Brimming with righteous fury, Angela stormed down the staircase, out of the building and halfway down the street, too mad to even pay attention to where she was going. There was no-one around, but even if there had been, she might not have noticed. The sun was setting and she had wasted her whole afternoon for a hair-tie.
Which was still around her hair. She had endured all that for something that actually made her feel more naked. Anger dissipated and was replaced with embarrassment, keen awareness that she was standing naked in the middle of a public sidewalk, and wasn’t even covering herself with her arms. Angela undid the hair-tie, sliding it onto her wrist and let her hair fall back over her front.
Just then, someone stepped out of a nearby fire exit. It was a naked woman. No, almost naked—topless with a g-string and heels. Her hair was platinum blonde and her makeup was almost comically overdone. She was a good six inches taller than Angela, and her figure was a perfect hourglass.
“Got a light?” she asked Angela, a cigarette between her fingers.
“No, sorry,” Angela replied.
The woman frowned, then said, “I’ll go get one from the dressing room,” and turned around to go back in. She glanced over her shoulder at Angela and looked her up and down. “You wearing a merkin?”
Angela blushed, too embarrassed to answer.
“Brave choice. Lots of guys, they don’t like that. But some do, I hear.”
Angela glanced down at her bush. She’d never shaved it. And after its heroic pussy-covering service today, she never would.
The stripper disappeared back through the fire exit. The phrase “dressing room” stuck in Angela’s mind. A dressing room in a strip club. What better place for a naked girl to get something to wear? This was one place were no-one would bat an eye seeing a naked woman walk past them, where she could actually blend in. She just needed to find the dressing room, get a gown or something and then…
Then she would be lost in the middle of town, without a phone or any money. But she would be dressed. And then anything would be possible. She could probably borrow one of the stripper’s phones and call… Rachel, maybe? If she’d just called her actual best friend in the first place, she could have gotten dressed in the strip mall bathroom, rather than running around town naked all day.
Go inside. Find the dressing room. Get dressed. Phone Rachel. A simple plan.
But if she was going to go into a strip club looking like one of the strippers, she would need to act the part. That meant no more crouching, no more covering and no more hiding behind things. She would need to walk casually, even slowly, and pretend to be completely comfortable in the nude. Around lots of horny men.
Angela straightened her back and put her hands at her sides. Now she was stiff, so she wiggled around a bit, shaking her arms and legs and body to get loose. Casual. At ease. Comfortable.
Taking a deep breath in and out, Angela stepped through the fire escape. A winding flight of metal stairs greeted her. The steps were cold against her bare feet.
At the top, she had to use her elbow to open the heavy fire door a crack and slip through. Now she was in the club. It was mercifully dark, but she could see strippers walking about, and men of all descriptions sitting around tables. She bit her lip, fighting the urge to pull her arms around herself.
Casual, easy, she told herself. Sensual, even. Gotta look the part. And so Angela, who cried the first time she wore a bikini at the beach, strutted naked through a strip club. Every sense screamed at her to run, or at least power-walk, but she forced herself to keep it slow, and even made a few feeble attempts to sway her hips.
One thing that made her stand out from the other strippers was that she was barefoot. The other girls towered over in their heels, and many of them were tall and slender, making Angela feel like a squat dwarf. For all the compliments and lustful looks she’d received today, she still sometimes felt like her body was too short and too fat, especially in the presence of such willowy beauties.
But she could still feel eyes on her. She was turning heads. That made her feel better. But also worse. Angela, the good girl, the straight-A student, who never wore tops with cleavage, was now Angela the stripper, at least for the moment.
Where was the dressing room? Probably near the stage. Angela walked towards the stage, where a woman with green hair was swinging around a pole to the cheers and shouts of a crowd of men.
“Excuse me,” she whispered in the ear of the shortest stripper she had seen so far, “I’m new here. Where’s the dressing room?”
“Behind the stage, door to your left. You can’t miss it.”
Angela found the dressing room. It was empty except for an older, foreign-looking woman, who was fiddling with something by one of the mirrors. She had a bit of a stoop and was far too well-covered to be one of the strippers.
Not wishing to having to talk to this woman and possibly give herself away, Angela tip-toed into the room, scanning for something to wear. Bingo, there was a coat-rack of hanging gowns right by the door. All Angela had to do was reach out and take one. With a pang of guilt, she noted that this was technically stealing, and she might be leaving one of these girls without a gown. But they had their street clothes here, and she did not. This was no different from the destitute stealing food to feed their families.
Thus resolved, Angela clutched a puffy crimson dressing gown, but was interrupted by a sudden stream of chatter in another language. The older woman had noticed her. And she seemed angry.
