A melting pot of lust and overwhelming physical need brings me back to her door. The chipped paint from multiple visitors peeling along with the faded police tape. A plank of wood replacing the once frosted window. I can’t remember the last time I’d stopped by – nor the last time I left. It went like that sometimes. The lapses in my memory were normal. To be expected. A symptom of the disease or the medication. The doctor did tell me but like most things it has slipped through the cracks in my mind. But she. She you couldn’t forget.

I tap at the door and wait patiently. Perhaps too softly. The stairs beyond offer no click-clack of trademark heels. Polished black leather that ended in a stiletto sharp as a poacher’s knife. As much a part of her look as her services offered. I try again, this time with more passion and the echo bounces around the internal space of the bedsit. No answer. I make several more attempts but without any difference. 

I’ve come this far and it’s not like I can remember where home was. I search the area giving into the heavy blades of rain pounding the smutty neglected street. Cursing myself for not bringing a coat as the issued cotton tracksuit absorbs every drop. The weather makes it hard to find any other workers – hard but not impossible. I spot a combination of fishnets and cigarette smoke ahead. The cloud of exhaled nicotine guides me towards the figure. It isn’t her, but I didn’t expect it to be. My standard gray, once white, sneakers splash in the streams of water giving away my presence. Before I close the gap, the girl runs. My calming words lost to the rain. They can be a paranoid lot around these parts. Cops are always trying to entrap the poor whelps. Be it for making up the numbers for their own careers or in search of a free ride, incriminating those most vulnerable. 

I cross the road without trouble. The only vehicles are balanced on bricks, a few remain unscathed. There’s a far-off hum of helicopter blades perched above the city like a bird of prey searching for a kill. My head leans back in mild interest, but the streams of water make it impossible to locate. Another girl sprints from the safety of an alleyway and makes her dash for sanctuary in the opposite direction. I’m forced to endure my journey further pulling the cuffs of my sweatshirt over the lacerations to my wrists. I reach the alley – I am rewarded!

There she is just like she was before. Standing in her glory side on to allow me a glimpse of that rapturous profile. I’m mere yards away before she turns on those trademark heels, defying the handicap they present, I struggle to maintain the distance. Unlike the others I know that she wants me to catch her. Dropping her pace enough for me to close in. I’m near when we reach the alley’s end and I realize that she’s leading me out of the sinful street. Her face is disguised by a mantilla of rain. The weather is causing her to stoop lower than her usual height. I call out but the approaching rotor blades distort her reply.

“This way!” she begs. I’m only too willing to obey.

Like a patsy I follow her around the bend to the waiting high street. Red and blue lights illuminate both of our faces and the shining beacon from the bird above gives her away – it’s not her! I would remember her. It could never be her. I should know. You never forget a face when you watch the life drain from their eyes. 

“Hands on your head! Get on the fucking ground!” She turns a matte black gun barrel my way. Her words are echoed by the pigs positioned amongst the flashing lights. Each one hiding behind open car doors all pointing their own muzzle at me. I don’t argue. There’s no point. 

I watch this imposter as she talks into her lapel.

“Prisoner neutralized.”

For now. I’ll be back – once I forget again.

James Jenkins is a Suffolk based writer of gritty realism and dark humor. He has work published in Bristol Noir, Punch-Riot Mag, ROI Faineant, Bullshit Lit, A Thin Slice of Anxiety and Punk Noir Magazine. One of his short stories appears in Grinning Skull Press Anthology – Deathlehem. His debut novel Parochial Pigs is available on Amazon and published by Alien Buddha Press. Follow James @JamesCJenkins4

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