It was a long, hard night of a long, hard year. I never thought I would ever find myself at a "gentleman's club," much less working at one, and yet here I was, serving drinks to a much different clientele than I was used to seeing, much less dealing with.

As a single parent I was horrified when I lost my job at the local newspaper (because I couldn't meet the quota they demanded while still taking the time necessary to take care of the needs of my five young sons.) When a friend suggested they were looking for waitresses at The Palace, I decided to give it a try.

I took my boys with me when I tried on the uniform at the store that sold them and modeled it in front of them. It was basically black tuxedo shorts with a black & white halter top simply adorned by a white bow tie. Black tights and black heels completed the look.

The only skin showing was my arms and shoulders, nothing so risque that my boys had any qualms about seeing me in it. I took a poll amongst my best friends as well, the gist of which was that it was far better that I was working and making my own way for myself and my children than that I sat back and depended on welfare.

I had been working there for a year, during which I heard and saw everything from catfights and reports that the Greek mafia ran the place to being hit on by the customers, the bar staff, and even some of the dancers. I learned to laugh at and ignore a lot of bullshit -- more than I had ever seen or heard in the whole of my life prior.

This night was no different. I ran circles around the younger waitresses, running the whole floor once I was allowed on it. When I got off at night my legs were tired from running in heels and my neck and shoulders ached from carrying huge trays of drinks and food.

We had finally finished cleaning the facility as was expected of us. After "inspection" we were allowed to leave for the night. As we headed out the back door I heard a lot of whispering, then suddenly one of the girls yelled out, "She's got a gun!!" One of the dancers, who obviously felt someone had infringed on her chance to earn $10 for doing a lap dance, had returned with a gun to make her point.

Mass panic ensued as people scattered, running and ducking behind cars. Instead of joining the mayhem, I yelled back, "Tell her to shoot me now or fuck off!" With astonished looks, my fellow coworkers watched as I made my way to my car and drove off into the night. Whatever happened to that dancer -- whether she ever even shot the gun that night, I truly do not know to this day.

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