Effortlessly I pulled the tan stocking above my knee, sliding it across the thickness of my thigh before securing it to the garter. My hand now moved to my large, plump lips, where I dotted a speck of moisturizer before rubbing them together to get a perfect, even distribution. They now taste and smelled of cherry spice. Now for some color, I thought, opening the pallet of endless lip stains to see which would suit my attire for the evening.
This one! I decided as my finger tapped near the burnt orange circle titled Pale Sunbeam. The laser brush slid across airbrushing my top lip, then the lower. Blotting my lips, I smiled in the light-framed mirror, satisfied with my choice of color. The spotlights illuminated my sequin bra top, creating dazzling sparkles of purple and gold.
The multicolor bra top and matching boy shorts fit my medium sized five feet, four inch frame perfectly. I strategically paired burnt gold and lavender with a hit of black to enclose the eyeshadow on my slightly large mud brown eyes. The colors were exaggerated against my deep brown skin. My freshly ironed coal black hair fell down to one side over my breast. Yes! My smile widen, revealing my perfectly straight pearly whites. This girl was glowing and she knew it!
“How many times do I have to tell you to stay away from my dressing station?” Zienna fussed, her milky white tone reflected in the mirror behind me.
I jumped in surprise, dropped the laser brush almost breaking it.
Zienna was of slim build and a couple inches taller than me. Her green eyes bucked as she nod her head, a motion for me to get out of her way. As soon as I was she knelt down peering in the mirror, fluffing her yellow blonde curls that loosely fell on her shoulders.
“Oh...ah...sorry Zienna.” I blushed almost tripping over her shoes.
“Watch it!” Zienna shouted. “Just stay away, alright! And stop using my makeup.”
I slumped my shoulders in a playful motion and moved closer to her.
“But you have the best collection! All the new, top quality shit.” I pouted.
Zienna smiled and shook her head before sitting down to change her hair and makeup for the next set.
“It's a mad house out there tonight. Mistress Bea wants us to dance four sets each tonight. I swear I won't be able to move tomorrow.” She rubbed a wet cloth across her face. “Pass me the costume for my next set.” She demanded pointing to the yellow dress tagged Zienna #2 hanging amidst the costumes and feathered frocks on the clothing rack.
I ran to grab it. The dressing room was a medium, tight space with wooden floors. The walls were lined with makeup stations. Each station had a mirror completely surrounded with circular solar lights. In the back of the room was an endless array of cocktail dresses, evening gowns and themed costumes. Any idea the dancers had for their routine, Mistress Bea had a dress or costume for it.
“Oh, I forgot to mention it.” Zienna said, applying a new shade of lip stain.
“What?” My eyes widen with curiosity.
Zienna grinned at my nosiness. “Koto is looking for you. He's pissed. He said you were suppose to be up there an hour ago and he's threatening to go to the Mistress.”
I forgot he was the bartender tonight. Most of the others just let me get away with my bullshit, but not Koto. He stays on my ass like sun rays on the colony's solar panels. Last time I worked with him was a month ago when I earned myself a full one week of work suspension, with no pay of course. He took a full two weeks sick leave over the gash I left over his left eye.
He was frustrated because I got a few drink orders wrong and was behind on busting a couple tables. He called me a lazy bitch and one thing lead to another. Damn near got me kicked off the colony and sent back to Earth. I guessed we would be back to bullshit tonight as well.
Koto's slanted black eyes stayed on me as I made my way to the bar. The scar above his left eye stood out on his green skin. He was the one alien that made me have a distaste for all grays. I guess you can say I was prejudice since most grays who visited the cabaret were quiet and seemed not to have any type of personality at all. Which was always strange to me because they left the largest tips. One night a gray tip me five hundred (500cc) cosmic credits.
It had been two hundred years since most of Earth's nations fell and were forced to join the United Cosmic Federation. Each inhabited planet in the federation built colonies to revolve around it's space, but different colonies served various purposes. My colony, Lovejoy, was for vacations, relaxation and entertainment for interstellar visitors, diplomats, space travelers, astronauts and business people.
The downside is the colonies have limited population capacities. In order to remain on Lovejoy, us workers had to maintain employment to keep our work visas. Once a worker loses their job, it's back down to surface we go. And back to a shit job in some factory, department store, farm or mine. Fuck that shit!
“Good evening, Koto.” I smiled.
“It would be even better if you did your damn job.” He grumbled, never looking up from the drink he was mixing.
I sighed then leaned against the bar being careful not to get my uniform wet.
“Koto, I'm sorry about last time. Lets not go through it again tonight.” I pleaded.
