Every Thursday, Al shut off his phone and “forgot” it in his desk. He changed out of one work suit and into another. He liked his second job much better, although the pay was abysmal, and he only got to do it for a few nights a week.
During the day, he was a working stiff with a white collar. A regular 9 to 5 man, punching in and punching out. Now that his company cut out overtime as part of a “financial restructuring”, he had more time to pursue his other work; the work that he could really put his heart and soul into.
He watched the little digital clock in his office, a decent sized corner office with sweeping windows which gave him a fabulous view of the alley. It was just an alley, but on occasion, interesting things happened, like a hooker giving a John head next to the false privacy of a garbage dumpster. 10 minutes until he could check out of this place and head home for a quick bite before going off to his much preferred job.
He always felt it necessary to stop home first, being such a family man. He didn’t grow up with a dad and felt it to be important that his children never felt the male rejection he had to deal with as a child. Jess and Taylor would know that their dad loved them and was interested in everything about them. Al also liked to see his wife Barb before she headed off to her long weekend of evening shifts at the hospital. It was a perfect arrangements on more levels than even his family was aware of.
Al usually had the babysitter come when the kids were breathing softly and regularly and he was sure his wife had gotten off to work with no problems. It was only after the sitter, another employee from his 2nd job, was sitting on the laptop in front of the television, that he felt he could safely grab his suitcase full of his work necessities and head out the door.
The suitcase, innocuous enough, was kept in a dark corner of the basement. No one ever went down there, it was not finished and always smelled damp and musty. Al kept promising Barb he’d get the basement finished so the kids would have their own space to play but he never actually got around to it. Time always seemed to go too fast, weekends and vacations came and went so rapidly that projects thought of were never started and those started never seemed to get finished. He was a good provider, he gave his family a better life than he ever had growing up with a drunk for a mother, so he figured that was why Barb overlooked his lack of project follow through.
Thursdays at 10pm found Al excited. He loved this secret job he had with all his heart. It was the only time his true self could come out, the only time he felt comfortable in his own skin. The only time he knew what it was like to really live and breathe. It wasn’t that he was miserable in the rest of his life, he just wasn’t really living.
With a skip in his step, he said his goodbyes to the sitter announcing he’d be home at the usual Thursday time which was somewhere between 1 and 1:30 am. It left him with plenty of time to shower and sleep before his wife got home and woke him up for his day job, his facade.
Al loved the 20 minute drive to his work. He always drove with the windows open, blasting music and smoking a cigarette; another little thing he hid from his family, smoking was. He was able to go the rest of the week without but when his Thursday through Saturday evening shift came, so did a small change in his personality.
Pulling into the parking lot, Al flicked his cigarette out the window and rolled them up. Smiling, he grabbed his suitcase from the BMW’s trunk and headed into the back entrance marked “Staff Only”. He was staff here, if only part-time.
He made his way to his “office”, a small room with a worn dressing table and mirror. Opening his suitcase, he pulled out a large make-up kit and chose his evening’s work uniform.
Sitting on the chair, he looked at himself in the dull mirror only seeing how he wanted to make himself look tonight, not noticing the man he is staring back at him. Slowly, methodically, he removed little tubs and cases from the make up kit and began applying the contents to his face. Tonight he felt vibrant so he applied pinks and purples to his eyelids and then, carefully, he placed glittery, glam eyelashes. With a heavy hand, for theatrical effect, he contoured and defined his face, creating the illusion that he was more woman than his wife. He chose a vampy looking, black wig with natural hair that fell to his waist and tucked his short, crew cut into it.
Tonight he’d wear a tailored, gold sequined gown and stiletto heels, which he mastered walking in years ago. When everything was tucked and sucked in, he stood and stared at himself. This was his favorite part, the transformation. Hidden away behind the make up and glamour was the pain of a life unsatisfied.
A rap on the dressing room door let him know that he had 5 minutes until he was on stage to do his show. He was the headliner, Alexis the Goddess, and the small theater was packed with people waiting to see him perform.
But what the audience would never know was, the only time he was performing was 9-5, Monday through Friday and on weekend days.
Alexis went on stage, met with whistles and applause, she was home, finally.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Jester Queen challenged me with “Every Thursday, Al shut off his phone and ‘forgot’ it in his desk. He changed out of one work suit and into another. He liked his second job much better, though the pay was abysmal, and he only got to do it for a few nights a week.” and I challenged Kameko Murakami with “How low can you go?”