Irene took the stage to tepid applause. Most of the people in the bar were not paying any attention to the mousy haired singer behind the microphone, and that was just fine, so far as she was concerned. Not that she was nervous at all, at least not about the singing. She knew she had a great voice. No, it was the other things she was there for that made her nervous.

She’d gotten the idea a week ago. She’d been sitting in the typing pool at the police station and overheard some of the guys in the major crime squad talking about how the latest singer at Johnny’s club had left. They never seemed to last long, but then again, they were never very good. And no one was there for the singing anyway, seeing as the booze and bar were just a front for his less legitimate business concerns.

But Irene knew just what she was going to do. No hesitation. Maybe if she pulled this one off, they’d stop saying women couldn’t be police officers. She knew she was good at this stuff, she just had to prove herself. So she went home, got so dolled up even the other girls from the pool wouldn’t recognize her, then had shimmied down to the club to audition for Johnny. She was almost disappointed when he asked her to sing a few bars then told her she was hired–she had wanted intrigue, the need to shake her ass or tits at him to get his approval.

And now here she was, opening up the joint on a Friday night. Half-empty and entirely un-enthused. The piano player launched into a half-hearted rendition of “You Call Everbody Darlin'” and Irene sang as lustily as she could manage into the mic. It was her goal to come across as an empty-headed and lusty woman, make sure no one thought to turn her way except when they wanted a tune.

She made it through a set and wandered off the stage to grab a drink. She had no head for alcohol, so she was going to try and stick to Shirley Temples. At least look like she was boozing. She sputtered on the first sip when rum exploded on her tongue and she turned accusingly on the bar tender.

“I wanted a Shirley Temple, this has rum in it!”

“Doll, you could use a little loosening up, so sit your rump down and drink your Naughty Shirley.”

Irene almost protested again, but she didn’t want to make any kind of scene that would draw attention to her. So she sat at the bar and sipped at the drink. Maybe the bartender was right, this didn’t seem so hard and it might help her to let her hair down a bit. After all, she had to get into character, didn’t she?