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Monday, October 22, 2012

Duality

And so, mama...” the girl finished hesitantly. “We're going to be living together from now on.”
The woman stared at her twins with a frown on her face. Then her gaze shifted to the two boys that sat on the couch. They were trying their best to appear respectable and the complete opposite of horny teenaged boys, but they didn't fool her in the slightest.
Girls... I thought we were all in agreement,” the concerned mother informed her twins. “The plan was for you both to work your way through college and get a good paying job. You promised me that you wouldn't make the same mistakes that I did!”
Her twin girls were sitting on a large footstool in front of their mother – who was sitting in a large armchair. They each took hold of one of her hands, squeezing it lightly before speaking.
Mama... This will be different. You got pregnant with us when you were 16, and had to raise us all on you own. We're not pregnant, and we plan to not get pregnant until we are ready.”
But you're choosing not to go to college!” Their mom burst out, crying as if her heart was breaking.
Mama...” Both girls tried to hug her at the same time, which meant that they were half sitting in her lap and half squishing her.
Victoria has a great job!” One twin stated.
Yes, I'm an assistant manager at Express! I make a pretty good income, and Vanessa is working too. Together we can support ourselves pretty well,” the other twin hastily assured their mother.
A pretty good income can easily turn into a not so good income if you start paying bills, buying things you don't need, and – most importantly – have babies before you have a large nest egg! I don't want you to go through what I did!” Their mother argued.
Mama...” They purred in sympathy, stroking her hair and kissing her on her cheeks.
This – the fact that they weren't arguing anymore – told her more than anything that they had made up their minds and weren't going to change them no matter what she said. She sighed in defeat.
Why did you change the plan?” She asked.
Victoria smiled. “First of all, as I said, I have a really good job that I want to stick with. I can become a store manager in a couple of years, and all training will be provided by the company. Going to college would actually put me into debt for no reason and be an enormous strain on my time.”
Vanessa frowned. “And as for me, I don't know what I want to do with my life. Going to college until I figure it out would also just be putting me into debt with no idea if I'll ever even be able to pay it off. That is my reason, although I know you will blame it on Josh.”
And Jacob,” Victoria added.
Their mother gazed at the two boys on her couch again. They were also twins, which was a phenomenon that she hadn't thought ever actually happened. She'd seen plenty of bridal pictures in which twin girls married twin boys, but she had rather assumed that it was a myth, or statistically impossible.
You are all only 19! And just barely that!” She protested, her mind still insisting that they were teenagers, as in young ones who couldn't make any of their own decisions yet.
Her heart felt heavy because she had prayed that her girls would find a career before finding love. It was her worst nightmare that they get pregnant and then be left to raise the children on their own with no help. In her case, he had committed suicide when he found out she was pregnant, so there literally was no one to help her raise her babies. It had been horribly hard!
I thought I had raised them right! Where in the world did I go wrong?
Josh and Jacob were still trying their best to appear respectable. They were, but they knew that she viewed them through eyes biased by her past. They felt like they could do nothing to prove to her that they had the best of intentions regarding her daughters.
Fine! It's obvious that you're going to do what you want no matter what I say, so I wish you luck! May your 20s be better than mine!”
With a sigh of relief, Vanessa and Victoria went to their rooms to pack. They had already signed a lease on a two bedroom apartment, but hadn't wanted to confront their mother about it until they were certain that it was going to happen. Josh and Jacob volunteered to help them pack rather than continue to squirm under their mother's scrutiny.
Unlike the girls, the guys were in college. They had parents that could afford to pay for it, and were working on their generals until they decided what they wanted to do with their lives. Their parents were a doctor and a lawyer, so they had high expectations to live up to.
The four of them had decided that the girls would pay the rent and utilities while the boys paid any other bills with their allowance. Such as the internet, which was vital to their education. This way, in the event of a breakup, the girls knew they would be able to take care of themselves.
It was all so logical...
Until Vanessa lost her job two months later!

*****

Argh! What am I going to do!” Vanessa shouted in frustration as she kicked one of the gas pumps. She had just been fired due to “downsizing,” and if she couldn't come up with her half of the rent each month, Victoria would cover it, but they wouldn't have anything left over to pay their bills.
For months, Vanessa had worked a shift at the gas station that had her starting a 7 pm and getting off at 3 am. This was a perfect overlap of the evening and night shifts. She started during the middle of one shift and ended in the middle of the overnight shift. Her job had been to clean the store while the other person handled the duties required of them, such as interacting with customers and doing paperwork.
With the recent cutbacks, the store felt they could no longer afford to pay her when her job could be done by the other workers.
