As soon as the velveteen curtains closed at the front of the stage, Francine Fontaine quickly grabbed up her discarded garments and escaped into the wings to get out of the way for the next dancer. On her way to the shared dressing room, she passed the toothless old doorman who made his usual grab at the tassel dangling from her right breast.

“God dammit, Papere.” She didn’t really care. She always swore at him with a smile. He always cackled and spittle always sprayed. She never even slowed down. Their daily exchange was as choreographed as her striptease.

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