Authors: Meghan Quinn
“Clearly,” I remarked, as visions of Lyla riding the big black man flowed through my mind. “Sorry about…you know…earlier.”
“Not a problem,” she said, as if she always had people walking in on her.
“Looked like you were having a good time,” I said awkwardly.
“He has the biggest dick ever. I swear to God, I was ripped in half just now.”
“Yeah…I saw that he was packing. I would say that I was jealous, but the way you’re sitting has me thinking I should be grateful I didn’t just fuck a tree trunk.”
Lyla laughed and agreed, “Yeah, I’ll be hurting for a while. Probably not one of my best decisions. So, why are you home early?”
“Carlos wants to play pool and get some drinks before our shift. You in?”
“Hell yeah!” Lyla got up and went to my dresser. “Can I borrow some…?” She didn’t finish her sentence as she reached for the black cards I’d set down there, spun around and held them up so I could see. “Where the hell did you get these?”
“I, uh…they were dropped off, I guess.”
“Dropped off where?” Lyla was practically climbing down my throat looking for answers.
“At the Castle and while I was drawing today. What’s the big deal?”
“Are you fucking kidding me right now?” She looked down at them and then gasped. “They fucking have your name on them, Goldie.”
“Yeah, that’s kind of creepy, don’t you think?”
“You have no clue what these are, do you?”
“Does it look like I have a clue?”
“Jesus, Goldie!” She paced the room as she ran her hand through her hair. “Please tell me you called the number.”
I felt busted, as if I was supposed to do a chore that I never completed and was now getting harassed by my mother for it.
“No, I kind of forgot. I got the one the other night and then I just got the second one today. I haven’t had a chance to call.”
“You have to call, Goldie! Holy shit, I can’t believe you are going to be a Jett Girl.”
“What the hell is a Jett Girl?” I was a little irritated by now, feeling like a complete idiot not in the know. I’ve lived in New Orleans my entire life and never heard of a Jett Girl.
“You are fucking killing me.” Lyla made me sit down on my bed and she sat next to me while she played with the card between her fingers. “A Jett Girl is one of the most exclusive honors you can earn in the private club circuit. They all work at the Lafayette Club where businessmen go to do business and the girls are their entertainment. Each girl is handpicked by Jett Colby himself. If you become a Jett Girl, you are set for life.”
“What do you mean, set for life?”
“Meaning he takes care of everything…everything,” Lyla said, while wiggling her eyebrows.
“Well, it sounds kind of stupid. The guy is probably hideous and gets these girls to fall at his feet, suck his dick and send them on their way when he’s done; all for what?”
“You are so not getting this.”
“No, I’m not, so let’s move on. I have to get ready for tonight or I might be late for pool with Carlos and, Lord knows, I need a drink tonight.”
“You are an idiot; you know that? You complain every day about your shitty life and how you wished you could be out of this hell hole and when you’re presented with an amazing opportunity, you don’t capitalize on it. You only have yourself to blame for not getting out of here,” Lyla said, as she tossed the cards on my dresser and walked out of my room.
“I don’t even know what the fucking the card means,” I shouted after Lyla’s retreating body.
“Your shot, babe,” Carlos said, as he handed me the only pool cue in the joint. The one reason I loved The Dungeon was because absolutely no one came to it because it was terrifying from the outside. The barred up door and dungeon-like atmosphere gave off a nice tourist repellent. The locals knew better, though, and took advantage of the tourist-free bar when they got a chance.
“I suck at pool. I don’t know why I play against you. I lose every single time.”
“That’s why I love playing you. You’re a sure win.”
I stuck my tongue out at Carlos like a damn child and then lined up my shot. I couldn’t even remember what balls I was supposed to be shooting out so I just hoped for the best as I pulled back and shot at the white ball. The ball clanged around the table but never actually hit anything. Carlos burst out in laughter, but quickly shut up when I shoved the stick into his stomach.
“Shut up, shithead.”
“It’s all in love, babe.”
I just smirked, crossed my arms and sat on one of the stools at the table we occupied. Lyla was watching us and making out with some random guy at the same time, not the tree trunk she swallowed whole earlier. We were the only ones in the joint besides a lonely straggler that was sitting at the bar with his back toward us.
“Did you ever talk to Marv about your tips?” Carlos asked, as he finished sinking the rest of the balls in the pockets.
“Yeah, he said the other girls just don’t make as much money in tips as me. I think he is bullshitting his fucking way out of a tuna canoe. He is either pocketing some of the tips himself or his crab-infested girlfriend is stealing out of the tip jar. There’s no way in hell I should be making significantly less in tips. At this rate, I’ll never get out of here.”
Lyla pulled her lips away from her man long enough to guffaw at me and then go back to her tongue tango.
“Shut up, Lyla.”
“What’s that all about?” Carlos asked, as he sat next to me and took a long pull from his beer bottle.
“Nothing. I think I’m going to go get us another drink. Lyla, you want something else? I’m sure you’ll be thirsty once you pull your tongue out of his mouth.”
“I’m good for now. Thanks.”
Scooting out of my seat, I walked toward the bar counter, which was now empty. The bartender, who must have seen better days in her lifetime, was watching a football game on a miniature TV that had antennas. I didn’t even know those still existed.
“Can I get another round?”
“Sure sweetheart,” came the raspy voice of the bartender. As she poured my drink and popped the top off of Carlos’s beer, she asked, “Are you Goldie?”
