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It’s Tuesday night. There are only six girls and three customers in the club. Shawn, the manager, seems cranky. He used to be a party guy, but since Stewart bought the place, he’s been pretty straight-laced and not much fun. Some girls don’t like Shawn, but he and I have always had a bond. He’s been in this biz for about the same amount of time as I have, so we can relate to each other. He’s a smart guy, but now that he’s all business, he’s taken on the role of cheerleader. He knows times are bad. We know times are bad. Instead of drinking with us like he used to, now he’s all, “Go get that one, girl! You can do it!” At least his delivery is upbeat. He seems to realize that straight pressure doesn’t yield results.

Case in point: ten minutes ago an old, homeless-looking dude came in and sat at the bar. Within two minutes, the bouncer was talking to him. It seemed by his body language that there was a problem. Did he not pay on the way in? Did he just pee on our stool? The bouncer walked away and the old guy stayed the bar. I guess everything is fine. Bored, I asked Shawn about it. He said, “He looks homeless, but he’s not. He has some teeth missing and doesn’t speak English, but he’s wearing new shoes. You should go talk to him.”

I laughed, but Shawn was dead serious. He wasn’t trying to be funny. I laughed again. Okay, I gotta see these “new shoes.” I’m picturing shiny Italian leather. Nope. His shoes were no-nothing, cream-colored loafers. Shawn was watching me, so I sidled up to Loafers to say hello. Not only did he not speak a lick of English, and had horrible breath, but he didn’t seem to understand the mechanics of what’s happening here. I couldn’t even tell what his native tongue was. “Well, let me know when you’re ready!” I said smiling. Then I walked away, not caring that he probably didn’t understand me. Sorry, Shawn, no sale.

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