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Short story: <i>The Last Dance</i>



She sits at the little wooden table, knees together, ankles apart, forearms resting lightly on a thousand scratchy splinters.

She picks lightly at the tabletop with her fingernail, as though daring a slither of wood to get lodged in the susceptible skin of her thumb. The room is dim with yellow bulbs at the end of it and chairs stacked around the edges. The coloured lights ringing the room flash weakly on and off. The floor is scuffed from the spiked heels and deeply polished leather of a thousand dancers, and their laughs echo with the smell of Coke and the buzzing electricity behind the jukebox.

She puts a hand in her apron pocket and pulls out a match. She strikes it on the table leg and then drops the lit match on the floor, stomping it out with her sensible sneakers. She pulls off her cap and name-badge and shakes out her hair. She stands up, catching her skirt on the corner of her plastic chair. She shuffles out to the centre of the dance-floor.

When those fancy spiked heels and patent leathers and red dresses and cherry lips and unbuttoned shirts and smoky eyes are here, she's nothing but a lowly bar girl with an apron and a hat and a badge, ignored by the men and pitied by the girls.

But after she's swept up and locked up and put up, cleaned the vomit off the floor in the toilet and kicked out the last couple having too much fun under a corner table, she's the queen of the place. She's unstoppable, like a hurricane on caffeine.

She stretches out her arms and starts to spin.

This is the result of a fifteen minute writing exercise. The only constrictions were the time limit and five randomly selected words from the dictionary. Today the words were: caffeine, susceptible, queen, lowly, and hurricane.

Image courtesy of sheeshoo.

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