1| Mia

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I hate my job.

I hate dancing to pay the bills.

Let me rephrase that. I hate dancing for men to pay the bills.

It's the last thing I wanted to do, but I've been looking for a job for the last three months and I began to panic when there was only $113.00 in my bank account and a couple of tuna cans and stale bread in my kitchen.

It's not that I didn't try. I did. I would have taken any job, really. Secretary, cashier, nanny... Anything would have been better than this. But I have no contacts in New York, no one to ask for this kind of help. My college friends are all wealthy girls whose parents pay for their studies, so the only thing they worry about is what club to go to next Saturday night.

Don't get me wrong, I like my friends. It just frustrates me how difficult things have turned out for me.

First, I failed my last and only class to graduate: Research Experience and Methods. Then, Mr. Skinner - my boss- was accused of tax evasion. I don't know where he is. I haven't heard from him since March. It's almost June now, so go figure. Goodbye job references.

It almost cost me my scholarship - that freaking class. I had to beg and write more than one letter to the Dean asking him to meet me so I could explain my case. He did eventually, after one month. Yes, one. Pompously, he informed me I must maintain a minimum of 3.5 GPA and, being in my senior year, offer hours of tutoring to freshmen (I think this is more a penalty than anything else).

Oh and, of course, pay 50% of the course I'm retaking next year. I don't even dare do the math to find out how much that would be.

So here I am. Answering my cell at any time to go to some 'event', as the agency staff likes calling it.

Tomorrow is my last exam before summer. And the phone just rang.

There's a bachelor party and one of the girls who was supposed to be part of the 'corps de ballet' is sick and cannot go.

I know that I'm not the most voluptuous girl in the agency. Actually, I'm nothing like the exuberant, curved, extroverted girls working there. I'm petite, small breasted and skinny. The only reason Tony and Sheila decided I could work for the agency was because I refused to sleep with any client, and because, unlike the other girls, I can dance. I took ballet classes for years, so my 'audition' impressed them.

I still don't know if I should have said I was free tonight. Extra reading would do me good, but $200 (plus tips) is perfect. I needed to pay Mrs. Katzman, my landlord. I'm almost a week late on my rent.

I grab my work clothes and take the bus to the bar we're meeting at before heading to the bachelor party. I like that. It makes me feel safe, especially because I'm the new girl in the group and I'm still learning how things work.

Katrina has done this for longer than any of us, but she's not the oldest of the group.

"Okay, two things before you go in there," she says popping her gum, "make up a new name. Mia is just too cute." I nod, appreciating the advice. "And you'll be at the back of the stage. You're like a burlesque dancer, right?" I nod again and Katrina smiles at me. I swear she's giving me the 'poor little dove' look and I can't help but frown. "You know you'll have to strip, right?"

"But not completely... I-I-Tony knows about this. I-I talked to him." I'm not getting naked in front of a bunch of men, but Katrina laughs and shakes my shoulders.

"Just a little! Don't worry! But if you change your mind. You get $200 for a private dance."

"Okay." I wouldn't change my mind, that's for sure. I need the money but I'm not rubbing myself against someone I've never met before.

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