by Roger Haller

The second installment in the Black Mac saga. Julia the struggling co-ed becomes Jewels the pole dancer before finding Black Mac’s secret escape to a simpler world.

D I S C U S S I O N  F O R U M  |  R E T U R N  T O  S T  O N L I N E




Julie was in a lot of trouble. University for a country girl was a tough row to hoe and having hit the city on her own at nineteen, she hadn't developed the street smarts to filter out the crud.

She had the smarts to land a full tuition, but the family ranch simply couldn't supply her with a living while going to school. As a result, Julie had tried a convenience store job but after the second 3 a.m. robbery, she came to understand minimum wage and top level stress was not compatible with good school work. She quit.

To make things worse, her father was killed in a plane crash. He and the pilot were searching for a lost group of cattle when the plane went down. Her mother, who had longed to be off the ranch for years, quickly sold and moved to town. Julie was shocked to see her mother picked up with a family friend almost from the outset. For the first time, Julie had found her mother had been cheating and the marriage had been over in all practical sense of the word for years. Julie was numb. Her father was already buried when she found out he was lost. She cried herself to sleep for weeks but had no desire to visit home. She had no more use for her mother.

Working the night shift in a bakery didn't work either, when the wife of the boss became convinced she was rising more than the bread with her husband. The old guy was nothing but respectful and easy going, but the meeting with his wife in the bathroom ended her employment rather dramatically.

The truth was, Julie's fresh good looks and quick grin were her downfall. That bitch was far too insecure to allow anyone attractive to work for her husband.

It was about this time, she was introduced to Tony. He ran a local body shop near the campus and he seemed to run with the more popular kids from ASU. Tucson finally had a friendly face. Over a beer on the patio of a local pub, Tony slipped her a couple of Ben Franklins when he found out she was not going to make her room and board that month. He seemed happy to help her, and simply asked her to pay it back when she got work. He also offered to land her a decent job if she didn't have any good leads.

This was more than Julie could have hoped for and frankly she had no leads. She told Tony so and he smiled. The conversation that followed was the beginning of the end.

"No problem. Meet me at the Wild Horse on Speedway at 11 tonight. They need a floor waitress and you seem like you could pull it off."

"Wonderful. I'll be there."

She met Tony that night as she said she would, and on first view, she had second thoughts. The waitresses all had light white tee shirts with the Wild Horse logo and micro minis and the wet tee shirt contest had just concluded.

Tony grinned his disarming smile and explained the benefit to the tips. These girls often made a couple hundred dollars a night just on tips. This was opposed to an average of sixty or seventy dollars for those who wore heavier shirts or never got involved in the water sports.

Julie remembered her last week's work and grinned back, but understood the implications. She had no clue that much money could be made as a drink waitress.

Tony had introduced her to Freddie, the club manager. His quick glance up and down her frame preceded a single interview question.

"Can you balance a tray full of drinks on your finger tips?"

"I think so."

"Report to Sylvie behind the bar. Tell her Freddie said to fill you in. Tony, how's it hangin'? Want in the game tonight?"

Since she was dismissed, Julie went to see Sylvie.

"Freddie asked me to come see you about a position. He said you would fill me in."

"Come back behind the bar, honey. Watch what's going down while I serve the floor."

Julie followed instructions and watched with wide eyes as the pole dancers started. The crush of men on the floor swarmed the stage and jostled for position on "Gynecology Row".

Within a week Julie had three evening shifts a week, but unwilling to show more of herself, her weekly income was often less then one hundred and fifty dollars. Tony told her to loosen up and get with it. "Do you want the big money or not?"

He was right. She wore the tee shirts, got wet, got a bit too familiar with her customers and was now clearing seven hundred a week.

Her schooling suffered, however. The evening shifts grew longer as she was expected to serve the back room poker games after work. Between school, homework and the club, she was getting an average of three and a half hours of sleep in the afternoons and a couple hours before school. She lost touch with family and friends. Tony was the only constant in her life, and he seemed to have a harem surrounding him most of the time.

The next step in her spiral downward began with a conversation with Tony after the poker game one Friday night.

"Tony, my grades are slipping. I'm not getting enough sleep."

"Well doll, how would you like to make more money in less time?"

"How would I go about that?"

"C'mere." He got up and climbed the stairs at the right of the bar.

