Genre: Thriller  Warning: Adult Content

Joy stood still, mesmerized. Stepping closer she pressed her nose against the glass, causing the sales ladies inside to laugh. Her chest complained and she remembered to take a breath. It couldn’t be!

The mannequin in the window was wearing a dream. Her dream. Flowing organza in cherry red, swirled with diamante and net. It moved in the aircon, flowing and calling to her. She had to have it. At all costs.

Joy had little Joy in her life. It was vanilla to a fault. She got up in the morning, went to work at the till at Allmarts, got home, bathed and went to bed, 6 days a week for pay that covered rent, medical and transport, leaving a bit behind to live on. Sundays she cleaned or went to visit her mother. Neither tasks were particularly satisfying or pleasant but she tackled them knowing it had to be done.

Joy snuck into the shop, it was quiet. Piped music and fresh flowers greeted her and her feet sank into the carpet. The sales lady was busy and she waited, eventually clearing her throat.

‘Oh sorry, didn’t see you there’ she said.

‘How…how much is the red dress?’

‘The one in the window?’ The sales lady looked her up and down, Joy saw the smirk on her face before she turned away.

‘It’s R4000’.

As expected Joy balked at the price, recovered herself and left the shop. She heard the shop assistants laugh as the glass door whispered close. How nasty! Embarrassment coursed through her, quickening her steps and bringing tears to her eyes. At home she poured herself some tea and had a good cry. She had to have that dress.

Joy sat until late planning and plotting. She made a list:

  1. Steal it? She didn’t have the balls.
  2. Take a loan – they wouldn’t give her one.
  3. Use all her spare cash and savings – not enough.

Chewing on the wet pencil head she knew she would have to earn it. She could apply for extra shifts at Allmart and in about 8 months she would have the money and the dress would be gone! She knew it, it was a dream. But she had to have it.

Joy knew of one other way to make extra cash and at one time in her life, had to make it that way. On her back. She hated every second of it, but her growling stomach had given her the inspiration. It was short-lived but she survived and found herself here again. She knew her lustful landlord would be a “customer”, it depended on how badly she wanted the dress.

With a sigh, she had a bath put on her best underwear and a coat and went downstairs. He opened the door in his uniform of a grubby vest and pants.

“Yes?’ he said not unkindly.

‘Hi Larry. I need money’ she said.

“Don’t we all sister’ he looked her up and down. Sighing inside she opened her coat. His grin showed his agreement and she stepped inside.

‘How much are you prepared to pay for this?’ she wiggled encouragement.

‘100 bucks.’ She turned towards the door.

‘Ok 150 but you better make it worth my while, I’m a busy man you know’ she nodded. He scratched his armpit, did a quick tour past the bathroom and was ready to go by the time he came back. It was over quickly as she expected and she climbed the stairs back up to her place counting the cash.

After a shower she took her pencil and notebook, carefully recording R150 in it. She worked it out, 27 more men and she would have enough for the dress and a bit extra. It wasn’t so bad. Half an hour a day for that dream, she was willing to do it.

Besides having little excitement in her life, Joy felt invisible. People walked past her without seeing her. In queues they often pushed past her either not caring or not seeing her, until she became invisible. Her vanilla life, looks, job and outlook turned her into a nothing and that is how she felt. Like nothing. She was surprised that anyone wanted to sleep with her and deep down felt like it was acknowledgement that she actually existed…

The next night she knocked on her landlord’s door, he opened, she confirmed the price and soon was heading home with her money. The third night, he was waiting. After they finished, he told her that as much as he wanted to, he couldn’t keep doing this, he couldn’t afford it. Her disappointment showed.

That night she dreamt that she had the money. She ran to buy the dress. With sweat pouring down her back, she turned the corner. The dress was gone. The window empty. It couldn’t be! She stood outside staring. The shop assistant – Joy called Nasty – was wearing the dress. Joy banged on the window and she turned. She smirked at Joy with ice-white teeth, they grew bigger and bigger until all Joy could see was lips and teeth. She woke up sweating.

That evening there was a knock on her door, it was Larry.

‘Joy this is my friend Conrad’ he doffed his hat.

‘Yes?’ Joy knew what was coming.

Larry knew an extraordinary number of willing men. Joy didn’t know but he was punting her down at the pub. She didn’t care. As long as she made her money, it would be fine. The other tenants were curious about the stream of men but apart from keeping their distance, never said anything.

Every day Joy made a note of her savings in her little book. She even managed to pull a few pennies from her salary. The day came as she knew it would when the amount needed, balanced with the amount at hand. That night she couldn’t sleep.

Calling in sick the next day, she waited outside for the shop to open. The sales ladies were curious about the cold, plain woman waiting at the door but wouldn’t open early. They chatted and had coffee in the cosy shop, ignoring her. Joy waited.

At 8:01am, they opened the door.

‘Can I help you?’ Nasty said.

‘I want that dress.’ She turned and stared at the red dress as if it was the first time she saw it. Lowering her voice, she leaned forward ‘Its R4000!’

Joy leaned forward “I know. Now go and get it.’

Nasty pulled herself together, took the dress off the mannequin and went with Joy to the change rooms. The dress was so heavenly that Joy completely forgot about how horrible Nasty could be. Her and the other assistants were chatting about a bar called “Frannies.” It had just opened and was the place to be.

She tried the dress on and her life changed. It fit like a 2nd skin. The silk hugged her thin body turning her into a sexy, curvaceous vixen. Tears filled her eyes and she was grateful that she had had the guts to do what she did. Turning she looked at her bum. Wow. From every angle she was perfect.

Nasty met her at the till, her face was deadpan. Joy took the wad of notes from her purse, counted out R4000 and gave it to Nasty.

‘Thank you, please come again.’ She said, ringing it up and placing it in a box. A box mind you! No packet was good enough for this dress. Joy left, floating. As the door closed she heard giggling again ‘I wonder what she did to get that money.’ Joy didn’t care, she wanted it she got it.

Friday night she spent staring at her dream. It hung on her cupboard just waiting to be worn. She still had some change and decided to go out for a drink the next evening. “Frannies” sounded interesting, probably because it was the only place she could think of.

She did her hair, put on basic makeup and bloody lips – she looked killer.

The taxi dropped her off at Frannies at quarter to 8. The hazy venue was bursting with music and people. She was lucky to find a bar stool and ordered a G&T, hoping she didn’t look out of place. She immediately attracted interest. Her and Dave had an animated conversation all about him and she longed to get away.

Looking around she noticed Nasty and her group of cronies, chatting to some men. From behind her drink and eyelashes she watched them, noticing a few things. Nasty was interested in one of the men, very interested. Her and her girlfriends stood together, drank together and peed together. She waited, a lifetime of being invisible gave you patience.

Eventually he came to the bar alone, the girls all went for a pee.

‘Hi’.

‘Hi’ he looked her up and down appreciating the view.

‘I’m Devin.’

She smiled, leaning forward to take a sip of her drink so that he could look down her dress. He did. She looked up and smiled. Taking a pen out of her purse, she wrote her name and number on his wrist, where his sleeve would hide it. She winked and slid off her chair. He watched her ass wiggle away, checked his sleeve and pulled it down.

She didn’t have to wait long. He called and they arranged to meet for a drink. Joy had one more thing to do – she called Nasty and left a message for her to meet Dave at Benny’s and gave the address.

Nasty walked in half an hour after their date started, by which time Joy was wrapped around Dave like a scarf. Nasty balked and Joy winked at her as she stuck her tongue in Dave’s ear.

Revenge was best served with a smile.

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Writer, Mother, Grandmother and Wife.

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