Short Story: What To Do

Jackie and Nicole’s week at The World’s Playground had started off on a perfect roll. During the day the two patronized the Boardwalk shopping, enjoying spa treatments, restaurants, parasailing and just smelling the ocean. Meeting a few acquaintances along the way who were happy to treat them to expensive dinners and high-end night clubs for their evening activities. 
Now just days later neither Jackie nor Nicole could believe their luck had changed so drastically. Sitting in their beautifully ransacked room both of their minds were  wandering of the reasons for this sudden catastrophe. 

Atlantic City had been believed to be exactly the break both of the ladies needed from the drama in their lives. Nicole a mother of two and recent divorcee had come to Atlantic City with her best friend Jackie for fun, relaxation and clarity. Having gone through what she was convinced to be the roughest toughest divorce ever from a prominent attorney who fought her on everything but her nail polish. 

A man who after they were married had convinced Nicole that staying home with their twin boys was best for their growing family. Convinced her that she didn’t need to work because he would make sure she always had everything she needed as well as anything she wanted.  And in the beginning he did. Her new husband had set her up a personal account that he made sure stayed plentiful with not only money for their home needs but also her luxurious wants. On top of never being worried about her finances Nicole truly enjoyed being there for every moment of their boys great life moments. Married life couldn’t get any better than that.

Until the arguments started.

“Where were you last night,” is what she had to ask her husband many of mornings when she hadn’t heard him come in the night before.

“New client at the firm. Getting their files together. Want to make sure I know everything about them that I can,” was somewhere around his usual answer. What could she say about his work when he provided so well for his family? The man was a prominent attorney of course he had alot of work to do. 

Then came the days Nicole went to her account and didn’t have enough for home life essentials. Something that had become a norm over time. Yet when she spoke of getting a job he became angry and defensive. 

But there came a time when she had had enough of having to talk to him multiple times a week about finances. She had had enough of having to call his phone multiple times a day to get an answer. The more they argued the more stressed Nicole became. The later he came in, if he came in at all, the more depressed she became.

Tiredness had given Nicole the courage she needed to leave and seek help from The Women of Love Foundation. She couldn’t take the abuse anymore. No he wasn’t physically hurting her but mentally he was doing a number on her. She began to think something was wrong with her, wondering how she could do better. But she knew for a fact she hadn’t changed the way she loved her husband, he had changed the way he loved her. She didn’t want to take her boys from their father, but she didn’t want to live in an unloved marriage.

After all of his wrong doings and mistreatment of her he fought her on everything including spousal and child support, custody then even the idea of continuing to raise their six year old boys in the only home they had known. She was forever grateful to Mya Wilson for everything she and her organization had done for her. They helped her get everything she should as well as housed her and her boys until proceedings were over. Then they moved back home and Nicole changed the locks.

Across from Nicole, Jackie sat on her tossed up bed amongst rumpled sheets thinking of the why’s of their situation. Unlike Nicole Jackie’s single hood hadn’t come as dramatically or as reluctant. She wasn’t married, didn’t have any kids or assets to figure in. Although it did come with some emotional distress Jackie just wasn’t one to prolong things. She saw it going left and immediately picked up her scissors and cut ties. Jackie believed there were somethings you should run from early on like control and anger issues. She also believed there are some things you shouldn’t have to tell a person is unacceptable like openly flirting with every visible chick in front of you. So in any relationship or almost relationship she has ever had, her cut off game was serious. She was ready to get back to life after her goodbyes, hence their trip to Atlantic City.

It had taken Jackie weeks to convince Nicole to spend one of her weeks without her boys having some girl fun.

“Come on girl. Pleeeaase, we could have so much fun,” Jackie remembered pleading.

“Girl I don’t know. What if something happens to the boys while I’m partying and I am that far away,” Nicole questioned.

“Something like what Nicole?  You know what don’t answer that. You and I both need to go have some fun, relax and enjoy this new journey life has given us. It’s not like we are crossing large bodies of water, it’s just Atlantic City.”

Nicole didn’t answer for a while and Jackie could tell she was thinking. So Jackie thought it best to push a little, “When was the last time you took a vacation? Enjoyed yourself and treated yourself? You deserve this. With the way your stingy ex was holding the purse strings…,” Jackie started but stopped. Giving negative energy wasn’t going to help in changing Nicole’s mind.

But something had and now here they sat, robbed. 

They had come in hot and excited, ready for any and everything. Now four days later they sat in their destroyed room numb and defeated. Someone had come into their room, searched through all of their things and helped themselves to what they wanted. Jackie was missing one pair of shoes, a Gucci handbag as well as another oversized bag she loved. Nicole was missing two pairs of jeans and a beautiful Tiffany earring and necklace set gifted to her as a one year anniversary. Not only were their items gone but so were any credit cards or cash they left in the room. Each girl didn’t have nearly enough cash to last them the next three nights and four days before their plane leaves.

