The oil paintings on the descending staircase could be 200 years old, if the Ann Summers-clad pole dancers depicted worked their trade back then. The bar is clean and opulent- steely blue light falls on metallic furnishings. The rest of the women are in lingerie. Once again- cleavage central. Women in their underwear chat up shy customers, sat on leather chair arms, squatting at the sides of men. All the girls are all stunning.
Terence buys a fruit juice. He's dismayed they don't sell nuts. He's trying not to look a the nurse, but fuck , she's sooooo hot. She's stood pensive at the side of the stage. The other dancers pester the animals, standing around them, gazing faux-longingly, flirting for a sale. Terence hops onto a chair facing the empty stage, waiting for time to pass.
The song changes. The nurse steps on stage. She twirls around the pole. She's looking at Terence. Only Terence. A plethora of humans and animals fill the bar, but she's looking at him. He gulps. Looks around. Customers are lapping up female attention while wrestling with their consciences.
It's like another world, thinks Terence. I wonder if human guys think that the first time they come here.
She's still looking at him. He wants to hide from what he's going to do.
I'm not exactly going to spend this money on booze and peanuts, am I?
The song finishes. She's targeted him. She walks over and sits strangely close, her thigh against his wing. She plugs him for getting-to-know-you questions. She laughs at his unfunny jokes. He has to tear his eyes away from her face, her squeaky-clean outfit, her thighs, her cleavage.
“Would you like a dance, babes?” Her Geordie accent bounces around him like a small rubber ball.
Use her as practice, he thinks. Dish banter. He takes a sip. “Well, y'know. It's a toss-up between you and her,” he says, watching Blondie who's taken her place on stage. He's never going to make it to the next club before it closes, if he's not careful.
“You could have a dance with both of us if you like,” she says.
Terence feels his resistance crumble.
“Only forty pounds.”
A booth in the back of the club: curtained off and discreet. Terence sits in the crack between the sofa's seats. The girls tower over him, like he's in a fifties B-movie. His beak drops open. The cheesy R+B kicks in and they begin to gyrate, undressing each other. In time with the music, they do things he didn't even think legal. The nurse slams her backside in Terence's face. She'd be grinding on his crotch now, if he were human.
“Are you lovin' it, babes?” She asks.
“Yup,” Terence manages.
“Do you want us to carry on?”
The PVC hits the floor. Terence's feathers fall out of place, ruffled by skin and hair. His heart nearly smashes through his ribcage when the blonde has the nurse's breast in her mouth. When the nurse smacks the blonde's arse, Terence's eyes water. He wants the moment to last forever. Instead, they kiss him on each cheek and stand up.
“You owe us eighty quid babes,” the nurse says.
Terence's bowels slacken and empty into the crack of the couch.
“Eighty?” he asks, eyes wide. “We agreed on forty.”
“But you had two dances. I asked you if you wanted us to carry on.”
Terence rifles his money- twenty, forty, sixty. Train ticket. Fuck.
He looks up. They're looking at the money in his wing. He thinks of the human simile, like vultures. He gets it now.
“Right,” he says. “Follow me.”
They dress, rushing, not taking their eyes off Terence's money.