The Dancing Diversion
We are visiting an alternate universe, a universe in which much is the same as ours. Dr. Sheldon Cooper is still a brilliant but socially stunted physicist but not so stunted that he rejects the possibility of love. Leonard Hofstadter is still his put-upon colleague and less brilliant roommate who thinks with his penis. Raj Koothrapali is still a shy selectively mute astrophysicist. Howard Wolowitz is an engineer who has still managed to meet, woo and get engaged to Bernadette Rostenkowski, a petite microbiologist that he met while she was working her way through grad school as a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory. Amy Farrah Fowler is a girl who met Sheldon through an internet dating service and is convinced that they're destined to be together even if he's not really that interested in a romantic liaison with her. They are all friends. Howard and Bernadette's wedding is approaching. They just never met Penny. Until now. And Sheldon in love is an unknown quantity.
Definitely Shenny. And Leonard is kind of a bastard. And Amy is cluelessly selfish. Zarneckies, those of you so deeply and dangerously invested in Lenny and Shamy that you bully those who envision an alternate reality, should probably skip this story and increase your meds.
I delete anonymous reviews and reviews that don't allow me to respond to them. If you have a screen name but don't allow me to respond you'll get blocked. I write this stuff for fun. I don't know why the hell you're here.
"It's not that I have anything at all against naked ladies dancing. I mean naked ladies dancing is great and all naked ladies should dance…a lot…"
- Neil Gaiman
From his introduction to The Rhyme Maidens
An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer
1 – The Pre-Nuptial Postulate
Thursday, November 1st
Penny Queen pulled up to the club in her beat-up Golf Cabriolet. It was a Thursday night and she was covering for one of the other girls. She really didn't think that she'd be working there this long. It had been four years. The problem was that she couldn't find another job that paid her as well and she had bills. She had rent. She had tuition. She was close to getting her BA and she was seriously considering a Masters and maybe more. She was a lousy student back home in Nebraska. It wasn't that she was stupid. She was just distracted. Mainly by boys. Mainly by bad boys. And then Kurt, the baddest boy she had been distracted by convinced her to go to California with him. He told her that with her looks and talent she'd get jobs in the movies. It would just be a matter of time.
Well, time passed. Penny worked a lot of different jobs but could only occasionally land one acting. Kurt was content barely working, letting Penny pay most of the bills and deal with pretty much everything. And then one day he just up and left, taking only enough time to steal her television and her jewelry and clean out their joint bank account just before the rent was due. She called her friend Nora.
Nora Glass and Penny Queen met while Penny was taking a class at Pasadena City College. They hit it off immediately and were fast friends. For a little while they were a bit more than friends. Typically Penny's tastes ran to men, tall, muscular, dumb men. Nora, however, liked whoever she liked, male or female, and right off the bat she liked Penny. And Penny really liked Nora. They were kindred spirits. Their affair was a two-week experiment that ended when they both decided that their friendship was more important to them and Penny didn't want to confuse friendship and sex. They would still have an occasional romp when one of them was down or one of them was celebrating but they mostly saw themselves as each other's best friend.
"What am I gonna do? I have no money. There's no way I'll make enough in time to pay my rent or anything else."
"Penny, come work with me. It's not that bad. And the money is great. With your looks you'll clean up."
"I dunno Nora. What if my family finds out?"
"Whose gonna tell 'em? And besides, it's only temporary. As soon as you're back on your feet in a couple of months you'll get something else. And you'll still be able to take classes and go to auditions during the day. The manager is a sweetie. I can have you working by the weekend."
And one thing was true. The money was really good. Penny was able to get her car fixed and eventually move to a nicer apartment and pay for going to college full time. She discovered that she liked school. She liked it so much that in order to keep going she kept the job. She also discovered that, at least for now, she had no interest in men, especially when she saw how they acted where she worked. And she had other priorities.
Penny popped her head into the manager's office to say hi.
"Hi, Penny. Come on in. I have something to run by you."
"Listen, I have a private bachelor party tonight that you might like to work."
"Jeff, you know I don't do private parties. I dance. That's it."
"And that's all you'll do for this one. You remember that small geeky guy Howard, used to be a regular?"
"Yeah. Isn't he a college professor or something?"
"He works at CalTech. Anyway, he's actually getting married and his pals are throwing him a little party tonight. They're all college professors. I have a feeling most of them have never even been in a room with a girl, let alone a naked one."
"Penny, you'll make three times what you'd make down here all night in a couple of hours and the most you might have to do is maybe a lap dance. And Barney will be there to make sure nobody gets handsy. And I'll make sure Nora works too."
"Can I think about it for a couple of minutes?"
Penny went back to the dressing room and found Nora there.
"Nora, Jeff offered me the bachelor party. What do you think?"
"Penny, it'll be fun. I kind of know these guys. I've seen them over at the comic shop. They're all super smart but they're nerds. I bet that for most of them it's the first time in a place like this. They'll probably be terrified."
"Jeff said I might have to do a lap dance."
"Penny, these guys won't be a problem. I promise. And really, think about the extra money. You'll make more than two months rent in one night. And we can probably do something together that'll really knock 'em for a loop."
Meanwhile at 2311 North Los Robles, Apartment 4A
"I refuse to attend."
"Dude they have a great buffet."
"Are you aware of the likelihood of infection from a buffet? Anyone can touch the food. People can sneeze or cough on the food. Women not wearing clothing come near the food."
"Then don't eat the food."
"Then what reason would there be to attend?"
"Sheldon, it's a non-optional social obligation."
"Then I have no choice."
Howard had discussed the situation with Bernadette. He told her that the guys expected it and he didn't want to disappoint them. He also promised her that it would be the very last time he would ever frequent such an establishment. After he actually got down on his knees and begged she allowed him to have his bachelor party at a strip club.
It wasn't just any strip club. It was Howard's favorite strip club. At least it was before he started dating Bernadette. She had changed him. Though he loved her and really did believe she had made him a better person, sometimes he missed his old self a little. He used to visit Manny's at least once a week and used to know all of the girls. Since he'd started dating Bernadette he could only get there about once a month. But he still got good service and they still treated him special.
When Raj suggested Manny's for his bachelor party Howard knew it would be special even though it would only be him and his three closest friends. Raj told the manager who the bachelor party was for and the manager promised that they would get the upstairs private party room and that the celebration would be memorable.
Manny's wasn't a dive. It was a small, classy strip club, if such a thing is possible. It was not a front for prostitution and Jeff the manager didn't tolerate drug use. The girls who worked there were typically college and grad students trying to earn enough money to pay for school. The girls were treated so well that they typically stayed until they graduated and often recommended working there to friends. It wasn't unusual for the girls to come back and visit after they left, sometimes even bringing their boyfriends and husbands. And it was in Pasadena, within walking distance of 2311 North Los Robles.