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  • jule14

Patent Leather Love

Updated: May 28, 2023

An excerpt from the book- The Jewels of January

There was shit everywhere! Micro miniskirts, halter tops, bras, and t-backs hanging half out of dance bags. It looked like a Fredericks of Hollywood had blown up in here.
“Is that Candy?” I asked, pointing under the counter.
“Yes,” answered another one of the day-girls as she exhaled a plume of smoke and stubbed out her cigarette. “Don’t wake her up. She’s drunk and pissed at her ex-husband. She’ll sleep it off and go home later.”
I nodded in agreement and walked over to Dylan and Victoria; they had an empty seat waiting for me.
I plopped my bag on the floor and tossed my makeup case on the counter next to a bowl of stale popcorn.
“Look what I got!” Dylan said before my butt hit the chair.
I looked over as she pulled a brand new, six-inch pair of black patent leather heels out of a box. “Wow, those are beautiful, your first break-neck pair.”
She beamed. “They’re so shiny. Look how pointy the toe is.”
“Are you ready for this high of a shoe?” I asked her.
“Probably not. It’s not just the height; the size of the heel is freaking me out, it’s smaller than a pencil eraser.”
I smoothed my hand over the side of the pump, flipped it over, and tried to press my thumb nail into the sole.
“Is it hard?” Victoria asked.
“Extremely. It’s going to take gravel.”
“Gravel?” Dylan squeaked out. “Gravel for what?”
Victoria nodded. “That’s what I thought. I’m also a little worried about the shiny leather.”
Dylan looked at me, puzzled. “Did I get the wrong shoes?”
“There’s no such thing as wrong or bad shoes,” I reassured her. “Have you started doing the splits on stage yet?”
Her face lit up like a kindergartener, full of shiny new pride and excitement. “I did the first one yesterday!”
It was hard for me to believe I used to be jealous of her. I was so worried she would replace me, but now I considered her a friend, someone I wanted to get to know better.
“That’s great, we just need to tweak the shoes before you wear them…” I paused for dramatic effect. “…especially before you wear them on stage.”
“Once you get dressed, I’ll take you outside. There’s a great patch of sandy gravel you can twist on, to help take the slick off the balls of the shoes,” Victoria said.
“Ahhhh!” she slowly whined. “What are you doing to my beautiful shoes?”
Victoria let out a knowing giggle. “She’s fixing them for you.” She continued reassuring her. “Patent leathers and the stage don’t mix well. When you do the splits, the shoe will stick to the polyurethane and stop you hovering a foot off the floor until you fall on your ass, and it won’t look very sexy.”
“But,” I added to get her eyes to stop bugging out, “don’t worry. If that happens, the guys will feel sorry for you and come up and give you a tip. I’ve met some of my best customers during my most embarrassing moments.”
“Like that time your shoe flew off and hit that guy in the back,” Victoria said, slapping her knee.
“Yes, he was great. I got my first hundred-dollar tip on stage from him,” I said while using a nail file to scratch off a half-inch of the leather on the instep of her shoe, just below the big toe.
I grabbed the marker off the counter, filled in the newly inflicted scar and said, “A lot of prep work goes into making sure a new pair of heels doesn’t kill you.”
I loved these stolen moments with the three of us. It would make a great MasterCard commercial.

Hoochie outfit: $43.00
Stripper shoes: $37.95
Time spent with people on the same spiritual path: PRICELESS

“Tada,” I said, swallowing down a thickness in my throat. “There you go!”
“Won’t the place you marked with the Sharpie rub off or fade?”
“Yes, eventually. I recommend buying a marker and keeping it in your makeup case; they come in handy.”
She didn’t look satisfied with my instructions, and held her stilettos close to her chest. “You defiled my brand-new shoes.”
Victoria laughed and said, “Don’t get too attached, you’ll be replacing them in a couple of months.”
Dylan’s eyes bugged out, “Noooo, why would I do that?”
“Because,” I said with a silly grin on my face, “that’s how long it takes for the sides to bust out and the smell to creep in.”
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