So I missed this, as I don’t often look at the Writer’s Digest website (or at least not as often as I used to and I only seem to do this when I want to goof off while working – shhh don’t tell anyone). So, February is Flash Fiction month at Writer’s Digest. One can sign up for emails with prompts for writing flash fiction. If I’d only seen this earlier…

Today’s prompt was write a flash fiction piece (1000 words or less) about an article of clothing. Yeah, right. I can do this. A story about an article of clothing that has some sort of emotional change.

When I first saw her dancing at the local strip joint, I wondered about the stick-things keeping her red hair piled up on her head. Did she just get any ol’ chopstick, like from Chang’s Noodle House across the street, or were they special made. I know, I should have been captivated by her dancing, but really, when you’ve seen one nylon strip between the undulating buns, you’ve seen most of them.

Not that she wasn’t attractive. For stripers, she was very attractive. I just wasn’t into that day. Or the next, but by the third day, you could say she grew on me. Why, you may wonder, was a handsome guy like me going to a strip joint at lunch to watch mostly naked women dance about and eat so-so riblets? In a name, Merle, my boss.

Merle could be described as a good ol’ boy or as one of the “in” crowd at work. He took me under his hefty wing and said, “Boyo (he always called me boyo), let me show you some good times because when its time to show those out-a-towner types around, you gotta know what they want.” Evidently, the visiting business men wanted strippers, because that’s where we most often went for lunch.

Back to the redhead. Merle thought she, Cherry or Cherish or C something, was da bomb. Evidently he’d paid her enough so that he got special treatment whenever she came in, lap dances and such, all in public of course. He hinted that maybe she’d like to go somewhere more private, but she always politely and with a wink, declined.

When the opportunity came for me to entertain some corporate bigwigs, Merle suggested the strip joint, mentioning that the majority of them had been there before. Merle even said he’d meet us there. I’d only been there during the day, but I agreed and the bigwigs seemed to be up for it. After a fancy dinner, we took a limo to the club and found our way through the crowd to a reserved table, which Merle had set up, right at the edge of the stage. Merle, however, was not in evidence. We got drinks. The girls danced, and then it was time for Cherry Bang – the redhead – to come on and do her spotlight routine.

When Cherry Bang did not come on, there was a commotion backstage. I wondered over, looking for Merle, because the bigwigs were starting to ask for him. Maybe, I thought, he’d found his way into her dressing room (do strippers have dressing rooms?).

I saw through the door, flung open by the manager called for the police and paramedics, that yes, Merle had indeed found his way backstage. I also saw Cherry’s hair chopsticks, from Chang’s Noodle Shop no less, sticking out of his eye. I guess she was done being polite.