By Frederick B. Philander
Simply dressed in a low-neck garment and with a beautified face Emma emerges from the single bedroom she shares with her cousin.
“How do I look?,” she asks playfully turning on her heels in front of Dottie in the kitchen.
“You look stunning, girl. You will definitely be the focus of attention tonight at the club. Come let’s be off. My customers are waiting,” Dottie says leading the way to the front door.
At this very moment Martha enters the house from outside.
“And where the dickens do you think you are dragging this poor innocent child to, flirt?,” Martha makes known her true feelings about her daughter’s nocturnal and immoral life style.
Immediately on the defense Dottie steps out of her mother’s way and points to Emma.
“Ask her yourself, you’ve got a tongue,” she spits poison.
“It’s alright, Auntie Martha. I am just going to meet some of Dottie’s friends.
She has asked I go with her,” Emma says innocently.
“With dock friends like her’s, who needs enemies? I can see she has already negatively influenced you,” Martha says walking pass the two girls.
“If it will make you happy, I’ll be back home early,” Emma promises her host.
“I trust you, Emma, not her,” Martha says waving Emma to go.
The girls leave the house.
“We’re gonna rock the house tonight, baby,” Dottie says as they get into a taxi in the street.
In the kitchen Martha retrieves a half-jack brandy from her bag and drinks from it.
In the gleam of a spotlight on stage at a sleazy nightclub, deemed to be THE hot spot for foreign sailors, a stripper piece by piece rid herself of her scanty clothes in front of a predominantly male audience on the beat of appropriate music.
The stripper’s sensual bodily strip maneuvers generate loud wolf whistles from the appreciative male audience. Some of the foreign sailors show their gratitude for rare entertainment in the harbor town by throwing money onto the badly lit stage in the joint, ironically dubbed the Pigsty.
At close inspection the stripper on stage is none other then Dottie, disguised and wearing a wig with heavy make up. Strip dancing has always been a criminal offence, but tonight even the club owner enjoys himself seated among the male audience. On a bar stool at the counter Emma is also captivated by Dottie’s striptease show in progress on stage.
Emma’s highly tipsy boss, Henry, also enters the club recognizing her and accosting to her.
“Nice to see you, Emma. Can I buy you a drink?,” Henry asks politely.
“No thank you, I don’t drink,” she replies with a stiff upper lip to get rid of the man trying to make a nuisance of himself.
“Okay, I will leave you be for the time being., but I am not finished with you.
We’ll talk at work on Monday,” Henry says taking a set among the audience.
In a corner of the joint a lonely man, Ghanaian ship captain Gabriel Song , unobtrusively also enjoys the show with foot-tapping and a glass of beer.
The five-minute strip show reaches a dramatic climax with Dottie shedding her g-string, totally naked with the spotlight fading. In the dark the appreciative room momentously explodes with hand clapping.
At the start of the next striptease item on the program, The twin Sisters, Dottie joins her cousin at the bar counter.
“How was the show, Emma?” she asks sitting down on a barstool next to Emma.
“A bit daring, but very creative I must admit,” she comments with a smile.
“Well, thank you for coming to see me in action,” Dottie replies.
“Where did you learn all those dance paces?” Emma inquires.
“In some overseas blue movies, which are freely available on the black market around the town,” Dottie informs her cousin truthfully.
“So, this is what you are doing for a living?” Emma wants to know with a lot of admiration.
“Among other things, yes. It’s easy money,” Dottie says gesturing to the barman. “Barman, I’ll have a gin and tonic. Put it on my tap,” she orders looking around the room.
“Now I can see why there isn’t any love lost between you and your mother,” Emma observes.
“Forget about her now. Enjoy the evening,” Dottie replies taking a sip from the drink the barman puts in front of her on the counter. “Listen, girl, there is someone in the audience I want you to meet, a true friend.”
“I am not sure I…,” Emma tries to say.
“Just a second. I’ll be back in a jiffy,” Dottie says wading into the audience.
She instantly returns to the bar counter with a big black man on her arm. The tall exceptionally good-looking Ghanaian man is neatly dressed in a snow white sailors tunic. “Emma I want you to meet my friend, Gabriel. He is a ship captain from Ghana.”
“Please to meet you, Emma,” Gabriel says politely shaking hands with his new acquaintance, the light-skinned girl.
“The feeling is mutual,” she replies with a retaliatory handshake.
“May I join you?,” the big man asks sitting down on a chair next to her.
“Good. Now that you two have formally met, I have to go. My next act is about to start. Talk to you both after the show,” Dottie says excusing herself from the counter.
“Sure,” Emma says waving at a departing Dottie. She is intensely eyed by the Ghanaian.
“So, what’s a beautiful girl like you doing in a place like this, Emma?” Gabriel asks as a matter of interest.
“Dottie invited me to come and I must say, I am not disappointed,” she says genuinely.
“I see…Can I buy you a drink?” he asks with a touch of over eagerness.
“I shouldn’t really…,” Emma tries to object.
“Just a small brandy on our newly formed friendship, for my sake, please? I am sure a little brandy won’t cause too much harm,” he assures her with a flashing smile that weakens her resistance for a drink.
“Oh, what the hell. I’ll have one drink,” she agrees.
“That’s the spirit,” the man says calling the barman and gesturing to pour two drinks amid more sensual music indicating the start of Dottie’s next stage act.
The night flies quickly. The two lonely people tremendously enjoy each other’s company in a short time without Emma realizing she had been drinking too much. When the club doors shut, Gabriel, also heavily intoxicated, assists Emma out the joint into a taxi that drives off with the couple in the early morning hours…
With her night’s performance earnings safely tugged away in her bra, Dottie is also happily and hand-in-hand escorted by a foreign sailor with whom she had struck up a conversation after the last act.
All is well that ends well, for some…
To be continued next week.