Sandy sensed rebellion in the air.
Planned and evacuated outta there.
After she withdrew, military coup.
Returned to Virginia in despair.
Everything was different yet the same.
The rules changed, but not the game.
Higher expenses than developing-country prices.
Unemployment put savings in crisis.
Living with her parents brought shame.
Sandy moved to Austin.
It beat out Chicago and Boston.
She bought a phone and a car, drove very far
Set up new residence again.
She knew nobody in town.
Had to mapquest to get around.
Tricky finding employment during a recession
Questioning self-worth during private confession.
Taking salsa lessons at the library.
They were her favorite price: free.
She bought leather-bottomed shoes
Danced away her blues
Immersed in the Latin-rhythm sea.
Hearing the groove
Her body started to move.
Freedom in salsa class
Enjoying shaking her ass
Lack of coordination she’d disprove.
Her circle of friends expanded.
“Go clubbing,” they demanded.
She wished to dance more
Yet felt poor
“Find a teaching job,” she self-commanded.
Applying for jobs near and far
She hated commuting, but had a car.
Researched different avenues
From waitressing to hosting a cruise.
Considered stripping in a topless bar.
Despite the economy, sex will sell.
She’d have money without fail.
Saw a window sign
In a place that looked benign
Proving that one can never tell.
The joint, exotic and red
At this time was dead.
Heavy smells in the air
Announced someone was there.
Sandy entered with dread.
The manager approached from behind.
Resembling a cockroach, his eyes unkind.
One deft look, he had his answer:
This frightened creature will be a dancer.
She nervously smiled not reading his mind.
She started the next night
Feeling apprehensive, looking outta sight.
Music blasting, drunken guys
Big-breasted waitresses with cold vicious eyes.
Sandy shivered with fright.
The manager handed her an outfit with a stain.
Fake smile, she unplugged her brain.
Other dancers looked rough
Sweet on stage but privately tough.
Before stripping, Sandy was struck by a cane.
Turning, she saw the manager smiling proud.
“Break a leg; there’s a helluva crowd.”
She accepted the compliment
Glanced at his implement.
“Hit me again,” she said, not too loud.
The Salsa Queen danced to the music chosen
Passionate movements, smile frozen
Giving it her best
Quiet crowd, one man dozing.
Customers cared not how she danced.
Whipping off her top, unzipping her pants
Licking her lips
Gyrating her hips
Half naked on stage she pranced
Sweating under heavy lights
Couldn’t do this many nights.
Growled a man waving money.
She advanced, ignoring the slights.
Dancing before him, showing greenness
Grimacing, hiding meanness
Grubby fingers threw money at her G-string
Licking his lips, twisting his ring.
She flashed her clit at the genius.
She worked the throng.
Enthusiasm waning, music too long.
Last day the same as her debut
Tearing off false eyelashes into the trash she threw.
“You think you can quit after one song?”
Squaring her shoulders. “Yes I can.”
“Can you fight like a man?”
Staring at the manager in disbelief.
He caused such incredible grief.
Her eyes teared, lacking a plan.
“That sad look won’t make dough.
Clean up yourself, back out you go.”
“I can’t,” Sandy pleaded.
Yet she’d reap what she’d seeded.
He closed the door, advanced slow.
“For costume rent, you owe me.”
“But it should be free.”
“Shoulda, coulda, woulda, but it ain’t.
Stop the waterworks, you’re no saint.
Where you gonna go? I’ve got your key.”
She started sweating, this was unreal.
Wouldn’t do anything for a meal.
“How much do I owe?”
“More than you know.”
“It’s illegal to steal.”
“You’re concerned about the law?
Yesterday, opportunity was all you saw.
Take your chances
With lap dances.”
For Sandy that was the last straw.
“I’ve an idea, which never fails.
I’ll make money serving cocktails.”
He scratched an itch
Thinking she’s a smart bitch.
“Just how you planning to get sales?
“The waitresses have an evil core.
The pole’s a picnic compared to the floor.”
He laughed, started coughing
She gave his back a hard popping.
“Save energy for hustling your drawer.”
Grabbing her bag, impressed it hadn’t been stolen yet
She retrieved a gold salsa dress, her best bet.
“How much is the costume fee?”
“A couple of hundred, no make that three.”
She held her tongue, sparing regret.
Tableside-tricking was lucrative early
Working enthusiastically and squirrely.
Jealousy entered the scene.
Cocktails flying, tripping the Salsa Queen.
The tripper’s eyes surly.
“You’re gonna pay for those drinks.”
“Ain’t paying for shit,” Sandy thinks.
She got a reorder
Approached tables bolder.
I’m gonna recover that money before she blinks.
Sandy helped the server-witches.
Even won over some bitches.
Respect among them she built.
Even the tripper felt guilt.
She’d smoothed out most glitches.
Around the stroke of two
Entered an inebriated crew.
The raunchy group, hale and hearty
Was a bachelor party
Aching for something to brew.
Sitting them in her sections
Working them like circuits, making connections.
Gulping shots down
They wore a panty crown
Sporting sock-enhanced erections.
“I like the spring in your step,”
Said the bridegroom, a marketing rep.
“Take a break here on my lap.”
Sandy thought, “I’m not doing that crap.”
She danced before him with pep.
“No time for sitting.
Dancing’s more fitting.”
She led a dance rage
Drawing attention from the stage.
She served drinks, everywhere flitting.
Every waitress served at a fast pace.
Energy spread throughout the place.
The joint jumping, fists pumping
Then Sandy recognized a familiar face.
Memories swirled in Sandy’s mind
Remembering his countenance, which was kind.
She nearly freaked when she recalled
The man was a principal.
The Salsa Queen’s teeth started to grind.
Angered by two sets of rules:
His reputation wouldn’t ruin among lascivious fools.
If he’d recognize her as an interviewee
Where would her reputation be?
Her enthusiasm cools.
She resisted doing something brazen
Actions memorable or hair-raising.
In obscurity minus the disco lights
Makeup, high-heels and fishnet tights
She’d not distract his sexual grazing.
Sandy got a cheap thrill
Serving him with a smile that could kill.
He was too wasted
Fondling a redhead he’d tasted
Entertained when she’d shrill.
Surviving, feeling drained
Sandy limped, right ankle sprained.
Approaching the manager, her jaw set
Paid off her costume debt.
Manner professional, emotions restrained.
Accomplishing what she’d planned
With pretty smiles and sleight of hand
From the tripper she’d pilfered tips,
Secreting money near her hips.
Loot secured by an elastic band.
Counting money with a trembling jowl
He looked at her sharply, something afoul.
She asked for her keys.
Gracefully, added “please.”
He delayed his newest cash cow.
“For a first-timer you did well here.”
“Beginner’s luck. This isn’t my career.”
“I need hustlers working the floor.
You’ll make hundreds a week, maybe more.”
The proposition entered and exited the other ear.
She held her gaze
And her hand, eyes ablaze.
Lips pursed, his offer rejected.
He tossed her keys, unaffected.
She left to sleep for days.
Later, as she’d been wishing
Came along a teaching position.
Her secret sexy charm
Did her no harm
She reported to school on a mission.
That lusty principal now sober as a judge
Didn’t recognize Sandy and held not a grudge.
Clean-cut image impressed
The principal without any reputation smudge.
Respectfully employed, Sandy resolved
Into charities she’d become involved.
Wanting her conscious clear
In time for the New Year
All problems will be solved.