Angela released the gown, but the woman continued to shout and gesticulate. “English, English, only,” said Angela, but the woman paid her no mind, grabbing her forcefully by the upper arm while continuing to jabber incomprehensibly.
The woman pulled her to the other side of the room and gestured feverishly at a full-length mirror. Angela looked at her reflection. Seeing herself head to toe under the dressing room’s harsh lights, she understood what the woman had been freaking out about. She was a mess.
Angela’s hair was frizzed up and all over the place. The light coat of makeup she’d put on that morning was mostly gone, except from some crying-smudged eye-shadow. Streaks of dried dust and dirt peppered her body, and her feet were filthy.
“Muddy little piggy,” said the woman through a heavy accent. These appeared to be her only three English words. Then she pulled out a phone and snapped a picture of Angela in the mirror.
With surprising force, the woman grabbed Angela’s shoulders and forced her down in a chair. She disappeared for a moment and then reappeared carrying a large bowl of soapy water and a brush, which she sat down on the table in front of Angela. Then she began to scrub.
The scrubbing was fast, rough, and thorough. With surprising quickness, the woman attacked every individual spot of dirt on Angela’s body, scrubbing her clean. She then set to work on Angela’s feet. Two new bowls of soapy water were required before those were cleaned to the woman’s satisfaction.
“Th-thank you,” Angela stammered, though feeling raw from the harsh brush bristles. She wiggled her pink toes and then started to get up, but the woman shoved her back down. She then wheeled a portable hairdresser’s sink from corner of the room, ran it, and started washing Angela’s hair, gently massaging conditioner and then shampoo into her scalp. This felt relaxing, even luxurious after the harsh body brushing.
Once her hair was washed, the woman brushed and combed it, smoothing out all the tangles. She sprayed some more product on it, and then got out a blow-drier and blasted Angela’s hair into a bouncy blow-out. This strange, angry foreign stylist had done a far better job with her hair than Sharon had managed. This was a style worth undressing for.
The stylist started immediately on Angela’s makeup. Thinking of the clownish look of the stripper at the fire escape, Angela tried to protest, but the stylist was having none of it. Fortunately, she did a nice job, applying product judiciously to enhance Angela’s natural features. She smoothed Angela’s skin, darkened and fulled out her lashes and reddened her lips. Angela focused intensely all the while, hoping to replicate some of this brilliant woman’s techniques on her own.
Once her face was done, the stylist made Angela stand up and applied some oils and foundation to her body, smoothing out her skin tone and obscuring some of the redness from where she’d scrubbed earlier. She worked quickly and with a light touch, even taking out a tiny brush to neaten Angela’s pubic hair.
Finally, the stylist sprinkled a light smattering of glitter on Angela’s face and body, focusing on areas normally covered. Then she led her back to the mirror, and held another mirror behind her.
Angela’s jaw dropped. She looked like she’d stepped off the cover of a magazine. Or rather, given her state of undress, a Playboy centerfold. She was almost unrecognizably hot. The stylist smiled proudly and took a photo with her phone. Now she had a before and after.
“Ms. Shenkovich sure works miracles, doesn’t she?” said a voice behind them. It was the stripper from the fire escape. “And just in time too. We’ve got a vacant spot in the stage schedule. New girl, you’re going to have to fill in.”
“Oh, no, I—” Angela’s words caught in her throat. What was she going to say? That she, a stripper who had just received a full beauty treatment, was going to decline an empty dance spot, an extra opportunity to make money at the one part of her job that didn’t involve getting up close and personal with businessmen’s hard-ons? “I”—she glanced around the room—”still need to get dressed. You know, so I have something to strip out of.”
Clothes, glorious clothes! But once again, clothes that she would only wear for a few minutes.
“No time,” insisted the stripper, grabbing Angela’s arm. “The last bitch didn’t even take off her top, so the guys are all blue-balled now. They’ll appreciate you dispensing with the foreplay and just dancing au naturel. Especially the rug lovers and foot fuckers.”
As she was saying this, the stripper was pulling Angela out of the dressing room, away from any chance of clothes, and towards a stage where she would need to gyrate in front of a rowdy audience of horny men. On further reflection, she appreciated not having to dress in clothes she would have to slowly remove for an audience. She imagined herself trying to unhook a bra on stage and just breaking down crying. To stay naked was better. But it still wasn’t good.
“Come on, you’ll do fine. You’re gorgeous, they’ll love you.” They were behind the stage now. “What’s your name, by the way?”
“Candy,” said Angela.
The stripper raised an eyebrow. “I’m Star. But you’ll need to choose something else. We’ve already got a Candy. And it doesn’t really suit your whole sweet, earthy girl-next-door vibe anyway. What about Candice?”
