Strange things had happened she thought. But when her car suddenly ran out of gas in front of what looked like a strip club, Bree didn't want to take it as a sign. She needed a real job, the single mom has two more hours before she has to pick up Hazel from daycare.
"Missy, you can't park here," the big man with a thick mustache that looked like it was making a comeback from the seventies warned Bree.
"I don't intend to, it ran out of gas, I..." Bree pressed down the window button to let the man hear her better.
"Well, you can park it here," the man cut her words and repeated his statement with a stronger volume as if Bree didn't hear him the first time around.
Oh god... she said on the inside.
Suddenly all the stress from the last couple of days came rushing down, her chest heaved and her eyes started to get blurry.
Oh god, not now... her inner voice once again replays the words.
"Dude, Elvis, it's not even noon and you're making a beautiful woman cry already. Not cool man..." a man with an arm sleeve tattoo slapped the big mustache guy on his back.
"Hey, I'm Rocco, I'm sorry about my buddy Elvis here. Yeah, that's his real name. Look, are you here for the audition? come on in, you looked like you can use a drink."
"But, my car..."
Rocco, the tattooed guy peeked at her gas meter and smiled, "happens all the time to my girlfriend, Elvis, will you help..." he waited and it took Bree a couple of seconds to connect her brain to her ability in forming a sentence.
"Bree," she blurted out her name, and the tattooed guy smiles warmly.
"Elvis, will you help Bree with her car? I believe you know how to pump gasoline into a car?" the man gave him his car key and before Bree realized Rocco knocked on her door frame and she opened her door, took his hand, and let him usher her into the dimmed lit strip club.
Bree left her ten-year-old Honda with keys still in the ignition to the grumpy-looking Elvis. Her head was still not registering as Rocco put a cold can of soda in front of her once she was seated at the bar area of the club.
"I'm Rocco, the bartender, sometimes floor manager and sometimes I handle all the s**t that's happening here. Including the audition for the stripper today."
"But I'm not auditioning for a stripper, I need a real job." Her words made him laugh.
"You better not let the girls hear that. So, my bad then, but we don't have other openings at the moment. Are you sure you're not a dancer? sorry, but your posture is on spot." Rocco moved back behind the bar, rustling some glass then joined Bree with a cold glass of tap beer for himself.
"Well, I took gymnastics and cheered back in high school and college." Not to mention she also took pole dance classes for moms when she tried to mend her marital situation with Everett. Trying to spice things up in the bedroom, but obviously failed.
"There you go," the man winked playfully and took out a form from under the bar telling her she should take the job application form with her and think about it, all while he told her about the job description and working hours.
"I... I can't I have a kid, I can't leave her overnight."
Rocco shrugged telling her there are several women who are also single moms, "All the women here look after each other, I heard something about babysitting rotation. You can check with them if you're interested. But know this, you get to bring home tips minus the house cuts. And these women take home a lot, I know this because my girlfriend is one of them." He smiled and wiggled his eyebrows making Bree feel more at ease and started skimming the club's application form.
"You can work three days a week and get more than you would from a nine to five desk job each month."
"But I'm not..."
"A w***e? look, Bree, this is a high-end strip club, not a s*x club, have you ever been to a high-end strip club before?" Bree shook her head and he continued, "Well, you will earn generous tips by giving a private lap dance, but there's a strict rule on prostitution, not under this establishment. Why don't you come later on this evening, or tomorrow whichever works best for you, and see it for yourself."
"I don't know..."
"You looked like you can use a break, with this job you'll earn more. I'm not trying to sell you the job, you might not even get it if you don't have the moves." He chuckled and she nervously laugh with him.
"Yeah, it's been a while since I danced,"
"It's like riding a bike, right?" he shrugged and drink his beer. Bree bites her lip as her mind wanders, thinking Rocco might be right. It's easy money and she needed money. Badly.
"Okay, I'll come again tonight, will you be here?" Bree drank her soda, looked at her phone, and saw the dreaded text from her kid's daycare informing her that they haven't received their monthly payment. She was already two weeks late from paying Hazel's daycare and this job can give her a financial solution at least until she finds a better job.
