April is seated in a seven by seven-foot storage closet. A space that also functions as a strippers’ changing room. April's at work.
“PJ GRUNTS – ADULT ENTERTAINMENT”
She is touching up her makeup and re applying the mask, so as to face what’s beyond the door.
The tiny room is littered with assorted dance bags. They lay open on the floor like gaping mouths filled with candy. The floor has layers...
Towers of patent leather boots, seven-inch fuck me pumps, and gaps of torn carpet worn away from the years of little girls stepping, in between the stacks. A landscape, barren, unescapable, and treacherous. Toolkits and bait to hook the animals with paper stacks, waiting..
The confused smell of hairspray, sweaty feet, and perfume is suffocating. April stares at herself in the mirror.
Heavy thumping and the echo of deep base bounces off the walls, and through this falls a tiny voice that mutters...
“There’s something wrong with my bows.”
In the mirror beside her is another girl, Sasha. A pretty black girl who has a look of pale confusion. She’s upset, and tears are welling up in her eyes. She's softly spoken as she looks up at April, and again, painfully expresses...
“There’s something wrong with my bows...”
She points down to her run riddled thigh-high stockings. They are black and have gaping holes with strips of long runs in them. It's surprising she found a way to put them on. Her choice to cover her beautiful black skin with these battered remnants made April feel sad. And she could see the skin burns through the holes...
"Crawling, we get them from crawling..."
Those stockings had been on her body for a while now, they were sad, and broken. Pinned to the elastic around her thigh were little pink silk bows. Sasha had been twisting them around, trying to make sense of them being upside down when she looked in the mirror, but right side up when she was looking down at them.
She was visibly, and physically, upset by the confusion. Like a child not understanding perspective. She also didn't realize the mirror was a backwards reflection. She couldn’t resolve the difference between what she saw when she was bent over, looking down at her bows, and what she was seeing in the mirror, when she stood back up.
She didn’t understand how what she saw in real life was flipping upside down when she was upright. And it all became too much for her.
April stepped over and wrapped her arms around her.
“Aww sweetheart, it's going to be okay...” She said.
April gently let her go, reached down, and turned Sasha's bows right side up. She lifted her gaze to meet Aprils, checked in the mirror, and like magic, everything was back to normal.
You could see the relief bleed back into her body, you could see her, relax. She was still confused when she looked down, but in the mirror, everything looked right. So, she let it go. Perhaps believing the reflection even more than what she saw with her own eyes.
A smile broke across her face as she softly said...
Sasha finished out her shift, and April never saw her again, until...
Two months later, April sat down at the bar, and Christine, the bartender, tosses a newspaper at her and says...
April looked down at the newspaper and there she was. Sasha, the warm, beautiful, soft- spoken girl that had her bows all mixed up.
The headline read...
“STRIPPER ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER.”
Sasha had gotten into a bar fight at another house off ill repute. She had broken a glass and punched a girl in the face with it. Feeling that perhaps this act alone was not sufficient, she then stabbed the girl with the pieces. The girl received 187 stitches in her face and 413 stitches in her legs, back, and belly.
Apparently Sasha had been on the go since abandoning her two children in Kansas, a few months earlier. Passing through PJ's, on her way to the next chapter. The next chapter being, attempted murder charges.
Quite an accomplishment for a little girl with tear filled eyes that only weeks earlier, couldn’t even muster the strength to straighten her bows.