"I am really sorry, Millie. We just have no other choice, sales are down and with all of the new costs piling up....?" Ben Carter appeared sad as he gave her the bad news.
Millicent did understand but it still hurt. After nearly six months on the new job that had taken her a full two months to find, she had barely gotten her feet back under herself again.
She really liked the job, handling phone calls wanting delivery codes, directing sales calls to the right salesman, filling out forms for them and directing those to the shipment department.
She had noticed that the phone rang less and less, and it had worried her.
Ben Carter was good to work for, there had never been any pressure. He was well into his fifties, slightly balding and a bit chubby, the reading glasses perched on the very tip of his nose constantly.
Millie stood up, Ben held out his hand, wishing her good luck. The promise of a good reference might help some, she knew. A tear slipped out and down her cheek, she turned her head to hide that, reaching up to wipe it away.
Nothing seemed to ever work out for her, she thought as she started her 10 year old Hyundai in the parking lot. She glanced at the gas guage, it read barely 1/4 of a tank. She had meant to stop and fill it just that morning but the sign read $4.29 per gallon, up again from just a few days before.
She had waited to buy some, hoping perhaps it might go down some by weekend. Silly of course, the difference would probably be less than a dollar but every dollar was precious.
At her 3rd floor apartment, she put down her things and sat in her chair, joined instantly by Max, her undersized little white cat.
She remembered the day she had found it near death, huddled cold and soaking wet under the hedge in the parking lot, crying. It was only a baby, no bigger than the palm of her hand. How it got there, alone, discarded, she had no idea.
She was tempted to walk on by, it was not her problem, but then the tiny thing let out a small yowl.
Not really able to afford a pet, she took it inside anyway and dried it, warmed it. Then she shared some of her own precious milk. After, she held the tiny thing closely to her breast so it could feel her heartbeat.
The bond was complete, Max was the only thing in the world that loved her with no reservations.
Now grown, Max curled up expecting to be petted, quite content with it's own place in the world.
Max did not care that she was broke, alone.
"Why couldn't I have been born a Cat?" Millie thought to herself. They have it made, food always there whenever it wanted, someone to pet it and make it feel good, a warm corner on the soft bed?
Tomorrow. She would go try and find another job tomorrow. Tilting the badly worn easy chair back, she slept right there in her tiny living room.
When her Mom had passed away, that left Millie alone in the world. There were no brothers, sisters. Not even an Aunt or Uncle. She remembered her father barely, a kind man that left every day and came home dirty, exhausted.
Then one day he was gone and she and her mother were alone. When her Mom explained that her Dad had gone on to heaven she did not completely understand until later.
There was the house, and her Mother's old Hyundai, that was something. Then she discovered that her Mother had mortgaged the house to pay for her trade school. Plus going through the records, there was more debt.
The house which she had thought was an asset was a liability, even if she got it's full value that would not cover the mortgage.
For several months Millie managed to make the payments, she really did want to keep the small place. It was familiar, home. The carefree early years growing up were spent in that house.
The day came when there was not enough money to cover the payment, that led to a string of letters from the bank, then finally one day it was over. She had already sold everything there was of value, the only thing she had left to sell...was herself.
That actually did cross her mind, she had had sex with one young man about a dozen times so it wasn't like she did not know what to do.
But Millie could not bring herself to do that, no matter what.
Millie moved to the tiny apartment. About the only good thing was the roof did not leak, even the floors were not level. It took her a dozen serious scrubbings to get the toilet and bathtub clean enough that she could use them.
Two younger men lived directly underneath her, they both sported tattoos and spiked hair, plus one of them had a guitar.
At first she was mildly frightened of them, but then she came to realize that they liked each other and had no interest in her.
They were nice enough to tone the noise down by 10 PM so that wasn't too bad.
The older woman that lived next door always had a sour expression on her face so they nearly never talked any.
The first of every month the big heavy set man named Carl pounded on her door, she knew when he was coming because he started in 3 doors down and worked his way to her door.
She would answer and hand him the envelope with the $395.00 inside it, opening the door just enough to do that.
