Shiftless in Seattle


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It had been a rough week, so Craig knocked off early Friday afternoon. Actually, the whole engineering group knocked off early – there was a going-away happy hour for Patsy, the senior team leader. Patsy was a compact but plush little brunette who’d neatly been sidestepping Bud’s passes for a year and a half, and he owed it to himself to make one more for old time’s sake.

A couple of beers and one pleasantly cooperative hug later, Craig was on the road to Applebee’s for dinner, decompressing from the week over chicken and mushrooms. He hoped the new team leader wouldn’t be a hard-ass. He wished Patsy had been more interested in him, or that he’d been more assertive. Mostly he just wished he weren’t living the life of an old and probably confirmed bachelor.

When he got into that mood, it was time for a visit to Marv’s Place.

Marv’s was a slightly run-down topless bar on the outskirts of downtown; one of the old-style places with aged wood and old beer signs where the girls (okay, the women) came from surrounding neighborhoods. Nowadays they had to come from farther away – downtown was going downhill – but the place still had that comfortable feel. Nobody had actually seen Marv for years; the representative of management was the bartender and bouncer, Big Red.

Craig liked the atmosphere. The dancers weren’t stick figure Barbies but real women, peeling and posing for the tips and the thrill, not to make any kind of decent money from it. You wouldn’t think there would be many women interested, but Marv’s Place had four dancers covering every three-hour shift, 21 hours a day. Some of them danced in a bikini, most went down to panties or a g-string. A few would get adventurous sometimes and go all the way, but only if the crowd was down to just regulars.

You knew you were a regular if Big Red greeted you by name. Craig had been a regular at Marv’s for a year and a half, showing up on an irregular basis when things at the office were rough, tipping the dancers without any particular favorites.

Craig waved from the door and got a gruff smile and a hello from Big Red. The place was crowded, and he had to twist between people first to get to the bar for a Heineken, then to find himself an empty chair along the back wall. The tables were a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar faces – offshift dancers, friends, friends of friends, and what looked like a contingent of college students watching with wide eyes but generally behaving themselves. He didn’t recognize the onstage dancer, a youngish brunette with marked tan lines. She was shaking energetically to something by Bon Jovi, and every so often one of the college boys would make their way up to the stage and slide a couple of dollar bills under the side of her g-string.

He made his own contributions to the dancers as the evening wore along, moving to a table closer to the stage when the college crowd left at eleven. It was a good time to move up; Marge was in the middle of her set, down to her dark blue panties, big pale breasts swaying as she hooked one arm to the pole and sang along with Cole Porter. Craig crossed one leg over the other and bobbed his foot along with the music. He liked Marge. Not just for her breasts, which had figured in more than one of his occasional erotic dreams, but because she was closer to his own generation and güvenilir bahis usually picked music that he enjoyed.

After Marge was Freda, whose husband always sat in front of the stage cracking his knuckles threateningly while she danced. Freda liked punk rock, and she thrust her body at the audience in a manner that never failed to make Craig hard. After her set, Freda made the rounds of the customers’ tables and laps while her husband went outside. Craig often wondered what the deal was about him – but let Freda bypass his table just to be on the safe side.

Eleven o’clock came and went. Candy, the brunette who looked an awful lot like Craig’s team leader, came on shift and Craig slipped two fives into her g-string. His groin twitched watching the front of her panty nestle itself under her sparse hair. Usually he’d close out his tab and leave after having a drink with Candy, but this night Craig just hung around, occasionally trading his empty beer bottle for a full one. It was last shift, and he had no reason to get up early on Saturday morning.

Besides, he was a little curious to see what happened after last shift. It seemed odd that Marv’s was so specific about dancing from 5am to 2am only. It would probably turn out that was the time they cleaned out the bathrooms or something equally mundane.

There were three other dancers closing out the night and he made sure each of them got a decent tip – Sylvia, the dark Latina; April, the chubby blonde who liked to wrap her breasts around the pole; and Hong Lan. Hong Lan was Vietnamese, stood only four foot nine in heels, had almost boyish flat breasts, and moved around the stage to some unintelligible Oriental noise – but when she moved you didn’t hear the music or care about her physique. There wasn’t anything overtly sexual about her dancing, but even the other women at Marv’s would watch entranced and come up to the stage to take their time adjusting the bills under her g-string.

