International Writers Magazine: Detective at work
Morgan is laughing too loudly at a joke. She has been hanging
off of a man for the last twenty minutes. I imagine he is
the reason I am being paid to watch her. I make a mental
note of everything observed, like the fact the man has mud splashes
on the sides of his boots, and that Kimberley has white cat hair
on her skirt. Being a Detective is about observing everything,
every detail no matter how innocuous it seems.
her here to this cramped club via Tescos and her flat. I
now know she likes tinned tomatoes, sardines, gossip magazines and brown
bread. I know she has a cat as she also brought a tin of Whiskas.
Kimberley had walked around the store wafting her perfume wherever she
went. She paid with cash and didnt have a clubcard, although
the spotty cashier called Martin had tried to advertise the advantages
of having one. After shopping she had gone back to her flat, her silhouette
moving from room to room trying on various clothes.
Outside in my car I had drummed my fingers on the steering wheel, bored
by her display. I applied lipstick and pouted at my reflection
in the rear-view mirror. Finally Kimberley had chosen an outfit,
and left her flat. I followed her by foot, shadowing her click-clack
of red patent heels on tarmac. The guy with mud on his boots had
been waiting for her outside of the luridly lit club. It seemed
a strange place to meet, a club where anything goes, frequented by the
young and the not so young, gay, straight and everything in between.
Most of all it was a place where everyone minded their own business
the perfect place to undertake shady dealings. They are an odd
couple he looks slick in an expensive suit yet he wears soiled
boots - she is trying to look sophisticated even though her clothes
are cheap. I saw the skirt she is wearing on a stall at Charlotte
Street Market last week. Kimberley manages to just about pull
off an air of sophistication because of her prettiness and expensive
perfume. Very daintily she takes small sips from a blue coloured
alcopop, while the man swirls his short around in a glass. Already
puffing away on a cigarette, he offers her a smoke and lights it for
her. As she exhales trails of blue smoke I stand at the bar, elbow
leaning against the counter, sipping my gin and tonic through a straw,
in case I ruin my lipstick. They are smoking Marlboro Lights;
her lipstick is cheap and transfers to the end of the filter, a red
stain matching that on the lip of her glass.
My mother always said a woman was naked if she didn't wear lipstick,
and hers was always perfect like a mannequins.
When she drank her lipstick never transferred to the cup. She
thought women should be elegant, always saying women don't perspire,
they glow but somehow whenever my mother said it all I thought
about were naked girls in the changing rooms at school, and how I felt
a voyeur for finding their bodies attractive. She had been a very
prim woman, and never approved of my chosen career or anything else
about my life for that matter.
From my position, here at the bar, I can survey everyone on the dance
floor and most of the room. Hundreds of sweaty bodies pulsate, jerking
in time to the music, and even more are huddled around the sides of
the room smoking, drinking, kissing and groping.
The crowd bobs up and down to a mutual rhythm and amongst them a lady
with black stained lips catches my eye. Wine has been spilt down
the front of her white blouse, leaving trails of purple almost as dark
as blood. I watch her get steadily drunker, drink in one hand
while she pinches the arses of young girls as they walk past.
One day I can imagine being her - being the drunk middle-aged lesbian
with my own sagging breasts, touching the flesh of young girls partly
in a wish to fuck them, partly to somehow, through osmosis, become young
The drunken woman is attracting a lot of attention as she sways around
the club most people smile, others shake their head. She
clumsily tries to kiss a woman, and knocks the womans drink flying
in the process. People are pointing and whispering. A bouncer
ambles up to her, and I am mesmerized as she grabs at his arse, and
he bares his teeth in reply. I grin and prepare to watch the fireworks
brewing on the horizon. So much of detective work is about observation,
and being in the right place at the right time. I know this yet
because I am distracted I almost miss seeing Kimberley head towards
the washroom. I quickly follow, only briefly glancing back to
see the bouncer with a bloodied nose, and the woman triumphant
a new black stain glistening on her blouse.
I loiter by the basins, reapplying my lipstick. A teenage girl
washes her hands next to me. In the mirror is a reflection of
a pair of red patent shoes, I recognize them as Kimberleys and
know she is in the cubicle directly behind me. Briefly the thump-thump-thump
of the music becomes louder as the main doors swing open, and the teenage
girl leaves, the door slamming shut, muffling the noise, leaving Kimberley
and I alone. I dab at my lips, and reapply my lipstick until my
mouth is a perfect red bow.
The cubicle opens, and I can smell Kimberleys very distinct perfume
as she walks up to the basins. We briefly exchange smiles
it is then I feel a cold object in the small of my back instinct
tells me it is a gun. Her breath is hot on my nape, a deadly caress,
and lips so close to my ears yet she is silent. All I can perceive
is quickened breathing and the twitch of her arm. If she pulls
the trigger now I will die agonisingly slowly, thrashing on cracked
white tiles, a red splash against the floor. I breathe. I
Jodie is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of
Jodie Louise - contemplating suicide
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