Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Memory Stick

This is part 1 of this story for the whole story click here

The brownish golden leaf fell gently to the ground, no wind to snatch it from its branch just a combination of nature and gravity bringing it gently to the ground. Steve watched it fall before turning his attention back to the girl in the red dress. He sighed at her unrelenting beauty. Every day he’d watched her come down the steps with that little spring in her step then walk across the park and sit on the bench opposite his. She’d eat her lunch, read a book and then when her time was up, walk jauntily back into her building. That first falling leaf was a reminder that it would soon be too cold for lunch on the park bench and that would mean she would disappear indoors until spring.  She was his girl from Ipanema, every day when she walked to the sea she stared straight ahead not at he. Only she was walking to a park bench not the sea and this was Clapham not Rio. He was infatuated by her but she didn't even notice him as he ate his lunch on the bench opposite. She’d worn a range of dresses that summer but the red one was his favourite. It was the one that caught his eye way back in May when she had first made that journey across the park. Steve loved way it clung to her body as she walked, revealing her curves, then letting them go. He knew every curve, every contour of that body. He watched as she read her book, idly playing with a strand of hair that had fallen down over her face before nonchalantly tucking it back behind her ear. He saw her lip curve slightly up as something she read amused her, he smiled with her.
He longed to talk to her, it would be so easy, he had played it out so many times in his head; he would stride across the park full of confidence and sit on the bench next to her.  But even in his imagination when he opened his mouth in front of her, nothing came out. And what would he say, I’ve been watching you all summer? How creepy did that sound? But it was better than you're beautiful.
Suddenly Steve stood up, grabbed his jacket and started towards her bench. He didn’t know what had come over him, it was like he was being remote controlled, something in his brain had clicked; he was going to go and talk to her and nothing was going to stop him.  But his pace slowed as he walked along the path and the realisation of what he was doing dawned on him. Where he had started out marching he was now meandering. His real brain was fighting back against the imposter that had assumed control and made him leave the sanctuary of his bench. What the hell am I doing? he thought to himself, there’s no way I can talk to her, what was I thinking?
As he neared the girl his timid side was back in control, gone was the bravado, he no longer had the strength to talk to her, he knew he would just walk on by, go on a circuit of the park and go back to his office.
‘Excuse me’,  the soft almost childlike voice ferociously wrenched him from his thoughts like the harsh pull of a parachute. What? Who? Where? it couldn’t be could it? It was! He looked around and saw the oh so familiar girl in a red dress, she had spoken to him.  
He looked at her, she brushed her hair from her face in the way he had watched her do from afar so many times before,  there was something fragile in her gesture. She smiled a half-smile, Steve stood looking at her as if frozen by her voice; his brain was not firing synapses but firing blanks. 

She leant forward, he involuntarily jumped back, she smiled amused by his shyness, she held out her hand.
‘Can you look after this for me?’ she whispered, Steve looked down and saw a memory stick in her hand. Silently he reached forward and took it, their skin brushing, his head nodding dumbly.
‘Now go’ she said, still whispering but a steel in her voice. Steve meekly did as he was told, memory stick in hand, head racing with unanswered questions, heart beating with excitement. 

This is part 1 of this story for the whole story click here

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Just who is father Chrismas?

This story is the second part of the Vinny the Diamond story. For part one please click here 

Vinny walked out of the hospital and lit a cigarette; he inhaled greedily. Despite clinging to the dying embers of life when they’d brought him in three weeks ago, he was now well enough to go home. He inhaled again relishing his first cigarette for three weeks. The day was similar to the day he was stabbed, cold with crisp blue skies and bright sunshine the only difference was the snow had gone. The unfamiliar cigarette smoke made him cough, causing pain in his side from where that bitch has stuck the stiletto in with such relish. Worse than his side though was his pride, still dented by the events of that Tuesday afternoon. That day would be etched on his life forever. He’d never forgive himself for letting his guard down; he’d never forget the smile on her face as she twisted the knife; he’d never forget the onion breath, the rasping voice, the insult and the strange cryptic message. ‘Don’t mess with Father Christmas.’

 He hadn’t told his boss anything, he’d not told anyone about what happened. He’d kept stum. Partly because he was ashamed; if his boss found out he was giving the girl the glad eye instead of remaining on his guard, then he’d be back in the hospital or worse the morgue, quicker than you could say stupid fucking twat. But he’d kept quiet mainly because this was his battle; no one messed with Vinny the Diamond, no one. He would find that woman and when he found her she would wish she was dead or wish she’d finished him off good and proper.

