Author : J.R. Blackwell, Staff Writer

“Okay girls, it’s time to party!” Fran opened the door to the strip club, and held it open like a doorman while Trisha and Nancy filed in. The bouncer scanned their palms and put a glowing X-mark on the back of Nancy’s hands. The marks glowed brightly under the black lights of the club.

Fran entered last, triumphant, her eyes crinkled small as she grinned. She offered her palm for the bouncer to scan. Trisha took a picture as the big man used the little handheld scanner on Fran.

“First day being Post?” said the bouncer.

“You got it big guy.” Said Fran, beaming. That day, with a note from her doctor, Fran had successfully applied for and received a metapausal license. It only took three minutes for the bored official at the National Identification Office to reprogram the chip in her palm to scan as post metapausal.

“Three minutes after that,” Fran said “I was in a bar, drinking with a bunch of young men and old women. I threw out my supplements and smoked a cigar.” She guided Trisha and Nancy to a big empty table.

“You smoked a cigar!” Nancy had never even touched a cigar. “They are so carcinogenic! Didn’t you cough?”

“Doesn’t matter, I’m not pre-pregnant anymore.” Fran motioned to one of the shirtless waiters. “Besides, I didn’t really take the smoke in my lungs, it was mostly symbolic. I wanted to experience smoking, not have a coughing fit.” Fran ordered white wine, Trisha ordered a strawberry daiquiri and Nancy and got puréed vegetable juice, the staple drink of the pre-pregnant.

“Why not have an orange juice?” said Trisha. “After all, it’s a special occasion for Fran.”

“Can’t,” said Nancy “Got to watch my sugars. Can’t have too many. The police do spot-checks, you know.”

Fran laughed. “I’ve never gotten a spot check.” She touched her long neck. “Must have looked too old.” Fran was lean and tall, her salt and pepper hair cut in a neat pixie cut around her head.

Trisha smacked Fran lightly in the arm. “You? Never, I can barely see a line on your face.”

“No, my face looks fine, it’s my neck that looks wrinkled.”

Trisha mimed looking at Fran’s neck though a magnifying glass. “Maybe in your mind you have wrinkles, but to the people in the real world, we’d have to scan your palm to find out your real age.”

The waiter brought them their drinks. Nancy felt like if she touched him, her finger would come away oily. Still, the sheen off his biceps was intriguing.

“I wish I was post metapausal,” said Nancy, stirring her purred tomato and cauliflower with a pink, plastic straw.

Trisha patted Nancy’s arm. “You’ll get there someday.”

Fran leaned in close to Nancy, so close that Nancy could smell her vanilla perfume. “You could hack a license.”

“What? No way, I could get put in jail for that. Eating poorly or sneaking a smoke is enough of a fine for me. I heard what they do to people who hack their own chips.”

Trisha shrugged. “How would they find out? Who would tell them?”

“I’m sure they set up stings for that kind of thing. It’s not like I could just search for “hacking federal chip” on the internet and not get spotted by the FEDs.”

“There’s more ways to find things than an internet search.” said Fran, patting the back of Nancy’s hand.

“Are you saying that you’re not really post-metapausal?” Nancy put her hands over her mouth.

Fran laughed. “No, no. I’m really post-metapausal, but not all women are that seem that way.” Fran glanced at Trisha. “I say all the more power to them. Today I had a double fudge chocolate cake. It made me a little sick, but I loved every bite.”

Nancy pulled her skirt over her knees “I can’t believe I’m sitting here at a strip club, a place where they serve alcoholic beverages.”

Fran pulled out a little compact and checked her makeup. “I used to go into strip clubs when I was young, but ever since young women were banned from drinking, it just wasn’t the same.”

Trisha winked at Nancy “You should try a daiquiri. They’re delicious.”

“What if someone finds out?”

“It’s just strawberries.” whispered Trisha “Try a sip of mine. No one has to know.”

Nancy took a sip of the fruity, frosty drink, the paper umbrella bumping her nose. “Wow. That has a kick.” She took another long sip.

Fran leaned back in her chair and raised her glass. “I’m looking forward to all kinds of kicks now that I’m not fertile.”

Nancy felt a heavy, sweaty arm on her shoulder. She looked up, and a young police officer towered over her, one hand on her shoulder, one hand on Frans. “Excuse me Miss,” said the officer. Nancy’s breath caught in her throat. Could they tell that she had a sip of Trisha’s drink? How did they know to come for her?

The cop pulled down the zipper on his coat with a flourish. “I have a warrant for the arrest of a woman named Fran – we can’t believe a lady as good looking as she is qualifies for a post pregnant license!”

Fran clapped her hands “Take it off!” she cried. The music started and the colored lights whirled, pointing towards their table.

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