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A cheating wife story.
In fact the only active thought in her mind was being good at her job.
I was so distracted by the dancer on stage that I failed to notice the man at my shoulder. I felt a tapping on my shoulder and a disturbance of the ladies on my lap. I glanced up and a rather slimy fellow said, "So you're the new owner, eh? I see you like Joanne, she's a favorite here. Come back to the office and I will arrange a visit."
I searched the weasel's mind, but it wasn't a trap. It was only a way to try to ingratiate himself with the new owner, so that maybe I would ignore his embezzlement like the previous owner had. Joanne had finished her dance and was collecting applause and pound notes. The weasel got her attention and jerked his head towards his office. He then led me towards the back. The two girls who had been on my lap trailed behind me, they didn't want to miss out on a chance to impress the new owner.
The manager's office was a little room crammed with junk. The only clear spot in his office was the middle of his desk. Fishing a bit in the oily waters of his mind I learned it was because he would screw the dancers while they were bent over the desk, and he hated picking things up off the floor.
As I walked into the office, the girl's tried to follow me in, but I shut the door on them. I could hear them both accusing the other of ruining their chances. When they stopped shouting at each other I found it was because Joanne was heading down the hall. I could feel their loathing through the door, but I didn't let it stop me from opening it just as Joanne was about to knock.
The weasel had poured me a drink and was trying to offer it to me. Instead, I threw him out and ushered Joanne in. She was wearing a green wrap over a lavender bikini and seemed much less confident than she had on stage. Her heart really sank when she saw that my fly was open from earlier. I jerked my zipper up and thought furiously.
I felt another pang of remorse and wondered why. This wasn't the first time I had been with a stripper. Since I'd started dwelling in the underworld I'd also been with prostitutes and girls looking for sugar daddies. While some of them were merely greedy, others had felt trapped just as Joanne did. So why hadn't it bothered me before? Why was Joanne special?
I searched her mind but couldn't find anything that unusual about her. She was smarter than most, but was born on the wrong side of the tracks. Her brother and father had both been criminals before they were killed and their specter had haunted every job application she had submitted since. So at sixteen she became a stripper and had already been in the job for two years. I had seen it all before dozens of times, but somehow this time the girl had a chance. Or maybe I was the one who had a chance.
I went over to the phone and started looking through my stash of business cards until I found the one for the limousine service I had used to ferry me around the cleaner parts of the city. The man on the other end was incredulous when I told him where I wanted to be picked up, but when he realized who I was he was suddenly very gracious.
Joanne was looking at me dubiously as I finished the call. I walked over to her and watched her flinch. She clearly thought the worst before I began putting calming thoughts into her head. "Go get your stuff, you're done for the night."
* * *
It took me a while to unhook from the manager and the other strippers at the club. By now word had passed that I was the new owner and they were all looking for a promotion or a bonus. Finally I told them all to get back to work or they were fired. That cleared enough space for me to see Joanne leaving out through the back door.
Something odd happened to me as I was about to reach out with my mind to stop her: I felt a stab of guilt. I quickly quashed the thought of forcing her to stop and instead found myself running to catch up with her. She was moving rather quickly and I finally called out for her to stop.
When I caught up she said, "I tho