“What are we going to do,” Nicole whimpers. For the first time in years Nicole was able to completely fall out of mommy-wife mode and just be herself. As she got her nails done and body rubbed down she was able to think about what she wanted out of life after divorce. For the first time in years she felt like a woman not just a female species made for mothering and catering to a husband. 

But these change in events she doesn’t know what to do. Doesn’t understand why after leaving her asshole husband this was happening to her while he was living life uninterrupted.

“Let’s talk to someone at the front desk first, maybe we weren’t the only ones robbed,” Jackie states with conviction.

“Ok,” Nicole jumps up hopeful. She was beginning to regret coming to The World’s famous Playground. Beginning to miss her easy normal life with her boys.

Not twenty minutes later the ladies return to their room baffled.  Apparently their room had been entered with a key card. Since neither had reported losing a key the hotel held no responsibility to insure the room or their belongings in it.

“People come here all the time gamble away money they shouldn’t have then come up with get rich quick schemes, so corporate put some policies in place to protect such things. I’m really sorry, but if you just would have reported your missing key,” the manager trailed off with a shrug of her shoulder that showed she wasn’t really that sorry.  In fact she seemed like she could care less but what could they do except accept the new keys.

Truth is neither Jackie nor Nicole thought they had lost a key.  They knew one was missing but assumed it was misplaced somewhere in the room, maybe having fallen in one of their carry ons.

“Now what are we going to do,” Nicole questions near tears.

Jackie falls back on her bed with a huff, “I don’t know.”

“This single life isn’t cracking up to all I thought it would be. At least if I was still married I could call home and have money sent,” Nicole states dejected.

“No,” Jackie pops up pointing a shameful finger at her friend. “Don’t you dare say things would be better if you would have stayed with that cheating ass husband of yours. First of all we wouldn’t even be here if you were still married to that bastard. Second we are getting out of this.”

“Really? Because I’m hungry  and already subtracting a meal from the little dollars left in my pocket.”

“We could try what we have at the casinos,” Jackie suggests with a smirk.

“What do we know about gambling? We haven’t gambled the whole time we have been here?”

“Which is ironic given the circumstanes of our non insured room,” Jackie interjects.

“And how much would we gamble before we gave up? How much less will we have without a win,” Nicole continues to question.

“I was only joking, calm down,” Jackie says to her friend only half-true. It was the most obvious solution she thought. “I’m hungry too. Let’s get something to eat, it could help us think better.”

“Something cheap with our broke asses,” Nicole comments as they make their way to the door.

Returning with burgers, fries and despair Jackie and Nicole are both deep in thought. Not much conversation had gone on as they traveled to the burger joint, made their order or traveling back to the room. Both women were consumed with thoughts of what to do and what had happened.

Reaching into her greasy bag Jackie remembers the steak and lobster she had the night before. She thinks about the shrimp and salmon she had planned on having tonight, “Well this is a big change in meal type.”

“Really tho,” Nicole replies devouring her fries but eating only half of her burger.

“I still can’t believe this has happened.”

“Me neither. But you have to admit this would be a whole lot easier if we could just call our men back home.”

“That’s where you are wrong Nic, we don’t have men back home.”

“You know what I mean,” Nicole comments looking at her friend for confirmation. Jackie had to know what she meant.

But unfortunately Jackie doesn’t. Never has she been and never will she allow herself to depend on a man.

“If you are planning on living your newfound single hood always thinking of him bailing you out you’re not going to get very far. Nic you have to start thinking for yourself. Without him,” before Nicole could respond Jackie starts some music and begins to straighten up their room. She wants to get her brain on thinking of how they could get their hands on some quick cash. But she also needs her friend to think about what she had just said to her.

Nicole wants to argue that having a dependable man is a good thing. Wants to argue that they do exist even if her marriage was ruined but what evidence did she have of that outside of her fantasies. Who did either of them know that was in a functional long running marriage of never-ending love, so instead she just got up and joins in the straightening up their room.

Soon they are making beds and folding unstolen clothes while grooving to Chris Brown and Usher’s Party.  As that ended Young M.A’s Ooouuu comes in.

Throwing some flyers in the trash Jackie takes notice of one inparticular. One that she thinks might help them out.

“Nic, look,” she yells louder than she intended but excited about getting back to their fun and good food.

“What,” Nicole turns scared of more bad news.

“I’m sure this could make us enough money to last until our plane leaves,” Jackie says handing the flyer to Nicole. “We may have to calm down on the four course meals but we could definitely get home in four days,” she rambles on as Nicole stands looking dumbfounded at the flyer advertising amateur night at Lydia’s Gentlemen’s Club for tomorrow night.

