This is a flash fiction story about culture, sexuality and male-female relationships.
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In the year 1975 a young man in Pittsburgh walked into this small topless bar and took a seat at the bar next to a young dancer sitting on a high stool facing the raised dance floor that had a silvery pole in the middle of the floor for pole dancing. The lighting was low and garish. The lights were red, purple, white and blue but mainly red. It was a few minutes to show time.
Only a few patrons, all males, sat at the bar or at the small tables around the dance floor. Four steps at the side lead up to the dance floor. Those patrons who were with buddies talked softly. Some patrons ate slices of pizza, a specialty of the house, while they waited. All the patrons drank from bottles of beer which would have cost at least a dollar less at a non-topless bar.
The bartender, a young woman in a tank top, short shorts and plain white tennis shoes asked the young man what he wanted to order. He asked for a local beer. When the bartender returned with the brand of beer the young man had asked for the young dancer sitting next to him said, “Tammy, put it on my tab.”
The dancer was nursing a mixed drink. The young man knew that all she wore under the man’s long sleeve dress shirt was a G-string. She had on red platform shoes. The rent for the apartment she lived in was $400 more than the apartment he lived in.
The young man said to her, “I start with the county in two weeks.”
“Eugene, I’m not quitting my job.”
“This isn’t a job. It’s a hustle.”
“This hustle pays the bills,” she said.
“It’s not a career.”
“Well, maybe I’m not ready for a career. Tammy, what time is it?”
“Cindy,” he said.
“I’m not quitting my job.”
Cindy got up and walked into the short hallway that lead to the dancers’ dressing room. Eugene took a good drink of his beer. In a moment some funky music blared from the sound system. Cindy came out in the red platform shoes and a black G-string that stood out starkly against her white skin. She mounted the stairs to the dance floor and she began to dance.
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