Archive for August, 2011

CHAPTER 8 – MITCH

Posted on: August 30th, 2011 by Madison Lake No Comments
Miguel was waiting at the door when Liam arrived to open the salon. It was ten o’clock.
            “Morning, Miguel. What are you doing here so bright and early? Not in need of another haircut already, are you?” Liam said sarcastically, as he turned the key and opened the door. Miguel didn’t seem to notice.
            “No, I have a date with Genevieve,” he said. Liam looked amused.
            “Really? Why are you meeting her here? It’s her day off. Why not pick her up at her place?”
            “I don’t know,” replied Miguel, who seemed to be realizing this for the first time. “She just said she had some unfinished business at the salon, and to meet her here, that’s all.”
            Miguel walked straight in and sat down in the waiting area. His tight white t-shirt showed off his naturally tanned skin, as well as his taut muscles. At thirty eight, Liam was fifteen years older than Miguel, and more than fifteen pounds heavier, and had long ago given up hope of ever sporting a body like that. He had always been taller and broader than most of his peers, which, over the years, gave way to a look which suited him, and that he felt comfortable with. He looked neither fat nor out of shape, just big, and he liked it that way. Although he wasn’t an athletic man, he did spend two hours a day, Monday through Friday, at the gym, and walked the seven blocks to work. That, he felt, was enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
            He took off his lightweight cardigan and draped it over the back of his desk chair, revealing tattoo sleeves on both arms.

            “How long did it take you to get all those tats?” Asked Miguel, as he stood to take a closer look. “I’ve been thinking about getting one myself.”
            “You have, have you?” Liam said, with a touch of condensation in his tone.
Everybody, it seemed, wanted a tattoo nowadays, especially when they saw the art covering his arms. Liam wondered if somehow it made men feel more masculine and women feel more empowered.
He had gotten his first one – a blue and green eagle on his left bicep – when he was fourteen and running with one of the local street gangs, before they had gone big-time. Later, he had acquired random tattoos in jail and from biker pals he had met in jail. Long after he put his dark days behind him, he filled in the sleeves with more positive and romantic visions to signify his future life. Stars, ships sailing on gentle waves, into an emblazoned sunset, hearts, birds, and symbols of luck and fate, intertwined with venomous snakes, sickles, dripping blood, skeletons, to create a picture of, he hoped, moving forever forward. It was important for Liam that all his body art worked together to paint the full story of his life.
            “So, have you thought about what tattoo you want, or how you want to begin your story?” Liam asked, interested in teaching young Miguel the ways of tattoos.
            “Yeah, I was thinking of having Genevieve tattooed across my biceps, like a Celtic band, you know?” Just then the front door opened, and in walked Genevieve.
            “Well, speak of the devil,” Liam couldn’t help announce, annoyed by Miguel’s foolish remark. Everyone knew tattooing the name of a lover on your body meant trouble. Miguel was so young, Liam thought.
            “What do you mean, devil?” Asked Genevieve, looking around, worried.
            “Oh, we were just talking about you, that’s all. Miguel here was telling me he was thinking of tattooing your name as a Celtic band around his bicep. What do you think?”
            “Irish! It was going to be a surprise,” Miguel blurted. Genevieve looked absolutely mortified.
            “Miguel,” Genevieve almost screamed. What were you thinking?” Miguel looked down, red faced and sheepish.
            “Listen, you two,” Liam broke in. “I’m sure that’s all it was. Miguel thinking.” He paused. “He saw my tats and we just started talking, that’s all. I really don’t think he meant to actually do it, at least not yet, did you Miguel? I mean, not until you’re at least married or something.” Liam winked at Genevieve, who couldn’t help but grin. “What I want to know is, what are you doing here on your day off? Kathy Jacobson is due to arrive any minute, so if you need my help, G, now’s the time.”
            Liam opened the appointment book and scanned the day’s clients. H/C – K. Jacobson. C/C – B. Makelki, C – D. Boyd, C – P. Petroni, and so on. He was booked till five. Miguel, meanwhile, had stepped close to Genevieve and put his arms around her waist. He drew her in for a kiss, when she pulled away, seemingly still annoyed at his thoughtless idea. Liam pretended not to notice. She turned to him.
            “Got a minute then, Irish? It won’t take long.” Then she walked straight back to the staff room and opened the door, leaving it ajar for Liam. He looked at Miguel, standing alone in the middle of the salon floor.
            “Be right back, mate. Oh, and if Kathy comes in, just ask her to have a seat. I’ll be right with her.” He patted him on the back. “Thanks, man.”
Liam followed Genevieve, closing the staff room door behind him. Once inside, he noticed how jumpy and edgy she was, not her usual bouncy and exuberant self. It bothered him.
            “What’s up G? You’re not perturbed about that silly tat idea, are you?”
            “Yes. But no, that’s not what’s really bothering me. It is weird though, you have to admit.” They both laughed.
            “Actually, Irish, I’ve got some news from the front.”
            “The front?”
            “Yeah, the club, you know, The Foxy Lady. Another new development.”
            “Oh, okay then, out with it.” Genevieve had Liam’s full attention now.
            “Della overheard Dominic talking about how he and his cronies were going to fudge the books at the club, again, to make it look like he is now making more money than Mitch did when Mitch ran the place. Apparently Dom and his cohorts have been monkeying around with the numbers to make it look as if Mitch was losing money so that Dom could make his move to take over. He’s offering Mitch a super low price to buy him out, because Mitch thinks things are financially bad, when they’re really not.”
