Summer kept her back straight while seated and gaze fixed on the middle-aged woman going through her curriculum vitae meticulously. She was poised in a black arm length turtle neck ribbed top tucked beneath a white loose pants.
"Your portfolio is quite impressive" the middle-aged woman finally said, lifting the silence that felt like years to Summer.
"Too impressive I must add" she continued.
"Thank you Mrs. Maharashtra" Summer was careful not to bite her tongue while pronouncing her soon to be boss's name. Or so she thought.
"I'm sorry but you're too overqualified for the position and as such can't hire you Ms. Knight" she handed Summer's portfolio back to her.
"It's really not a problem Ma'am, I don't mind being paid less than my qualification, I need this job really bad and I promise not to disappoint you and the company" Summer almost got on her desperate knees because this was her last hope of landing a job and paying her three months due house rent. Mrs. Davis would kick her and Camille out by the end of the month if they don't do the needful.
"I'm sorry Ms. Knight, please use the door and kindly tell the next applicant to come in" Mrs. Maharashtra focused on the folder before her on the table.
Summer gathered the remaining dignity she had left and quietly made her exit out of the office, the building, and into her small co-rented apartment with her best friend.
"I'm guessing you got turned down again," Camille said after slouching next to Summer on the bed.
Summer hummed in return.
"The interviewee before me got the job so there was no need interviewing the others." Camille hissed.
"What are we going to do Cami? We have two weeks to pay up or move out"
"I don't know Summer. I am as confused as you are. I feel like the universe is against us."
A job vacancy notification bell chimed on Summer's laptop and the duo instantly rose up to check the designation. Their eyes scanned the screen and their excitement was slowly replaced with disappointment when the job description involved being a stripper.
"Not even a common bartending job? Is it that bad in the city?" Camille said with her hands over her head.
"We won't do badly in stripping" Summer joked as she returned to the bed.
"I really don't want to move in with my foster parents Summer"
"At least you have a family. I don't have anyone to move in with if this doesn't pull through. For all I know I might end up on the streets in two weeks"
"You're welcome to move in with me"
"Sadly, your foster peeps will object to that"
Camille suddenly rose up to her feet. "Desperate times calls for desperate measures" she reached for a sequin midi-length gown in the wardrobe.
Summer looked at her inquisitively.
"I am going to work in that burlesque for just a couple of weeks. I bet that would earn us more than enough to sort our outstanding bills. Cardi b made a lot of money when she was a stripper and I have this gut feeling I'll be lucky too"
They were indeed desperate to cash in and settle their bills but this was too extreme for Summer and against her morals.
"No Cami, I won't let you wear that disgusting outfit they wear and jiggle your God-given body to a bunch of sex thirsty men."
"Summer" she stressed, "I know you mean well but how long are we going to continue this futile job hunting?"
"We've got two more weeks" Summer shrugged out.
"That's like two days" Camille wailed. "We can't sit by and wait for manna to come from heaven. We need to go get that manna ourselves"
"Not this kind of manna Cami, I am against this. What if it backfires and haunts you-us- in the future? District Attorney was once a stripper? The tabloid would speak ill of you before you get the chance to explain and even when you do, people will still use that flaw against you. I do not support this Cami, the consequences are too dire and damaging"
"Let me worry about that Summer." Camille took her seat in front of the mirror to apply her makeup. She curled her red hair in big and full rolls that accentuated her deep v neckline. Summer continued to gawk at her and even though she tried to talk Camille out of it, her best friend's mind had already been made up and wouldn't budge.
"Don't give me that face"
" what face?"
"That sinful look you little Mary" Camille laughed.
"That is not funny Cami"
"Cheer up Summer. I might not even get the job"
"So why bother interviewing?"
"Because I want to make certain we exhaust every available option before giving up"
Summer gawked at Camille in silence as she applied a coat of gloss on her red lips. She stood up to change into a white round neck paired with denim maxi dungarees gown and a Bohemian hippie necklace.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm coming with you," Summer said while slipping into a pair of white sneakers.
"Hell no. You're not. "
"I am! Just in case everything goes awry."
"And by that you mean?" Camille stood up from the dressing chair to face Summer.
"Wingwoman. You are doing this for both our sakes it only makes sense if I cheer you on from the outside or wherever they place gatecrashers."
Camille studied her expectantly "Fine but, you behave yourself" she pointed an accusing finger at her.
"Pinky swear" Summer faked zipping her like with her fingers.
They arrived at the venue around half Past seven to meet close to fifty people vying for the position. The queue was outside the Strip club making them lean their backs on the building to ease their aching feet.
"Do they really need auditions for this kind of job?" Summer complained.
"This is one of the biggest clubs in the city. Tons of celebrities party here. I would place a three days hunt for a stripper if possible. They need to see if your bikini line is clean, your dental, and most of all if you've got moves" The girl in their front turned around to face them.
