Previous chapter: My First Bachelorette Party
Chapter 8: More Obstacles
|French Addiction, 2003 - 2004|
I met with Janice at French Addiction and received the official word that I was hired. To mark the occasion, I filled out a tax form and cemented my status as an official employee. Now I could start doing private parties on my own.
The wall containing the store's selection of male strippers would soon have a picture frame containing my pictures, and women would be able to enter the store and select me from the roster. Except that Janice was out of picture frames.
At first, this seemed to be a minor setback. Walk-in customers would not be able to choose me, but customers over the phone could. Janice assured me that she planned to buy some new picture frames within a few days, so I relaxed and left everything in her hands.
That was a big mistake.
Several days passed, which trickled into a week, then two. No one called me for a show. I began to worry. I called Titus, asking if he’d had any gigs recently. He said that he had a couple since our bachelorette party. This news filled me with dismay. There were shows out there, just none for me.
I went back to French Addiction to check on the situation. A quick glance at the wall showed me that my pictures had not debuted yet. A girl, who later identified herself as “Brooke,” stood behind the counter flipping through a magazine. She stood at almost six feet, and her large bones gave her a sturdy appearance. She regarded me with a mixture of boredom and annoyance. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah, I'm just here to check about upcoming shows.”
“What are you talking about?” Brooke said.
“The shows for male dancers,” I said. “I want to see if there is any upcoming work for me.”
Brooke paused and looked confused. Then she looked at the picture frames of the male dancers on the wall. “You work here? I don’t see your picture on the wall.”
“Yeah, they’re back there somewhere behind the counter. There’s just no frames yet. I went along with Titus for training and just got hired.”
“Let me call her and check,” Brooke said, picking up the phone and walking away. Judging from the sneer on her face, I knew that Brooke did not believe me.
When Brooke finished her conversation with Janice, she gave me a dubious look. "Okay, Janice said you were hired, which I didn't know about. As far as having your picture on the wall, you just have to wait until Janice buys a picture frame.”
“Did she say when?” I asked.
“Do I look like I know?!” Brooke snapped.
I gritted my teeth. “Thanks for your help,” I said, and departed.
The longer my picture was absent, the longer I would miss out on potential work. I needed my pictures on that wall as soon as possible. Worse yet, Brooke unnerved me because she seemed eager to find a reason not to give me a show. I couldn’t quite describe why, but I had the feeling that she disliked me and wanted me to vanish.
As I was driving home, anger began to set in. It began as a small flicker, but soon burst into a smoldering inferno burning away at my passive nature. If I wanted anything done, I had to take matters into my own hands.
Instead of going home, I made a detour towards the store.
An hour later, I barged through the front door of French Addiction. Brooke’s eyes bulged at my sudden return.
“Hey Brooke!” I said aloud with a grin. “I got the picture frame. Now where did Janice keep the pictures I turned in?”
The dumbfounded look on Brooke's face gave me immense pleasure. She gingerly pointed to a shoe box next to the cash register. “Um, she keeps the pictures and all the applications there, but—”
I waved at Brooke with one hand and held on tight to the shoebox with the other. “It's all good! I work here now, and I'm just saving Janice some extra work.” I found my pictures, took them out, and placed them next to the picture frame.
“These four pictures fit well enough,” I said. "Now I need some tape – never mind, I found it.” I organized the four pictures Holly took of me into the frame. Next, I grabbed a pair of scissors, a sheet of paper from the printer, and a permanent marker from the cash register. I cut a small rectangular strip from the paper and drew 'DION' on it in big, bold letters with the marker. I taped the strip of paper with my name onto the center of the collage of pictures. Once I was done with the frame, I walked over to the wall containing the picture frames of the other male dancers.
Brooke, sensing what I was about to do, raised one final objection. “I don't think Janice will approve…”
Ignoring Brooke, I hung up my picture in the center of the wall, just below Titus’s frame. Now, any customer entering the store looking for male strippers would notice it immediately.
I called Janice, and in front of Brooke, explained to that I bought a picture frame and hung my pictures on the wall. Janice thanked me for spending the money and asked how much she owed me.
“Don't worry about it,” I said, smiling. “Glad to help.”
When I got off the phone, Brooke gazed at me with pure malice in her eyes.
I beamed at her. “There. Problem solved! Janice knows about it, and we’re good to go. Take care!”
Brooke said nothing as I left the store.
The next day, I returned to French Addiction to confirm my picture was still on the wall. To my satisfaction, Brooke had left it undisturbed. Now I just had to sit back and wait for the customers.