Craig jumped when Big Red clapped him on the shoulder. “Hey, Craig, you gonna be okay to drive?”

The place was empty – apparently he’d dozed off. Craig stood up and stretched, tugged at his chin and rubbed his temples. “Yeah, I think so. I’ve only had what, four or five beers?”

The sound of the vacuum cleaner almost drowned out Big Red’s voice. “Hang out a while anyway, I’d like to talk with you some, and it doesn’t look like you’re in a hurry.”

Craig kicked back and watched while Big Red moved around the club cleaning up. She was big all right – built like a linebacker and dressed in her usual wide jeans and plaid shirt. The gossip was that Big Red had been one of Marv’s original dancers, or maybe an ex-wife, but nobody seemed to know for sure.

“Anything I can do to help?” Craig felt obliged to make the offer, though he had no idea what needed to be done. Big Red turned her head and gave him a broad toothy smile. “No, but thanks – I’ll be done in just a little bit.” Craig picked up the last of his Heineken and took his time finishing it. “Hey Red, I’ve got a question. How come the place stays open all night but doesn’t have a dancer shift from 2 to 5?”

Big Red put the vacuum away and wiped down the bar. “Taxes, would you believe it? There’s this law on the books that kicks in if you offer entertainment around the clock. So we can sell drinks, but we can’t have dancers without paying through the nose. I don’t know what the folks in the state legislature were trying to prevent with that.” She tossed the washcloth into the sink, poured a glass of bourbon, and came to sit down next to Craig. “My turn. What keeps you coming here? You don’t hit on any of the girls, you almost never ask for lap dances, you don’t seem depressed, you just show up and hang. Not that I’m complaining – good customers are good customers. türkçe bahis I’m just curious.”

Craig had never noticed her freckles before. They really brightened Red’s face.

“I’m on disability from a car accident; I have to work irregular hours – I can’t pull a full 8-hour shift at a desk. Luckily Star Engineering is really flexible on work arrangements.” Red’s leg was pressing against Craig’s. It felt nice, solid and warm. “Anyway, this is a good break from work and everything else. It makes for a nice place where I can decompress and relax.”

Red laughed a long time at that. “Don’t let Candy or the other girls hear you say you watch them to relax.” She started rubbing his right shoulder. Her fingers were strong, and they dug into the muscles in a way that hurt but felt good. “That’s not the response a woman usually wants from a man.” She moved around behind Craig and started massaging his left shoulder. “We’re usually looking for something different.”

Maybe it was the fourth beer, but it took this long for Craig to realize that Red might be coming on to him. When she moved her hands over his shoulders and started rolling her strong fingers over his pectorals, her chest a cushiony pressure behind his head, there was no doubt left. And relaxation was no longer an option.

“Want to know something, Craig?” she murmured into his ear. “I used to be a dancer here. I was one of Marv’s first dancers, actually. You want to see if I can still shake it?”

It was a rhetorical question, of course. Red slid her hands across Craig’s chest and stood up to go climb onto the stage and turn on the boom box. She stood up and held the pole with one hand, leaning outward from it. And then the music started – Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloupe Island. Craig sat up a little straighter in his chair. You hardly ever heard jazz in a strip club.

Red was tall, close to six feet in loose jeans and a lumberjack shirt, and when she pushed the pants down she showed muscular long legs. Legs that flexed and bent and twirled, panties taut across her butt as she twisted and turned to the music. Herbie Hancock gave way to Frank Zappa, but Craig was no longer paying attention to the music – instead he was focused on the now-nude woman commanding the stage. Her arms were up, hands clasping the pole over and behind her head, her small breasts were jiggling side to side, and her thighs and knees were opened hunching with primitive energy directly at Craig’s erect cock.

The boom box went silent and Red climbed down from the stage, curling a finger toward him. “Take your clothes off, Craig, and join me on the stage. I already vacuumed the floor, and we’re going to be getting real messy.”