“Are you crazy? I can’t strip.”

“Well I wasn’t suggesting you. Your ex would have you back in court so fast over custody,” Jackie comments with a smile. Stripping didn’t scare her one bit and she knew a Gentlemen’s club would rain nothing but money. Scared no, more excited than anything.

Nicole takes in the expression on her friend’s face, “You’re seriously thinking about doing this?”

“Not thinking about it, I already know I am doing it,” Jackie answers with a wide shit eating grin.

Nicole can’t believe her ears. She herself hasn’t given much thought to what her ex would think, she has though thought about her small subtle curves. Though beautiful she isn’t sure about shaking her ass to make a substantial amount of money.

“So what do you think,” Jackie asks her spaced out friend, even though it doesn’t matter because Nicole’s only idea thus far was to call her ex.

“Well you definitely have the ass and titties for it. But I can’t ask you to do this,” Nicole answers holding up the flyer.

“Um, hello, you’re not asking. I’m offering myself as tribute,” Jackie speeks mocking Katniss of the Hunger Games trilogy.

“Yeah but you’re doing it to feed me.”

“To feed us, unless you have a better idea,” Jackie stops dancing her it’s gone be okay dance to turn and look at her friend.

“No,” Nicole states reluctantly. She doesn’t like the idea of her friend getting up there and taking off her clothes to feed them as she did nothing, but they didn’t have many other alternatives.

Feeling her friend’s skepticism Jackie goes to her, places her hands on Nicole’s shoulders and says, “Nic, look…this is our only choice. Unless you really want to call that ex husband of yours and ask him for money. And give him an explanation of why you need the money after all you just won from him in court.” Leaning back placing her hands on her hips Jackie continues to stare at her friend. “You think he just gone send you the money without first making you feel worthless? Without using it against you in a new custody battle? I am saving not only us from going hungry but also you from losing custody of those beautiful boys.”

Jackie doesn’t say anymore as she turns to resume dancing and cleaning. She knows Nicole understands what she was saying, understands the truth behind her friend’s words. There was no way she could grant his cheating ass that satisfaction.

“Ok, so what do we do?”

“Just says show up here tomorrow at seven,” Jackie states pointing to flyer. “We can make it till then.”

The next night the girls arrive at the club right on time to a small crowd of ladies. Plenty of the amateurs had arrived alone but some arrived with wing women for support. All wing women were allowed to sit out front and order from the menu at half price, something Nicole was greatful for. 

As they sip and eat Nicole learn most were there to support a crazy friend which Nicole aligned her story. It’s no ones business that they need the money.

Behind the scenes Jackie sits with a large selection of what she considers beautiful curvy girls from many nationalities. As the women wait staff continue to set things up around them only speaking to say excuse me. Before long two men and a woman weave through the crowd apparently looking over the girls and decreasing the attendees after appraisals. When they are done the woman talks as the men just continue to look on.

“Some of you may be here for fun, some of you may be here as an audition but whatever the case we only accept the absolute best for our stage doesn’t matter that its amateur night. If you’re here as an audition to our class please remember your look will always be considered in your continued employment.”

The men never say anything as the woman continues with the rules leaving Jackie to assume she is Lydia.

“The money is yours to keep. Amateurs dance free, not the case when you work here, something that will be discussed after auditions. Cindy and Amber,” she takes a moment to point to each of the girls who are setting up, “are here to help you with make up and costumes. You each will be given a number to denote your turn on stage. Let that person know what you want to dance to and how long you think you can take it up there. Have fun and shake some ass,” Lydia cheers psyching them up before leaving.

Jackie is a ball of nerves and excitement as she pulls a chocolate bikini from the rack. She immediately notices the high quality of things from the entrance to the dressing room. Everything on the clothing rack has tags on it and from what she heard you kept what you wore. Also in the dressing room are snacks including an assortment of wines, Hennessy, 1800, Malibu Rum along with a variety of fruit and cheeses.

Cindy helps Jackie pair her bikini with gold open toe thigh high boots and a short burnt orange silk robe that hugs her hips perfectly. After Cindy is done with her Amber accenuates the browness of her skin with gold body glitter. The same gold theme is used on her face with a dark orange lip. When Amber is done she goes and picks out a black straight-haired wig that stopped right at the smalls of Jackie’s back. Jackie is sure she has never looked more beautiful she thinks as she peeks herself in the full length mirror. Seeing her look helped her nerves settle slightly but her excitement grew. Jackie grabs a shot of Henny trying to find the perfect combination of bravery and readiness.