            “Are you sure about this, G?”
            “One hundred percent sure. Della spoke with Betty, Mitch’s old bookkeeper, who was told to leave her job about a year before all of this shit started. Apparently this guy, one of Dom’s thugs, paid Betty off after telling her that things were going to change, and that she should take the money or risk losing her job and being left with nothing. Sounds like he pretended he was working for the government, like he was trying to scare her or something.”
            “And how did she find out it was a hoax?” Asked Liam, now more curious than ever.
            “The new bookkeeper, Sandra, who works for Dom, is friends with Betty. Of course they keep their friendship a secret, but like a lot of jobs, bookkeeping is a small world.”
Liam stood for a minute, rubbing his chin and contemplating what to do.
            “So now we need to get to Mitch, fill him in on what’s been going on, and somehow try to help him. That will be the hard part.”
            “But getting to Mitch won’t be,” said a slightly cocky Genevieve, with a smile on her face.
            “What do you mean, G? I have no idea who Mitch is or where to find him.”
            “Oh, you’d be surprised at the contacts you have in that little black book of yours. We hairdressers aren’t nosey for nothing.”
            “What?”
            “Does the name Frances Del Monte ring a bell?”
            “Frances? Sure, she’s one of my best clients. Known her for years. What could Frances possibly have to do with this?”
            “She may have nothing to do with this, but do you know her husband?”
Suddenly the light bulb went on.
            “Oh my god, Mitch! That’s the Mitch from the club? Who would have guessed? Apparently not me.” They giggled. “I guess I need to be way more attentive and inquisitive when shampooing.”
            “Apparently,” repeated Genevieve.
The door knocked and Miguel’s voice could be heard telling Liam that his first client, Kathy Jacobson, had arrived.
            “Thanks, Miguel. Be right out,” Liam answered. He looked at Genevieve. He noticed the lines around her big brown eyes, strained earlier, had started to soften. Her mouth was not as terse and was back to being plump, red and luscious, and her arms were now uncrossed and dangling by her side. He felt better seeing these small changes in her demeanor.
            “Gotta run, G, but thanks. Really appreciate your confiding in me like you do.”
            “Who else is there?” She replied in a meek voice.
            “Well, Della, for one…and Miguel.”
            “Are you kidding me? Della, sure, but Miguel,” she lowered her voice. “No way! I probably shouldn’t have led him on in the first place. I wasn’t thinking…”
            “G, really, I don’t need to hear all this,” Liam cut in, not wanting too much information.
            “No but…” Her voice broke off. “Well, you know how it is sometimes.”
            Liam nodded agreement, even though he didn’t feel that these days he really did know ‘how it was’ anymore.
            “Okay, well, we’ll talk soon,” Liam said, stalling the inevitable of getting to work. It occurred to him he could stay in the staff room talking to G all day, and wondered what that realization was all about.
            “Okay.” There was an uncomfortable moment where neither of them knew quite what to say or do, where no one wanted the moment to end. Then Genevieve stepped forward and grabbed his wrists and held them. Standing on her tip-toes, she craned her neck up and kissed Liam with her full, moist lips, on the corner of his mouth. It wasn’t directly on his mouth, but it wasn’t on his cheek either, and her lips lingered there for much longer than if it was just a friendly peck. Liam’s loins immediately kicked in, and without being able to stop it, he instantly had a full and hard erection. If Genevieve had felt the rise in his pants, she pretended not to notice. Graciously, she looked up and backed away, giving him the space he needed.
            “Alrighty then,” Liam said, blushing. “Best be getting to work now.”
Liam turned on his heels without looking back. He was afraid if he did, he may never walk out that door.
…stay tuned…Chapter 8 will be posted next Tuesday, September 6th…
For the first time since Genevieve had started working at the salon, she was late. Liam tried calling her cell but she wasn’t picking up. Meanwhile, he managed to keep Amy Richardson somewhat entertained, which was no small feat.
            Amy was twenty five, had married into money, and was extremely entitled. She drove around town in a canary yellow mustang convertible, flaunted expensive bebe t-shirts that invariably showed her midriff, wore three inch wedge or spiked heels, and kept her wrists and fingers covered in finely cut diamonds. However, her high maintenance regime included weekly visits to Snippets, which basically paid the rent on Liam’s seven hundred square foot salon, so despite urges over the years, to tell her off, Liam bit his tongue, and put up with her many demands.

            “Where the hell is she,” Amy whined, looking again at her watch. “I’ve been here for fifteen minutes. You know Leonard will not be happy if I show up late for our lunch date.”
            Leonard was Amy’s husband, eighteen years her senior. He was filthy rich, money he acquired by taking over his father’s oil business after he had passed away from a sudden heart attack. Determined not to follow in his father’s footsteps, Leonard had enrolled in technical college in hopes of becoming an aircraft mechanic, after a torn ligament in his knee dashed his hopes of a pro football career just after he had been recruited. After the funeral, twenty two year old Leonard was approached by his father’s good friend and financial advisor, as well as his father’s attorney. Both men laid it on the line: quit school, get a quick lesson in the oil business, and take over the company, worth an estimated 2.6 billion dollars. It was an offer he could not refuse.