Koto stopped and turned around facing me. I almost grinned. He donned a blue plastic jacket with extremely oversized shoulder pads. It cover his gaudy vest which was overrun with lavender and lime rhinestones.
“Then get your ass out there and wet those whistles.” He said handing me a tray with four drinks. “And go backstage as well. I know the dancers will be thirsty by now.”
I happily took the tray. It was a relief that it wasn't going to be another evening of Koto acting like a bitch to me. Maybe we will finally get along... NOT!
The afternoon sun rays beamed through the wall-size windows. I shifted anxiously outside Mistress Bea's office. Her assistant, Drissel had a smirk on her face. Her salt and pepper hair was up in two buns on opposite sides of her head.
As always she had one signature coil that dropped in her face. It was a style I've never understood. The chair squeaked under her heavy set frame. At the cabaret the secret nickname we all had for her was Roly Poly. However, no one has yet to call her that to her face.
She smirked as she informed me the Mistress was ready to see me.
“Go on in.” Drissel smiled, motioning with her hand for me to enter.
I rolled my eyes at her and brushed my hands down my sides to straighten my knee-length black cotton dress. I chose a periwinkle and silver print scarf and ankle-high black boots to match.
“Girly, get in here!” Mistress Bea commanded.
Mistress Bea's hair was up in a top knot centered on her head. She had dyed it a deep purple to cover the gray. Unfortunately she didn't get it all. Looking at the lines on her face, one would say she was a woman in her late fifties. However, her tall, lean frame was the clear sign of a woman who has taken good care of herself over the years and she was probably a former dancer herself.
She examined me with her eyes as I entered the office. It wasn't five steps before I reached the guest or victim chair. Behind her was a plethora of books and sculptures. Some were of Earth origin and others from various parts of the universe.
This was only my second time in her office, but by the look on her face two times were already too many. She took a puff from her vapor pipe still peering at me through her eye glasses. I always wondered why she still wore them since laser surgery was so cheap now, even I could afford it. Maybe it was to make her look dignified.
“Little girly, I believe you and me got us a problem.” She said, blowing smoke from her pipe.
“What type of problem?” I shifted nervously.
She tilted her head to the side and looked at me curiously.
“You tell me.” She said. “You're the one late for you shifts, running behind on your orders, assaulting your co-worker and messing up my money.”
“I... I'm...” I got out before she raised her hand to silence me.
Mistress Bea leaned back in her chair still watching me.
“Do you know why you're here?” She asked.
“I'm here to work, Mistress.” I quickly answered.
“No my dear, I mean, do you know why you're here on this colony and not back on Earth working in a dusty factory somewhere?” She asked.
I opened my mouth, but I was at a loss for an answer.
“Oh, you don't know, do you? Well, let me help you. You're here because I needed you here.” She said.
Her black talon-like nails softly scratched across the desk in front of her.
“You're here because I got rid of the lazy ass before you. But even after she was gone, I still needed another underachiever to serve patrons and bust tables.” Her smile stretched across her face stopping at her eyes. “So you see, you have only two purposes on this colony.” Mistress Bea said holding up two long slender fingers.
“Only two things are keeping you from rotting away in a factory on the surface and that's serving patrons and busting tables. And if you fail to do that, then it's bye bye colony and any chance of having a future that doesn't include working yourself to death doing hard labor. Do you understand that little girly?”
“Yes Mistress.” I said rubbing my sweaty palms together.
“Are you sure?” She asked
“Yes ma'am.” I squeaked.
“Good.” She smiled. “And remember, only two things.”
My roommate, Peyten, was sprawled across the sofa when I entered our small apartment. Her green tipped black hair was in a braid down her back. She donned my brand new scarf around her neck. Freshly steamed salmon hit my nose as soon as I closed the door.
“Fish again?” I frowned.
Peyton rolled her blue eyes and jumped off the couch headed toward the kitchen.
“It's a delicacy!” She said opening the pantry door. “Besides, I have something else for you too.”
She pulled out a paper bag which only meant one thing. Peyton had made a trip to the fresh market and without me! She dumped the bag on the table.
“Pomegranate!” I smile. “How did you get it?”
“Well, as you know it's been a while since anyone has been able to get any up here from the surface. But one of my clients had a crate shipped up here just for me.” She gushed.
“Well, thank him for us.” I said grabbing one off the table.
Peyton pursed her lips, moved her hips seductively and pulled down one shoulder of her oversized tee.
“I already did.” She smiled.
“Ugh, you're such a little floozy.” I shook my head and broke the fruit open.