That first Month she had answered the door in her robe, the man leered at the few inches of flesh showing at her throat. She had gripped it tightly closed with one hand when she realized.
He made her very uncomfortable, calling her "babe" or "sweetheart" or something like that every time he saw her. His eyes were always darting to her chest or legs, and he made a few suggestions about how the rent might be "discounted.".
But she could not afford to move, her first job barely left enough for her to buy food, then when she was laid off the unemployment checks were even less.
When she found the job working for Ben Carter, she was beside herself with happiness. The pay there was not much better but after six months, she would get medical benefits and a raise.
Millie worked as hard as she could, doing her very best. Ben was nice to work for and she wanted that job.
But there was a union that took a small portion of her pay each week. Because of that, how hard she worked did not matter, what did was the seniority and she had almost none.
Now? It was back to the streets, knocking on doors. She had enough cash for one more month's rent and just a few dollars more.
Millie headed out just after 9 AM, carefully locking her door even though she was well aware that by jiggling it up and down the lock would slip.
There was nothing to take, her main worry was that Max would be safe.
By evening she came back home, depressed at her day. One store after another, one place of business then another, all of it was the same.
Checking her mail, she saw the cell phone bill. She knew she could pay that this time, next month would be a problem.
Max slid into her lap again, unconcerned. She could tell from the way he was acting that he wanted food, so she opened the drawer and got out one of the little tins of Salmon paste for him, carefully measuring out two tablespoons.
Placing the tin in the fridge, she saw she had a partial loaf of bread, a small jar of mayonaise and some pickle relish.
There was nothing else.
It hit her how hungry she was, the slice of toast she had for her breakfast did not go very far. She looked again at the tin of Salmon paste, picked it up and smelled it.
It smelled all right.
She got a bowl, mixed some mayo and relish with a spoon full of the Cat food, made a sandwich.
Holding her breath, she took a bite.
It was surprisingly good. Looking down, Max sat there watching her.
"I'm sorry, but I am hungry too." She said to him.
Giggling almost insanely, she went and sat down, turning on her radio. Max climbed into her lap, giving her what she took to be a disgusted look at the idea of her eating his food.
"I really was hungry too, honey." She said out loud again, stroking the animal which instantly arched it's back in pleasure.
The last thought in her mind was that tomorrow she would walk the three miles downtown to the welfare office, apply for food stamps.
She hated that, she would much rather work and earn her way if she could. The sad faces of the other people there always depressed her even more.
Millie was six blocks from the government office when she saw the sign.
"Waitress, good tips!" It read. Looking up at the neon sign above, it read "Girls Girls Girls! All nude!"
The windows were all painted black. Just then an older man walked by and up to the doorway, looking her up and down with interest.
There was a blast of gaudy music as the door opened and he went in.
Lord. No way could she ever wait tables in a place like that. She walked right on down the street.
On the way back with the emergency stipend in her purse, she again saw the sign. Millie stopped, stood there for several minutes, her mind in a turmoil.
The emergency funds she had received were enough for less than a week, and she had nothing else except for the unemployment checks that would arrive in a couple of weeks.
The temptation to go in and see if she could get the job was very strong, but her pride overwhelmed that, so she went home.
The next day, the sign was gone. After that, one day bled into another as she went further and further in search of a job, any job.
The landlord came by to get the rent, she heard him coming a couple of doors away like always.
Millie actually deliberately dressed in her robe, thinking maybe if he wanted, she might let him see something for a discount?
The man had made so many suggestions, what could it hurt? It would be so easy, she told herself.
At the last moment she chickened out, handing the envelope through the door like always.
The next day, she walked by the bar with the painted out windows. The sign was back up.
Taking a deep breath, she walked in.
The blast of music stopped her for a moment, oddly she could barely hear that from outside. It was almost pitch dark except for over in the corner where bright lights flooded a stage.
There was no one on the stage, two men sat in chairs right at the edge of it.
She surveyed the place, it wasn't much but did look clean. There was an alcove off to the side, a pool table and a row of gaming machines. One older man sat there absentmindedly tapping a button.