            Amy and Leonard had no children, and had been married for three years. Liam wasn’t sure if Amy wasn’t able to have kids, wasn’t interested in having kids, or just wasn’t ready yet. Neither he or Genevieve could ever get it out of her during her weekly visits, even though they both tried. In fact, neither of them could get much personal information out of her. Amy was a merciless gossip, which may have been the reason why she kept her own private affairs to herself. She kept her topics to Hollywood movie stars, designer fashions, and cosmetic surgery. Even though Amy was young and beautiful, with straight auburn hair, large dark eyes, and a slender yet womanly figure, she was obsessed with botox, face lifts, and breast implants, for starters. Who knew what she had planned for middle age! Liam felt certain that if she ever left the salon for more than a year, he wouldn’t recognize her if he met her on the street.
            The timer went off for Liam to remove Samantha Muller’s color from her hair. Amy began showing him some of her favorite shoes from the most recent Vogue, and he was running out of ideas to keep her occupied, when Genevieve walked through the door. 
            “Where have you been,” he whispered too loudly as he moved away from Amy and herded Genevieve toward the staff room.
“We’ll be right back,” he said to an inquisitive Amy.
Genevieve kept walking, ignoring Liam. He followed her into the room, ready to give her heck, which for Liam meant a light hearted talk, when he stopped short. He closed the door.
            “G, what happened?”
            Genevieve had removed her sunglasses, showing off a purple and yellow shiner on her left eye. She appeared unemotional, almost numb. Liam walked over to her and reached his hand gently toward her eye, as if to stroke it. She flinched, and he automatically pulled away. Then he took her hands in his and held them, lightly rubbing the tops with his thumbs.
            “It was him, wasn’t it?” Genevieve didn’t answer.
            Just then there was a knock at the door.
“What are you two doing in there?” It was Amy Richardson. “Irish, you do realize I’ve been waiting here for almost half an hour? This is terrible service. Genevieve, I need you to come out here this instant and do my hair!” Liam and Genevieve looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
“Be right there, Amy. And…I’m so sorry,” Genevieve replied.
“Amy, have a seat in your usual chair by the window. Genevieve will be right out.” Then Liam turned to Genevieve so Amy couldn’t hear.
“Listen, G, take a minute and fix that bruise so it isn’t so glaring, and get out on the floor. Let’s get through this day and talk later. I think we’re finished at four.” Genevieve nodded and disappeared into the restroom. By the time she got to her, Amy was fuming.
“What kind of service is this around here? I’ve never been so neglected in my life!”
Genevieve started to massage Amy’s scalp, combing her fingers through her dry, over-treated hair. Her fingertips dug deeply, and within minutes Genevieve could feel the effects as Amy’s neck and shoulders began to relax.
“So, how’s Mr. R?” Genevieve asked, keeping Amy’s attention diverted. Amy’s eyes were now closed. Luckily she seemed to have forgotten how upset she was.
“He’s fine, G. You know Leonard. He works, and he works, then we go away to Monte Carlo or St. Lucia so he can unwind, and then he works some more. He likes it.”
“Must be nice,” Genevieve said sincerely.
“So tell me G, have you met the one yet?” Genevieve tried to skirt the question but she could tell by the way Amy was looking at her that nothing would steer her away from getting an answer.
“No,” she said flatly, then changed her tune to keep Amy engaged. “Well, I did meet a guy, here at the salon. He came in for a haircut, and well, you know…” they both laughed. “We kind of hit it off.”
“Well, now we’re talking,” said a very interested Amy.
“Yeah, he’ll be fun for a while, but he’s definitely not the one.”
“So, when are you going to see him again?”
“I’m not sure,” replied Genevieve, contemplating the question. “I guess it is my turn to call him back. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
“He’s not the one who gave you that shiner, is he?”
Genevieve stopped combing and looked at Amy in the mirror. Amy was staring back at her, all knowing, rather pleased with herself. Rather than create any more curiosity on Amy’s part by avoiding the question or changing the subject, Genevieve decided to be blunt. That way, she might ward off any further inquiries. 
“No,” Genevieve said. “That would have been the gang leader and his goons who roughed me up in the back alley of the after-hours strip club,” she added matter-of-factly.
Amy laughed.
“Oh my god, G, you really do have a wild imagination. You should write books, you know?” Amy laughed some more, and Genevieve joined her.
“So, Ms. Amy Richardson, what are we doing today, a touch up color, maybe a trim?”
**********************
Liam Irish locked the front door to the salon at 4:05 pm, and flipped the CLOSED sign around to face the street. The late afternoon sun was glaring through the windows, so he turned the blinds to block it, and walked to the back of the salon to where Genevieve was busy cleaning up. He cut to the chase.
            “G, you can’t let him do that – to you, or anybody, do you hear me?”
Genevieve was sweeping hair up off the floor, her head down, completely absorbed in her thoughts.
“G…G, do you understand?”
Suddenly she burst out with a reply. “What do you think, that I like this or something? Of course I understand, but what am I gonna do? He’s kind of got me by the balls.”
            “What do you mean?”
            “I mean, I work for him, Liam. You know, dance, strip. I can’t afford to quit, and he knows it. It’s like he owns me, just like I was telling you last night at the club. And if I quit, he’ll make sure I can’t get another job at another club in this town, and he’ll make my life miserable just because he and his goons can.” She stopped and thought for a moment.
