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by Gregory Bone


It had occurred to me that she was a vixen rather than an asp. After all, she did con me out of the original price we bargained for. Yet it was a sufficient night out and I was happy for it. I was looking out the car with the dream in my eyes when someone darted in front of me.

I remember this because she wore white. I stomped on that brake and the car stopped. I got out of it and that was about it. She wasn't there and the supernatural was shot in the head.

I drove home with the thing rattling in my head. I shot that in the head as well. I didn't want any bad female vibes following me. I had paid her off – the first one – and the second one had simply vanished in the night. Thank God for that one.

My flat was in the usual side of town. It had been the right side of town before the Turks moved in. I still remember the woman that I bought off – she wore black and pink shoes. In the end it was just the approximation that mattered – not who she was in general. I could stop slipping into my mind in order to get some sleep.

There's the thing about what I bought. It wasn't the type that I could get in my mind. It was I could get with 60 pounds. I would have to skip breakfast in the following week.

That was about it.

The doorbell rang. I had hard enough time just getting to bed. You know when it's hard when you got an image stuck in your mind. It's not quite bolted to the floor. I would have gone to sleep about now.

How can I describe him? He was one of those beastly little thugs that infest the local parks at night. It was just one of those beastly little men that the police would not kill off.

"Can I help you?" I asked.

The man shuffled the brim of his hat around. I had seen this motion before – in the Adder movie. The door was opened just to a crack so that he would stay out.

"Yeah – I was wondering if you had a map on ye –" he muttered.

"That'll be three pence for the map then." I answered.

He shoved a ten pound note through the crack.

I shoved the map through the crack.

It was a funny thing with this bum. He had a wound that would just not heal. I am referring to the eyes of course. I don't work at a hospital but I figure that it's probably exhaust or something along those lines. I watch the news.

"Do you have a map of Greater Boxborough?" he asked, as if he was familiar with the scene.

"I'm not a newsman if that's what your asking" I retorted, "Be glad that I gave you the ruddy map in the first place and keep it. You might as well just keep it for a hat."

I slam the door in his face. I do not like being disturbed at this time of night. It is very unholy and bloody irritating. He better not be this spirit of evil that is riding on my hide for the future days.


It's that time of night again. I can't go to sleep. I've brushed my teeth, done all what I'm supposed to do, and I still cannot fall asleep. I stare at the ceiling of my flat. It's utterly abandoned here, not much sense in the word, and I can almost imagine the color that this town had before the Turks moved in.

Then the phone rings.

"Hello?" I say into the gray receiver.

"Hansen Jack?" says the speaker, about to bloody eat it if he was at my door.

"Do you know what bloody time it is?" I demand of him.

"Meet me in your lobby in 10 minutes" the arrogant piss head trollop of a whore's son demands upon me. I mean its bad enough that I had to pay 60 pounds for a decent night's sleep. She was not the girl that was in my head. I bloody hate that.

"Why the bloody hell should I do that?" I scream at him, "I'm going to call 999 if you bloody continue this harassment!"

"I can give you sleep. I can give you her. Meet me in the lobby in 10 minutes" say the speaker, clicking at the end of the sentence.

I put the phone in the cradle. Then I go to my cell phone. I know who to call for this.


The lobby is crap. There is the lift, the desk, and the sofas that have seen better days. It's not quite seedy but it's there. The only thing that is holding it up is the rent that the Sisters of Mercy pay for the disabled veterans. I can almost see my father in their eyes. We've got a smaller lobby for random things some feet away from the nagging knife in my brain.

Lugar said that I should just calm down.

He should have stayed in the city.

The man is simply reading a paper. It's only by the pale light of the flickering lamp that I recognize the bum. The only thing is that he's spiffed himself up – suit coat, tie, and the wounded eyes.

'Hansen Jack" he says, rising up. The eyes definitely have it. He's got glaucoma. Those who have glaucoma have eyes that make them resemble creepy things on All Hallow's Eve.

"What do you want?" I ask of him.

He's not a Turk. The light makes him more African than Moor, the eyes resembling a mask from All Hallow's Eve, the anger liquefied from the talk with Lugar. The rest of him doesn't match up.

"Nothing – I just wanted to pay you back for the map" he says, patting his suit coat. He brings a slip of paper from the inner left pocket. I have a coat just like that. The paper is several days old. The Landlord never gets around to correcting it.

He gives me the paper, torn from a legal pad.

I unfold it, read it, and then look at him.

"What's the angle?" I ask.

"Nothing – I just wanted to pay you back for the map. Hope you sleep well" he says, doffing his hat in respect, and leaves me standing.


I stop by the place after work. It's in one of those towns that the Turks didn't move into. It's all Stuttgart here – straight and solemn. The only problem is that it's all German. I open the slip of paper again.