The bartender came out of the back room carrying a case of something, he spotted her and grinned.
Millie noticed that he was fairly good looking and well built, perhaps a year or two older than her own 25.
"Whatcha gonna have, honey?" He asked, looking her up and down carefully. Millie was dressed in her only gray business suit and white blouse, she was suddenly aware that she probably did not look at all like any of his normal customers.
"I was...the sign outside..It said you need a waitress?" She managed to stammer.
"Oh. You a waitress?" He got a suspicious look on his face, turned around and began stacking bottles.
"No, I am a recept...yes, I have worked as a waitress." She told him. She had once, behind a cafe counter when she was in school.
She knew she was very close to turning and running.
"Yea? Well, you are cute enough, maybe a little skinny. The job pays minimum wage plus tips, half the tips go to the bartender."
"That's me!" He grinned when she didn't answer.
"I see. Are the tips usually pretty good?" She asked.
"Yea, a hundred a night, maybe more if you flirt and show a little tit." He looked at Millie's chest.
"Hard to tell in that outfit if you even got any!" He laughed like that was funny, Millie blushed at his inspection.
"I've...I have..." She started to protest, then closed her mouth.
She really was not used to discussing her body with strangers at all, her face flushed furiously and she could not meet his eyes.
"Bashful, huh? That's cute as hell, the guys just might love it if you can keep that act up. Hey, ya have some skimpy panties, shortie shorts, a pushup bra, some shit like that? Assuming ya got anything to push up." He laughed again at his wisecrack.
"Ya can wear anything ya want but when on the floor ya gotta wear bottoms. It's the law." He added.
Millie stared at him.
"Health rules." He said.
"I see." Millie just stood there.
"Well?" He asked, then he smiled like he was amused at her reaction.
"I am...I have...yes, I have other clothes."
"OK." He turned and yelled.
"Sally! Get yer dead ass out here and back to work, this ain't yer god damn vacation!"
A woman came out from the back, she had on a nearly sheer tube top and a pair of white shorts that were the smallest Millie had ever seen. She glanced at Millie with disinterest and went behind the bar.
"Come on." The man turned and headed for the back, Millie followed along reluctantly. Once inside the tiny office, he reached around her and shoved the door shut. That mercifully blocked out most of the overly loud music, but now she felt trapped.
"So. What's yer name?" The man plopped himself down in an overstuffed chair behind a battered wooden desk.
"Millicent." She told him. The man looked at her and mouthed the word "Millicent."
"Man, that is a fucking mouthful, how about I call you Sissy? My name is Jay, by the way. The Pink Pussycat is my joint."
"I see. Well, can I try the job?" Millie asked.
"Yea, sure. Maybe. Let's see yer tits."
"Yer tits! I wanna to see yer tits, hell, if they ain't cute I can't use you and I can't tell with that outfit you got on." He reached into a box and pulled out a crooked looking cigar.
"I thought you wanted a waitress?"
"I do, but if you wanna make any money, ya gotta show a little skin. Let'm peek out for the guys that tip good."
"You want me to...take off my..blouse?" Millie felt her face flame again.
"Yea! God that is cute, hey, can you turn all pink like that whenever ya want to? Man, that would be great." He took a puff off of his smelly cigar, leaned back.
"Look, I need work but...I have never..." She looked down. She was very close to crying.
"Well, I ain't got all day here. If ya want the job I gotta see them, so either whip them out or take off."
"I don't want to be a...dancer." She told him, almost in a whisper.
"Yea, waitress. That's what the sign says. Ya bend over and serve drinks, guys get a peek at yer boob and they tip. That's where the money comes from. So you need to have nice looking titties!" His jaw clamped down on the cigar.
Millie sighed and steeled herself, reached up and took off the gray vest. Then she began to undo the buttons on her blouse. She peeled that back, revealing her white bra.
Looking at him he motioned for her to hurry up.
Taking a deep breath, Millie unclipped the bra.
Only two men in her life had ever seen her naked breasts except for the old Doctor her Mom took her to.
