the waitress station on the main floor. “Jessie! You look great.” He hovered over her a moment as though he wanted to adjust something in her cloths. If she’d been wearing an apron, or carrying a tray he would have fiddled with it. Her t-shirt and skirt provided no such opportunity. As it was he just shifted his weight around a bit and looked fidgety.
“Where am I?”
“Section 11.” That was the VIP room. Tim must have seen her look, “Oh please, you’ll make more money.”
She sighed, then gave him a little kiss on the cheek. “Thanks Tim.”
“Oh you, you’ll make my boyfriend jealous.”
She glanced at the clock above the bar which claimed they had opened 10 minutes ago; meaning she actually had 5 minutes left. She killed those by making sure her tables had napkins, salt, and menus. Everything looked good. Then the DJ fired up, the lights went down, and the main doors opened. Show time. The first 90 minutes were probably the worst. During happy hour, from 5 when they opened to 6:30, before they got busy, the cover charge for the VIP area was pretty low, and it was the only time people were actually interested in eating a full meal. The time passed quickly until her section started to empty.
One of the last tables held a man who looked out-of-place in the club. He was in his 40’s, but he still had a strong build, his chin belonged on a model, and his hair and clothes were impeccable. Jessie had mentally categorized him as a rich guy going through a mid-life crisis, or a divorce, out on the prowl for younger women. She downgraded her assessment of his skills at prowling when he gave her a flirty smile and tried to catch her eye as she dropped off his bill. Never hit on the waitresses. Sure, it can work, but there’s not much point with a club full of women who don’t have to work another 6 hours and actually came looking for men.
“I’m sorry if this is forward, but you look great. You move really well too. Are you a dancer?”
A dancer? This probably wasn’t just a pick-up attempt then. “Just a waitress,” she answered. She smiled as she said it to make her voice warm. He wouldn’t have left her a tip yet.
“You’re wasted on that! You should be a dancer. I’ve got a place. You wouldn’t believe the money you could make. I bet a single shift at my club would beat a week here.” She’d thought he might ask that. Every now and then some guy would come into the club looking to hire strippers or hookers. She had no idea if it worked. Yes, some of her money came from looking good, and yes the club could be a fairly sleazy environment. Did that really mean she was one career step from being naked? She’d never thought so before.
Now she thought about her bills, and her lack of a job, and wondered how much strippers really did make. She wouldn’t do it, of course, but she had to get some real money coming in somehow. At least she had one idea for making a little quick cash, “They can’t make that much.”
“Hundreds, thousands if they do private shows.”
She raised her eyebrows, “No way. I bet you don’t even own a club.”
The man laughed, then pulled out a high limit credit card and tossed it down on his bill. “You’d lose that bet.”
Once she’d charged the card and he’d left she found he’d left her a hundred and ten percent tip. It was almost as though he felt he had something to prove.