The Shaker

I’m forty and still working at the Shaker, where men can have a good time and get a little extra on the side for a good price. I started working at the club when I was eighteen (eighteen!). I washed glasses, cleaned toilets, floors, and counters, and cut up fruit for the drinks. It was shit work, but I did it because I needed the money, and not for luxuries like new clothes and car insurance. It was just my mother and me living together in those days. My crazy sister would come by looking for a handout, but we didn’t have enough money to cover the bills each month. We ate a lot of PB and J on Wonder Bread.

I started waitressing at age nineteen. I was five eleven with bobbed raven-black hair and bright-red lipstick, so I looked older than I was. I wore my denim shorts short and tight. Most men would tuck the money into my back pocket. I’ll always remember the guy in a suit who squeezed my ass, not hard, and pushed a bill into my pocket. I expected it to be five bucks, but it was twenty. Mom and I splurged on Chinese takeout.

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