“Liam, you have no idea.” Genevieve wiped her eye and shrugged, as if in resignation. “It’s my own fault. I got involved with him, now I have to suffer the consequences.”
            Liam looked at her with concern, but then with indignation.
            “No you don’t, G, so get that thought out of your head right now. We’ll figure this out, okay? Just give me some time to think, that’s all. There’s a lot going down right now. I need to process it. I need to figure this out, alright?”
            “But Liam,” Genevieve pleaded, with tears in her eyes. “This is not your fight. You shouldn’t get involved.”
            This was the second time he saw Genevieve’s vulnerability, the first being last night at the club. He was surprised, given her outward cockiness, but then realized she too was human. Her precocious personality was just an outer protective shell. He was now getting to know the real Genevieve.
            “Too late, G. I already am involved.”
…stay tuned…Chapter 8 will be posted next Tuesday, August 30th…

LIAM GETS LUCKY

Posted on: August 16th, 2011 by Madison Lake No Comments
            Della’s presence brought an eerie hush in the room. She had walked in from the side door when one of the bouncers clued her in to what was going down backstage. She knew she was needed.
            “So, Dom, what seems to be the problem?” Della was staring directly into his eyes, her hands firmly planted on her hips. Dominic looked annoyed.
            “Fucked if I know. I saw this schmuck sneaking into sweet little Savannah’s room, and, well, it just stinks, that’s all. I don’ like it. Nobody messes with my girls, that’s all I’m sayin’.”
            Della thought for a minute before responding.
            “Your girls? Really? Have you asked Savannah how she feels?”
            Dominic shifted restlessly from foot to foot. He didn’t like confrontations at the best of times. He knew he was a loose cannon, and could snap at any moment, but he held fast.
 “Listen, Della. That is your name, aint it?” He looked at her, nonplussed. Della nodded. “So, here’s the deal. Since I now own this joint, I’m the one looking out for things, got it?” He glanced around the room to show who was in charge. “These here my girls, this my stage, this my show. Aint nobody telling me how I do things, even you.” He glared at Della who stood her ground. There was a long silence. Women’s eyes peered out from behind doors cracked just enough to get the gist of what was going on. Those brave enough to have remained standing out in the open hall, kept as still as statues. Images of how this would all end up raced through Liam’s head. Would Dominic win, therefore gaining even more unnecessary power to fuel his gangster ways. Liam hated the idea. Tension hung in the air like a fuse ready to be lit.

“Well, Dominic,” Della suddenly chimed in. “Seeing as this place of yours is still under escrow, seems to me it’s not really yours yet, is it?” She smirked ever so slightly, but hastened to be too coy as to trigger the temper Dominic was known for.
“If memory serves me, you’re still trying to come up with the cash to seal the deal. Am I right, Dominic?” Della now held a poker face. Not only did Liam feel his body relax a bit but there was an overall release of pressure in the room as this bit of confidential information was given out. The only one who looked anxious now was Dominic.
“Shut the fuck up, bitch. All a yous, can just go to hell.” Dominic’s fists clenched. The group started to back away from him. “You think you’re so smart? He continued, looking first at Della, then at Liam. “Well just wait…just you wait.” With that last comment left dangling in the silent room, Dominic turned, and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
“Well,” Della sighed, letting her arms fall easily down to her sides. “That about settles that, at least for the time being. Now,” she glanced around the room at the sets of eyes looking to her for direction. “Y’all get back to your business. He’s gone, and won’t be coming back tonight, I can promise you that. Just don’t go doing anything foolish, ya hear me?”
There was a general flurry of shuffling and scurrying as people went back to their business. Liam looked at Della. Savannah, who had snuggled up against Liam’s back for protection, cautiously poked her head out from under his arm.
“So, what’s the deal, Della? Since when did Dominic take over this place…and why? I mean, I’ve been coming here for years, you know that, and I’ve never seen that guy here. Never.”
“Don’t worry about it, Irish,” Della shrugged. “He’s a big talkin’ crook, is what he is. Truth is, he walked in here sometime last month. Wanted to bail old Mitch out of the bind he was in with the rent and all. Poor Mitch, didn’t see it coming, but he had no choice. Money’s money. Thing is, Dom doesn’t have any, and if he suddenly gets some, like he’s tryin’ to do, ya know it’s dirty. But, I guess business is business. It’s not for me to say.” Della threw her hands up in dismay. All of a sudden, a shadow moved from behind the curtain and a figure emerged. It was Genevieve. She looked tired and worried, and held back from being her usual confident, even forceful self. Della picked up on her tension right away.
“Hey, G, c’mon over and talk with us. C’mon girl. Don’t be shy.” Della reached toward the general direction of where she hung in the darkness, and slowly Genevieve came forward and fell into Della’s embrace. She placed her head on Della’s shoulder in a show of defeat, but for what, Liam could not tell. Was she defeated that Dominic had been challenged and beaten, or was it something else? So far, he had not seen this demure side of Genevieve, and it intrigued him. Like the rest of the onlookers, he waited.
            “Oh, Della…oh, Liam! I don’t know what to do.” Genevieve let her eyes drop to avoid letting on she was weeping. Liam moved away from Savannah and went to Genevieve, wrapping her small, shaking body in his big, comforting arms. Savannah did not look at all pleased. After a few minutes, Genevieve continued, warily at first, and then with more assurance.
