Don’t Quit Your Night Job
The club was dark, dingy and smoky, situated in the worst part of Sunnydale. "Girls Night Out" said the sign, under the usual "Girls, Girls, Girls" marquee. Anya eagerly led her friends through the entrance. The bouncer stopped them as they showed their ID. All had recently passed their twenty-first birthdays.
"This is great, huh?" asked Anya, as she led them to a table at the corner of the stage.
"Great is not how I'd describe it," replied Buffy loudly, trying to be heard over the music. "Disgusting, that comes to mind."
"I so don't want to be here," said Willow into Buffy's ear, hoping that Anya couldn't overhear. "This was a bad idea."
"I heard that," shouted Anya. "This is my bachelorette party, and I get to pick. And I want muscular male bodies undulating to music. It's my last chance. I'm going to be a proper American wife, obedient to my husband…"
"Hah," choked Buffy.
"Loyal and true," continued Anya, "With no thoughts of sweaty, muscled, tanned male flesh that does not belong to my Xander."
"Hah," said Willow.
Willow and Tara sat as far apart as they could, which was difficult at the small round table. Buffy pulled a Kleenex from her purse and wiped her chair before she sat down. Anya sat in the seat closest to the stage. "I wish you'd picked a place Dawn could come to," Buffy called to her. "She's ticked."
"She'll get over it," said Anya. "Anyway, I offered to get her some fake ID."
"Anya!" Buffy cried. "Highly not appropriate."
"Don't worry," Anya replied, "She said a strip club sounded gross. Silly girl."
The next dancer appeared on the stage. He was tall and dark, dressed as an African tribal warrior. To the sound of jungle drums, he slowly removed his headdress, threw his spear (which Anya caught with glee) and worked his way down to his body paint. Willow and Tara covered their eyes, though Willow peeked a bit, and Buffy groaned.
"I'm not sure that this is politically correct," said Willow.
"Who cares," replied Anya. "He's hot. Reminds me of a Zulu warrior spirit I used to know. Wonder whatever happened to him…"
The dancer left the stage and the waiter took their drink orders. "Buffy," said Anya, "Aren't you ordering an alcoholic beverage? You can, you know. Legally."
"Long story," said Buffy. "Between beer and tequila, I'm on the permanent wagon."
The music started as the next dancer entered. He was handsome, virile, blonde, sexy…
"Spike," Willow exclaimed, "That's Spike!"
Buffy stared as her sometimes lover swished his coat to the music. Seductively he bared one shoulder, then the other, finally dropping the duster behind him to reveal a naked chest and black jeans.
"Wow," said Anya, "He's really built."
"I know," said Buffy.
"I mean, I can see that," Buffy covered, her face growing red.
"Oh, God," said Willow, "He's undoing his belt."
He pulled his jeans down and off, over his bare feet, and swung them in the air. He let go, and they landed in Buffy's lap. "I don't believe this," she said to herself, "I must be having a nightmare.
The crowd of licentious women shrieked at the sight of his lithe body in his tiny black bikini briefs. "He can really undulate," sighed Anya. "Very, very nice." She reached over the stage and joined other women who were stuffing ten-dollar bills into the top of his underwear.
He made eye contact with her and smiled. "Thanks luv," he mouthed silently.
"Hey Buffy," Anya asked, "Do you want to do that too? I'll even give you a ten. Or maybe a five."
"A world of no," Buffy gasped, sinking down in her seat. Tara sat with her eyes covered, wishing the night would end.
"Look Buffy," Anya cried, "He's taking off his briefs. Look, quick."
Buffy looked up quickly, ashamed of herself, as the crowd screamed. The lights went out, and when they came up, he was gone.
"I'm going," said Buffy.
"Me too," said Tara.
"Wait, Buffy," Anya held her back. "Don't you want to congratulate him on his performance?"
"No, I…" Buffy stopped. "Maybe I will go talk to him." She went to the side of the stage and was stopped by security. "I want to see Spike," she said.
"Who?" the burly man asked.
"Spike. The last dancer." She glared at the guard.
"Oh, you mean Captain Stud. Sure, I'll tell him you're waiting."
A few moments later the guard led her backstage, where Spike leaned against the wall in a black robe. "Wanted to see me, pet? Saw you sitting there. Enjoy the show?"
"I did not," she hissed. "What do you think you're doing?"
"Trying to earn gainful employment. Can't depend on kitten poker to pay the bills." He leaned towards her. "Thought you'd like to see me with a career."
"Stripping is not a career," she growled. "I do not appreciate seeing my boyfriend parading around naked on stage for a bunch of estrogen hopped-up housewives."
"Your what?" he asked.
"My…" she hesitated, "Boyfriend."
He leaned over and kissed her. "Alright then, love, I'll find another line of work. Anything to make you happy." He pulled a wad of bills out of his robe pocket. "Will miss the fringe benefits, though."
The next night, Spike stopped Anya as she was about to enter her fiancée's apartment building. "Thanks, luv," he said.
"Did it work?" Anya asked happily.
"Like a charm." He pecked her on the cheek. "I owe you one."
"That's okay," said Anya. "Just don't tell Xander. He thinks I don't like you." She smiled, "Though Buffy's gain is a great loss to show business."