I flopped on back onto the couch then unbutton the first three buttons of my blouse. I was so excited about our new shipment of pomegranate I almost forgot how tired I was.
“How did the meeting go with Mistress?” She asked.
“Horrible.” I replied spitting out a seed into my towelette.
Peyton frowned and sat a cup of searing green tea and lemon in front of me.
“Hopefully this will make you feel better. Koto must have gave you a lot of shit last night too.” She said.
“Not really...” I said thoughtfully. “Other than being pissed about me being late, he was actually okay last night..”
Peyton furrowed her brow while pouring her own cup of tea.
“Wow that's so not like him. Maybe you knocked some sense into him.” She laughed. “Anyway, I'm on tonight. Mistress got me down for four sets.”
“FOUR?” I took a sip savoring the tart lemon combined with honey.
“Yep, I've been putting costumes together all morning. The patrons are going to get bored seeing the same old girls on stage.” Peyton shook her head. “We need to get some new girls.”
“And fast!” I added.
She paused and her eyebrows crinkled the way that always do when she gets an idea.
“Hey!” She said. “Why don't you dance.”
“For the hundredth time, NO!” I protested.
“Oh come on, Sierra! You're a great dancer. I know you're trying to save to pay the fees to join the African Cosmic Dance Company. And if you become a performer, you can save more money faster.”
“First of all Mistress Bea hates me. Secondly, dancing is not all you have to do to serve the patrons. Third, Pey, it's just not my thing.” I shook my head and took another sip of the tea.
“It can be your thing! And the other stuff is not so bad once you get used to it. That's how we make most of our money. And don't mind Mistress Bea, she hates everybody, unless you're getting her money.”
She stood up as if she was about to make a great point.
“You're always giving me and the other girls tips on our movements, steps and timing. And I swear your makeup and costumes ideas far supersede any other girl there. Sierre, just think about it.” She pleaded.
I threw my hands up to surrender.
“I'll think about it.
Peyton threw her arms up and fell back into my lap.
“You're such a dramatic hoochie I grinned playfully.
Tonight was busier than usual. A massive star fleet arrive to the colony this morning and this ships were full of extraterrestrials and human soldiers and astronauts coming from their ten year tenure in Sirius. The cabaret was full of patrons telling tales of travel and adventures.
There was also a group of aliens I've never seen before. They were humanoid with nearly black skin and slightly larger heads. They features were similar to that of a West African, which they were definitely not. Koto said they were called Yawiens. They were a race of extraterrestrials from Sirius. As strange as they were, they were also very beautiful.
Most of the lower ranking soldiers were only on the colony for the weekend but the higher officials had longer stays due to endless debriefings and conferences. I was willing to bet my next pay day that every conference room on the colony was booked solid for the next month.
Koto was moving like a whirlwind mixing drinks and taking orders at the bar. My tray stayed packed with drinks and food. I walked so much my feet were starting to ache. And the musky scent from our new visitors wasn't making my night any easier.
“Service lady!” One of them called. “Can I get an apple water with vinegar.” He asked.
It was a relief to know they were fluent in English. I guess a decade was enough time to learn.
“Of course, Sir.” I typed it in on hologram projector on my wrist.
I looked over at Koto shaking his head behind the bar. He hated the smell of vinegar, but there were quite a few lifeforms who loved it. The hardest part of our job was learning who from where liked what. We had the greys down packed. They mostly sat quietly and just drank water. The reptilians on the other hand favored swamp water tonic. It wasn't actually swamp water, just a flavor the Mistress created some years back when there was a demand for the taste.
“Why you're not up there dancing?” One of the human astronauts asked.
The question caught me off guard. I almost spilled the apple vinegar on the Yawien.
“Oh no Sir, I'm better off right here wetting everybody's whistle.” I blushed.
“Bullshit.” He spat. “You should be on stage with the others. “I've seen the same girl three times. We need some new blood up there! Right fellas?” He asked.
Nearly the entire room shouted in agreement and they all started chanting, “Dance! Dance! Dance!”.
And then it happened.
“Hey Bea!” Another astronaut shouted. “How much would we have to pay to get the pretty little barmaid
on that stage?” He asked.
“Oh no! She's no dancer.” Mistress Bea shook her head in protest.
“She is tonight!” He shouted. “Alright, come on men, put up or shut up.” He continued.
They snatched an empty wine box off the bar and started to fill it with money. By the time the box got to Mistress Bea it was completely full almost overflowing.
“Is that enough?” The same astronaut asked.
“Well see what we can do.” She smiled then shot me a look. She motioned her head which told me to head to the back to the dressing room.
My mind was moving a thousand miles per hour.