            “You all have no idea what a beast Dom is.” Tears rolled down her cheeks. Liam held her close and stroked her shoulders to help calm her down.
            “He won’t let me out of his clutches. Ever since I broke up with him – almost six months ago – he…he has kept me like I’m his…his…like he’s my pimp.” Genevieve broke down in tears.
“It’s awful. You have no idea,” she said again. She looked up at Della. “He expects me to dance every night and to hand over my tips to him. He pays me, of course he pays me, but not enough to make it worth it. If I try to quit, he calls his thugs and they rough me up.” Sobbing almost uncontrollably now, Genevieve could hardly get the rest of her story out. Most of the women hanging around, began to move toward her from their prospective perches, all wanting to comfort her, like they could somehow relate to her story. Liam stood speechless. He didn’t know what to do. Once again, Della took charge.
“Tell me, honey, how long has this been going on?”
“Almost since we broke up, at least six months.”
“And were you a dancer here before you met Dominic?”
            Genevieve quietly looked down. “No. I mean I had considered it, as a way to make extra money, that is. I’d always been good at dancing. Took ballet for seven years, and tap and jazz too. Stripping was a real scary decision for me to make, but after my first time, I realized it wasn’t so bad. I could block out the audience, you know, all the hootin’ and hollerin’, and go into my own world with the music and the movement, like I used to do in the dance studio, or later on when I was home alone, and danced in my living room.” She seemed to slip into another time and place as she drew from her past.
“Once I got my first paycheck, not to mention the tips, I figured I could work nights while keeping a day job and no one would be the wiser. So, that’s how it all began, eight years ago at The Royale. You know, over in South Beach? I was only seventeen, but it really worked for me, had a good routine going on, that is until I met Dominic.” She lowered her head again.
            “Go on, sweetie. What changed?” Genevieve thought for a minute.
            “Well,” she stammered. “At first he was real sweet to me, Dominic that is. He encouraged me to keep dancing at the club, work as much as I could. I think he liked the money.” She smiled at the irony. “That’s where we met, you know?”
“No, I didn’t know that.” Della replied in a kind, interested voice. “Go on.”
“He would send roses and champagne to my backstage room, like he was real proud of me. He’d send a car for me after work so I didn’t have to make my way home in the dark alone. He seemed to really like that I was a dancer, made me feel special.” Genevieve got quiet again.
“About a year after we met, I got the job here, at The Foxy. That’s when things started to change with Dom. He started bossing me around, telling me when to work and even what I should and shouldn’t do when I worked. He wasn’t supportive anymore, and you know something else? He stopped coming into the club. Never once did he come see me dance at The Foxy. Not once. Don’t you find that strange? I do. I think it’s really weird – disturbing, actually.”
            Genevieve had stopped crying. Liam noticed a faraway look in her eye, as if in reverie. She didn’t look sad anymore, she looked confused yet relieved.
            “It’s too complicated to go into details now, Della, but let’s just say that Dom is a controlling type.”
            “You’re telling me,” said one of the girls across the room.
            “I think…no I’m sure he was using me to gain control of, not only my life, but this club and everyone in it.” She looked around at all the faces nodding in agreement. “He did it so cleverly that I didn’t even realize it was happening until it was too late. And here I am. I don’t know how to extricate myself from his evil clutches. It’s like being a Mafia wife, locked in a lifestyle forever because you know too much.”
            “What do you know, Genevieve?” Della’s question was gently put but urgent in need.
            “I think we’ve been through enough for one night, don’t you?” Liam nodded toward Della, avoiding Genevieve’s eyes. “We certainly have a lot to discuss, but it’s late. Why don’t we all get some sleep and revisit this tomorrow, or sometime in the near future. What do you say?”
            Della agreed. She took Genevieve by the hand and started toward the door.
            “Come with me, little angel. I’ll make sure you get home safe and sound.”
            “But…” Genevieve suddenly looked desperately at Liam, who looked back at her, surprised, and somewhat anguished as to what to do next.
            “Irish, don’t you have some business to finish?” Savannah Porsche pulled at Liam’s arm in the direction of her room. In all the commotion, he’d forgotten what he had been up to before this had all started, and now he had lost interest.
            “Oh, Savannah, maybe another…” But before he could get the excuse out of his mouth, Savannah dragged him into her room and closed the door behind them. It was only a matter of minutes before soft but burning moans could be heard resonating through the backrooms of The Foxy Lady strip club.
stay tuned…Chapter 7 will be posted next Tuesday, August 23rd…


By the end of the week, the small riot was already a distant memory. The club was cleaned up, a few new bouncers were on staff, and things were as they should be.
Liam returned to The Foxy Lady the following Tuesday, and the Tuesday after that. Della kept him from prying information out of her about Genevieve, by telling stories of some of the other girls. She disliked gossip of any kind, although it was difficult not to get sucked into a little bit now and then. Some of the stories she heard were enough to make even Della squirm, and she was one tough cookie. One thing she did tell Irish, however, was that Genevieve was different than the others. She kept to herself, wasn’t there to steal the limelight from any of the old timers, and minded her own business. The other dancers seemed to like her well enough, and she was no trouble for the club, although she often arrived just in time to go on, which by Della’s standards was pushing it.
