Inspired Story Contest:

Oh, I may have missed Jamelah’s deadline to enter her interesting and inspiring story contest which involved some key elements to be woven into an original story.  Of course, I missed the contest completely, but I still think that her experiments are an important exercise for aspiring and established writers.  One must always try to challenge oneself.

So here are the key elements:

1. The title must be, “Baby’s In Reno”.

2. The story must include: bacon, a snow globe, a fake beard, 9 ladies dancing, a photograph that’s been ripped in half

3. Extra points for not setting your story in Reno.

Anyway…here it is…

Baby’s In Reno      By MeMa 

“Miss Candi Cane was just a warm-up fellas,” the skeevy-looking announcer proclaimed, his dated Hawaiian shirt waving with every movement of his belly.  “In celebration of the season, how’d you like to see…nine ladies dancing?!”   The cat calls and hoots rose and bounced off of the walls of the small strip-club in Vegas.  For added emphasis, The Announcer stroked the whiskers of his fake beard that he wore to draw attention away from his balding head, which didn’t fool anyone in the least.  In truth, everything about him was false as he laughed haughtily, making a bee-line for the backstage door behind dark, crimson curtains trimmed with silver tinsel.    As the dancing ladies poured onto the stage, Miss Candi Cane contemplated the performance she had just made, scrutinizing every step she’d missed, even though she was sure that she’d rehearsed her routine enough: bump, grind, circle the pole, straddle the oversized candy-cane prop, wiggle, wiggle, circle the pole again…  

The Announcer stepped into the dressing room, a narrow space where the girls could “powder up” and dress in various skimpy costumes (some as scant as wearing strips of bacon a la Cher in the “Turn Back Time” video).           

“You were really good tonight, Miss Candi.”           

“Thanks, hon.”           

“I mean it.  You were alright out there.”  

“Nah, I missed a few key moves—“   

Practically salivating, The Announcer edged closer to Candi, who’d turned her attention to digging into her purse for some more perfume.            “Can I do something for you?”  the pervert asked, wringing his hands.

“No,” Candi said, locating the spray and spritzing a healthy amount all over, “Thanks.”

The Announcer skulked away reluctantly when Candi’s cell phone rang.  The phone number belonged to her mother.

“Hi, ma.”

“Hello, sweetie.  How’re you doing?”

“Okay.  A little tired, but okay.”

“I hope those people aren’t working you too hard…”

“No, no of course they’re not.”

“…’cause I want you back in time to celebrate New Year’s.”

“Sure, ma.  I mean, you know,” Candi picked up a pack of cigarettes, “I’m gonna be there.  I just need to work a few more shifts.  My boss knows I can’t work New Year’s Eve.”

There was a pause as Candi tapped the pack against the top of the dresser in front of her. 

“That’s great that your boss is so understanding…so…how’s my baby granddaughter?”

Candi’s eyes glanced over to the family photo that had been torn in half when Scotty left her.  All that was left hung on the dressing room mirror: Candi and her daughter, Jessie posed smiling broad smiles that hinted at success, at a future…minus Scotty. 

“The baby’s in Reno, ma.  Don’t worry…I’ll be bringing her too.  Scotty said he’ll drop her off at my place on the 30th.”

“Oh, so she’s at her father’s?”

“…Just for the week.  You know how he is.”  Candi removed a cigarette from the pack and spoke; the cig dangling precariously on her bottom lip.

“Okay, then you just bring that pretty little thing here to grandma’s and I’ll give her those Christmas gifts and kisses I’ve been holding for her.”

Candi lit the cigarette and took a drag, “What you get her again?”

“That Leap Frog thing and a great, big teddy bear.”

“Oh yeah.  She’ll love that,”  she exhaled.

“You still smoking?  I thought you quit—“

“I know.  I know.”

“They allow you to smoke while working?”

“I’m on break.”

“I hope you don’t smoke near, Jessie,” mom reprimanded.

“Of course not, ma!  Come on…”

“Okay, okay.  Well, I know how short your breaks are, so…”

“Yeah, I’ll call you before we head out.”

“Sounds good.  Love you.”

“Me, too.”

Candi didn’t like fooling her mother, but there was something perfect about a phone call that offered an opportunity to lie.  There was no face staring back at her lovingly or accusingly.  No one could read Candi’s body language, or see the tassels, the glitter, the painted face.

Miss December, Miss Snow Globe, Miss Cocoa, Chesty Nuts, Goldie Locks, Jenny Jingle, Sandy Claus, Miss Ginger, and Miss Sugar Cubes all clamored into the dressing room, ringing like bells.  They giggled and chatted boisterously, ruining Candi’s train-of-thought.

“You’re on next, honey,” Chesty ordered, throwing a jealous glare at Candi.

Candi didn’t answer, but instead quickly ran through her routine.  Suddenly, instinct took over and she calculated how many dollar bills she would need in this set to finally put a down-payment on her own house.  Then, she could get Jessie her own room.  She could finally sue for custody.  She could leave these glossy, gossipy bitches behind.  Maybe she could get a better job at one of the more glamorous joints on The Strip.  Maybe in a few months she could earn enough to go back to school, or better yet, she could work to pay her way through school.  Most of all, she could stop lying to her mother and do what she should’ve done long ago to make her momma proud.  She may even make her daughter, Jessie proud of her.  Candi blew a quick kiss at the photo just like she were blowing out a birthday candle and making a secret wish.

I’ll show them all, she thought, Here’s to you: Candi Cane.  Have a very Happy New Year.

Happy New Year, everybody!


About Lisa Perez

Lisa M. Perez is a published poet, editor, copywriter, public speaker and artist. The co-creator of the first ever ArtSpace in Jersey City, member of IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists), and administrator for an online Mail Art group, Lisa supports the arts and advocates for creativity. Her successful, Art Journal and "Notes from my Brain" series are ongoing projects that evolve with the artist. In addition to being an active blogger since 2005, Lisa scripts and edits copy for various online articles and videos. In September 2017, she was a guest-speaker and virtually chaired a YOGA Recovery meeting. In her spare time, Lisa studies, reads, and creates while maintaining a day job in a STEM field and being a full-time fur-mommy to her shih-tzu, Cher.
This entry was posted in Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, Necessity Is The Mother of Invention, These Dreams Go On When I Close My Eyes. Bookmark the permalink.

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