A Vignette

One hot summer day Erica Little, aged two and three quarters, slipped out the public library and ended up in the local strip club. It was an mistake that could have happened to any child – Erica had quite innocently walked out close enough to the heels of an elderly woman that the librarian on duty had assumed she was simply leaving with her grandmother, while far enough way that said woman didn’t notice her at all, even when the child trotted to overtake her half a street away. Erica’s mother had been busy looking up the address of a long-ago acquaintance in the directory, something she did monthly with many sighs and housewife’s dreams of what could have been, and had not noticed one missing head amongst four until some time later. That time was enough for young Erica to become transfixed by a leggy blonde carrying what seemed to be a heap of feathers looped with pearls into an alley way, and to follow her almost to the end and through a set of double doors that swung open as if by magic, having as they did and do, no outside handle. Erica scuttled through almost directly under the feathers, coughed a little while she adjusted to the smoky, dark interior and was immediately wide eyed with wonder at the world she had entered. Sequins and glitter and high heels, oh my!
The women of the club, used to the occasional snot-nosed toddler being dragged in to work, took little notice of the girl other than to slap her sticky hand away from a particularly glamourous set of paste earrings and to place in them instead a broken tiara, a bedraggled looking feather boa, another candy cane – hence the stickiness – and a pair of cast off heels with wicked looking spiked studs adorning the leather straps, the mostly harmless playthings of dozens of children around the world. Thus adorned was how Erica was dragged from under the coffee machine several hours later by a handsome young policeman (whose face was mysteriously red), when her frantic mother finally acquiesced to the suggestion that maybe, just maybe, her missing child had, not faced with the moral dignities of her mother, ventured into the only building in town that hadn’t been thoroughly searched already. Erica was stripped of shoes, sparkles and candy, smacked firmly on the bottom and ever after watched much more closely that a child of almost three should ever be watched.
It was too late. Erica had tasted showbiz, swallowed it down greedily like she did that dusty, out of season candy cane, and it was now writ large upon her soul.

Leave a Reply