The Big Payback is the story of a newly divorced single mother working as a waitress at a Gentleman's Club. When a customer offers her a thousand dollars to get someone off their back for money they owe them she agrees. But when she finds out that her customer is a heartless cheapskate she finds a way so that both parties get what they want.
EXCERPTMumbles waved me towards his table and pointed towards his glass. There was a sliver of sunshine peeking through one of the frosted windows where the transparent frosting paper had peeled off. Other than that singular ray of sunlight you couldn't tell whether it was day or night in the club. I'm sure the owners meant for it to look that way, so guys like Mumbles wouldn't feel so pathetic being at a strip club at three o'clock in the afternoon on a Tuesday.
The businessmen lunch crowd had already packed up and gone back to their offices so that left me, Mumbles, the DJ, a handful of dancers, and one other waitress still here. Red Sonja was on the dance floor dancing with the minimalist of efforts, knowing Mumbles was a bad tipper. I guess being here every day he had to space out his dollars or he’d go broke. As it is I’m sure what was left of his Social Security check barely paid for the necessities. He had nursed his last rum and coke until all the ice cubes had melted and now I’m sure he just wanted a water.
“Two drink minimum,” I said loudly to be heard over the bass track that Sonja was half-heartedly dancing to. He mumbled something that sounded like, “Give me a break”, I couldn’t be sure. I held up my hands in the international symbol for two or peace, whichever way he wanted to interpret it was fine with me. I was so ready for this shift to be over. I’d got pretty good tips during the lunchtime rush, but now it was going to be just me and Mumbles until 5 p.m.
A light threw shadows into the darkened room from the opened door. I shielded my eyes with my hand from the sudden onslaught of light and then bent down to clear one of the empty tables. When I looked up there was someone else in the club. He seemed pretty non-descript and walked over to Mumbles’ table. Mumble’s voice went up a level, but as usual I couldn’t make out what he was saying. I looked closer at the man he was speaking to and he wore a menacing look on his face, but kept his voice low. I slowly maneuvered closer to their table with my rag out like I was looking for something to dust. I heard the other man say something about money and Mumbles said something like, “over my dead body”. It looked like the conversation was getting intense until Mr. Milquetoast stopped talking when he noticed me hovering. He stood up and walked towards the front door, but not before giving Mumbles the evil eye.
This was the most exciting Tuesday since I started working at this fine establishment. Sometimes customers will come up to me and say, “what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this”, it’s cliché, but it’s a question I ask myself almost every day. And then I remember, oh yeah, because I have bills. I left the “American Dream” behind of the house, picket fence, and a husband with my little boy to make it all alone and on my own terms.
Seeing that Mumbles seemed okay, in that he wasn't being bothered anymore, not in the "I don't need therapy, although I spend 24/7 at a strip club and my sweater looks like it's been eaten by moths way." I decided to hightail it out of there since my shift was over and I could go grab my munchkin and hit the park. I went to the backroom and waved goodbye to the dancers as I grabbed my purse. I left out the back door which lead to the parking lot and saw Mumbles and Mr. Personality talking next to a beat up Toyota Corolla. Mumbles was mumbling and generally looking frightened while the other guy waved his hands frantically. Seeing as Mumbles looked to be about sixty-five and Stranger Danger looked to be in his mid-thirties, there was definitely an unfair advantage in whatever dispute they were having.
"Hey you, leave him alone," I screamed as I crossed over to where they were standing. Mr. Personality wasn't moving away fast enough for me so I picked up my high heel and threw it towards his head. It hit him in the shoulder, close, but no cigar. He glared at me and slunk away to a black minivan towards the front of the parking lot.
"What the hell was that about?" I asked Mumbles.
“This guy thinks I owe him some money,” he replied.
“What? That’s crazy, what does he want to do, take your social security check?”
"Um, I won the lottery last year and he bought the ticket for me."
"You, you won the lottery? What did you win like a thousand dollars?" I couldn't imagine Mumbles winning any more than that with how tight fisted he was at the club.
"Actually it was more like ten million dollars. Of course less with the taxes taken out, bastards at the IRS." he mumbled.
"TEN MILLION DOLLARS," I exclaimed. "You mean to tell me you're a millionaire and you've never tipped me more than a dollar.” I was livid. I had rent, a kid to feed, and bills to pay and here Mr. Mumbles was a millionaire who hadn’t seen fit to give me a decent tip in the half a year I’d worked there.
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