Yeah right!” Vanessa shouted out her thoughts as she walked aimlessly away from her former job. “Like that lazy prick on the overnight shift is going to lift a finger to clean! You'll be sorry you fired me, just you wait!”
As tempting as it was to go home and whine to her sister and their boyfriends, she was just too angry! She needed a way to let off some steam and calm down. Besides, the three of them were on opposite shifts as her. They all got up in the morning and went to school or work while she slept in until they came home. Then she got up, spent time with them, then got ready to go to work. If she went home now, they would all be too upset to go to sleep tonight, and then they would have a bad day tomorrow. The timing was bad all around!
They lived in a relatively small city. It had a population of like 20,000, so it wasn't a rinky-dink little hole in the middle of nowhere, but it also wasn't a mecca of entertainment either. Therefore, there wasn't many places for a person to go when they wanted to say eff it!
Maybe I can get a job as a waitress...” Vanessa mused, smelling the wonderful air as she passed the Olive Garden.
A bunch of loud cheering caught her attention. A little father down the street was a club, the kind of club that was reputed to be a bit more risque than Vanessa or Victoria was comfortable with. The kind of club that Mamas often told their daughters to stay far away from. It wasn't a strip club, Vanessa didn't think, but it wasn't a family restaurant either...
Could be helpful...” Vanessa admitted. At the very least it was something new, which could distract her from her current problems. She walked up to the entrance nervously, noticing that almost everyone was dressed up at least a little and she was wearing a basic pair of jeans and a tee shirt, because that was what she wore under her uniform shirt at the gas station.
She fiddled with her hair, which was pulled up into a simple pony tail. “Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all...”
The bouncer looked her over critically, making her squirm uncomfortably. “You're not 21.”
Oh crap! I hadn't even considered this!
No,” she admitted as she shook her head.
I can stamp your hand as not of drinking age, but there's only 20 minutes before you'd be kicked out,” he informed her with a shrug.
The door burst open with a slam. “And don't come back!”
As if I would!” A woman in her 30s that looked high or drunk shouted indignantly and stormed away.
The first woman, who was probably in her 40s and looked like a cross between a respectable woman and a biker babe swept her hands together as if she had just cleaned up an enormous mess. She glanced at Vanessa as she turned to go back to work, and then stopped.
You there, come with me!”
Vanessa pointed at her chest as she looked around.
Yes you, get your butt over here!”
Vanessa squeaked, but then did as told.
What's your name and how old are you?” The woman demanded.
Vanessa. I'm almost 20. I mean I turn 20 in 2 weeks,” she stammered.
The woman pulled Vanessa into what looked like a girly version of a locker room. “I'm Georgia, but you can call me George or Georgi. Now... take off your shirt and pants.”
I beg your pardon!”Vanessa spluttered.
Come on, take 'em off,” Georgi insisted. She was busy pulling Vanessa's hair out of her pony, brushing it out with her fingers to inspect it closely.
Is this your natural hair color?”
Vanessa was freaking out! “Y-y-yes...”
An honest to God red head! I'm so frickin' happy I could just squirt!” Georgi announced. “You'll be wearing this tonight.”
What???” Vanessa asked, utterly confused.
You look about a size 8, which means this should fit you. Hurry up and put it on!”
Wait,” Vanessa insisted. “What? Why? I am not wearing that!”
Georgi held up the outfit in order to take a good look at it. “What's wrong with this?”
Vanessa pointed at the fish-net stockings and the short ruffly skirt. It was a french maid costume, but somehow even more scandalous. “There's nothing to that outfit!”
Exactly!” Georgi agreed with a grin. “It encourages the customers to think about you rather than their wallet. They spend more money than they originally intended to when they have something distracting to look at.”
Uh...” Vanessa wondered how to ask this politely. “Spend money on what?”
Booze, of course! This is a bar after all,” Georgi stated.
Vanessa sighed in relief. “Oh! So you want me to be a bartender!”
Eh...” Georgi half shrugged, half grinned. “I own this little place and I call them party girls rather than bartenders or waitresses. I have party boys too. Your job is to flirt with the customers, encourage them to drink and have fun, and entertain them.”
Job... How did you know I needed a job?” Vanessa wondered.
Because you're wearing that!” Gerogi laughed. “I figure a looker like you would be wearing the latest trendy clothes if you could afford them, which means that you have a job that pays shit or you need a job.”
Vanessa took another look at the costume. “I really don't think I could wear that...”
Listen, I pay my party girls and boys 8 dollars an hour – which makes this job better than most – but then you also get tips. Even on slow nights, you'll probably go home with at least 100 dollars...”