Back out front Nicole watches as the club begins to fill up wishing she could talk to Jackie. Wondering if her friend is nervous and wishing they weren’t in this position. The place begins to fill with men and women all dressed nicely in expensive suits and dressing. Nicole knows because they are the clothes her ex wears, the clothes he used to buy for her. Money flowing like a steady stream thoughout the club, each group that is seated orders a bottle or three. Only people with single glasses are Nicole and the group she is with, making Nicole nostalgic about life at the beginning of her marriage.

Before long the lights begin to dim and Rae Sremmurd’s Black Beatles begins to play. One by one women grace the stage to a different song. Some of the ladies have no idea what they are doing barely moving the curves God has blessed them with, vacant of any seductive lure that men in these places crave. As Nicole watches she feels embarassed for them and pray they don’t need the money like she and Jackie does.

There are a few who know exactly what they are doing, working the crowd with a perfect sway of their hips and Nicole praying that Jackie can handle this. As much as they need the money she doesn’t want her friend losing any part of herself in doing this.

When the upbeat music slows down to The Weeknd’s Valerie the crowd hushes. The song is unexpected but Nicole knows how much her friend loves this song. 

Jackie steps out winking at her before taking her eyes to the men in the room. Seductively she walks to the edge of the stage opening her robe. When she brings her last step to the edge of the stage she squats slowly spreading her legs. Without hesitation the men rain money on her, some even got up to stick money in different areas of her bikini. Nicole watches her friend in awe as Jackie works the crowd with her seductive ballet moves like she did this everyday.

From the sixth grade to the end of high school Jackie took a ballet class that also taught her jazz and tap. As she got older she re-enrolled in barre classes around St. Louis.

With her eyes closed Jackie falls into the song like she herself is Valerie letting the robe glide down and off her body slowly. Again the men get excited enough to throw money at the brown beauty. 

Jackie moves and slides her body across the stage to the slow beat of the music just like she had practiced plenty of times at home in the mirror. Sliding her hands up her body she work her hips slowly to the ground giving eye contact to as many men as she can. She knows she had taken a chance with the slow song but she wanted to stand out against the ass shakers because she knows the difference between a strip club and a gentlemen’s club.

Working up her nerves Jackie moves off stage through the men on the floor. She gives lap dances and allow the men to stick money anywhere they pleased as she grinds in unison to the the slow but strong rythym of the song. Each man she blesses with a lap dance she made feel like the only man in the room.

When Migos Bad and Bougie begins to play Jackie proudly picks up every bill off the floor and stage throwing them into a bucket Cindy has provided. She is even more proud noticing nothing given is less than a twenty dollar bill.

Making it backstage eveyone is cheering increasing the adrenaline racing through her. Jackie doesn’t know how much she has made nor does she want to count it in front of everyone, so she stuffs all her bills into her oversized bag before redressing. Grabbing her things she rushes to the door running into Cindy and Amber.

“You leaving,” Cindy asks surprised. Usually the amatuers stayed got cozy with some of the men for extra dollars or at the very least ordered half priced food.

“Yeah my friend is out there sitting alone and we’re not from here,” Jackie rambles.

“Well how long are you in town,” Amber asks.

“Bout three more days,” Jackie answers thinking what’s up with the interrogation.

“Oh ok Lydia was hoping your name was missing from the audition list was a mistake.”

“Oh no,” Jackie states shocked. “That was my first time doing that, well in front of people,” she giggles still on a high from the adrenaline.

“Well maybe you will think about doing it again sometime,” Cindy comments handing Jackie a card. Jackie takes the card but knows there is no way she is calling.

Rushing up front she snatches Nicole up, “We are leaving.”

“Why the rush,” Nicole questions. “And by the way you were great. I mean really great.”

“Thanks, my heart was pounding the whole time I thought I was gone pass out, but it was more exhilirating than I ever imagined.”

Because she had just gotten money for taking her clothes off a couple of security guards had to walk them to their rental.

“Thanks guys,” Jackie tell them handing each of them a couple twenties.

“I can’t believe you just ran out of there like that,” Nicole states before pulling them into traffic.

“Nic, Im not getting robbed again this week.”

“Okay I get that,” Nicole responds with a chuckle.

“And I really just want to count it. No way was I gone be able to just sit there with it burning a hole in my bag.”

Back in their room door locked Jackie dumps her purse of all the bills along with the bikini and robe.

“Those are a lot of bills,” Nicole comment also noticing nothing less than a twenty.

“Let’s get them counted so we can have a real dinner tonight.”

“Jackie thank you for taking off your clothes to feed us.”

“No problem,” Jackie replies as they both started laughing.

When they finish counting there is close to four thousand dollars in front of them.

Read more about Mya Wilson in All Their Husbands😍

Books available everywhere books are sold.

Check out other short stories here.

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