17 February 2010

My First Short Story

This semester I am taking a fiction writing course and one of the first assignments was to create a short story. I had never written a one before so I didn't know what to expect. But, here is what I came up with:

Even the Slow Nights Help Pay the Tuition
by Julian Patterson

Working long nights is not the most glamorous way to get through law school, but it keeps the lights on and puts clothes on my back. Business is slow tonight and my boss is bitching about customers and their frugal tendencies.

“Why in the hell are dirty middle aged men so fucking cheap?” Tony yells in anxious frustration.

“Business will pick up, babe. You know it always does,” I reply in a meager attempt to reassure him.

“They come here every night wearing $3000 suits and only buy one drink and one dance. What the shit is that?” he shouted as he leaned over the vanity table, getting ready to blow another line of coke.

I was on edge, but the other girls didn’t seem to pay much attention to Tony. Maybe it’s because I’m a rookie and haven’t yet grown immune to the cheesy suits, greasy hair, and cheap cologne.

Even when business is slow, there is still money to be made. So, I apply a fresh face of makeup, slip on my highest platform heels, and put on a heavy-duty push-up bra.

The air was thick with cigar smoke and the scent of cheap beer and wine permeated throughout the dimly lit main room. I put my best foot forward and walk around, judging the level of interest and gauging who might have the highest credit score.

Strutting sexily across the room, I notice a regular sitting by himself in the corner on a black leather couch. I hate the couches here. I can’t help but think about the thousands of lonely and depressed customers who have sat on the couches before. Two years of filth lay embedded in the cushions. If only the walls could talk.

“Hey, Ted. You look like you could use a dance. Come upstairs and blow off some steam,” I say.

He slouches back and stares at the ceiling with vacant eyes. He has a drink in his hand, but I can’t tell if he’s drunk or not.

I loosen his tie and unbutton the top two buttons of his wrinkled dress shirt while I slowly mount his lap. My body begins swaying to the beat. I feel his muscle stiffen almost immediately.

By the end of the song he appears rejuvenated. He pushes me off, hands me two fives and a ten, and says, “Honey, you do what my wife can no longer do for me. Thanks.”

I feel gross as I wipe Ted off the back of my leg with a napkin from the bar. I’d rather live in darkness than do this for the next three years, but the money is fast and the customers are faster. I hope Tony knows that even the slow nights help pay the tuition.

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