The Flinch

The stripper took the second and third dollar bills he gave her in the usual way, but it was the memory of that first exchange that stayed with him, that event from which those other events of the night seemed to flow. She flinched that first time in what he had assumed was revulsion.

The other girls, long timers and looking it, wouldn’t flinch for just about anything. But this girl was new, trembly as a newborn kitten and looking like she hadn’t learned the trick of drinking to excess to dull the creepiness of the job.

He laid the dollar between her breasts. As she pushed them together around the bill his fingers brushed against her skin and she flinched, eyes squeezing shut for a heartbeat and hands freezing in mid-motion. It passed as quickly as it came, but the smile that came after was as fake as most of the cleavage in this room.

Part of him blamed her, this lost, shorn lamb, for what happened later. Most of him knew better though.

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