But there was something lingering that Della could not put her finger on. Liam wasn’t surprised. Genevieve had proven to Liam that she was someone he could trust, and that went far with him. She was eccentric and edgy, that was for certain, but that wasn’t the issue. What bothered him was her reserve, like she was hiding something, and Liam felt whatever that something was, it was big. She definitely had some deep, dark secret and it bothered him that he didn’t know what it was.

It was early, only ten thirty pm the third Tuesday after the bar fight, and Liam had nothing but time on his hands. Plus, he figured he might get a glimpse if Genevieve happened to walk into the club early. So far he had stayed clear of her on his weekly visits, not wanting to be discovered he was in on her secret, if that’s what it was. The past couple weeks at the salon had been the most difficult. He was dying to talk with her about her double life, dying for an inside peek, though he knew he had no right. But intrigue was getting the better of him and he didn’t know how much longer he could last without revealing that he had been frequenting The Foxy Lady now, just to watch her show. Oh, he had his alibi alright, if she did find him out. Della could vouch for the fact that Irish had been a regular customer there for years, which he had. He’d rehearsed what he’d say to Genevieve, that he didn’t know it was her behind the shadows, or that he’d only just found out that night. There were ways around her not suspecting that he’d known for weeks that this was her alternate ego, that he’d been one of the regulars who ogled her through the dimness of the stage lights.  
Della placed a Ginger Ale on the rocks in front of Liam and sat down beside him. It was a good time to take a load off as the place wasn’t due to start filling up till midnight.
“Ya know, Irish, I’ve been thinking I should introduce you to Savannah, you know, Savannah Porsche, our ribbon lady.”
Liam didn’t raise his eyes from his drink.
“Aw, c’mon Irish, you know you’ve got an eye for her. You always have. She’s a good girl, arrives to work early every night, never gets herself into trouble, and she goes home alone. Imagine that?” Della smiled. “Whadya say, Irish? I hate to see you sittin’ here all alone week after week. Aren’t ya tired of being sad and lonely?”
Della stared singing, Are you lonesome tonight, Do you miss me tonight? Are you sorry we drifted apart? She loved Elvis, and Liam couldn’t help smile at Della’s sensitivity.
“Okay, tell ya what I’m gonna do.” Della grabbed Liam’s hands, resting on the tabletop, and wrapped them in hers. “After the show tonight, I want you to meet me at the backstage door. You aint leaving without a meet ‘n greet. Not tonight. That’s all I ask. Do I have your promise?”
Liam looked skeptically at Della.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Della stood, stretched her legs and plumped up her breasts to just overflowing, before stepping out onto the main floor.
“Gotta run, sugar. Enjoy the show. Savannah’s first up.” She winked at him, then walked off toward the bar.
Liam nestled back into his corner as the house lights dimmed and the music started. One of the things he loved about coming to The Foxy Lady was that Della took such good care of him. Perhaps it was the mother in her that appealed, though she wasn’t that much older than he was, maybe ten or twelve years, but he knew she’d had a hard life and was trying to do good without all the resources and know-how to do so. Those reasons alone made Liam relate to her – and love her in his own way. They both seemed to have picked up on the similarities in each other’s background, even though they never dared bring it up. It was an unspoken understanding among those from an impoverished, dysfunctional upbringing. They just knew. Liam watched the performance, mesmerized by the soaring ribbons and the beauty of movement onstage.
After the last dancer of the evening walked offstage and the curtain went down, Liam Irish paid his tab at the bar and made his way to the stage door. Della was nowhere to be found so he pushed the door open and walked through. It was a hive of activity, nearly naked woman parading around from room to room giggling and gabbing about the night’s acts. Many of the older women, those in their thirties or early forties, were happily lounging around having a drink and smoking cigarettes. It was their cool down time after the show. On the other hand, many of the younger girls were in a rush to change and get out of the club for what remained of the active part of their stint, walking the streets seeing what extra could be made by turning a couple of tricks. Liam knew this was all in a day’s work.
There was no sign of Savannah, or Genevieve for that matter, and Liam realized he was the only man backstage except for a couple of stagehands. His presence was starting to cause quite a stir. Women stared and whistled and called him over to where they were sitting, trying to entice him to join them for the evening. He tried to ignore their taunts. Even he was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Just then a door opened and out walked Savannah. She was scantily dressed in a black and pink lace bodice with garters that attached to silk opaque stockings. On her feet were hot pink stiletto slippers with fluffy white ostrich feathers puffs on each toe. A sheer, revealing cover up did not do its job, showing off not only dark red nipples that poked over the laced up bodice, but a hint of what might lie in wait down at the bottom. Liam’s breath caught. Should he turn and walk the other way, or should he show how he really felt, completely swept off his feet by her beauty and sexiness? Rather than wait for him to decide, Savannah Porsche jostled right up, as if she had been expecting him. 
“I hear you might be looking for a little company tonight. Is that right?” Her voice was like liquid velvet.
“Where did you hear that?” Liam stammered.
He could feel the heat in his face and it pissed him off that his body gave him away. Why couldn’t he be like other men, grab her around the waist, haul her into her dressing room, and do her right there on the floor with her moaning and screaming for all to hear. But oh, no, not quiet, reserved Liam. He hated this side of him and he often felt victim to his own shortcomings. Before he could give much more thought to his genetic framework, Liam felt Savannah’s body next to his. Her bare breasts ever so lightly touched his arm, her lips brushed against his cheek.