Wondering why the bartender knew my name, I skeptically said, “Yes, why do you ask?”
The bartender pulled out a card from her pocket and handed it to me. “This was left by a man who was just in here. He told me to give it to you.”
I grabbed the card from her and it was another black business card with my name on it in raised glossy ink.
I grabbed the drinks, paid the bartender, and took the drinks back to the table. Once the drinks were down, I tossed the card on the table and put my head in my hands.
“What’s this?” Carlos asked as he looked at the card.
Lyla pulled her head away from her companion long enough to see what Carlos was holding. Once she realized what it was, she practically shoved her boy toy out of the way and grabbed the card out of Carlos’s hand.
“Fuck, Lyla. Watch the paper cut.” Carlos sucked his finger.
“Did you just get this?” Lyla asked.
“Yeah, the bartender said that guy at the bar asked her to give it to me. This is getting kind of creepy. Does this Jett guy have men watching me at all times? I mean how did he know that I would be here tonight?”
I was trying to be somewhat cool, but if I actually thought about it, I was really kind of creeped out about the situation I was in. The only information I had about this Jett Girl thing was from Lyla, who thought it was an amazing idea, but when I thought about it, the guy followed me around and secretly dropped off business cards while I wasn’t looking. It was creepy. Fucking perverts in the world.
“We are calling right now,” Lyla said, as she pulled out her phone.
“No!” I practically screamed, as I pulled the card out of her hand. “I will handle this on my own.”
Lyla pointed her finger at me, “I’m telling you, Goldie, if you don’t call that number, you are going to regret it for the rest of your life. If you want to get out of here, if you want a new start, this is it babe. It’s being served to you right on a silver platter. You know I love you and I would never steer you wrong. This is it for you; this is your way out.”
Lyla was completely serious as she spoke to me. It was hard not to trust her. Maybe she was right, maybe this was my golden egg, maybe God was finally dealing me a good hand after the shitty ones he’d been giving me my whole life.
“I don’t know…”
“Just think about it, but for now, let’s get our party on. I need some more drinks in me before I go up on stage. I saw a couple of groups of men hovering around Kitten’s Castle earlier, so I am going to need to get loose before I strut my stuff for everyone.”
“I can drink to that,” I agreed, as I downed my drink and signaled for another to the bartender, who could give two shits about getting me a refill as she rolled her eyes and returned to her program.
“Ladies, let’s not get carried away. If you show up to work drunk, Marv is going to have my ass.”
“Oh Carlos, a little party never hurt anybody, am I right Goldie?”
“You’re right, girl!”
“Safe and Sound”
My eyes didn’t want to open, even though I knew it was late in the morning. They still begged me to keep them closed and I kindly obliged as I wrapped my arms around my pillows and thought about the previous night.
Kitten’s Castle was beyond crowded by what seemed like ten different groups of men. I had never been groped, manhandled or pinched so many times in one night. It was the one thing I absolutely hated about working at Kitten’s Castle. I hated that men thought, just because I worked in a strip club, my body was theirs to play with. My body was mine and no one else’s, but I clearly couldn’t state such a thing to the Touchy Toms because, for one, Marv would fire me and two, I would never get any tips. Drunk men didn’t like righteous women.
Thinking about my tips, and the amount of cash I must have scored, I apologized to my eyes, opened them, and reached for my apron, which was on the side of my bed along with the rest of the lingerie I wore last night. I preferred to sleep naked.
I grabbed the envelope out of my apron pocket and tore it open. A wad of cash spilled out and I giddily started counting it up.
Slowly, I started to notice that I had a lot more ones than larger bills in my stack.
“That fucker!” I shouted to no one, as I realized I only made a little over one hundred dollars in tips last night, when I should have at least pulled in a cool six hundred.
“Fucking Christ.” I slammed my head on my pillow and thought about what the hell I was going to do. I was easily getting screwed every night by Marv and there was nothing I could do about it.
I pulled out my phone and looked at my online banking account to see where I stood. When my parents died, I was luckily able to consolidate all their loans into one giant payment, but it had a ridiculous interest rate that was slowly burying me each and every day. I didn’t make enough money to catch up to the banker’s demands, and those bankers were pounding on my door.
After logging in, I took a look at my bank statement and saw a measly three hundred dollars and some change parked in my account and that was it. I had a couple hundred dollars still waiting to be deposited, but I didn’t have nearly enough to pay rent, my bank loan, and afford food.
“Shit.” I put my head in my hands and tried to think about what the hell I was going to do.
Needing to get moving for the day, I got up and strolled toward my dresser to grab some clothes to change into. That was when I saw the black matte business cards with the purple font staring me in the face. It was calling to me, as if I didn’t have any other choice. I really didn’t. I was drowning with no end in sight.
Relinquishing all thoughts that were telling me to not make the call, I grabbed my phone and typed out the number. My thumb hovered over the green call button, not quite ready to press down, but I knew I would have to. I took one look in the mirror and took in my sad appearance. I was a fucking mess. Bags under my eyes, hair frazzled, and I was looking a little thin from not eating nearly enough.
I pressed the call button. There had to be a change in my life, no matter how it came about.
The phone rang as knots in my stomach churned from not knowing what to expect. Who did I even ask for? All I got was a card with my name on it. Did I kindly asked for the perverted stalker that followed me around dishing out cards? That probably wasn’t the most professional greeting…