The building is shoved between two brownstones. It's more of an insert coin here, get your food stuck in the machine, and you get to see the rim of it from the rear. There's the sign advertising space for rent. It's a lot more than the fleabag but it's in Stuttgart and I wouldn't have to worry about the bums.

My car is there for 45 minutes. I figure that's enough time to check it out. It's all German here – so it should be easy.


The stairs were fine. I'm just not this angry all the time. I'd rather have a nice night of sleep. The room that I'm looking for is 1C. It's elegant here. I could get a nice wink of sleep here. She wore pink and black shoes – that fact I remember. It's a very daunting thing to barge into one's room with some sorry sordid affair of the past. That would just be plain rude.

Still she had pink and black shoes. It wasn't my fault that she ran away. The paper is in my hand and there is the door.

I knock at it.

It opens just a crack.

She's got blue eyes the color of the sea. I could delve into them. We do the stand off with each other.

"Can I help you?" she asks.


She had black and pink shoes. The setting was like my own living room but less of a mess – if that was believed. Here she was simply wearing that dress of hers – I'd like to think it was for my own benefit. This is what I see through the crack and in my memory.

"Yes – I'm looking for another chance" I say the words rolling off my tongue, hoping that she would state that three letter word.

She stares at me. She always had those blue eyes that I could fall in love with. Had I not been so bloody daft in the past, she would be my dame. I would run my hand down her body and the trash that the Turks come in with wouldn't be everywhere that I see.

She stares at me.

"No Hansen"

There are multiple things I can do at this point. There is a chain link lock that prevents me from getting in. That would be dishonorable but pleasing. She's got these eyes that I cannot stop drowning in.

"Then can I come into your room?" I say without thinking.

"No Hansen" she says, closing it on me.

I'm left in the bloody landing.


It had occurred to me that all things related to her downed me into some never ending pit of misery. I stop by Tommy's Café to swallow my sins. It's not that work would stop me from drowning it. It's just that there's this dame at work that reminds me of her.

"Hansen Jack" says the words and it's that glaucoma guy.

"Bloody bad luck you gave" I retort, knocking some ale into my parched throat.

The glaucoma guy doesn't order a drink. He's flashier than what I had seen before. He's sharp tipped – tie and a coat, suit, and snazzy shoes that I can hardly afford on my salary. The coat matches but it's the eyes – and I can see that he doesn't bloody have glaucoma. It's those new eyes lenses that the Turks seem to be good at – beastly little buggers.

"It is a shame – perhaps then I could offer you something else-" he says, bringing something out of his jacket that I can bloody hardly afford. The ale is free here for men of the Old Country. I sing the God Save the Queen and all that. It would be bloody rude not to do it. The bloody Turks are invading.

"Bloody be better than the paper" I say, letting it burn fire down my throat.

He puts it on the table.

"What the hell is this?" I say.

The thing is a clear crystal ball no more the size of my fist. Everything is upside down in it. It's a bauble nothing more.

"Hold out your hand" he says, picking it up.

"Bloody be better than –" I say before it hits.


There the dame sits casually on the mattress. She hasn't stopped staring at me as I put on my uniform. It's the grand old times before I went wayward. She's so bloody fine in that chemise that I can't quite keep dressing.

"Hansen – who's Nancy?" she ask.

"My secretary" I say, missing a button.

"So why is Nancy calling at odd times of the day" she says, turning away when I'm turning to her.

"She's my secretary – that's it –" I answer, all dressed up, not wanting to go there, and definitely cursing my daft-ness on being busy with her.

She doesn't say anything but to put on the kimono that I bought for her. She's wearing those black and pink shoes. Her black hair is tumbling down to the small of her neck. It's hard to think that she's with me and hard to bloody think that Nancy keeps on calling me.

Except that it's not the kimono that I have her but the bloody rag she bought from a second hand dealer on Eighth Street.

"You should go to her since she's so busy" she imparts, crossing through the bedroom and to the front door.

"Listen – its work – you should know that-" I plead.

She opens the door. Her blue eyes stare at me. She smiles.

"Of course it is. Just watch out for the traffic."

She doesn't give me a kiss when I leave.


The glaucoma guy is drinking when it ends. I'm not too sure what he's drinking. He's got a platter of chicken before him.

I take the bauble and drop it on the floor.

It breaks on the wood.

The glaucoma guy doesn't even flinch. He's just eating the chicken. I look about. It's the same crowd but then I notice them putting out the lunch sign out on the window.

"Here you go" he says, pulling out another bauble from his jacket.

"I don't want it"

"Sure you do – it's just that I gave you the wrong one" he says with a twinkle in his glaucoma inflected eye.

His hand is skeletal. I didn't notice that before. There are a lot of bloody other things that I don't notice before –


She had black and pink shoes. She was wearing a brown dress that the Turks would always wear. Although the Turks are heathen scum they do make the best revealing things. I'd like to think it was for my benefit but her eyes are ice from the crack of the door.