He must have been seventy at least. She had been mortified when the old Doctor had felt her breasts all over, even using his thumb and forefingers to roll her nipples.
Then she had to lay there on the table while he felt her insides, too. She had barely resisted the sudden urge to clamp her legs together when he stuck his head under the sheet, but it was too late for that by then.
She had tried as hard as she could to think of something else while the man was doing that, but she couldn't. She was completely aware of the touch, she could feel his finger as he slid it completely inside, and thankful that it was brief.
The other man was actually just a boy, she had allowed him to touch and play with her on their senior prom night. She had on pantyhose and panties and the boy was trying to figure out a way into them. That actually had felt sort of good, but then she made him stop when she realized he had his zipper down and his thing was sticking out.
She had wanted to reach out and touch it, it looked so hard. But she didn't have the courage.
Then there was a young man Millie had dated when she was in trade school.
That young man had pressed the issue of sex, telling her he loved her until finally she had given in and he took her virginity. That was very quick the first time.
After that, there had been a dozen or so sessions of sex, Millie found that she really did enjoy it and she finally got to touch one.
But one day he had become bored with her and moved on.
That was very close to the time when her Mother had passed, all of that had strangely helped in a way for her to survive the broken heart.
She had made up her mind after that, she would never again give herself to any male unless she was completely sure.
Now here she was baring her breasts to this crude man, just to get a job.
She looked up to see his reaction.
"Damn! You sure don't need to go hiding those, Honey! They ain't very big but man are they pretty! Yea, you got the job, you start tonight at 7, OK?"
She had expected him to demand to see the rest but he didn't and she was glad. She was fairly sure she would not have done that.
Back at home, Millie sat and petted Max, her mind in complete turmoil.
She even went so far as to apologize to the cat, explaining out loud that she had to do what she was going to do so she could feed him, too. Max seemed to understand, turning to place his front feet against her belly and begin pushing.
"It's just for a little while, honey. Until I can find a real job." She said out loud.
A few minutes befere 7 PM, Millie walked in the door at the Pink Pussycat. She wore a pair of dark shorts, they were only a little bit snug but the closest she had to anything sexy. She also had on a halter top she wore to the beach and the park on sunny days.
She had practiced at her apartment in front of the mirror, if she pushed her shoulder forward while leaning over, she could get just the upper edge of her nipple into view.
Lord. Millie could not believe that she was even doing that. Plus that man, the man who owned the bar? He had sat there looking at her naked breasts like he was inspecting a car for sale.
She had worn her coat over the outfit for the walk to work even though it was hot outside.
"Hey, Sissy! On time, too? The last girl thought she could come and go whenever she wanted to. This is Carla, she will show ya the ropes and where I keep all of the shit, OK?" Jay called out over the music when he saw her.
The day shift bartender she knew was named Sally walked by, giving her a glance as she left.
Carla was a short and very busty little brunette, her face had a big smile on it all the time. The first shock was when Carla served a table and one of the men reached out and rubbed her fanny, Carla didn't even flinch. She did squirm away with a laugh when the man tried to slip his fingers up the front of her shorts.
"There is a reason you want the shorts real tight, Sissy. If they aren't, you might end up with some jerk's finger up your snatch." She laughed like that was a joke.
"You need to get some better tops too, honey. You look like a Nun." Carla added with a grin.
The 2nd shock was when a tired looking woman came out on stage and wandered around for the first couple of songs in a tiny G-string. She was topless, her heavy breasts sagging quite a bit.
Then she lay down on her back, unclipped the G-string and spread her legs as wide as they would go. The display was extremely blatant. A man sitting in the front row tossed a couple of dollars onto the stage.
Millie steeled herself to that, did her best to ignore everything that was going on. By the end of her first shift she knew most of the drinks, by the end of the first week she was very good at slipping sideways out of the reach of groping hands.
There seemed to be a solid string of men coming in and leaving, the small place stayed very busy.
At home the first night, she petted Max and counted and recounted the $56.00 that was her half of the tips.