She eyed Summer "tell me you didn't come dressed like sister Agnes.."
"I'm not here for the interview. My friend is" She said awkwardly.
"Thought as much. Beneath this outfit I'm Whitney and outside I'm Chastity" Whitney extended an arm and Camille got it.
"I'm Camille" she smiled.
Whitney continued to stare at Camille expectantly.
"Your other name" Summer said, clearing the confusing air.
"Oh, my other name. Yep." She stammered, trying to come up with a sexy other name. "..is Summer"
"What?!" Summer's jaw dropped wide open
"Nice to meet you Summer" to Summer "and Summer's friend" Whitney faced forward.
"Bold move Cami. Now my name is in this mess. No offense" Summer whispered.
"None taken. Yours came in"
"Mine? Gloria, Vanessa, Kimberly, Heather.."
"Those are church names Summer"
"And mine isn't?" Summer got a glimpse of a familiar man headed their way. "Crap! That's Deacon Rolland" She used Camille's body as a shield from the eyes of the elderly man that didn't notice them as he walked past.
"Thank God." Summer heaved a sigh while Camille laughed.
"Relax Summer, how am i supposed to compose myself if you're going to be this scattered?"
"I'm sorry Cami."
"What the hell is that Deacon doing here anyway?"
"He probably lives around." Looks ahead "it's almost your turn. You can still change...."
"No, my mind is made up. I'm not fucking going back to my foster parents"
"Must you curse every time?"
"I am the curse word and the curse word is who I am so step back and watch me come out victorious" on that note, Camille stepped into the disco light hallway.
Summer caught a glimpse of a restaurant opposite the building and decided to go inside and wait for her best friend.
Just as she was about to step inside, a dashing lady stepped out of the restaurant into the prying eyes of the lurking paparazzi. They bumped shoulders and Summer ended up falling on her knees.
The lady in question knelt down to help Summer up and then whispered,
"Watch were you are going stupid" she faced the cameras all smiles like she didn't just insult someone.
Summer didn't have the energy nor courage to talk back at her. Instead, she went into the dining and took her seat. She saw people literally engrossed by the woman from before and it made her wonder who she could be.
The plasma in front of her gave her the answer. The woman was Actress, Juniper Steele who rose to fame six years ago after bagging the lead female role in the widely acclaimed sci-fi movie 'Alienated'. Summer knew little about Juniper. Although she couldn't recognize her at first, she didn't understand why she gave her a cold reception.
"Female celebrities and melodrama are five and six" she shuddered away from the thought that made her cringe. She looked out the window just in time to see Camille come out from the club.
"That was fast" she hurried out to go meet her best friend.
"That was fast. What'd they say?" Summer asked
Camille's sad face was slowly replaced with a big grin. "I got the job!" She screamed "and not as a stripper. I didn't want to get your hopes up before but when I decided to attend this interview, it was to make sure that I got in and then pleaded for the management to hire me as a bartender instead. I told them my mum was sick and needs to undergo a quick operation" she whispered and I gave her a slap on her back.
"You big fat goat. You made me worry for nothing." Summer said, angrily. "If that was your strategy, I would have applied too" Summer cried.
"Two people with the same backstory? It doesn't sound convincing to me. If anything, it'll spoil the chance of either of us landing the job."
"I feel like kissing you all over"
"Eewwwwww hello I'm straight" the two girls laughed "why don't we stop somewhere and celebrate? I vote for pops"
"No Cami, I'd rather we spent on...."
"Cut that bullshit, i know you're trying to avoid Ezra. Cut some slack on that dude" Camille stops walking and faces Summer instead.
"I already told him I'm not interested in him. He's totally not my type" Summer shrugged.
"You have a type?" Camille scoffed
"If you had a type you would have gotten digged before i knew you five years ago"
"Being a virgin is the new cool" Summer corrected.
"No, being an eighteen-year-old virgin is cool but a twenty-four like you? Hell Nah"
"First Corinthians Chapter Six verse..."
"Nineteen. Yea yea I know that already. What did that- what's her name again?- Whitney called you? Oh, I remember! Sister Agnes but i think Sister Veronica suits you better"
Summer begins to chase Camille. They seemed like kids playing catch in the park. The duo had different perceptions about living life. Camille's was to live life to the full with no holdbacks and that involved parties, tons of sex, and everything the word 'Secular' had to offer while Summer grew up in a Christian home before her parents died in a plane crash when she was fifteen. After surviving the crash, Summer developed flying anxiety and has since not overcome the fear. She was fortunate enough to end up in a care system that saw her through her academics which stopped when she finished high school. She self-sponsored herself through the university but had to drop out because she couldn't keep up with the exorbitant tuition fee. She has since then worked as a Personal Assistant in a law firm but the company closed down half a month back. She has since then been unable to get another job.