Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Isn't it obvious?

In which V, for the first time since she was 12-years-old, attempts to write fiction.  It's not long enough to be a short story, but too long to be flash fiction.  It's a mess, is what it is.  Be kind, sometimes not all the things I wan't to say can be expressed directly, else I'd end up on a watch list.  The following story is fictional, and any resemblance to any persons, either living or dead, is coincidental.  Especially if it's to some bitch I used to work with.

"How many calories do you think are in cocaine?  I need to update my weight loss diary", Holly called out, directing her words at the dimly lit figure she could see through the crack in the bathroom door, although not really anticipating a response.  When sure enough, none was forthcoming (the figure had stepped into the shower now, and almost certainly couldn't hear her), she groaned, and her hoisted herself up onto her elbows in the massive double bed, almost slipping back down again as she struggled to find friction with the shiny, satin sheets.  Satin sheets?  What a wanker.  Where did she find these men?

She looked around for a light switch but couldn't see one, though the motion was enough to send her hand flying to her head as she winced in pain.  It was still early, 1 or 2am maybe, but she was already feeling the effects of the evening's indulgences.  Her head was spinning.  "Booze or drugs, Hol, booze or drugs", she chided herself, although by then it was already a familiar refrain.  "Jesus, I'm getting too old for this shit", she mumbled aloud as she fell heavily back down on the bed, her head hitting the pillow with a dull thud.  Although at 26 she was certainly younger than her latest "catch", and he seemed to be doing fine, she noted with some bitterness.  Deciding she needed to up her game, she groped her way gingerly across the bed and fumbled in the darkness on the bedside table as she looked for the last of the coke.

"Shit!" she yelped with some agitation, as she managed to send a wine glass, an alarm clock and a stack of magazines flying.  She hated being in unfamiliar surroundings, usually insisting on the same, bland, chain hotel for all of her trysts - the small flat she shared in south east London with her mother and sister when she was at home being generally ill suited to torrid affairs - but this time his girlfriend (wife?  No, definitely girlfriend, she decided) was away and he'd insisted they go back his place in Docklands.  "Oh GOD", she'd groaned inwardly, as he'd led her down to the DLR platform at Bank station after casually dropping £200 on about four cocktails in some bar populated entirely by smug, city wankers, as she realised he was taking her back to the suburban heart of smug, city wanker-dom.

She'd gone along with it wordlessly though, realising that she didn't have much say in the situation, particularly as he always paid for the hotels, although why the cheap bastard couldn't have shelled out for a taxi home she couldn't fathom.  She didn't keep her own place in the city, not seeing the point in it, as she was barely ever there.  Well, that, and she couldn't afford it.  She taught English for a living, to whiny little brats in third world hell holes that happened to have good beaches, and while it paid well enough to support her life of luxury in hot countries where a double vodka and Coke cost about 50p, it wasn't conducive to saving for a deposit at home.  But she'd worry about that later.  Frankly, her life right now was pretty perfect, living it up on a semi permanent holiday, then crashing at home for a few weeks or months between teaching assignments.  She was fired on an alarmingly regular basis, usually for turning up to work hungover, if she made it in at all, but you pay peanuts, you get monkeys, she thought.  Christ, she wasn't even trained.  And besides, teaching English as foreign language was one of the few areas where work was still plentiful, if you knew where to look, so she knew she'd always get another position eventually, after spouting some crap down the phone about having left her previous job to "pursue new challenges".

Originally she'd signed up with a temp agency to make some play money when she was in London, doing tele-marketing, data entry, that sort of thing, but she wasn't really suited to the work and didn't stick at it long.  On one of her early assignments though, at some high end bank's offices in Canary Wharf, she'd realised there were other ways of making ends meet.

She hadn't intended on having an affair with her boss.  She didn't fancy him, he was about 50, for fuck's sake, but she was bored she guessed, and he'd impressed her at team drinks one Friday night with the huge wad of cash he'd been waving about all night, and the even huger wad of coke she'd spied in his wallet, and she'd allowed him to take her back to a hotel, not-so-discreetly calling home in the cab to make some excuse about having to "pull an all-nighter with the boys to get these accounts done".  That had gone on for a few weeks until her assignment came to an end, and she'd gone off to another teaching placement, but after a few months she was back again and it had happened at her next temping assignment, and her next, and she soon realised she quite liked this state of affairs.  Older men were good for a few shags, at least, and even better for their stacks of cash and seemingly endless supply of drugs.  What was it with city boys and coke, she wondered absent-mindedly?  Sometimes she thought London ran on the stuff.  She always went for the ones in relationships too, the ones who nervously tried to hide their ring fingers as they chatted her up in the staff canteen, and conspicuously switched their mobiles to silent when they were out together.  She didn't need to be tied down when she was having so much fun flitting off abroad every few months, and they rarely complained when she wordlessly dumped them to get on a plane to Timbuktoo, or wherever she was off to next.  Plus, it had to be said, the guilt some of them clearly suffered tended to add an extra frisson.  She liked being the other woman.  It was a thrill, knowing she could casually take something that belonged to someone else, usually from right under their nose.

