Chapter 2: “Just Dancing”
All high school girls need cash, if mommy and daddy don’t pay for everything, then you are most likely working and going to school. In my case, I had a truck payment, insurance, and gas to buy. Welcome to real fucking life. I started working the graveyard shift as a waitress at a truck stop in my town, just the usual tired trucker, beat cop, or lot lizard. No serious business. So, like a good student I worked on my homework. Calculus spread across the formica table top, legs crossed under the table with a coke in my hand. I spent many a night doing just that. It was after a couple of weeks, that we developed a regular. Levi owned a tiny establishment way out of town and almost habitually stopped in around 11:30 pm for coffee and apple pie; nothing more American, so cliché. I hated him from the first moment I took his order. Long and thin, he was balding and crude. He was shameless around the girls, and it only took one bitchy comeback from me to shut him down. One night, hip deep in dirty dishwater with chemical equations bouncing through my head, I turned on the radio. I’m well-known for my obsession with country music, so of course I had the tunes blasted. I never cared much for others opinion of me, and without a single thought to the trouble I might cause, I began to dance. Giggling and swaying my hips back and forth, I scrubbed to a rhythm; my hips bumping the sink and my feet sliding back and forth across the broken tiles in the kitchen. Spinning quickly so as not to lose pace, I dropped a steam table tray into the water and it soaked me from collar bone to bellybutton. Cursing loudly, I strutted towards the front, hell-bent on the dry towel I knew was underneath the register. Bending down, I heard a snort from the other side of the counter. Straightening, I saw Levi staring at my wet chest, with red lacy bra evident and my slowly hardening nipples pushing the cloth forward. “Wonderful”, I thought “Just what I need.” “
I saw you dancing, back there,” he leered at me. “What the fuck were you watching for, asshole?
” I responded with my sweetest smile. Miffed, he started to walk away, but instead turned and proceeded to ask me how much I made working the grave yard shift.
“Not enough to put up with what I do,” I said with vigorous attitude. “Come work at my place and I’ll pay you per night what you make here in three days and you keep your tips,” he answered with a wink.
“I’m not a hooker or a whore, and I don’t want to work for you” I said, quieter this time.
“I own a god damn bar, and with that ass, you could bring in business.” My brows furrowed and I slid my hand over the back of my neck considering the next truck payment and the price of gas.
“What do I do?” I asked.
“You serve (illegally I interjected),” he responded, “And…you dance.”
“Whatever,” I twisted with my towel and ambled back to the sink, unbuttoning my top button with my back turned. As I reached the threshold between the front where Levi was standing and the kitchen door, I swung my body to face the door frame and slid up and down it with one leg on each side of the doorway. “Like this?” I questioned obstinately. I flipped my head back and listened as Levi let out a groan and said, “hired.” I felt the thrill slide through me, and thought of fewer hours, more cash, and the lure of doing what I was good at, and what I loved. No more coffee, no more aprons, switching to boots, cutoffs and good music. You can’t take the honkey-tonk out of the girl, I suppose. I started that Friday, and I still work a few weekends to this day when I need the cash. The regulars know my long legs and mass of hair better than I know my own reflection in the mirror. They know that I don’t need alcohol to be confident in my desires and they know I only work in jeans. I found my release, my happiness in the heels of my boots scraping the wooden bar top and my hips controlling my body as the steel guitar slid between the strings of the fiddle and deep repetition of the drums. I had sold my soul to the devil that is country music, and on a good weekend I could fill the place, and Levi’s register. The boys were great for my confidence and always gave my ass a good slap as I wiggled past them on my way to dance. Honestly, I don’t believe it was my figure that brought the customers in, I think it was my attitude. When you don’t have to fake your joy, it becomes contagious. I was always up for a good time, and the boys used to make bets on who could get me down from the bar top. Once in while they would succeed. Mostly, it took more than one. I would remind them that good boys share, or get nothing at all. I could move up and down a man better than any metal pole. I learned quickly the trick is to sell them against each other. Easy enough, if you remember to shave your legs. More important than hardening men is listening to them. I heard stories, I took advice, I watched magic tricks, and nodded off to the drunken lullabies. Veterans shared their gruesome truths and I developed a sense of pride for they were and what they stood for. I was more than a young body; I was a listening ear, a witty break, and a careless spirit. My personality sometimes gets the better of me. I loved that place, and I took some brutal lesson in life and sexual experience there, but it will always be like a second home to me. I still hate Levi, but he did let me rule the place when I was there. My biggest challenge was seeing how many men I could please at once. At first, my body was sensitive, and wouldn't take what I wanted it to. Gradually I built up a mental strength and let my body suffer. I caught on to my limits and pushed past them, spreading my legs with eagerness and taking what I could and then some. Arching my back against the counter tops and propping my legs against the back doors. I chose my pleasure, it was never chosen for me. I always stood by decision and put my entire heart into the moment, never giving a second thought. Mom always told me I wore my heart on my sleeve, and I suppose that was the best advertisement. Funny enough, she never questioned work, I think she knew exactly what was happening, but also knew she would have to kill me to get me to quit. Poor mom. She was just as wild. Some nights I felt like I was beating my head against the wall (wait, I was). I guess I was getting picky and looking for the cream of the crop, the forbidden target, the alpha male. I hated the feeling of inadequacy and despised myself for always wanting more, long after everyone else was finished. Was I really that wicked? That hard to please? Other women seemed to settle. I didn't want that to be me. I promised myself to remain unchained until I could be pleased, without doing all the work to get there.