Elements of Mystery takes chemistry to a new level in the ongoing series of mystery novels by author Terri Talley Venters.

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“You’re fired!”

Cat, short for Catherine, heard the dreaded words from her now ex-boss.

She didn’t feel surprised to lose her job in the recessed economy. When the stock market tanks, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to calculate all the brokerage houses on Wall Street suffered. It surprised her that the layoff didn’t happen sooner, and she patted herself on the back for holding her head up high and taking it like a big girl.

She exited her building on Wall Street with her generous severance package in hand. She looked up at the sky where the Twin Towers once stood and felt the sun warm her face. So this is what daylight feels like during the work week? Unsure what to do, she stepped into the nearest bar.

“What can I get you, Cat?” the bartender, Mike, asked.

“Chilled Petron with a Corona light back.” she looked at Mike with her sad, baby-blue eyes. Cat appreciated the lack of questions. When she glanced down the long line of bar stools, she noticed lots of “suits” occupying the bar with a drink in front of them.

The bartender poured the clear goodness without judgment. An abundance of Wall Streeters found themselves without a job these days, but a depressed economy and record unemployment equated thriving business for bar owners.

Cat savored the shot and declined another round. She exited the bar without speaking to anyone. Day drinkers craved solitude. She felt lightheaded as she walked down the sidewalk. A liquid lunch proved a new experience for her.
She decided to take advantage of her newly found free time to try new experiences. That’s probably why she found herself walking into a strip club called “The Silver Pole.” The sign in the front window “auditioning dancers” drew her in like a mosquito to a bug zapper.

“Nice, the naughty librarian look, let’s see want you got,” the manager of the Silver Pole said.

“Can you play Ten Seconds To Love, by Mötley Crüe?” Cat asked. She licked her lips and arched her back, the job interview started now.

“Dirty girl, you’ll make a fortune here,” he said.

Cat really felt like dancing, and her buzz blocked any hesitation about taking her top off. She stepped up on stage and removed the pins which held her long brunette hair in a chignon. She tousled her hair to frame her perfect ivory complexion and slowly moved her hips from side to side.

She grabbed the “silver pole” and thought the name ironic because manufactures typically forged stripper poles from either brass or aluminum. She twirled her six-foot slender frame around the pole and kicked her leg up over her head to provide a nice view of her thong.

Cat let the music take her away. She closed her eyes and gyrated her hips, picking up the tempo to the music. She unbuttoned her blouse and revealed her voluptuous breasts spilling out over her Victoria Secret black lace bra. She shimmied out of her skirt as she bent over, giving her future employer a fantastic view of her toned ass.

She circled back to the pole and twirled herself around without stumbling in her three-inch stilettos. It amused her to think the same power suit appropriate for a Wall Street broker doubled as a great costume for a stripper.

She went on her knees and tried not to think of all the germs on the stage floor. She approached the manager sitting in the front row facing the stage, also known as pervert row. She desperately needed this job to pay her exorbitant rent in Manhattan. She licked her lips and stared into his eyes as she removed her bra. The look in his eyes resembled that of a kid in a candy store. This is just too easy.

Cat grabbed the back of his head and pulled his face between her naked breasts. She pushed her puppies together and nearly smothered the guy.

“You’re hired. Come back at 4, the joint picks up as soon as the stock market closes,” he said. He stood up and grabbed his crotch to adjust his positive reaction to the Silver Pole’s newest dancer.

Cat put her clothes back on and smiled at her good fortune. She found a new job within an hour of losing her old one. And this one didn’t require her to think past which pair of shoes to wear.

Fifty dollars a lap dance added up quick. In the first hour, Cat cleared five-hundred dollars. If she worked ten hours a day from four p.m. to two a.m., she’d cover her expenses for one month with one day’s work. She laughed at the thought of making so much more money taking off her clothes as opposed to managing other peoples’ money.

Now she planned to manage her own money. After she set aside enough tax-free tips to cover her expenses for a year, she planned to dump the rest into the stock market. The same depressed stock market which cost her job on Wall Street, proved to make her a killing when it came back.

Cat found her silver lining: the fortune she’d make by dancing at the Silver Pole.

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