She called herself a showgirl. Others would say she was an exotic dancer, or, a stripper. Whatever you call her, the old man was crazy about her. He’d spend all of his social security money down at Brandy’s watching her on afternoon shifts. Tipping her a dollar at a time. She’d shake her large breasts in his face and he was all smiles. Her long brunette hair would cover his gray head as she placed her tattooed arms on his shoulders. Bending over then turning around so he could see her round ass. He sat there in silence. Just looking- on. A beer in front of him that he sipped on.

When she came off stage she made it a point to talk to the old man before making her rounds. They’d talk about all kinds of things. Short conversations. She’d ask him how his boy was? Was he surviving the summer’s heat? The tall dancer would briefly play with his hair, kiss his forehead, then move on to the next table.

He kept an eye on her. Watched while she sat in men’s laps, doing back flips, grinding. The old man was real jealous of this. Wished he had the money to spend on special treatment. He’d sigh when he saw her take men back behind soft red curtains. God only knew what she was doing to em back there, he thought. Or, what they were doing to her. He knew she got completely naked. The sign outside said, All Nude. He’d like to see that.

But, he had a budget. Everyday except Sunday he’d take twenty dollars to the club. Buy one beer and the rest went to her. Used to be in his younger days he’d tip twenties for a lap dance. Go away at night leaving his wife at home to make his lunch for the next day. Leaving his son to do homework on his own. The old man would get in late back then and tell his wife he was playing poker with the boys. Or, had to work late; over time. She was not fooled. She knew he was up to no good. Found reciepts in his pockets when she did laundry. She’d laugh. Said to herself, As long as he comes home. As long as he comes home.

The old man’s wife passed away a few years back. Had the funeral out on Crescent Road. A preacher spoke and they sang The Old Rugged Cross. Then they prayed for her soul. The old man didn’t shed a tear. His mind was preoccupied. Thinking about the dancer at Brandy’s. He went there after the service. He told the dancer he’d buried his wife that day. Said, Funny thing though. I couldn’t stop thinking of you. She smiled, her orange skin filled with glitter. I know that sounds terrible, but, it’s true, he told her. The dancer kissed his forehead and moved onto the next table.

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