Heaven Sent

By: Avelyn Paige

Thinking about my mom and what she would think about how I am dressed brings the darkness rushing in. No, Dani. Not today. You need to find a damn job, I tell myself. Suck it up, buttercup. It’s just one night like Ricca said. What’s the worst that could happen?

Ricca prods me into her Jeep after forcing a pair of black stiletto heels onto my feet. I have no idea how to walk in these things, but Ricca assures me that they make my ass look great. Her logic seems a bit convoluted to me, but it’s the heels or flip-flops. I’d rather have the flip-flops than these potential neck-breaking death traps she strapped to my feet. She hops in the driver’s seat and flies down the street. Red Rocket’s is only a few miles from the house so it doesn’t take long to get there. The bar looks like a dump from the outside. The grass is dead and brown, but that seems to be a trend in Southern California with the water shortage. It could use a good coat of green paint to make it look just a tad bit less seedy. The parking lot is filled with potholes but nevertheless, it is full. Ricca pulls her Jeep into the employee parking lot out behind the bar and parks it next to a row of shiny black Harleys.

“You ready to have some fun, Dani?” she asks with excitement sparkling in her eyes. I try to put on a poker face, but my mouth to brain filter fails before I can reign in my sarcasm.

“Oh, Ricca, I am overjoyed to be going out tonight looking like a hooker in this fine establishment. What’s next? A trip to the emergency room to get the roofies pumped from my stomach and a tetanus shot?” Her smile fades into a scowl. “Fine, yes, I am so excited,, “ I lie.

“See! That’s better. Now push those tits up and let’s go eat, drink, and be merry. I bet Red gives you that job before you even tell him your name.”

She walks around the car and pulls me out of the seat. Ricca drags me up the door and the bouncer waves us in without ever checking my ID. Walking into the bar, I can instantly tell that this place is a dive with its scuffed and dirty wooden floors. As we walk farther through the door, the smell of greasy fried bar food hits my nose. The food might have smelled good if I had been drunk, but it reeks like week-old road kill sober. I don’t know how anyone sitting at the bar is holding back from throwing up from the stench of the kitchen... Scanning the room, I see a group of scary-looking bikers looming in a secluded corner surrounded by scantily-clad women. Two very drunk middle-aged women are twerking against each other on the dance floor to some Rihanna song before one of them falls on her ass. A man dressed in a leather vest from the biker group scoops her off the floor; her drunken giggles pierce my ears as they pass us out the door. Ricca parks me in a seat at a high-top table near the bar and orders us two tequila sunrises before I can protest.

“Isn’t this place great?” she asks, leaning in by my ear. “Red’s really updated the place from when he first bought it.”

I plaster a fake smile on my face while she goes back to her drink. This is updated? I think to myself. What the hell did it look like before this? Rolling my eyes at the thought, I pull my drink to my lips and let the tequila work its magic. Ricca waves at someone and a short, pudgy, bald man walks toward our table. I can smell his overpowering cheap cologne before he ever gets close to us. Its pungent scent is nearly enough to make me throw up.

“Red, this is the girl I was telling you about for the waitress job,” she says, pointing to me. Pulling me from my stool, she practically shoves me at him in her semi-drunken state. God, was she drinking at the house before we left? How did I not catch on that she was already two sheets to the wind?

“Meet your new waitress, Red. Isn’t she perfect? You’ll get more of the younger crowd with a stone cold fox like her working the tables.”

Red’s eyes scan up and down my body as I try to keep the tequila in my stomach. “She sure is, Ricca baby. She’ll make all the boys howl.” He mimics a howl as I look on in horror “What do you say, Dani? Want to join the Red Rocket team?” He’s joking, right? He makes it sound like a five-star restaurant. This isn’t a team atmosphere; it’s a fucking train wreck.

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