Noches de Rosa

"Oh, for Christ's sake!"

Will thumped the steering wheel and groaned as the car jerked to a halt. He reached for his cellphone. No signal. Looking around, he wasn't surprised. Why had he relocated to this desolate, godforsaken place anyway?

Flickering pink neon in the distance caught his eye. Pulling his coat around him to keep out the chilly Kansas night air, he set out to find a phone.

Faded fuchsia letters hung precariously from their rusty nails. He could just make out Noches de Rosa. Great. A strip joint.

Tattered pink shades on the wall lights gave a rosy glow, but otherwise the atmosphere was subdued, even depressing. The mumblings of poker players, all sixty if they were a day, accompanied the faint strains of La Vie en Rose. He headed for the bar and ordered a whisky. It seemed like that kind of place.

Two hours later and still no sign of the breakdown truck. Rosa was good company though, telling him how her grandmother set up this 'gentleman's club', as she liked to call it. She'd worked in the bar since her mum became too ill to cope. She was bright and beautiful. It hurt to see her trapped here.

They sat together on the back porch and watched the sun come up.

"Come on, I'll drive you home."

The doorbell woke Will. He gently lifted Rosa's head from his lap and padded downstairs.

"All fixed. Fan belt. We tried to call. That number's out of order." He seemed uncomfortable. "Old Joe says as how they knocked down that joint soon after Grandma Rosa died. Fifteen years ago, at least."

Will put some coffee on and looked at the stirring figure on the sofa.

"You don't have to work tonight."

"I know," she smiled.

thanks to the story muse at i saw it first here.