Even with the windows of the club painted black, somehow the watch-less patrons knew when it was time to go home. There was no one left in the bar except for Sadiah who was topless and making her way over to a booth that contained a handsome, well dressed, man in his late forties early fifties.
Pete was a weekly regular at Daddy’s” but for some unknown reason he never asked for any of the extras the club had to offer. He had taken a liking to Sadiah and wound up talking to her often. He never touched her and he always paid for her time. Sadiah took her usual position at opposite of Pete in his booth.
“What’s goin on Mr. Pete?” Sadiah said caressing his shoulder as she sat down. “Nothin, Sugar, besides you callin me Mr. Pete. I told you to stop that.” Pete said smiling.
“I’m sorry, Pete,” Sadiah said deliberately,” I was just brought up to be respectful despite what I do.”
“A woman’s job doesn’t define the woman.” Pete responded
At that point the swarthy looking owner came out of a back office. Monte was almost stereotypical in his appearance. Donning that red suit made him look more like a bellhop than a strip club owner. He had on a matching red hat and red circle shades, which looked ridiculous considering that club was so dark.
“Why ain’t you on the stage?!” Monte yelled.
“Because there ain’t no one here but Pete, Monte!” Sadiah yelled back just as loud.
“Well shit turn off the fuckin music then and stop wasting my money.” Monte said as he slammed the office door.
Sadiah excused herself, walked over to the stage, pressed a few buttons and the music came to a grinding halt. She returned to the booth and sat down.
“Sorry about that.” she said.
“No problem sweetie.” Pete said sipping his drink, which Sadiah found out a few weeks ago, was just water.
“I really need to find another job. I can’t stand this place. “Sadiah said now rubbing her arms.
“So what’s stopping you?” Pete asked.
“The money, you can’t beat it.”
“Nor the habits that come with it.” he said giving Sadiah a knowing look. Sadiah stopped rubbing her arms and folded them over her bare breasts. “Sugah if you are uncomfortable why don’t you get dressed and I’ll take you to breakfast?” Pete asked her.
Sadiah smirked, “Man Pete.”
He held up one hand in defense, “Aw c’mon now, I have never disrespected you before. I’m not goin to now. It’s just breakfast time.”
Sadiah looked at him skeptically but agreed. “I’ll be a couple of minutes okay.”
Pete nodded and she got up and went back into the dressing area. All the other girls had left for home a long time ago, but that’s how she liked it. She didn’t get along with any of them anyway. They frowned on her because she was new, young, and wasn’t worn out looking. The “clients seem to request her for “extras” and therefore the other girls saw her as a threat to their money.
To be honest, it was an older girl that got her hooked on that junk. She told her it would take the edge off but the dose she gave Sadiah damn near killed her.
She put on sweats because she couldn’t find jeans that looked right on her anymore. She combed her hair back into a ponytail, revealing her age considerably.
She took lip-gloss out of her pocket book, looked in the mirror and then thought against it.
It was just Pete she thought. He was only taking her to breakfast no need to get all greased up like she was goin to do an extra.
Sadiah came out of the dressing room saw Monte standing at the bar with his hand out. She rolled her eyes and reached into her purse, peeled off a couple of bills and handed them to him.
“Now you need to bring your ass to work every day. You ain’t makin no money pining after that loser boyfriend of yours,” he said counting the bills. She shrugged him off as she walked back to the booth. Pete was standing up. “You ready Mr… I mean you ready Pete?”
“As always beautiful.” He said smiling.
The diner was conveniently across the street from “Daddy’s” and they found a quiet booth in the back.
“What’ll it be?” said the waitress.
“I’ll have some pancakes and bacon and coffee.” Pete said
“And the lady?”
“The same.” Sadiah said quietly.
The waitress walked away leaving Sadiah feeling really uncomfortable. It’s been a long time since she’s been out in public before in such a bright area. She conducted all of her business in the dark. She danced in the dark, ate in the dark, did her junk in the dark, and she even made love to Brett in the dark. Sadiah did love Brett and genuinely felt badly about the shit she put him through. She needed help but couldn’t stay in rehab because she couldn’t stand the trifling people there. She also was ashamed about what Ms
Howard did to her No matter how much some low-income shrink tried to pry it out of her, she wouldn’t tell them.
She never told Brett.
Shit for that matter, she never told her father.
“Why so quiet sweetie?” Pete said interrupting Sadiah’s thoughts.
“No reason.” Sadiah said playin with the napkin in front of her.
“Did I hear Monte say that you had a boyfriend?” he asked her trying to make her feel comfortable.
Sadiah eased up a little bit, “Yeah, I do”
“He’s not the jealous type is he?” Pete mocked fear by looking over his shoulder.
Sadiah chuckled, “I don’t think so.”
“You don’t think so?” Pete said mockingly again, “Well we better switch seats so I won’t have my back to the door.”
Sadiah let out a childish giggle, which made Pete’s heart melt.
How old is your boyfriend?”
Sadiah puffed her chest out with proud ness, “Twenty six.”
Pete frowned as the waitress brought over their food but he waited till she was out of earshot to respond, “He’s a little old for you ain’t he?”
Sadiah drowned her pancakes with syrup, “No, he’s not.”
Pete looked at her sternly.” Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn you in, Sugah, or Monte in for that matter. I just want to make sure you are okay.”
Sadiah started to get scared, “Why are you so concerned about me?” She said through a forkful of food.
Pete nodded as he chewed, “Well let’s just say you seem like a sweet girl, and I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
Sadiah smirked, “So sweet that you come every week to see me naked?”
Pete changed the subject, “Does your boyfriend know what you do?”
Sadiah nodded and in a defiant teenager’s tone said, “Yeah.”
“He make you do it?” Pete said dreading the answer
“Hell no!!!” Sadiah snapped. “He hates it!!! As a matter of fact, he wants me to quit.”
Her answer made Pete look up and when he did Sadiah was rubbing her arms again. “Your boyfriend know you do that too?”
She was getting pissed.
“Yeah and he don’t like that shit either. You know what Pete, I dunno what you are tryin to do but my boyfriend doesn’t put anything on me that I don’t do myself.” She got up from the booth. “You ain’t gonna get him in trouble because he ain’t guilty of shit. As a matter of fact if it wasn’t for him I’d probably be dead by now. So don’t try to figure me out okay, I can’t be saved.”
Sadiah started crying for the first time in a long time. “It’s too late.” She went to storm out of the diner when Pete grabbed her arm.
Sadiah knew she never gave Pete her real name instantly became frightened.He pulled a laminated card from his front pocket and showed it to her.
“Sadiah, don’t be scared, Sugah. I don’t want to hurt you. Your father hired me.”
to be continued…
Photo Credit: © Hassan Davis