Sunday, 28 August 2011

It all happens around the corner

He wasn't breathing.

Did you touch him?

It was cold.

She looked down examining the worn, chipped edges of the table. With her left hand she slowly traced an old dried coffee stain with the tip of her ruby red finger nail. Looking up slightly, her large blue eyes followed the outline of his strong, clean shaven jaw and up towards his pulsating temples. His slick blond hair looked out of place over his dark beady eyes. Pearls of sweat glinted on his forehead.
They sat in silence.
He attempted to get some sort of story, he needed to know what had happened. At this very moment, she was the only witness. He had to hear the truth before the police caught her and beat some lie out of her. Yet, her eyes were blank. No fear, remorse or regret. Not even any joy. Nothing. She stared blankly at him as if waiting for a stagehand to remind her of what her memory had blocked out.

And then you left him there?

No. I…

Her voice trailed off. She remembered some aspects of that night. The familiar scenery, a vague outline of high-rise flats becoming clearer in the distance with the dawn. The smell of cheap cigars lingering on her fur coat. The numbing cold that had left her feet trembling. The heat slowly rising from his hands and his last breath softly vanishing into the final moments of the night. This was her most vivid memory. She didn't know how or when she had left nor what had happened after. She could, even now, only vaguely recall how she had ended up in this room.

She glanced around the room. It didn't look as if it had ever been a pleasant place. The walls were a pale pastel green that seemed to sink miserably into the floor which was filthy. It was a collage of discolored and mismatched tiles with visible marks of a chair being pulled back and forth forcefully over them many times. The ceiling light hung low with a dusty circular shade that gave off a murky dim glow.
She felt trapped and for a moment, as part of a set. She could almost sense a camera propped up behind her, filming from behind her shoulders, capturing every minute detail. The supple curl of painted black eyelashes, the long wavy bleached hair and the full deep red lips. Finally, there would be a subtle close up of the scar that ran from the corner of her eye down to the tip of her ear lobe.

When you found him, were you alone?

She tried to focus. The club had been full that night and amongst the crowd she only had time to recognize four of her regulars. She closed her eyes to get a better vision of the bar. She tried to analyze the room for someone different, something out of place, a table, a coat, anything at all out of the ordinary. Her mind came to a  halt. Her eyes opened, widening suddenly like a cat on the prowl. Her body froze. Her lips parted slightly and she took in a long, slow deep breath. She lowered her head and closed her eyes again, scanning her memory. What was it? She couldn’t quite put her finger on it but it was there. The table on the far left. The dodgy one with the loose leg and the leather chair.
There was a man. That man. What was off about him? Had she served him? She often felt like a spectator, watching her life as if it wasn't her own. Scotch, maybe bourbon, she couldn’t recall, but he hadn’t drunk it.

He was sitting in Joey’s seat.



You’re not making any sense. What happened.

He tried to control his voice but he could feel the blood rushing to his brain. Was she getting somewhere? He stared at her face his fists tightening. An overwhelming urge swept over him. He wanted to shake her like a child’s piggy bank in the hopes that the information would come tumbling out.

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