Julie followed him to a room at the top of the stairs and after a short knock, was led into a well worn apartment with a team of girls splayed out over the furniture. Julie recognized the dancers from the club.

"Roxy, come meet Julie."

Julie's heart was racing as she realized Freddie's intentions.

She started to protest, but he held up his hand and waved Roxy over.

After a very friendly kiss, he pointed to Julie and said. "Roxy, I want you to meet Jewels."

"Hi, honey, welcome to paradise." She giggled and winked.

"H... Hi R… Roxy."

"Roxy, Jewels works downstairs, but needs more money and less work for her college fund. She got legs that won't quit."

"I see that. So you want to be a dancer, huh?"

"I… I didn't, I mean, I don't know."

"Well, darlin', I work for two fifteen minutes shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and I make two grand a week. Would that work for you?"

"Wow! I just don't know. I can't imagine getting almost naked in front of a room full of men."

"Darlin', they pay better than any other job you can find and you are already showing your tits as a barmaid. How hard can it be? Can you move?"

"I have never even thought about dancing to a pole, but I have been known to dance pretty good with a partner."

"OK, school starts tomorrow before you go to work. Come here."

Roxy showed her a pole set up in a bedroom with a hardwood floor. "Meet me here tomorrow at eight."

The next morning in class, Professor MacAdams gently woke her up at the back of the class.

"Miss Phillips, I know my seminars can be rather dry and boring, but I'm afraid you will need some of my information to pass."

"I'm sorry, sir, I'm just so beat. I need my evening job to get through school but it means I don't get much sleep. I think I just got a new job that will ease up my days and let me get some sleep."

"I'm glad to hear that, Julie. Your marks have been sliding. Is there anything I can do to help?"

"No, sir. I think I'll be alright now."

"Julie, I want you to feel free to come talk to me if you are having trouble. I can help."

The friendly dark face creased in a smile that showed uncommonly bright teeth.

"Yes sir, I sure will."

Julie was a quick learner. A week later, she was finished with the barmaid job and had been introduced on stage as Jewels. The wage was very small, but the tips were very good and with a little coaching, they became excellent. She was the youngest dancer, so she gained popularity quickly. Her natural rhythm and athletic nature ensured her act was on cue from the start and increased in quality quickly.

Roxy taught her how to identify the heaviest tippers, and allow peeks for those who donated the best. Her popularity increased. And some of the girls talked her into trying out for the matinee review over at the Kitten Club. Again she found success and a new income.

All of this growth was hinged on her training and practice time. It wasn't long before time again was a problem. The girls showed her some uppers to help keep up her energy, but they became a necessity and it was showing. She was losing ground.

Professor MacAdams pulled her aside and asked her to stop by his office after the lecture.

She was scared as hell. Her marks were on the borderline.

She knocked on his office door.

"Come on in, Miss Phillips."

She silently sat in a chair across the professor's desk from the distracted educator and waited for him to finish typing on his laptop.

He typed for a couple minutes more, then slid the machine back on the desk and directed his attention to the scared girl on the other side of his desk.

"Do you mind if I call you Julie?"

"No sir, that would be fine."

"Julie, I want to see your big picture. I want to see what you want to do with your life and how you plan to get there. I would like very much for you to open up to me."

The large black man smiled softly and Julie melted. She had no reason to hold anything back.

"Dr. MacAdams, I am in trouble. My dad worked hard on the ranch to get me into college. I wanted to be a veterinarian so I could be valuable on the ranch. My father died a few weeks ago and my mother sold the ranch. I no longer have a reason to get my degree."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Julie. From where I sit, it looks like your future has changed considerably."

"I have no future. I have no reasons in my life now. I work, I come to school, and I sleep when I get the chance. My life is not my own."

"Where do you work, Julie? How are you living?"

She dropped her head and her eyes overflowed.

"Sir, I'm a stripper over on Speedway."

She could hardly believe she dropped the bomb, but there it was, out on the desk.

He smiled gently. "Julie, my mother raised seven kids by dancing against a pole. She did what was necessary to get me into university. She paid for the start of all our careers, then retired to be a wonderful grandmother to our families. I am the only one who has yet to supply her with a grandbaby."

Julie looked up with amazement.

The Doctor of Biology just smiled.

"Julie, if you could start over, what would you like to do with your life?"

"Sir, I would make it simple. Just make a living and live outdoors as much as I could. I love animals of all kinds and would love a chance to help them. I don't care where anymore, or even how, but it sure as hell wouldn't be in a city."