“I’ve got some Grey Goose in my room. Interested?” She whispered in his ear. That alone made Liam’s head spin.
Liam wondered what to say. It wasn’t about the Grey Goose but he had to reply to that offer, and somehow the mention of Lent and sobriety didn’t seem to be what he had in mind. Before he could come up with a clever answer, one came to him another way. Savannah Porsche took him gently by the arm and led him quietly to her room, surrounded by an audience of jealous females. As they arrived at her the door, Liam’s shirt was half unbuttoned and Savannah’s fingers were fondling the hair on his chest, her tongue twirled around his right nipple. He could not stop his hands from reaching for hers, hard and ripe, waiting for him to pull them in gentle arousal. Before they could get the door closed there was a flutter of movement behind them. At first Liam thought it was the two of them causing a fuss, but then he realized women hustled back to their rooms, doors slammed, and what a minute ago was a vibrant, happy, after hours retreat, had just turned into lockdown. Liam tried to see what all the commotion was about but Savannah urged him into her room, and he was easily led. Before she could secure them safely inside, he heard a voice, a familiar voice, coming up to him. This time he turned around and found himself face to face with the one causing the disturbance.
“Eh, bro, what you doin in my house, huh? You not allowed back here. This here’s my office, these girls, my girls, got it?” By now Dominic was standing so close Liam could smell the Wild Turkey and Cohiba on his breath. Behind Dominic, Liam spied Genevieve, dressed in a lovely cream colored silk robe, with her hair loose around her face and down her back. He noticed that Genevieve looked frightened but he couldn’t tell if it was because of Dominic, or because she saw that he was there. Dominic’s eyes flared black and dangerous. Liam knew not to mess around with him but he was also a paying customer and had been for years. He hadn’t stepped out of line. A lot of the guys went back stage when invited, and Liam had been invited. The odd thing was, Liam had no idea Dominic owned The Foxy Lady. He wondered how long he had, or if he really even did own it. Strange things happened in these places so the truth was anyone’s guess. However, the behavior of the working girls when Dominic had come into the room spoke volumes. Piece by small piece, Liam started to put the Genevieve puzzle together.  
…stay tuned…Chapter 6 will be posted next Tuesday, August 16th… 

CHAPTER 4 – SEEING THINGS

Posted on: August 2nd, 2011 by Madison Lake 2 Comments
Liam Irish settled into his usual seat in the back corner of The Foxy Lady strip club. He didn’t like being up close. There were too many loud mouths and creeps pounding back Jack Daniel’s and yelling profanities at the dancers, for his liking. Besides, Liam preferred to be alone with his thoughts.
Savannah Porsche was just finishing her show. Liam liked Savannah. Using ribbons as her dance prop, she slowly unwrapped herself, like a package, creating an elegant frenzy of color around her curvy, near naked body. The grace in which she unraveled herself, then the final flutter of ribbons around the stage, made Liam think of the tails of kites flying freely in the breeze. There was a spacious field near a lake, where, as a boy, he used to fly kites with his grandfather. He remembered the freedom he felt when the kite finally got picked up by the air current and was carried away. How it made his heart lift, like he was the kite itself. The colorful ribbons caught in the sunlight, quivered and swirled in the wind. Liam thought it was beautiful, then and now. Then he remembered having to return home to his hard-drinking father and prostitute mother, the poverty and misery. His grandfather had been his only mentor, his only friend, and then he had died.
            The house lights dimmed to almost black as the music stopped, and Savannah Porsche disappeared into the darkness. Without a break, another song started. It was soft and sensual, an R&B piece, not the usual raunchy songs most of the strippers played. First he only saw a leg, long and lanky, move with the music. The dancer was in shadow at the very back of the stage. Whoever was attached to that leg had to be gorgeous, Liam thought to himself. He wasn’t familiar with this piece, or, he thought, with this dancer.
The leg was stockinged in black fishnets and on her foot was a very sexy, strappy heel with metallic rhinestones that caught the light when her foot moved. Her ankles were slim, and her leg seemed to go on forever. Liam wasn’t sure if the dancer was sitting on a stool while producing this tantalizing leg of hers, or whether she was standing up, but the lighting kept the rest of her body, which appeared to be dressed in black, well hidden. The audience could not see her even if they tried. Liam was riveted.
            As the music lulled its melodic rhythm, the dancer kept her leg twirling and bending with the beat. Her flexibility was beyond what he’d seen before, and he’d seen a lot of dancers in his day. As much as he anticipated, with growing urgency, for the dancer to reveal herself, he was thoroughly enjoying being strung along. The crowd gathered around the stage at the front did not share his point of view, however. They were growing impatient. With every circling tease of her lifted or twisted leg, the men called for more. Finally, another leg appeared to loud applause. Now, thinking they were going to be offered a real show, the men started to hustle, tossing bills onto the stage, whistling and cat-calling their vulgar remarks.
“Show us some pussy with them legs of yours,” cried one young man who was getting so worked up he was visibly perspiring.
“Give us a taste of it, sugar,” demanded another.