Yeah, that sounds better. Bree thought as she worked out her money situation in her head.
"I will be here. Just tell Elvis you're meeting me later so he doesn't charge you an entrance fee."
Bree has been stressing her mind looking for the perfect job, trying to find the best one income-wise and one with leniency towards her child. She's been looking for months, and a few weeks earlier she realized she's struggling to get one. Then when bills start to pile, the last couple of days she has been desperate for a job.
That afternoon she picked up Hazel with a new hope. Bree paid for her daycare using one of her credit cards, hoping that she wouldn't have maxed out already. Her shoulder relaxed when the fund was paid successfully. Because if not, she seriously didn't know what to do anymore.
She sighed the second she was in her rundown apartment, the rent is so cheap Bree hoped it won't arise health issues for her and Hazel in the long run. Bree feeds Hazel, bathes her, then she tucked her little sunshine into bed. Bree lets Mrs. Mancini into her tiny apartment when the clock strikes eight.
"Have fun on your date, sweetheart, you deserve it."
"I'm not going on a..." but on a second thought, it was the perfect excuse. Bree couldn't exactly tell the old lady that she will be checking out the strip club where she was going to work at. "...yeah, I guess you might call it that, eh...thank you, you have my number, Hazel is asleep. Help yourself to anything in the fridge." Though she only has bread and eggs it's nice to be polite to everyone and Mrs. Mancini was kind enough to be doing this for Bree with a rate that's probably the same since she was babysitting decades ago when she was young. Also, Hazel adores her with all the cakes that her next-door neighbor baked for them.
Without further doubt, Bree walked out of her small apartment complex and drive to Babes. Half an hour later, after ten minutes of contemplating her decision, she stepped out of her car. Bree was greeted by Elvis who smirked at her, then she smiled back at him, sweetly, and the mustache dude actually blushed which made her giggle, and walked past the guy into the strip club with a lighter step on her feet.
Rocco wasn't lying, the men were far from the ordinary crowd you'd see in movies. Most were dressed in suits, work clothes, and some fine-looking jackets, even their shoes looked expensive. But what threw her into reality was what the women were wearing, she's not sure she can flaunt her body like that.
The bartender greeted her the second she reached the bar, Rocco fixed a couple of drinks before he was to her front and wiggle his eyebrows making her laugh. "So, you're coming back, it's a good start. Let me get my girl." Rocco called out to one of the waiters and said something that Bree couldn't hear over the loud music in the background.
A voluptuous blonde woman appeared and kissed Rocco on his cheek. "Dee, babe, this is Bree the one I told you about earlier. Why don't you girls talk and let her feel the vibe."
Bree couldn't stop looking at her sheer outfit, she doesn't understand how Rocco was okay with having his girlfriend showing off her t**s and ass for all the men at the club.
"Hey, I'm Dee, look this may seem a bit overwhelming but trust me the money is worth it." She hooked her hand in Bree's arm and pulled her to the end of the bar where they can have a private talk. The single mom was thrown into the situation where Bree was greeted by another stripper with another set of sheer lingerie and glitter platform heels so high she wondered how all these women managed to dance in them.
Bree sits back on the barstool while Dee introduces her to Cassidy who is a struggling med student determined to pay off her student loans before she started her residency.
"Look, this is the best club in town, if Rocco took pity on you... gurl, I say go for it. You'd be paying bills faster than working in a stuffy office behind some desk where you need to kiss ass to get a decent salary." Cassidy blurted out her words and Dee giggled nodding along telling Bree this is the best way in making fast money.
Bree listened while her eyes took in the view, the bright lights, the stage, the intimidating dance poles, and smaller stages with poles on several areas of the floor. Her heart was beating faster, her hands were getting clammy, and her mind went back to Hazel and the bills stacking up on her bedside table.
She groaned and finally took a deep breath before she said, "So, how do I audition?"