He might have been finished off too if the Iscru twins hadn’t arrived. He was bleeding bad, but they’d bundled him into their car and driven him to the hospital. He owed his life to them, but then again if they hadn’t been late in the first place…mah! He owed those crooks nothing.
His boss had given him 3 days, 3 days to ‘do what he needed to do.’ Then he had to be back to work. 3 days should be plenty though. ‘Poor coo le’ that word, that insult, that was what was going to lead him to her. He had no idea right now what it meant, didn’t even know what language it was but it was all he had to go on and someone would know and for the right price someone would tell. For he was Vinny the Diamond and people knew not to mess with him.

Vinny hailed a cab, he’d go back to the scene of the crime. He figured that she must be local, she was clearing snow, who clears snow in someone else’s neighbourhood? He’d ask around, grease a few palms, he’d find her in no time. The cab dropped him on the exact spot where she’d attacked him, he looked for signs of his blood but there were none, washed away with the snow thought Vinny. He started asking questions, made it clear there would be something in it for any information received.  But all he met was a wall of silence - no one knew anything. Vinny knew when people were lying but these people seemed genuine. Maybe her snow clearing was part of the plan. Maybe murderers clear snow in someone else’s neighbourhood.

Next stop the Admiral, the type of bar you don't know about unless you know it and if you don’t know it, you don’t see it and you certainly don’t just walk in off the street. But Vinny knew it and Vinny walked in, lighting a cigarette and ignoring the smoking ban as he did so. A few people looked up from their drinks but most just ignored him. He sat at the bar an ordered a beer keeping himself to himself. You bided your time in a place like this; he might have been a big shot but the rules were the rules. People would come and talk to him when they were good and ready.

Some were probably pleased to see him, some probably wished he’d lost his battle for life. one or two offered handshakes, one or two  even offered him a drink, but none of them offered up any information. It was different in here, not like out on the street; these people weren’t genuine, he was sure he was not getting the full story. They knew something but they were not saying.
He watched the girls at the back table. Eleanora, Anna and Katerina, he’d fucked them all and wouldn’t mind another shot, he was horny after 3 weeks in the hospital. He smiled as Eleanora caught his eye. His diamond didn’t sparkle in here; nothing sparkled in the Admiral.
It wasn’t long before Eleanora was by his side.
‘I thought you were dead.’
‘Did you want me to be?’
‘No’ she answered quickly enough but without any feeling in her voice.
He looked at her. Remembered when he first met her. Just 16 she was then, just in from Bulgaria, such a pretty thing, a smile that could light up even this dreary hovel. So keen back then, keen to earn money and send it back home. She’d been a big hit in the club, all the men asked for Eleanora.  But the boss was ruthless, once you hit 21 you were out, hit or not; out on the streets. You could still play the game but you were on your own. Only you weren’t really on your own cos the boss still controlled the pimps so still took a cut of the money you earned.
‘You gonna buy us a drink then?’ Vinny nodded at the barman who lined up three shot glasses for the girls. Eleanora’s smile had long gone, replaced by a steely look, dead eyes. Vinny wondered how many men had used her services over the years. 
‘Wanna fuck?’
‘It’ll cost ya.’
Vinny looked at her, he’d never paid her for sex before.
‘Thems the rules Vin, can’t give it away, not in this climate.’
Vinny changed tack. ‘What does Poor coo le mean?’
Eleanora looked at him, picked up the three glasses and went back to her table. She’d said nothing but he knew she knew and she knew he knew she knew.
The three girls drank their drinks and headed back out on to the streets. As Eleanora passed him she said ‘I know nothing but I'll ask the Romanian girls, I hear them say that about tricks they don’t like.’
'Okay' Vinny slipped some cash into her hand 'and ask them who Father Christmas is too.' 
Eleanora looked at him askance. Vinny just nodded.
Vinny had some thinking to do.
The Romanians? Like the Iscru Twins? 

can't wait for part 3? click here

Thursday, 24 January 2013

All about you.

(Author's note: Normally my stories are in the 1st or 3rd person. I've being toying with the challenge of writing a story in the 2nd person. This is my attempt. I did okay until the last line.) 

