At 13 years old, Sarah already knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She wanted to become a professional dancer and live in Hollywood with other entertainers. Since she was a child, Sarah loved dancing. Her mother always joked that she learnt to dance before she could walk. However, life had plans in store for her and her path led her to the strip club where she worked as a stripper.
When she finished high school, a group of dancers from her neighbourhood asked her to join them since they knew she was a talented dancer. She gladly accepted the invite and they welcomed her with open arms. However, her mother had reservations about the group. They used to perform at clubs and private parties which was the complete opposite of what her staunch Christian mother had hoped for her daughter.
“Why can’t you join the dance group at the church?” She asked her one day when Sarah came back late at night after a performance.
Sarah hadn’t even been to church since she joined the group. Most times, she was too tired and slept all morning then woke up and went for dance practice. Despite her mother being a staunch Christian, she still gave her daughter the freedom to explore her talent as a dancer.
Her dance career wasn’t going as she hoped it would and after two years of dancing with the group, she suddenly left without any explanation to them or her family. She just stopped showing up for practice or gigs.
What none of them knew was that Sarah had found another job that paid her more money than she ever dreamt of making. During one of her gigs with her dance group, a man approached her and offered her a job in his club. He thought she would make a good dancer.
“Well, I’m looking for exotic dancers for my gentlemen’s entertainment spot and I think you’ll be perfect.” The bulky man in a pinstripe suit said.
“You mean a stripper?” Sarah asked, surprised at the proposal.
She might have been a free spirit but she never thought that she would end up becoming a stripper.
“Yeah. You could make a lot of money.” He added after noticing her hesitation. “Listen, just think about it then give me a call.”
A few days later, Sarah showed up at the club ready to be a stripper. The manager introduced her to the other girls. However, unlike the other group, these dancers were not as nice. They barely acknowledged her and her first day felt like a baptism of fire.
However, when she stepped on the stage and the crowd cheered for her, she knew she was exactly where she was meant to be.
She walked onto the stage as the DJ announced her name and the crowd went wild. She looked around the crowded lounge and smiled then took to the pole to give them yet another performance of a lifetime. The roars, cheers and notes of money falling from the sky kept her going. An hour later, she was drenched in sweat but made her way to the changing room with a bag full of money.
“Great night.” One of the girls said to her as Sarah freshened up.
It was a great night indeed. She had had many great nights since she started working as a stripper. Within a few months, she was able to buy a car. However, she still lived at her mother’s house and she was getting suspicious about what Sarah did.
It wasn’t unusual for her to come back home in the dead of the night but the money she was making was highly unusual. Additionally, she had started hearing rumours that her daughter was a stripper. She didn’t know what that meant but after asking around, she nearly fell to her knees but decided to give her daughter the benefit of the doubt.
“She can never be a stripper. I raised her well.”
The whole issue was swept under the rug and Sarah continued to work at the club. By now, she had become a household name going by the stage name Cayenne. Her career was soaring for her to quit even though she knew her mother was now on to her.
“She’ll find out sooner or later so you better make money in the meantime.” One of the girls advised her after she confided in her.
“I can’t stand it if I disappoint her.” She said nearly in tears.
“She’s your mother. She’ll understand you.”
“This was the last thing any of us thought I’d do. I’ve always been a good girl in her eyes.”
“Being a stripper doesn’t make you a bad girl. I mean, you’re the only girl who never goes out clubbing after work. You simply make your money and go home.” They both laughed.
“I just have to be on my best behaviour until she no longer suspects anything,” Sarah said.
For the next months, she started working fewer nights and took early shifts when there were fewer crowds. However, the changes only made things worse. Her popularity continued to soar which spread the word that she was a stripper all over town.
The rumours got so bad that her mother was forced to resign as the secretary of her church. However, she was determined to put an end to the rumours. She knew that her daughter couldn’t be the things that people were saying about her.
After finding the name of the club she was rumoured to work at, her mother went to talk to the owner and find out where all these rumours were coming from. When she got there a tall dark man in a black suit immediately stopped her and refused to let her in pointing at a sign that read “Members only”.
“I want to talk to the owner.” She protested but the bouncer simply shook his head and pushed her aside to let the other people in.
“I’m looking for Cayenne.” She said which caught the bouncers’ attention.
“Who are you?”
“Does someone called Cayenne work here?”
“Work? She’s one of our best girls. She’s actually on the stage right now.” He said opening the door slightly so that she could peer in.
“Sarah? My daughter? Is she really a stripper? It can’t be.” she said as she stood at the entrance of the dark entertainment joint.
For a minute, she thought she was hallucinating but after taking a second look, she knew without a doubt that it was her daughter. It was true. Her daughter was a stripper. The sight of men ogling her nearly naked daughter made her sick to her stomach. She ran to the side and heaved but nothing came out. One of the vendors outside the club approached her and offered her a bottle of water which she declined.
“Has it come from this Sodom and Gomorrah?” She asked which took the vendor aback.
“Madam, I was just trying to help you.” He said.
“Get away from me.” She barked and he went back to selling his boiled eggs.
She returned home and sat in total silence still trying to process what she had seen.
“Sarah!! Sarah!!” She called out as if she could hear her.
After two hours, Sarah finally got off work and headed straight home as she always did. She was oblivious to the mayhem that was waiting for her when she arrived. However, as soon as she walked in, she was met by her mother at the door.