"Julie, do you trust me enough to visit me tomorrow after school? I have something to show you that may solve your problems and give you a new goal. I will supply dinner, but don't worry, this will not be a date, I only want to show you some possibilities that your brain and nature could fit rather well."

"Well, sir, I have trusted far less scrupulous people with my life, so I would be happy to."

"OK, be ready after school tomorrow and you can ride with me."

True to his word, Dr. MacAdams was packed up and locking the lab when she found him after school. Julie was a bit surprised to see he drove an old Ford pickup with no bells and whistles. The back of her straw cowboy hat didn't bend against a head rest. She normally had to take it off in a vehicle. She commented as much.

"Well Julie, I don't need much. I find I carry more cargo than people and I am quite easily satisfied with the basics. You'll probably notice that side of the bench seat is hardly even broke in."

Looking down at the seat around her, she had to agree. The vinyl cover still had a waxy sheen and the cushion provided no clue of wear.

"Where are we going?"

"A friend of mine owns a quaint little bar out on South Yale. Are you old enough to eat in a bar?"

"Well, I have been twenty for a couple of months now, so I suppose to keep your reputation, it had better be a restaurant."

"No problem, Buzz has two sections. We will have a better talking atmosphere in the restaurant section. I was aiming for it for other reasons as well."

The pulled up to a diner type restaurant with neon reminders that they served the best prime rib in the country and had a fully qualified lounge for non smokers. The cooks and wait staff new the professor and shocked Julie with their familiarity with the easy going teacher.

"Hi'a Black Mac, What's cookin'?" The head chef was peering through the serve window and waiving at Dr. MacAdams.

"I 'spect I should be asking you that, Rudy. How's Penny?"

"All good, Prof. Prime rib is spectacular tonight."

"Sounds like my usual tonight, but let's see what Jewels would like from the menu first."

Julie snapped her eyes toward the big man as the waitress tugged his elbow.

"This way Black Mac, your table's waiting." Her smile was genuine. These folks loved the professor.

"How did you know about that stage name?"

A touch of fear rose in her throat as she imagined this genial man watching her show from the back of the audience.

"No worries, Jewels, I am not a dancer stocker. The name fits but if it really bothers you I'll go back to Julie or even Miss Phillips if you prefer."

"No sir, I was just surprised you had heard it."

"Well Jewels, since we are on friend basis now, please call me Black Mac like the rest of my friends, or if you are squeamish about black, simply Mac will do."

They sat and accepted the menus. Julie took off her hat and set it upside down on the seat to her right.

"I know what I want, so you take a look and pick what you like. Don't worry about cost. I have a great discount at this place."

Julie looked over the menu and flipped it closed.

"Do you mind if I get a coffee and a flat steak salad?"

"Not at all. That's one of my favorites too."

The waitress dropped by to fill the coffee cups and take the orders. When she left, Mac showed her the laminated place mats on the table. Julie recognized the show bill for one of the clubs on Speedway.

"Turn it over, girl."

She did and her jaw dropped.

"That's the poster for the review. That's me!"

"Yep, you see you are more famous than you think."


"Jewels, I'm going to offer you a chance to start all over a world away from here. Are you interested?"

"That depends." She looked suspiciously at the gentle brown eyes across from her.

"Well come with me a moment." He stood and headed down the hall toward the restrooms.

She stood but hesitated when she saw his direction. He stopped short of the restrooms and opened a door with a sign that said "Employees Only."

She followed as he flicked on the light switch. Mac opened the steel door on a breaker panel and pointed at a small button by itself near the bottom. There was no marking and the button was a simple white half-inch diameter cylinder.

"Girl, when you are ready to move to a whole new world, live mostly outdoors, work with a wide variety of animals and be productive in a much simpler life, when you are fed up with life here, when you are ready, push that."

He headed back to the fire, so she followed.

They just had time to sit down when their meals arrived.

"Eat well, Jewels."

"What will that button do? Where do you want me to go? What will happen?"

"Jewels, the button will take you to a whole different life. You have never heard of the place. You can come back at any time, but people you know here will simply find you missing. There will be no trace. If you come back, the button will be moved to protect the world you have seen but can be used again if you follow the right procedure.

They ate in near silence.

"Can I get to the button if I decide I want to go?"

"Yep, you will find the room unlocked when you come back."