"Yes – I'm looking for another chance" I say the words rolling off my tongue, hoping that she would state that three letter word.

She stares at me.

"No Hansen" she says, about to shut the door on me.

I stop her. Her eyes stare at me in the crack. I have my hand and my foot so that she cannot shove it. She looks lovely with her hair down. She's got her hair up in braids. The Turkish tunic looks lovely on her to the point that I cannot stop drooling.

"Hansen – stop it." she demands.

"I'll stop if you'll unlock the door" I say on the sly that I have not known since me and Lugar picked our broads up at Tommy's. She was the first Cathay dame that I had laid my eyes upon. Everyone else seemed to be bleeding white or other variation that I cared little for.

The chain link wall is unhooked. The door swings open. She has her hair up. The Turkish tunic outlines the curves of her body. She has her hair up and her face is stark as the lift in my hotel. Even thought the Turks are a heathen lot they have benefits. This is her I'm talking about.

"You happy?" she says, staring at me.

I take a step to her direction. She goes for the door. The door is opened half way to let me in and I do that, pushing her to the wall, kissing her, savagely, her hands pushing me away.

"No Hansen. I will call the police." she says pushing me away.

Then she slaps me.

Then I push her against the wall.

We're about to fight it. It is a shame that I don't have a third arm. She is so bloody fine that I cannot simply stop from kissing her.


"That's about it. You do know that these cost a bundle." the glaucoma man says, plucking the bauble from my hand.

It's crowded for the lunch hour. I look at it. The bauble is something of a mysterious nature. It wasn't supposed to end up that way. I had to pay 60 quid just to get it that way but it wasn't her.

"How much" I ask, in an uncertain voice.

"Excuse me?" the glaucoma man says, pocketing it in his pocket. He's working on a second plate. I don't care about the plate, I want the bauble, and I'm sick and tired of not getting her.

"How much for it" I ask, my hands shaking from not having it.

He inserts a piece of chicken into his maw. I notice that it's large, wide, and cavernous. The whole frame of him seems to be a man newly met with food after a long famine. The only thing about that is his eyes, glowing embers of unholy and unnatural hellfire that knows no boundaries, and knows when a man is caught in it.

"Nothing really – I'm just helping a fellow man out with a wounded soul – that's all" he says with a grin, then shoving the chicken into his maw.

"Really –" I impress upon him.

"Just avoid traffic jams – that's all" the glaucoma man says before lathering the chicken with garlic sauce. Then he puts the bauble on the table. I grab it and –


It had occurred to me that she was a vixen than an asp. After all she did con me out of what I had bargained for. Come to think of it, she was very mysterious with those eyes that seemed to show that she had glaucoma –

I stop the car. I'm just a couple of minutes away from my hotel. I'm on the side of the street – no cars at this time of night. I've got this funny feeling that I sort of missed something. I'm in the middle of Turk Town – festooned with decorations to the Prophet. I'm parked right next to a Salvation Army store.

I stop the car. I'm looking at the rest of the traffic that passes me off. I know that I did that lady over there but I wasn't too out of it. I'm just a little out of it, I guess. I start the car up and it's been going in my mind, a stone in my shoe, I can't get out of.

I'm not too sure where I'm bloody going until I find myself parked where it seems all Stuttgart here. It's all brownstones. I may have gone off the blasted road, thinking about something. I'm not quite too sure.

Someone taps my window. I look up.

"Hansen?" she says, gilded to the T's, work clothes from somewhere, and I don't really want to question.

I didn't hear it. I wind the window down so that I can see her. She's standing in a rain jacket that's popular at work. It's not raining but she likes jackets. Her hair is in a braid. She's not wearing make-up.

"Jeanine – I – I got lost" I say, not knowing what to say.

She opens the door to get into my car. I'm not even too sure what to say at this point. She's got this long look that's staring through the window.

There is a silence.

"Hansen – I'm sorry that I sort of did this to you." she says, taking off her hat, revealing the extensive braids in her hair.

I grab her hand. She's beautiful in the street lamp light. She was the only Cathay woman in the middle of Hull and Ruthenium. Was this a gift from God? I simply touch her hand just to feel the softness of her touch. She doesn't stop me.

She looks at me, shifting to me, her eyes upon me that for once, her soul is drowning in my eyes, and not the other way around.

"I'll be true to you" I say, without thinking, kissing her soft lips, it being far more grander than what I had bought for 60 pounds.

She lets me kiss her. I draw back to see her crying. There is this nagging feeling that something had happened that I can't quite remember, can't quite recall, something very important that needs to be addressed, if only I could put it into words.

"What is it?" I ask, the words of emotional desert, a barren field, starving children, walking skeletons, and a laughing zombie arising for no apparent reason, and I push it down.

"Here – why don't you come with me to my apartment-" she says. "Ah – chicken- "says a glaucoma man.


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