LYDIA kept her eyes peeled. The girl, Emily, she met at her AUDITION was stretching in the corner. Emily wasn’t in the ballet any more. When the recession hit, Coldford City Ballet reduced their performances to half of their normal schedule and let half of their dancers go too. It was a last resort but work as a KNOCK KNOCK GIRL was all she could get. Still Emily stretched her ballerina legs like it mattered.
Lydia couldn’t let herself become too distracted by the plight of the other girls. The KNOCK KNOCK club kept them safe as they could be in that part of the Shady City. Sensible men knew better than to touch them without invitation.
There were a few things that surprised Lydia when she managed to get on the inside. The first was how well the girls were treated. They were the back bone of the club. Comedians, magicians, drag acts and singers all graced the stage but it was the scantily clad girls that drew the customers in and the adult entertainment that kept them there. That had always been the way of the club, ever since it was founded. Over the years it had become a cover of something much more sinister. That was what brought Lydia there. She was to observe and report but only engage if necessary.
“All right girls! Let’s get a move on, shall we?” screeched Bette from the doorway. “And Grace, get that fucking leotard washed. You look like a hobbo we’ve dragged in off the street.”
The girl named Grace, a slim, toned girl with sharply cut blonde hair picked at her costume. Some of the sequins had fallen off and her tights had laddered.
Bette was a middle aged woman with a severely angled face, dark hair and penciled eyebrows. She was no stranger to the ways of the club. She had been a Knock Knock girl herself back in her younger days. She was a feather dancer who had shared the stage with the old Baroness. She had been where they had been and she knew all too well how the city treated young women trying to make their way in the world. She still held some of the glamour of her life as a dancer with painted red lips and heavy made eyes.
The door opened and a girl in her early twenties came stumbling in. She was bleary eyed and dropped a bag that was hanging on her shoulder, almost tripping on it. She stumbled over to Bette and clutched onto her. Bette grabbed her face and stared deep into her eyes.
“Are you fucking junked?” she asked, moving the girl’s head from side to side.
The girl’s lips puckered under Bette’s grasp. “No, I’m fine,” she said.
Bette released her. “Like Hell you are. Do you think I was born yesterday? I know someone junked up on needles when I see them. Go to the bar and have Lisa give you a pick me up. We open in a few hours and if you come back in here looking bright and fuckable don’t come back at all.” The girl stumbled towards the bar where Lisa, the bar maid, was setting up. “If I find out who is selling her needles I’ll hang them from a fucking lamp post,” Bette growled to herself.
She was a tough mistress. She run a tight ship with the responsibility she had but Lydia’s eyes were on a bigger prize. Rumours were rife of extortion, murder and a connection to explosions across the city. Lydia had to be patient. She had to play her part, dance and flirt her way through. That night she was to share a stage with the BOSS LADY herself.
Knock Knock Volume 1 is free to read here at Vivika Widow Online or you can download for Kindle. Free on Kindle Unlimited.