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Sat on my favorite stool at my bar early last evening, I surveyed the scene.
The room was two thirds full of inebriated teachers, who had either come in from their respective schools to celebrate the beginning of the school year- or more likely, to drown their sorrows that the long summer vacation was over and now they actually had to teach the little darlings.

Noisy, that’s what they are, not the kids, the teachers. Each Friday (God Bless Them) they flood into the bar and after dropping as much alcohol down their throats in the first five minutes, proceed to liberate all their pent-up tensions garnered from the classroom during the week.
One day I am convinced a little kid will appear at the door and shout “QUIET!”

So it’s not easy to chat with all that noise, but a big part of my job at our cafes is to chat, you know, spread bonhomie. It’s a job I love. One I have been training for all my life.

Last night on my left was my pal Chris, a man of many talents. On my right was a very attractive young woman. And just doing my job you understand, I started up a conversation, (you’ve got to imagine the following discourse shouted over the noise),

“Hello, are you a new teacher?” I screamed- she was only about two feet away.

“No.” She said. (It’s usually about then that any young ladies thinking that the old fart sat next to them was attempting to chat them up, would cut me off, but she didn’t).

“What do you do then?” I asked.

“I am a stripper.” She said turning to face me.

“As in, strip wallpaper, or paint stripper?” I said.
(I knew a painter and decorator in our old Village in North Yorkshire who said when he’d come to decorate our cottage, “You know I must have stripped in this room five times in the last thirty year.”

“No, I take my clothes off for money.” She said.

This was the point when she must have a great of view of my epiglottis, as my jaw was on my knee.

“Well Good Lord,” I said, “ how much money?” I asked, at the same time wondering what she’d slip out of for the four dollars and change I knew I had in my pocket.

“I usually finish the night with around twelve hundred.” She said. Bloody-hell I thought.

Of course I am totally embarrassed by now and wondering what on earth to say to this gorgeous sexy slightly tipsy girl sat next to me who’s on her way to work, where she will take it all off for rich blokes.

“Chris- this is Chris,” I said (Chris at this point didn’t know who I was talking to but must have wondered why I was grinning and dribbling at the same time). “My friend Chris- well he and I normally get paid to put our clothes back on. By the way what’s your name? ”
She laughed-“Candy.” She said. I’d actually made this Goddess laugh!

‘Erm, do you like your work then,” (It would on reflection have been much more simple to talk about the techniques of wallpaper or paint stripping, something I watched my dad do a lot of). “Taking your wrappers off?”


“What do you like about it?”

“The money.” She said.

I turned to Chris, “How much have you got on you?” I asked.

“About $20.” I had four.

I turned back to her “Chris and I wondered if we could make a down-payment of $24?”

She laughed, -she was beautiful,-she shook my hand, and then with a flash of a smile she left for the famous Upper West Side Club where she worked and the men who would have to pay lots more than that to get close to her.


John Sunderland

New York, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

You never know who you’ll be sat next to.

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