He comes for the game. She draws it out, stretch by stretch, and her eyes miss nothing. She immediately picks up on it when he gets impatient, bored. She doesn't use the lingo and she doesn't try and trip him up with bogus bullshit about her 'hard-knocks life.'
Her attention to detail--this is what he appreciates about her. She doesn't work the floor like the other girls. She comes right to him and he knows it's just for him. The look in her eyes is different than when she's on stage. Her eyes seem almost soft, as if a layer has pushed itself back so she can let him see.
The others come out in lingerie and this one, she walks out in a wife beater and cut-offs. Jeremy loves the look. He can see her nipples through the shirt and her boyish haircut shows off her musculature. He's going to make her change, though. He's going to make her dress like a girl. If she'd come out in a dress, he'd tell her to dress in a wife beater. It's a small thing, but he enjoys the way he feels when she does it for him.
She won't give him her real name. But that'll come. It always does. They want to tell, they're dying to tell. He'd even gotten a couple of call girls to tell him their real names, and that's something. If you know their names you have a part of them that they can't take away from you when they leave.
The main thing is to get inside. They think they're getting into him, but it's the opposite. The money peels them back, layer by layer, until they're helpless. Money is not a problem—has never been a problem. They can smell it on him like pheromones. But this one, his red-haired pixie, she won't show him her need, and that's what he wants to get at. Her longing.
He tells you he pays to see you naked. You know it isn't your flesh. Your gloved hands splay out on your thighs and he doesn't even glance at them. It's even more personal than the gloves. The champagne feels so good going down. He remembers you like the sweeter kind.
What would you like? you ask.
I want to see more, like the last time I was here--do you remember the last time I was here?
You don't play dumb because you never do. You nod and he moves closer to you. Your chest rises and falls, deep and then shallow, a tide pulling out and gushing in, water filling you up. The music plays and for one moment you allow it, just one: that transposition of your real life onto this and your soft bed and his hands and your hands melding together above your head and then it shuts off fast because you remember the money.
You remember he's not paying you for your thoughts, your vision, your daughter, your aspirations. He's not even paying you solely for your body. He pays to see a small part of you flash in your eyes, while you maintain the illusion that it's only at his beck and call. He wants control of you and then it's so easy to be cold.
He waits and so you shut your eyes. Lights beam in front of you, behind your closed eyes, miniature faces in the crowd have shadows and light touching them and your whole body is taut as your cue approaches. You spring to the stage and into the heat of the lights. The familiar tension jars you for only a moment--but now that you're on your toes, turning, arms hovering out, it's as if you could never come down. Each step synchronized with the other dancers so that all of the toe shoes create a primal percussion to the delicate strain of the music. There's a sensual release in allowing your body to do what it knows how to do, an unthinking, unblinking relinquishing of will to the will of the music and the rhythm and the demands of your body to let go, let go, let go!
And you let go… and you choose the moment carefully when you open your eyes and see his eyes peering into yours and you're so afraid that the tears show.
There you are, he says. Dance for me.