“From the beginning?” Avvarace asked, “Well I’ll spare you then life story and we’ll skip to last night. I left the dispensary around midnight. As you probably already know, I don’t buy my own drinks. You could say I walk on a razor’s edge. Listen, you don’t even know, I get so much value out of these men that I don’t even work anymore. Seriously, I take their drinks, they buy me meals, they take me home. You know what happens next. You’ve been there. In the morning I always awaken before them. I raid the kitchen for breakfast. If I’m feeling adventurous, I take some money. Not enough for the loss to be noticed though. That’s it. On a good day, I’ll get a lunch with the money, but otherwise, I keep it for emergencies.
“Yes, I get so-called ‘repeat customers.’ No, I don’t steal from them, nor do I take from someone who’d likely bring me back. It’s bad for business. What? No, only you know about this whole thing. No, I don’t think my life is a joke, I think I’m living rather well. Listen here, Walllice, you go to work every day, I go out drinking, who’s winning here?!”
She shouted at me. I kept the conversation focused.
“Hmm? Yeah well, last night was a rarity. Yeah, it was a failure alright. Tonight? Well, we’ll get to that damned mess later. Anyway, look. The place I’ve been going to has dried up so to speak. Everyone is tired of me, and I got no patrons who want me back. Shame, but it happens eventually. So I decided to move on, right? Well that didn’t turn out so hot, as everything was closing. That’s why I came here. Don’t give me that look.”
She crossed her arms and looked around. I live in a slimhouse. It’s like a bachelor’s, but with two floors, and half the space on each. Kitchen downstairs, room upstairs. I kept a couch near the door, and this is where she sat now.
“Yeah well, I came here feeling like garbage, and then even you turn me down. Well, yeah, I ended up sleeping here, on the damned couch of all things. What a mess that night was. And you went right back to bed, huh.
“After? Well, I slept fine, but damn was it a rude awakening. My head hurt from all the syrups, and then the night came back. Turned down twice, you know? Imagine how that felt. I wondered if I was losing my touch, if I would have to go back to contributing to society for real again. Not that my form isn’t contribution enough, thank you!
“So yeah, you cooked me food and we had a little talk. I admit you got me thinking when you mentioned going the Djeb. For some reason though, I didn’t want to go there and sell my body for actual money. I feel like this whole thing isn’t about all that. Well, after you just went to work. To your job.” She mocked, “I didn’t have anything to do until evening myself so. I just screwed around up here. I notice you don’t lock the door behind yourself anymore, so I guess you trust me at least a little.
“I took full advantage of your charity, but you probably knew that. I used the shower, the ‘labour saving washing device’ or so it’s called to clean my clothes. Then I mostly just waited. I guess I did a bit of thinking too but, well, whatever.
“I went out and surveyed the evening avenues. I watched the signs, but especially the patrons in the windows. I think you can guess, but I seek younger men. They’re more adventurous, less likely to have what I call ‘prior commitments.’ I guess I figured I had run the place dry, so I went to the next area. It was kind of run down, a ghetto I think.
“Listen, I know a ‘fair gal’ like myself should really avoid such places, and you’re right. I should have. I should have avoided that place. But instead, I decided to give just one bar a shot, and it was the first one I saw. The Razor’s Edge, that’s what the bright neon sign read. It had shined iron walls. Honestly, the place looked pretty classy, so I peeked inside. There was a seemingly equal distribution of race. Of course you know that’s because the law marginalizes unbiased by race, and more by mental… issues I guess. The ‘upper class’ claims that it’s intelligence, but really, lower class all have something wrong upstairs. Not that there’s anything wrong with mental illness! I don’t know. Either way, the laws are a mess, but it’s how everything around here operates, right?
“So, I entered with a bit of confidence. For the first few hours, no one paid attention to little old me. Don’t give me that look,” But as she said this, she too laughed. “You know, I ended up having to buy myself a drink for the first time in a while. It sucked, you know?Maybe I really am losing it. Anyway, I got something strong, right. I really didn’t want to spend my own money, but I had to blend in here. I sat at a two-seater near the entrance and sipped, looking pretty.