Getting undressed didn’t take long. At Red’s suggestion, Craig took up her pose with his hands over his head clutching the pole. She slid her hands up and down his sides, then knelt between his thighs and ovalled her lips around him. “Oh god…” he moaned, as her face bobbed forward and back, her nails plucking at his ass. It was all too fast and too much, and Red pulled back just as his cock erupted, spewing cum over her breasts, her face, her stomach. She smeared it all around, including down between her thighs, and laid Craig down on his back. “Good, now that we’ve gotten you relaxed let’s see about having some real fun.”

With that she straddled his thighs and ground her labia along his shaft. Craig was still half-hard, which surprised him. Red hovered over his body and fed him first one then the other soft breast; they may have been only B cups, but on her big frame they were more than enough to fill his mouth. First she moaned, then Craig moaned as her fingers made sure he was ready to fill her.

The two of them made their own music, on a stage smelling of sweat and cum, first with her güvenilir bahis siteleri hips hammering down urgently then with Craig on his knees feeding her from behind and finally with their arms around each other rolling on the stage until both were gasping and neither one was inclined to move. Craig, in fact, fell asleep still twitching inside Red.

He woke up with Red bending over him giving him a sponge bath. She smiled warmly at his confused face. “I had to clean the stage anyway, figured you wouldn’t mind being part of the action.” She ducked her head and gave him a long wet kiss, and Craig was more than willing to cooperate. “I’ve got a proposal for you, Craig, if you’re interested. The bathroom’s over there. When you’re freshened up and have your clothes on, let’s talk.”

Her kiss had gotten Craig aroused again, so it was with a slight pout of disappointment that he managed to go to the bathroom, wash up and get dressed. When he came out to the club area, Red had fresh coffee on a table near the stage and she was once again in her figure-hiding outfit. He pulled up a chair and took the mug of coffee she offered him.

“Here’s the deal, Craig. I like having you around – you’re a really nice person. And unless I’m totally off the mark, you find me pretty damn compatible as well.” He had the old-fashioned manners to blush at that. “How would you like to trade your stressful job for a spot as co-manager of Marv’s Place?”

Craig’s eyes watered as he swallowed the hot coffee too fast, then shook his head as if trying to clear it. “Excuse me, did you just offer to take me on as a partner here?”

Red laughed, though not in a mocking way. “Yes, Craig, a partner. I’m getting on in years, and there are times it would help to have someone reliable to backstop me. I’ve been watching you a long time, and I’ve been thinking about this for a few months.” A more serious look took over her face. “Also, I hate to deliver bad news, but your employer’s about to announce major cutbacks. You hear things in this line of business.”

Craig set the coffee mug down carefully. “This is an awful lot to process. I’ve got to figure things out.” He glanced at the clock, and smiled weakly. “And I sure don’t want to help you open up for business as a freebie!” They both laughed at that and Craig left with a head full of questions.

The following Monday, Craig’s group was supposed to meet their new team leader. Instead, they met a representative of human resources who gave half of the group pink slips and the other half offers of positions in Kansas. The rest of the day was a blur of condolences, packing boxes, and discussions about who might be hiring. Everyone in his team knew that Craig’s disability status would be a problem for him, but he was remarkably low-key about his dismissal notice. “I’m sure things will work out,” he said when people asked.

Craig didn’t go to Marv’s on Monday night.

And he didn’t go to Marv’s on Tuesday night.

But Wednesday morning, when Big Red unlocked the front door of Marv’s Place, there was Craig. He brushed past her and looked around the quiet club. “I want you to know,” he started, “I’m not considering this just because I got laid off. It just happens that I want to stay in Seattle and your offer’s interesting.”

Big Red closed the door, leaned against it, and waited for him to continue.

“I have two questions, though, before I can say yes. First, how did you wind up running this place and where’s the real ownership? And second, what’s your real name? It can’t actually be Big Red!”

Quietly, behind her back, she locked the door. Then she smiled and started unbuttoning her shirt. “Shannon. My real name’s Shannon.” More of her clothes dropped off as her smile widened. “And I actually own the club. I told you I was one of Marv’s first dancers. Well, I wound up being his second and last wife too. You’re wearing too many clothes to be a full partner, by the way.”

Craig wasted no time meeting his new partner on a fully equal basis.

/ END /

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