The professor dropped her at her boarding house before ten and drove off to the tune of a loose tailpipe.

Julie contemplated the conversation they had.

She had no reason to stay here. Her degree was hollow, her father was gone, her mother moved on and her job was a downward spiral.

The next day in class, there was a substitute teacher. Professor MacAdams was suddenly on holiday. It took only two days to work up her courage, but she pulled on her straw hat and went back to the steak house.

As she entered, she was greeted as a friend. "Hi, Jewels. Would you like the usual?"

"Hi, just a coffee please. I don't think I will stay long."

She drank half her coffee while building strength, left two dollars by her cup and got up. With hesitant steps, while watching for witnesses, she opened the Employees Only door and found the metal panel. There was the button, alone and ominous at her eye level. She felt completely silly and scared, but she pushed he button.

* * *

New World

She began to show signs of life. I saw eyelid flickers turn to clinching as she became aware of the bright sunlight. I took a moment to relish in her obvious charms. I hoped Mac's description of her soul was as good as her physical appearance.

Her hands came up now to rub her face and eyelids. She groaned as she rolled her head to the shadow side and tested her eyesight. Her first sight on Terra was the landing pond. She smiled lightly and stretched like a cat in a sunbeam as her body drank in the warmth of Pegasi. Still smiling she rolled her head back the other way and caught sight of the pole towering over her, with its lonely little white button.

"Take note of that button, Jewels. That is your ticket home if you decide you don't like it here."

She jumped at my voice and looked past her naked body to find me crouched on my heels on top of the little grassy mound above her. She panicked and covered her chest and pubic triangle.

I grinned and threw her the white tunic I was holding.

"Kind of modest for a pole dancer, aren't you?"

She glared at me and slipped quickly into the tunic.

"Here you go." I threw a sash with a crystal mounted on a clasp to cinch it around her waist. I also tossed a set of sandals that laced over the calf muscles. This kept them more than secure for a lifetime of pedestrian travel.

"Let me introduce myself. I'm Popeye. Also known as Paul back on Earth."

"Uh, I'm Julie… or Jewels. Where am I?" Looking down at her tunic, she continued. "Is this Greece?"

"Jewels, you aren't in a different country, you are on a different world. This is Terra. We are on the fifth planet of a star called 51 Pegasi. We are a small band of humans transported to a different solar system than you have known all your life, and we live a much simpler life. You shoot and gather your food here, you don't have a Safeway to shop. You make your own weapons, tools, clothes and life. There are no taxes, money or stock market. If you want something you don't have, you make it or barter for it with something you do have. Your assets are your skills and the products you can create.

Jewels stood up and shook the folds out of her new garment. She fastened the clasp on her sash and asked what the clear gem was on the clasp.

"That is a raw diamond."

"My god, it must be a hundred carats."

"Actually eighty-three, but who's counting? They are plentiful on this planet and have a lot of uses. Don't forget your hat. This sun can be damn hot at this latitude. Let me know when you are ready to travel."

She sat, laced on the sandals, pulled the tip of her hat down over her eyes, stood and said, "Which way?"

"First, let's fill these." I pulled two water skins off my shoulder, gave her one and stepped down to the small pond to fill mine. Jewels followed suit.

Packed with water, we set out.



"Does everyone arrive here nude?"

I chuckled. "Yep, one of the first things you will figure out is we have scrapped off our weird society hang-ups from Earth. You will see a lot of nudity here, but it is not wrong. It is not dirty, and it is not illegal. You will find a lot more liberal world here in the ways of human nature, but you will also see a lot more uncommon sense in the taking of life for food or self defense only and the utilization of everything we take from this world. You will find very little waste."

"Wow, a world of common sense?"

"Note, I said uncommon sense. Think of the term common. Common means everyone has it and if everyone had sense, earth wouldn't be in such a mess. Uncommon sense means our rules follow much closer to nature. If you need an example, look at the laws of nature. Nudity and sex is natural. Killing for food and resources is natural, encouraging life and growth of everything else is natural, for preservation of our own species."

Jewels went silent and I let her work through her thoughts as we marched toward boot camp.

She would do just fine.







Copyright © 2007 Roger Haller

A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R:

Roger Haller, a cowboy geek with a seemingly paradoxical love for gripping fiction and quiet cowboy logic, has several works published to the web and an old history of newspaper drama stoked up as fuel behind his consuming need to have his first novel see print.

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