“Hours passed, but finally this guy came in. He was pretty big, you know. Damn. He had pale skin and a large jaw, that black hair and a leather jacket. Where did he even get that? Had this primal intense kinda look, you know? That guy had some crazy eyes. Well, he surveyed the women, and he stopped at me, and then his face went chill, for the most part. He went and ordered two drinks and then came to me and sat down. I mean, I would have left then, but I really wasn’t interested in coming here defeated twice in a row. Yeah, I know I’m here again. Anyway, he had the courtesy to ask if the seat was taken. Classy I know. He offered me another drink, so of course I downed mine and moved continued with his. Jeez was that some strong stuff.
“He was a pretty uninteresting man, but as the night stretched on I realized this was it. He got up before the bar even closed, and of course I followed. Yeah, don’t give me that look alright? I’ve usually got better taste. So he brought me to the alley. The alley! What a mess I’d gotten myself into! He wanted to have his ways there and be done with me! Jeez. I hadn’t signed up for that. Look, you know how I roll, it’s gotta be in the house, I need to sleep somewhere right? So, at that point I knew that I was going to come here empty handed. But, it seemed he didn’t agree with that sentiment. This guy grabbed my arms and pinned me to the wall.”
She paused here, and caught her breath. I didn’t urge her on. It was up to her if she wanted to continue.
“This beast of a man, right? So yeah, the stupid animal was predictable as hell. I knew I’d have to deal with this crap, I just hoped beyond hope… Well luckily his brains matched his body. The idiot didn’t know a thing about self defense, and I expertly kneed him in the groin, and was on my way once more. I left him with a walk of grace, but the instant I rounded the alley, I was going a little faster, you understand of course.
“I went to my other regulars first, but it seemed no one would bother answering the door on a weeknight. And so, that’s why I’m back here. I was surprised to see you awake so close to midnight,” She winked, “Were you expecting someone?”
I shook my head.
“Right, yeah, you didn’t even let me in at first. Had the gaul to ask if my back was against the wall. Jeez, that gave me a chill.”
I replied, “I said you should just go home. Go home, unless you were really here for me, and not to fill some void of pride from all your losses. I didn’t want to be your ego boost yet again.”
“Yeah, well. You dragged that conversation out even after the rain picked up.” She was calmer now, “You asked if this, this house, was some sort of haven for my pride. I stood out there, wet, deep in thought. I hadn’t realized it, you know? Caught up in this adventure. I don’t know.”
I asked, “So why aren’t you back home now anyway?”
“Seriously? The real reason this place is my haven is that I’ve been evicted. I don’t need a house anymore, that’s how good I’ve gotten.”
Avvarice looked at me for a moment, and then, “I guess I needed one after all. Walllice, I think I’ve come to rely on you too much.”
Again she sighed.
“I really don’t like that but… I think it’s time to give up the chase.”
“Done using strangers?” I asked.
“Well,” for whatever reason, she had to think about this, “For meals and room yeah, I think so. But, I’m not done using people yet.”
She smiled. I didn’t understand, but I figured I’d learn in time.
“So you’ll just be using me now I guess.”
“Well,” she winked, “At least charge me rent.”
“You’ll have to get a job, because I’m not-”
She interrupted, “Fine, fine. But it better be cheap. I’m not used to spending my own money.’
Avvarice exhaled deeply. Her skin was still cold and wet from the rain.
“Gone are my days of lavish.” She looked away, “And I guess also my reliance on men.”
“That’s good enough for me.” I said. “I guess I’ll send you job hunting tomorrow. You’re a functional member of society. Or, at least, you will be.”
I stood, and so did she. And then we went upstarts.
This is a weird one. Probably not my greatest endeavour, but it was interesting nonetheless. Based loosely on the Shawn Hook song, Who do You Love. Inspiration is a weird thing, eh?
I’ve published this on my secondary blog on Tuesday because I was so unsure as to what to do with it. Now I rewrote and put it here. Changing to first person perspective, similar to The Time Machine let Avvarice justify herself better. It worked out well, so I now published here.
The biggest reason, though, is that I thought of a second part, so expect that in a bit.
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