Star smiled. “One tip, Candice. You might want to put that hair-tie around your ankle instead.”
Angela had forgotten about the hair-tie. She pulled it off her wrist and slid it over her foot.
Star nodded approvingly. “Vodka?” she asked, producing a couple of shot glasses from somewhere.
Angela downed hers, and then Star gave her the other one too. “You look like you could use a bit more.” Angela obediently downed the second vodka shot. It dawned on her that she hadn’t eaten all day. Then Star slapped Angela’s ass and pushed her through the curtains.
Time froze as Angela stood before the crowd, her eyes bouncing from dimly lit face to dimly lit face. Fat, thin, tall, short, old and young, the audience was a cross-section of the town’s adult male population. And all of their eyes were fixed on her naked body.
Every fiber of Angela’s being screamed at her to wrap her arms around herself, to cower down and run off the stage, to get away, far away. But it was far, far too late for that. In search of clothes, she had impersonated a stripper. In hindsight, a very stupid idea. And now she had to uphold the illusion.
What was the alternative? Make a run for it back through the fire escape? That would cause a commotion and bring her right back to square one. No, she had to play this part. She would dance. She would give these men a show. She would make them love her. And then she would return to the dressing room, wrap a nice warm gown around herself, and try to forget the whole experience.
The crowd, which had cheered for her initial appearance, was now quiet. Men fidgeted. Someone coughed. They were growing restless with Angela’s statue impression. It was show time. She wasn’t Angela anymore, but Candice. She felt light-headed from two vodka shots on an empty stomach.
Candice smiled, shook herself all over, and did a slow runway walk to the end of the stage, the part with the pole. Some of the men started cheering, and a few of them shouted things like, “You’re beautiful” and “I want to bury my face in that muff!”
Playing the part of a professional adult entertainer, Candice tried not to let any of it rattle her, but she could feel a blush spread up her neck. She advanced to the front of the stage, and… then what? The volume of the music increased, and she tried to give herself over to it, to lose herself in it. She had never been much of dancer, but then, these guys probably weren’t all that discerning. They wanted to see her body, was the main thing.
So she showed them. Candice swung her hips, rose up and down on her knees, pushed out her boobs. The crowd hollered. She clapped her hands and waved her body, getting into the music now. She whipped her hair around and pouted at the audience, catching individual men with bedroom eyes. She couldn’t believe what she was doing.
Candice moved her arms, swayed to the beat. Now she turned around, and another cheer erupted from the crowd at the first sight of her bubble butt. She stuck her hip out to the side, flashing a sultry look over her shoulder, and then did the same on the other side. Then she got low and wiggled.
Paper money fell all around her, and she felt hands slipping more notes into the hair-tie around her ankle. She didn’t want to think about how this money compared to what she was getting at her actual job.
“Sit on my face please goddess!” shouted someone in the audience.
Right, that was enough butt focus for now. Candice smiled and winked in the direction of the voice, but started turning around slowly, bringing her boobs and pussy back into focus. She moved her arms across her body, one then the other, lingering only briefly in the covering positions they’d been stuck in most of today. Then she worked those into the dance, playfully covering herself and making a shocked expression at the audience, before slowly moving her arms away to show them the goods. The crowd went wild.
Remembering Star’s words, she moved her feet a bit, extending onto tip toes, and even thrusting a leg out over the audience. That ought to appease the guys who liked feet.
She played with her hair and touched her boobs, ran her hands down her hips. How else were strippers supposed to dance? The audience seemed happy as long as things were jiggling.
She felty sexy, sultry, vivacious. She craved and feasted on male attention. Or at least, she was acting the part of such a woman. But right now, as she was shaking her tits in front of a crowd of men, that felt like a meaningless, even dishonest, distinction. Angela was dissociating from herself, drifting up towards the ceiling, watching this short pale chick named Candice shake her big ass down below. But Candice was Angela. And Angela was Candice.
The volume of the music lowered and Angela heard an announcer’s voice. “Everybody give a big hand for Caaaandiiice!”
The crowd cheered and threw more money. The dance was over. Candice blew a kiss to the audience and squatted down one last time. Angela swept up the notes around her, and noted the bulging stack on her ankle. Then Candice turned around and walked slowly off the stage, exaggerating her hip movements.
Backstage, Angela let out a big sigh and stared at the floor. She had done it. She had played the part of an erotic dancer, and she’d played it convincingly. The crowd loved her. She was cradling a big pile of money that said so. And now to the dressing room.
“You did great!” Star said. “That’s gonna be a tough act for me to follow.”
