I’m not crazy, I prefer the term mentally hilarious.
Angela was packing up her sexy secretary costume as a backup to her planned outfit for work. Her conservative but expensive bedroom was a distinct contradiction to the mass of sexy and naughty outfits she had laid out. The plan for tonight was a routine she had worked on all weekend, but options were always best when performing half naked for a room of unknown men.
Her neighbor Joshua flopped down on her bed with a dramatic sigh.
“Problems?” Angela held back a giggle as he sighed again. Her best and only friend loved drama and didn’t know the meaning of boundaries. When she moved into the condo next to the flamboyant drag queen they had bonded over a shared love for technology and his/her sighs always meant trouble.
“Explain to me again why instead of spending tonight clubbing with me you are taking your clothes off for ruffians to earn money you don’t need?”
Joshua was a tall, beautiful man with buzzed black hair, a toned body and a complexion models would sell their firstborn to have. His cream Stella McCartney gown looked fabulous against his sepia skin tone but was a little too short for his long frame. His makeup and hair weren’t done yet, which meant he stopped halfway into becoming Jojo to come talk to her. Angela liked him because from the first moment they met he ignored all of her many social inadequacies and just accepted her as she was. Well, mostly.
“Probably for the same reason a successful computer security specialist puts on a dress and killer heels twice a week and lip syncs for crowds of lusty gay men.” She flopped down next to her friend and kicked up her bare feet.
“No, sugar. I am an attention whore who loves picking up young men. You, despite your porcelain skin and rocking purple hair, hate being in crowds, blush at the words big cock, and can’t talk to a hot man long enough to lose your V-card.”
Angela felt her cheeks heating and smacked her friend with a pillow. He was right, though she wouldn’t admit it out loud. She had always been the brainiac, lost in books and her own thoughts. Raised by a workaholic single father, she had been a late life surprise which was more like a project to be managed than a child. When he died of a heart attack two years ago, it had been a wakeup call. One that said if she didn’t want to die alone, something had to change.
“I love dancing. Becoming Cami on stage is my way of finding my wild side.” She also loved losing herself in the sexy alter egos which came with stripping. She felt alive and powerful when she let her sexual side out to play.
“If you are looking for Mr. Right at a strip club, honey, someone done forgot to teach you some very basic facts about the types of men who frequent those places.”
“Someone done? Is that your Princeton education showing though?”
“Don’t get snooty with me, Harvard girl. At least they taught me men who like to shove cash in a girl’s G-string aren’t first time material.”
“I’m not looking for the man for the first time, yet. I’m looking for what I want out of a first time.” After her single disastrous failed attempt at a relationship when she was 19, she had given up. At 26, she had too many fantasies and until she decided which was right for her, how could she possibly pick a man? An equation with too many unknown variables just wasn’t solvable.
“Honey, I am the last man on this planet to judge having an alter ego.” Angela laughed because, Jojo, Joshua’s drag queen persona, was the southern belle of any party while Joshua was as California as a black man could be. “But you know most of the women at that club offer more than just dances. And I don’t want you to get hurt because some jerk mistakes you for one of them.”
She did know that, and to be honest, it was one of the many reasons she picked Darklights to work at. Hearing about actual sex could only help her research. Besides, their security was amazing, both physical and digital – it had taken her several days to crack it – and she had watched months of videos confirming that not once was a girl there harmed. The few men who tried to step out of line had left with very expensive medical bills in their future.
In the four weeks she’d been working there, she hadn’t felt pressured to do more than the two sets on stage and one private dance she agreed to. Angela even got to pick the customers she performed privately for from the requests and the bouncer always stayed in the room with her so there were no misunderstandings.
“I think it’s sweet you worry.”
Joshua gave an enormous sigh. “I guess I thought you would quit when I got you the internship at Vallier Technologies.”
“Why would you think that?” Angela was excited to check out the new company that was on the cutting edge of every type of security.
“At the time, I thought it was odd that you lived here and were stripping. I assumed it was for the extra cash flow.” Joshua rolled onto his stomach and gave her a hard look. “If you need more than they pay interns, I know I could get you a permanent position.”
Angela laughed, rolling to hug Joshua. “I guess you never Googled me.”
“No. Why? Do you have some scandalous videos out there?”
“Nothing like that!” She elbowed him and sat up. “Let’s just say I’m good on money for the next 100+ years. I told you why I was dancing.”
“I’m sorry, sweetie. I should have taken you at your word. You have to understand, a virgin computer geek stripping to find out what her inner slut wants, is a bit much. So why did you take the Vallier internship?”
Angela tried to put into words what was swirling in her head. She had done several internships, all at large tech companies, but by the time they offered her permanent employment she was bored. The idea of settling down and doing one thing for the rest of her life made her nauseous.
She had freelanced since she was 17 for the government and created and sold compatibility algorithms along with several other search and data mining programs. The profits from the sales had given her enough to live off the interest alone, even if she hadn’t inherited millions from her father.
“I like what they do for kidnapped people and their work in encryption is fascinating. Besides, I checked, the morality standards and non-compete documents I signed don’t preclude stripping as a side job. Actually, other than things that are illegal anyway, the company doesn’t even have fraternization policies.”
“Fine. You love me. I love you. Go get your freak on if that is really what makes you happy. I will just have to face my adoring fans alone, but only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Angela smiled at her drama queen of a friend. “You still want to carpool together tomorrow morning?”
“Of course! I can’t wait to see you in that cute pantsuit we bought. So ‘La Femme Nikita’.”
Although Vallier was a progressive company, Angela had decided to go more traditional for the first few weeks while she learned her way around. She loved her purple hair and crazy grunge style, but found people had a hard time taking her seriously. Maybe someday she would find the confidence to not care. Until then she would use clothes and hair like her favorite animal the chameleon did. Use them to blend into whatever identity she wanted to portray.
“And you can show the new girl around your technology empire.”
“Oh, it isn’t mine, but if Mr. Vallier even shows a hint of swinging that way, I will happily become the queen of his kingdom.” Jojo struck a regal pose and she couldn’t help but giggle.
“So not a scrawny geek?” Joshua liked his men on the big and buff side.
“You will get to meet him tomorrow he stops by every orientation. Then we can gossip about the unfairness of the genetic lottery he won on the drive home.”
Angela laughed, picking up her duffle ready for a night of letting loose as someone else at the strip club.