“Don’t even bother removing your shoes. Get out of my house!!” She yelled.
Confused, she thought that maybe her mother was going crazy due to the stress the rumours were causing her or she was simply joking.
“Mum, stop it. I’m too tired for this.”
“Too tired because you’re dancing naked for men.” She said then it hit Sarah that her mum knew.
“What do you mean?” She tried to play dumb.
“You’re a stripper. I saw you with my own eyes.”
“Mum, I had…”
“Don’t tell me anything. Get out of my sight before I put marks on that body you show to the whole world.”
Sarah knew her mother’s threats weren’t just threats. She hardly even beat her since Sarah was a fairly good child but when she got mad as she was that night, she would beat her for hours.
She turned around and left without as much as a goodbye. After calling several friends, she finally got a place to sleep. However, Sarah could hardly sleep. She tossed and turned as she remembered the look of disappointment on her mother’s face earlier. She tried to stay strong but she could no longer hold her emotions and she broke down in tears.
The following morning, she woke up to texts from an anonymous number mocking her.
“I heard you’re homeless. I thought you were rich.” The message read.
At first, she thought that her friend had exposed her but after confronting her, she swore that she had nothing to do with it.
“Who could it be?” Her friend asked after clearing up the misunderstanding.
“I don’t know but whoever it is must be the one who told my mother that I was a stripper.”
“What? Your mother knows?”
“She literally came to the club and saw me dancing. That’s why she kicked me out last night.”
Her friend gasped as Sarah explained what had happened the previous night.
“Whoever is behind this has to pay. They’ve gone too far when they involved my mother.”
“Could it be one of the girls?”
“I think so. I think it might be Havana. She’s always hated me from the minute I walked into the club and I caught her trying to steal my money a couple of times. She has to pay.”
Sarah continued to go to work as if nothing had happened. She knew that it was the only way to find out who was trying to sabotage her. However, nobody knew anything more than she did. She also didn’t want to disclose too much information and she made sure not to mention Havana’s name. Regardless, most people still thought that she had something to do with it.
“I think you should tell the manager. This has gone too far.” One of the girls suggested.
“I agree. He’ll also be able to help me find who is behind it.”
Havana, Sarah’s fellow stripper and the prime suspect had avoided talking to Sarah until she found out that she was going to talk to the manager. Suddenly, she had a lot to say.
“I heard you want to tell the manager.” She said.
“I think you’re making a mistake. He’ll fire you if he thinks you’re a threat to his business.”
“How am I a threat? I bring him the most business out of anyone here even on my worst days.”
“Oh please,” Havana said under her breath but Sarah heard her.
She knew that Havana would try to speak to the manager and twist everything so she went to his office immediately after the confrontation.
“Cayenne, baby girl, how are you?” He asked with a big smile on his face but was met with a cold stare. “What’s wrong?”
“I need to tell you something. I think Havana is trying to sabotage me and there’s only so much I can take. She has been mean to me from the day I became a stripper here and I think she has been behind a slew of insults that I’ve been receiving from an anonymous number. However, yesterday, my mother came to the club and confirmed that I was a stripper. I don’t know how she found out where I worked but I’m sure Havana has something to do with it.”
“Cayenne, Cayenne. You know I don’t like drama in the club. I heard about the commotion at the club last night and it turns out it was your mother. Normally, I fire anyone who causes problems but you’re one of my best girls and you’re the least problematic dancer. That’s why I like you. If you bring evidence that Havana had anything to do with last night’s incident, I will fire her immediately. If you don’t, then you will be fired. Understand?”
“Yes, sir.” She answered and left the office.
Now more than ever, she needed to catch Havana red-handed since her career was on the line. Though she wanted to quit being a stripper, she no longer had that luxury after her mother kicked her out.
“I’ve seen her with another phone. She hardly uses it in public but there’s one night I saw it.” One of the girls told Sarah.
While she was on the stage dancing, Sarah was able to break into her locker and ransack her bag. Sure enough, she found two phones – the one Havana used regularly and another one she had never seen before. To her delight, the other phone didn’t have a password and she was able to check the messages.
As she suspected, all the hate messages she had been receiving were from that phone. She also found text messages to her mother telling her that she was a stripper. She immediately went to the manager’s office with the phone and they both went to the stage accompanied by two security men.
“Get off the stage!” The manager yelled.
Havana looked confused and before she could put the pieces together, the two men grabbed her and dragged her off stage to the surprise of the patrons at the club.
Once everything had calmed down, the DJ called out Cayenne to the stage and the crowd went wild. As always, she delighted the crowd and proved why she was the best at what she did.
Havana started sending threatening messages to Sarah about how she was going to hurt her. Sarah tried to ignore them but one day she found her tires slashed and she realised that Havana was serious so she went to the police to report her.
Havana was arrested which made Sarah’s mum more sympathetic and understanding towards her daughter. Though she still didn’t agree with her career choice, she asked her to move back home so that she could at least have a safe place to go after work.
Their relationship took some time to repair but Sarah tried everything to show her that she was simply a dancer. She also started an online dance class that allowed her to quit her job as a stripper.
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This story first appeared on the blog as Short Story: She Found Out Her Daughter Was A Stripper Part 1 and Short Story: She Found Out Her Daughter Was A Stripper Part 2