Vanessa felt her eyes widen. If that was even half true, she'd be making more money than her sister!
I... I guess I could try it...” Vanessa murmured shyly.
Excellent! Now strip!”
With Georgi's help, Vanessa was soon wearing a tiny french maid's outfit. She also had a nice layer of makeup on that made her look pretty without looking like a whore – which was saying something considering her outfit! Georgi finished curling her hair and then gave her a smack on the ass.
You are going to have everyone cumming in their pants!”
Oh my! I don't think I can do this!
Georgi pulled Vanessa out of the locker room. “You'd better thank your lucky stars that you came here tonight! I had to fire a girl, and you are the perfect replacement.”
Vanessa nodded, her body shaking. It was taking her everything she had not to run screaming from the club!
Georgi took her around the club, giving her a tour and introducing her to her co-workers. “This is Vani, she's new and doesn't know what to do yet, so be nice to her or I'll have your ass for firewood!
Vani?” Vanessa asked.
Yep, that way you have your sexy work identity and your everyday identity. It helps prevent this place from taking over your life.”
Oh...” Vanessa murmured, nodding. “Vani... I like it!”
Vanessa took a look around the club, smiling that it was nothing like she had pictured. There was a large clear area to dance and loudish music playing, but other than that, this place looked like it could be any other restaurant. It had good lighting, the music wasn't too loud, and the owner obviously liked her place to look clean and fairly expensive. There was even couches and lounge chairs to relax in if the partier didn't want to sit at a table and order something to eat.
The rules are pretty simple. We serve food, which is listed in the menu and is pretty simple fare. Hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, and scrambled eggs. We serve alcohol, but nothing mixed. That means wine, beer, and the hard stuff. If a customer asks you for something like a cocktail, apologize and let them know that you recommend a shot of Malibu. If they ask for a screwdriver, recommend a shot of vodka,” Georgi explained.
O...kay...?” Vanessa murmured in confusion, blushing as customers grinned at her lustfully.
I like to keep everything simple. When it comes to wine, we have white or red. When it comes to beer, we have tap or bottled. If someone asks you for a glass of cabernet sauvignon, you grin and say: 'one glass of red wine coming up!' I have a contract with a local wine and beer maker, so it's quality stuff, but I don't want to fuss with a large selection. If they want something specific, they can go to the Liquor Warehouse!”
Vanessa nodded, a bit relieved. There wasn't so much to remember. All she had to worry about was talking to her customers without mumbling and embarrassing herself!
Lastly,” Georgi added. “You are their friend, so talk to them like one. Say hi. Smile. Offer your opinion. Encourage them to have fun.”
Easier said than done!
Georgi spotted a group of customers that had just been seated at a table. “Watch me.”
Vanessa watched as she walked up and sat on a lap. The group had three men and one woman, and apparently no one was offended by this bold move!
You look like you all want burgers and beer!” Gerogi announced.
You read my mind, darlin',” the man she was sitting on agreed with a grin. His companions all nodded, tossing their menus back into a pile in the middle of the table.
Coming right up!” Georgi promised.
Vanessa followed her to the kitchen area.
Because everything is so simple, just grab what you need,” Georgi told her. “There's stacks of plates over here. This table has all the food we have to offer, which my cooks keep fresh. We need 4 burgers, so I'm going to put them on a plate, and then grab 4 beers from the cooler.”
Barely a minute passed before Georgi was carrying a plate full of burgers on one hand and 4 bottles of beers with her other. Vanessa stared at her hand, trying to figure out how she managed to hold the top of each beer between her fingers without dropping them!
It takes practice!” Georgi laughed, reading her mind. She served her customers and then sat down to chat with them. This was so she could determine if they were here to party, or were just planning to eat and go.
Vanessa took some time to look around and noticed that most of the waitstaff was hanging out with their customers, moving from group to group in small sections. Flirting was definitely the name of the game! Vanessa held her hands to her face to cover yet another blush.
Gerogi smacked her ass and pointed to a girl wearing a slinky, sparkly dress. “Babs is good, so if you work in her section with her, she can help you out if you don't know what to do.”
Vanessa gaped at her for a moment. That's it! That's my training?! She took a few deep breaths to calm her nerves and give herself courage. Oh boy...
Babs waved and pointed to a table that wasn't covered in food or drinks – so the customers must be recent arrivals. Vanessa nodded, squared her shoulders, and marched to them.
Be friendly!
Hi!” She greeted them, sounding like a giggly, brain-dead, teenaged girl! “I'm, like, your server. What can I getcha?” She mentally rolled her eyes at how lame she sounded.
How about a kiss?” The sole man in this group of 5 women asked with a grin.