After a few work based trysts with various bosses and colleagues, she decided to cut out the middle man and ditch the temp jobs when she was in London - she didn't need the money with the amount these men were willing to spend on their pathetic attempts to impress her.  Instead, she'd head straight out to the bars on a Thursday and Friday night, the sort of places around Canary Wharf and the city where champagne was ordered by the magnum and if a round came to less than £100 it was considered a bargain.  She'd quickly become adept at spotting viable targets, usually men in their forties, usually having an obvious midlife crisis (you could tell by the tight fitted suits and the too young haircuts), who'd pretend to be oh-so-in-love with their wives and long term girlfriends, but in reality would trip over themselves to get to any plain looking girl in her twenties who batted an eyelash at them, to prove to themselves that they were still young, dynamic and virile, even though most of the time they really weren't.  Honestly, she didn't even have to try.

She'd been with the latest one, a financial journalist, she thought, a couple of weeks now, and quite frankly she was tired of him already, especially since he seemed to have run out of drugs, and was spending even longer in the shower than she did.  Her eyes beginning to adjust to the gloom, she surveyed her surroundings properly for the first time.  The bedroom was all white walls, black furniture and pretentious art - typical wanker pad.  He's said something about having a girlfriend of ten years, the usual "we've drifted apart/she doesn't understand me" excuses, but Holly couldn't see much of her influence around.  Clearly she didn't have as strong a hold on her man as she'd like tho think she did.  Really, Holly didn't have any respect for these delusional women, who clung to the idea that they were in relationships with men who obviously barely tolerated their presence.  They ought to take a leaf out of her book and get some self respect.

Fighting the nausea that was rising up from her stomach, Holly propped herself up on her elbows again, and ran a hand through her long and now greasy, matted dyed blonde hair.  She really needed a shower.  Rapidly sobering up and starting to shiver she decided to get dressed, and maybe then consider sneaking out  and looking for a night bus, but she cursed inwardly when she picked up her crumpled black cocktail dress from the floor and immediately remembered  that she'd tipped a glass of red wine down her front a few hours before in a drunken stupor.  It was still wet, and sticky.  She dropped it back on the hardwood floor, located her underwear and slipped that on instead and padded over to the large double wardrobe in the corner of the room, thinking she'd borrow something of his to wear.  She doubted he'd mind; men always seemed to find it quite cute when she dressed her tiny, 5 foot nothing frame in their over-sized shirts.  On opening the door though, it was obvious that she'd accidentally found the girlfriend's little corner of the room.  She pulled out the first few items and smirked - it was all knee length dresses, plain white blouses, and sensible shoes.  She checked out the labels; all size 12-14 and makes Holly'd never heard of, but seriously doubted were designer.  Holly thought to herself that she'd never let herself get into such a state, obviously out of shape, and dressed like a frumpy German hausfrau.  And these women wonder why their boyfriends cheat on them, she thought.  Isn't it obvious?

Closing the wardrobe door, Holly wondered if this one knew what her supposedly faithful partner was up to the minute her back was turned.  She'd only been caught out once as far as she was aware, when she'd been screwing a 40-something lawyer with a wife and kids, of course, although it had turned out OK; she'd managed to extricate herself from the situation fairly easily.  She remembered seeing a headline in one of the London papers a few weeks later about a domestic murder suicide, a well off man in a huge house in the suburbs who'd killed his wife and kids then turned the gun on himself after she'd found out about his affair and threatened to leave him.  She'd meant to look it up later, but never got around to it.  "Shoot them all and let God sort it out" as her grandad used to say, she thought, chuckling slightly to herself.

Lost in her thoughts, Holly hadn't heard the key turning softly in the lock.  Self absorbed as usual, she hadn't heard anything, right up until the terse black fabric of what she thought in her dying breaths was a pashmina (poor quality, the pain hadn't dulled her style sensibilities) had been wrapped tightly around her neck, choking her before she even had a chance to cry out.  As she struggled to focus, she could still see the outline of a figure through the crack in the bathroom door, towelling off, seemingly oblivious to the scene unfolding a few feet away. In the mercifully short few seconds that followed, just before her body went limp and her vision went black, she wondered "why?"  Isn't it obvious?

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