All about you

Well you have time to think about it now but you probably won’t. No, you don’t lie awake waiting for the alarm feeling guilty about what you did, do you? You don’t think at all and that’s your problem. If you did, you wouldn’t do what you do, you wouldn’t ruin people’s lives. Do you think your actions have no consequences? Or do you know the consequences but just don’t care? It’s all very well saying you didn’t hurt anyone, but that just shows you don’t understand what hurt means. It’s not all about broken bones and bruises. It’s not all about physical violence. Your petty, mean violence stings in so many ways that you will never understand and in ways that take so much longer to heal.
You were in and out in a flash, picked the lock, grabbed what you needed and then fled. Okay take the credit cards and the money that’s no problem, but don’t you think the jewellery has some sentimental value? Don’t you think it means so much more than the measly amount you got from your fence? You say the insurance covers it, but the insurance can’t buy back the memories, can’t repair the damage you’ve done, can't clean the invisble stains you've left behind.

You thought you’d get away with it didn’t you? Thought the police were old dinosaurs, not clever enough to catch you; but you were wrong. And why were you wrong, because you are young, stupid, lazy, you thought you were infallible; boasting about what you did, trying to win kudos with your friends. You forgot walls have ears but more importantly those walls have mouths too, only too willing to sing if the price is right.

So now you’re locked up but that doesn’t help, that doesn’t ease the pain of the lives you’ve ruined. That doesn’t get back the things you stole – no, they are gone forever or returned but tainted - impossible to be loved in the same way because they have traces of you!  

But…but you are still my son and I will always love you.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pretty Woman

‘See that film glorifies prostitution and just gives the wrong message to people.’
‘What? Shrek?’ Johnny laughed at his own joke but Steve just rolled his eyes, ‘no, Pretty Woman.’ 
Johnny sometimes thought Steve had had a humour bypass.
‘It’s a romcom, Steve. People don’t go to the cinema to get life coaching, they go to get entertained.’ Johnny was beginning to wish he’d never mentioned watching Pretty Woman last night; he could feel another one of Steve’s rants coming on, and he wasn’t wrong.
‘But it’s subliminal isn’t it? It sends the message out that prostitution is okay. For ages afterwards I toyed with the idea of going to a hooker. That film made me think that all prostitutes were like Julia Roberts, tall, sexy, those legs, those boots, man I was 19 - I didn’t know boots like that existed. She was classy and sassy. There were no drugs, no violence, no desperation, just a woman who was not only better in the sack than an amateur but probably safer… her words not mine. ’
‘But there were drugs and violence, one of her friends was killed the other was taking drugs.’ Johnny protested.
‘Yeah but those bits were glossed over. They made it look like prostitution was an aspirational profession, a lifestyle choice. I thought it was the best thing in the world, I was going round telling all the women I knew they should go into business, if you know what I mean.’
‘All the women? Even your mother.’ Johnny laughed to himself, but Steve ignored him, ploughing on with his theme.
‘I told them they’d get to earn loads of money, drive a Lotus Espirit and have sex with Richard Gere’ Steve paused for effect waving his finger around to make his point ‘on a grand piano! She even had the chance to have sex with George Constanza, what more could a girl want?’ Steve smiled, Johnny shook his head.
‘And did they?’
‘Have sex with George Constanza?’ It was Steve’s turn to laugh alone at his own joke.
‘No, go into “business” as you so nicely put it.’
‘No, but that’s not the point.’ Surely it was the point thought Johnny, but with Steve’s logic god knows what the point was.
‘The point is,’ Steve continued ‘the film made it look like a viable option. I bet you that there are women out there who did go on the game because of that film, and they are still waiting for their Richard Gere to come along in his limo and climb a ladder with roses in between his teeth and save them.’
‘You’re an idiot Steve, you know that.’
‘No I’m not. I’m making a serious point here, no one questions the morals; no one questions Gere for using a hooker, the hotel staff are compliant and George Constanza thinks he can force himself on her just because of the job she does, and then she falls in love with Gere, a creepy old man who uses prostitutes. And don't get me started on Robert's little speech about the knight on a white horse saving her from her tower.' 
Johnny had no intention of getting Steve started on anything else. 
'It’s an inherently sexist film.’ 
‘Oh god, I didn’t come here for a lecture on Feminism,’ mumbled Johnny as he collected the empty glasses and headed to the bar. It wasn’t even his round but anything to get away from Germaine bloody Greer.