|Cover design by Joanne Renaud|
Here's a sample story...Nine Ladies Dancing, which originally ran as part of the Dark Valentine "Twelve Days of Christmas" fiction fest last year.
Nine Ladies Dancing
There were four little cubicles crammed into the basement of Jake Mirzoyan’s club, each with a mirror, a tiny shelf for makeup, a couple of hooks for costumes, and two chairs. On Saturday nights, when all the girls were working, things got a little crowded in the basement. There was only one bathroom down there—the girls weren’t allowed to use the one upstairs, the one the customers used—so if someone ate a bad taco for lunch, everybody knew it.
They all knew about a lot of things—about Reva’s abortion, about Lanelle’s problem with her ex, about Kim’s relapse with the vikes. You get eight women in close quarters and they’re going to be all up in each other’s business. It was kind of like a family that way, a big dysfunctional family with an abusive daddy. The girls knew all about abusive daddies.
Jake was greedy but he wasn’t ambitious and he was bone lazy. He made a lot of money from the club—almost all of it cash, almost all of it untraceable. Girls came and went at the club but there were never more than eight dancers at one time. Eight was enough. Eight was a number he could handle.
And then Suki showed up. Suki with her pale, pale skin and her dark, dark eyes. Suki with the red hair right out of a shampoo commercial. Her real name was probably Susan or something but as far as Jake was concerned, she could call herself Angelina Jolie if she wanted to. She was tall—taller than him—and big-breasted, just the way his customers liked them. And they weren’t fake tits like Jude’s or Kitta’s either.
Even though Jake had a rule about not mixing business with pleasure, he would have chopped off his own dick to dip into Suki’s honey-pot. He wasn’t the only one. Brianna, who’d been dancing at the club since she was an underage runaway, took one look at Suki and fell in love.
Suki was too good for Jake’s little place, but didn’t seem to know it. The girls all knew it, though. They knew Suki could have been working the gentlemen’s clubs in L.A., somewhere she could maybe find a sugar daddy to take care of her. A lot of celebrities go to those clubs for kicks. A lot of money gets thrown around. The girls wondered why Suki would come to a rat-hole like Jake’s club when she had other options. None of the girls who worked for Jake had options. At least, not any more.
Jake let it be known that he would be firing one of the girls to make room for Suki but he didn’t tell them which one and suggested if anyone wanted to discuss the matter privately with him, then he’d be available in his office any time. Jude was the first to climb the stairs to Jake’s office. She had a little one at home that her mother took care of. She supported both of them. She needed the job.