“Don’t bore me. Gimme some action.” To this the men started hooting and hollering. A few even tried to clamber onstage and had to be dragged off by a burly tattooed bouncer who Liam didn’t recognize, and who he thought was young enough to be his son. Liam also thought, for a Tuesday night, the house was rowdier than usual, especially this early in the evening. He wondered if there was a stag going on, or a private party. Otherwise, it was particularly unruly behavior for a weeknight.
The dancer continued working the crowd with two legs swinging and pumping with the beats. Her moves were seductive and alluring but Liam knew that it didn’t appeal to the other men in the bar. He looked around. Most of them there were young, which explained the attention span and level of boisterousness. By the number of Grey Goose and Jack Daniel’s bottles beginning to pile up on the tables that surrounded the stage, they were drinking hard, getting shit-faced as their ultimate goal. A couple of guys were already flashing wads of green for lap dances or private rooms. Liam shifted in his chair. Just then his barmaid approached.
“How ya doing sweetheart. Care for another?” She leaned over to place a clean cocktail napkin down on the small, round table, in preparation for a positive reply. Her ample bosoms were close enough for Liam to nuzzle his nose into, had he wanted, and she probably would have only expected an additional ten spot, at least for starters. Since he didn’t bite, she tried another angle.
“You here alone tonight?”
“Yeah, I’m here alone. I’m always here alone, you know that.” Liam winked. “But no Johnnie Walker Blue for me tonight.”
“Oh, bein’ a wise guy, are ya?” Della smiled.
“Actually, no. I’m chillin’, with the booze, that is. Only temporarily,” he added. “I’m testing my will power. How do ya like them apples?”
“Wow. And ya came in for a visit anyway? I’m impressed. Okay, hon. I’ll bring ya a Ginger on the rocks. Will that do ya?”
“That’d be great. So, what’s with the fraternity boys tonight, Della?” Liam asked, looking around warily.
“Oh, shit, them? It’s some sorta high school reunion or somethin. We’re all told to watch our backs. Got extra strong-arms on duty too. And it’s only eleven. Geez. Just tryin to keep cool, is all, tryin to keep cool.” Della gave Liam a wink. “Be right back with your Ginger, baby.”
He watched her walk over to the bar, warding off a couple of hustles along the way. Della was a pro. She could handle herself in almost any situation. Still, Liam didn’t like where this night was going. He figured he’d finish his Ginger Ale and head home, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the show. Not till she was finished.
While Liam had been distracted, the stripper had added arms to her performance, taunting the audience with hand gestures to the area where her legs parted, or by running her gloved fingers up her legs. She was removing her stockings now. He watched in rapt attention. The music was hypnotizing, as were her moves. As she ran her graceful fingers from the tip of her toes to the darkness that was between her thighs, Liam realized he was getting very turned on. His pants began to bulge at the crotch and he desperately wanted to get laid – now. But he was so entertained by the performance that he couldn’t – wouldn’t tear himself away. He had to see who this mystery woman behind the shadows was.
“Here ya go, hon. Ginger, on the rocks.”
“And here you go, Della.” He handed her a twenty. “Pretend it’s my usual and keep the change.”
Della noticed Liam didn’t take his eyes off the stage during their exchange. “She’s good, isn’t she?” Della asked him, with an interest.
“Who is she?”
“A newbie. Came in a couple weeks ago and boy can she dance. Hired on the spot.” Della glanced at the stage. “Alotta the guys don’t like that she doesn’t ‘show all’ but I think she’s damn good. That’s what ya outta be – a tease. That’s why they call it striptease for crissake.” Della laughed. “Listen hon, I gotta run. Nice seein ya. Take it easy, huh? Next week?”
Liam nodded. “Yeah, probably. Take care yourself, Della.”
He settled back in to watch the end of the show. Suddenly there was a skirmish at the bar. A bottle of Bacardi went crashing down on a nearby table and before anyone had a chance to see what was going on, a full on brawl broke out. Guys that were sitting around the dance floor leapt up to join in, thinking it was a good time to show off their muscles. Bouncers came out of the back rooms. The front door was bolted shut. Liam looked around frantically. He wanted nothing to do with this, but he couldn’t escape now. He burrowed into his dark corner and tried to remain incognito. This wasn’t his thing, not anymore. His days of bar fights and drunken disorderliness were over. He’d seen enough of the seedy side of life, had lived enough of it, to understand he was far better off to walk away. Walk away from the poverty, the booze, the eking out some life from those horrible choices. He knew now that he would never drink again, and it occurred to him that it was okay. Like a light bulb had just gone on, Liam Irish laughed out loud at this new discovery about himself. He wanted to jump for joy, to go over and sweep Della off her feet and hug her. He felt great. But he could see Della being pushed into one of the private rooms by a bouncer who was trying to keep her from getting hurt. Beer bottles were breaking and fists were flying. While Liam was having his revelation, The Foxy Lady was erupting into mayhem.
Liam turned away from the fight scene and looked back up at the stage. The dancer was gone. Legs, arms, graceful hands, all had disappeared from view. At least she’s been taken out of harm’s way, Liam thought, but where was she? He looked around, wanting desperately to find her, to know she was safe, to see her one last time. Then, in the shadows of the drawn curtain he spotted the lovely figure of a woman silhouetted against the dim backstage lights. The same long legs, the same graceful arms hung at her sides. She was watching the scene at the bar, in fear, or fascination. Her features were perfect, her stance familiar. Genevieve.
…stay tuned…Chapter 5 will be posted next Tuesday, August 9th…