Angela smiled at her and wished her luck as she made her own way to the curtains. Then she turned to the dressing room, coming face-to-face with a round, middle-aged woman, who blocked the entrance. She looked pissed.
“I don’t know who put you up to this, Missy, but I won’t stand for it,” she said. “Tell whoever sent you that Madam Claire does not appreciate being disrespected in her own club.”
Angela’s face fell. What was this about?
“Don’t act so innocent, Little Miss ‘Candice’. First, you come into my club and dance on my stage without ever contacting me, or presenting yourself for inspection. Acting like any bitch can walk in off the street and help herself. Well, let me take your registration fee!”
Madam Claire scooped up a chunk of the bills in Angela’s arms.
“Second, you present yourself to my dear stylist, poor Ms. Shenkovich, in a state of total disarray. Tell me, did you roll around in some mud before coming to dance tonight, just to tarnish my club’s reputation? That was what they sent you to do, wasn’t it?”
Angela blushed and looked down as Madam Claire swiped the rest of the bills from her arms. “That will be Ms. Shenkovich’s fee plus tip.” Angela had to admit to herself that the fee was well deserved. And she still had money on her ankle.
Madame Claire crouched, appeared to reach for this cash, but stopped short, and reached out an arm to grab a tuft of Angela’s pubic hair between her thumb and forefinger. She pulled, and Angela let out a yelp.
“And third,” continued Madame Claire, rubbing the hairs between her fingers, “you disrespect the rules of this club and the law governing this jurisdiction by appearing without a thong or merkin, which carries a heavy fine.”
Madam Claire bent over and pulled a stack of bills from Angela’s ankle. An ironic part of Angela’s mind was amused that she just been fined for nudity in a strip club.
“I was immediately suspicious when Star told me a new girl had actually chosen the merkin option. It’s never happened before, we put it in as a joke! Men these days are allergic to hairy pussy.”
The Madam counted up the notes in her hands and then stuffed them all down her blouse. Then her expression softened. “You’re a wicked little bitch, Candice,” she said, and then leaned in close to Angela’s ear. “But—don’t spread this around—any of my other girls would have had to work a week to pay off all that. And you’ve still got money left over! I’ll let you keep it.”
Angela put a hand to her mouth, shocked.
“It’s true,” said Madam Claire. “Sure, a lot of it was because men don’t usually get to see pussy at our club, and a hairy pussy is perhaps more acceptable than they’d admit. But there’s also something about your sweet, bashful little display that drove the audience wild. Awful dancing, really, but they couldn’t get enough of it.”
Madam Claire reached down her blouse and pulled out a card. She crouched down and slipped it behind the remaining notes on Angela’s ankle. “Listen, if you want to go through the proper channels next time, give me a call. You’re a beautiful girl with a fresh approach and I think we could work out something mutually beneficial, better than whatever you’re getting at Girlies or whoever put you up to this. Besides, they’ll be mad that you failed to sabotage me. So think about it.”
“O-okay,” said Angela, finally finding her words. “Thank you, madam.”
The Madam smiled. “Now, that was just between us two. Give it a few weeks, make your first night a Friday. But for now, I have to be seen to enforce the rules. Can’t have these other bitches losing respect.”
At that, Madam Claire’s hard expression returned. She raised her voice, “Could I get two security personnel by the dressing room please! We need to remove an intruder!”
Angela’s face went white.
“Nothing personal,” said Madam Claire softly, as two large bouncers approached Angela. “Hope you can still see the benefits of my proposal.”
The bouncers took Angela by both arms and marched her away from Madam Claire. Both were over six foot, with granite faces that didn’t so much as look Angela’s way. Their biceps were almost the size of Angela’s head.
The bouncers marched Angela to the fire escape, through the heavy door, down the rickety metal stairs, and out into the cold night air, where they deposited her on the sidewalk, then turned around and went back inside, slamming the door behind them.
A minute later, a third bouncer appeared, looking confused. “I was told to throw your stuff out with you, but no-one could find it. Star said you didn’t have anything.”
“You can’t throw me out naked!” cried Angela. “At least give me your jacket! I’ll even pay for it, look!”
Angela pulled the remaining money from her ankle and held it up to him, spreading the notes. It wasn’t as much as she thought it would be.
The bouncer scoffed. “That’s not even enough for one of my cuff-links, lady.” And he slammed the door in her face.
Angela’s shoulders slumped. She looked down at her still-naked body and shivered from a chill breeze. Defeated once more, she slipped off into the night.
Five minutes later, Star emerged from the fire escape carrying a dressing gown. She looked left and right, but Angela was long gone. Shrugging, she pulled the gown over her own shoulders and lit a cigarette.