Uh...”
Babs smacked her on the ass and then lightly pushed her into the man's lap. “She's new and has never been kissed before. Give her a good one or forever be lost in all the better memories she will surely make after you're gone!”
To Vanessa's shock, all 6 of her customers fought to give her the best kiss ever! Oh my God! I'm cheating on my boyfriend!
Wine!” One of the women – who all looked like they were in their middle 20s – demanded.
Vodka!” Another insisted. Vanessa watched them argue for a few minutes. Babs grabbed her off a lap – she'd lost track of which one by this point – linked arms with her, and dragged her to the kitchen
Okay Vani, here's a tip, if the customers start arguing, bring both! Grab a bottle red wine and a bottle of vodka. Then, grab two racks,” Babs ordered, showing her how there were convenient to carry racks that held six glasses each. They came in two sizes; one for wine and beer glasses, and a smaller one for shot glasses.
Babs helped her fill one rack with wine glasses and one rack with shot glasses, and then showed her how to carry the stack of racks on one hand while holding the bottles in her other.
Vanessa didn't even feel like she was going to drop anything! She grinned a tiny bit more confidently as Babs abandoned her to the customers. She set the bottles down, and then started pouring wine into glasses.
Who wants some?” She asked.
Three of the women and the man raised their hands and called out, “Me!” The other two shook their heads.
Once the wine was passed out, Vanessa held up the vodka. “Anyone want some of this?”
The two who didn't have wine, two who did, and the man all gestured for her to give them some. She poured and then passed out the shots of vodka, and then wondered if she was supposed to leave them alone or chat a bit more.
One of the women solved her problem by pulling Vanessa onto her lap. She grabbed one of the remaining clean glasses, and then poured some wine into it.
Have a drink on me. I insist!”
Vanessa stared at the glass in horror and fascination.
Babs reappeared, laughing as she kissed the woman Vanessa was sitting on. “How generous! Vani would love to take you up on your offer!”
What?” Vanessa squeaked almost inaudibly.
Babs kissed her on the cheek and whispered in her ear. “Take tiny sips if you don't want to drink it.”
Vanessa took a couple of hesitant sips, and then spent the next five minutes determining that her guests had come to party! They were going to need frequent refills, and planned to do a lot of dancing. To her relief, this suggestion prompted them to all disappear onto the dance floor.
Babs escorted her back to the kitchen, her wine glass in hand. “If the customers want to buy you drinks, always accept them! Your job is to party with them!”
Vanessa shook her head. “But I'm not even old enough to drink!”
So don't drink!” Babs stated with a laugh. “Sip on the wine, and when you get an opportunity, bring it here to the kitchen. The cooks will usually drink it so that it doesn't go to waste.”
Babs grabbed an empty dark brown grolsch style bottle. It was wider than normal beer bottles, and had a cap that was held in place by wires. Babs showed her how it was easy to flip the top open and then close it back up again.
You can decline beer if you carry one of these. You have a hook on your costume specifically for carrying this at your hip. Just pretend to take a sip of your own beer so that they understand why you don't need a new one. As for hard drinks, take the shot!”
Uh!” Vanessa protested.
And then chase it with your beer,” Babs amended. She pretended to drink from the empty bottle. “Let the shot slip into the bottle.”
OH!” Vanessa exclaimed, getting excited now. “I get it! Party with the customers, but don't get drunk!”
At least not too drunk,” Babs added with a grin. She put the bottle on Vanessa's hook, and then pushed her out the door. “The floor is designed so that each section is pretty easy to figure out. Stick to my section and basically encourage the customers to keep partying. Keep the tables clean when they leave, and whenever you stop by the kitchen, write down what you served to which table. There's not much to keep track of, so it's pretty easy and there's a list of what everything costs on the wall. We accept cash or cards but no checks. I'll help you with that later. Lastly, if they ask you to dance, dance!”
Having explained everything she could think of, Babs dragged Vanessa back to their section. Vanessa took a moment to be grateful that each section was small, so there wasn't too many customers demanding her attention at the same time.
The 5 women and 1 man settled back around their table. With a smile, Vanessa went to pour them more drinks. They were having a blast and made Vanessa's job really fun.
Even more conveniently, a selection of the most popular drinks was kept in a combination cabinet and cooler nestled in each section. This meant that Vanessa didn't have to keep running back to the kitchen each time someone needed a refill. It was also handy for stashing bottles that were only half full.
By the end of the night, Vanessa thought that she had a pretty good handle on her new and completely unexpected job.
So long as they don't make me perform one of those shocking floor shows!

Go To Part 2

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