Viktor – An insight!

Dead of July (Small)

Viktor never knew love. He was used by Marianna, his mother in ways you can’t even imagine, ways I can’t bring myself to write about. She was a monster! In the late seventies, when Vlad, Viktor’s  father was killed by a competing crime family, Marianna took revenge and then fled to Germany with her two sons, Viktor and Yuri. She became the Queen of a lucrative criminal world. A smart organized woman, she changed her business to suit the needs of the underworld. She traded guns, secrets and worst of all, women. No women is not the right word, she bought and sold young girls.

In her youth she was beautiful to look at, and took lovers as and when she pleased, male or female, it didn’t matter. If they pleased her she kept them for a while. If they didn’t satisfy her needs, they simply disappeared.

Marianna’s lifestyle caused her to age badly. Too much vodka, cocaine and sleepless nights turned her beautiful face into a grotesque mask. Willing lovers became few and far between, so she took her pick from the men who worked for her, and the young girls she traded. They were unwilling partners, and many were never seen again.

Yes Viktor was evil, but his mother was much worse, she was the Devil.

Just an old fashioned brothel!

BrotherlThe creep who’s propositioned me made himself comfortable on a chair next to Janie. Without taking his eyes off me he draped his arm around her and pulled her close. Tears streamed down her face. Push him off Janie, push him away. I knew she couldn’t. He kissed her on her neck, then her lips. He stood her up and pinning her against the wall with his body, he slid down and nuzzled his head between her breasts. She was terrified. I looked at Jack’s face, worried about his reaction. Larry spoke!

“Hey man, leave her alone, I can’t concentrate on the cards while you’re doing that.”

Tom turned around and faced him. “Can’t have that can we!”

He took hold of Janie’s arm and dragged her across the floor. She fell to her knees but he didn’t stop, he continued to walk, dragging her behind him. She managed to get to her feet again when they reached the door, her knees were scraped and her blouse torn.

“You want to come too darling? I can handle two of you.”

Go Sheila go, it’ll be OK! He’s strong, but drunk. Go help her. The voices in my head belonged to someone I’d come to know. It was Jacks daughter. Go, we’re here with you. This time it was my gran.

“Sure, let’s have a party.”

The look on Janie’s face was horrific. “No, leave her alone, leave her out of this.”

“Shhh, honey, you can’t keep a mal like this all to yourself” I said, trying to take on the role.

I didn’t look behind me, daren’t see the look on Jack’s face.

The bedroom that Tom led us into wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It was clean and sumptuous, reminded me of a saloon brothel from some Western, where the madame would be called Kitty and her girls would wear frilly bloomers and basques. He saw the look on my face. “Like what you see, you’re gonna like what you get too.” He unbuckled his belt and started to unzip his jeans. “Lets play around a little first shall we?”He walked toward me, his belt hanging loose, the top button of his jeans undone and his zipper halfway down. Janie stepped in front of me, trembling, but trying to protect me. She moved towards Tom and draped her arms around his neck. He put his hands on her shoulders, dropped his head and kissed her breasts, then he pushed her to one side and laughed.

“I’ve had you before, its her I want. She’s new, fresh and I don’t think she’s done this before.”

Oh dear god please help me. 

I looked across at the speckled mirror in the old-fashioned dresser and saw four faces looking back at me. My own terrified face was in the forefront, but the faded, determined faces of my gran, and the two souls she’d befriended hovered behind, like fading holograms.

Everything moved very fast. Janie lurched forward and grabbed Tom’s jeans, she yanked them down to his knees and pushed as hard as she could. His legs tangled in his jeans and he went down hard, banging his head on the corner of the dresser as he fell. It knocked him out cold.

Run, run, run, run, run, run, ruuuuuuunnnnnnn! Get away, flee!

The faces in the mirror had disappeared, but the room echoed with their words. I grabbed Janie’s hand and we ran for the door. It opened as we approached and on of Larry’s boys appeared. He looked behind us and saw Tom on the floor, a pool of blood spreading around him.

“This way!”

We fled down the hallway and out of the back door. The old van stood outside, its engine running. We fell inside and the van took off, even before the door was closed.

“You girls OK?”

Janie and I didn’t speak, we just hugged each other!

“What about Jack,” Janie said, “What if they hurt him?”

I put my arm around her, feeling her wet tears on my shoulder. “He’s in good company, I think he’ll be OK!” I replied and hoped I was right.

 

The Hand!

A hand touched my shoulder startling me so badly I almost fell off my chair. “Hey sugar, I didn’t mean to scare you.” the hand didn’t move though, it remained on my shoulder, inching its way down to places I didn’t want it to go.
Relax Sheila, you can do this, come on its going to take more than an attempted  grope to scare you.

hand-tattoo-for-men

I slid off my chair, causing the hand to slide away. Turning around I came face to face with the bully we’d seen in the Stage Coach. His hand rested on the bar, it was tattooed to look like a skull. His face was a mixture of confidence and lust. I could tell them man was used to getting his own way.

“Are you here for an interview?” he asked, “if you are, let’s go out back, I like what I see, but a little time alone with you would help me make up my mind.”

I could feel Jack’s eyes on me. Stay Cool Jack, don’t blow it!

Smiling I said, “thanks for the offer man, it’s tempting, but I’m with someone.”

Larry left the table and came to my aid. He pulled me close and whispered in my ear erotically. “Keeping you safe, play along.”

I turned around to face him and kissed him full on the lips. He tasted of whiskey and tobacco. It was like kissing my dad.

“Come on, forget the hooker and let’s get on with the game.”

Larry laughed, “leave her alone man, she’s mine for the night, I want my money’s worth. Even bought me some little blue pills to make the night last longer.”

He returned to the table.

I tried not to show my disgust, the thought of being bought by Larry or anyone else made me feel sick.

“My name’s Tom, the tattooed bully said huskily.” He put his arm around me, resting his meaty hand on my lower back, pulling me towards him. I tried to resist, but he was too strong. “When you’re done with this old man some see me. I could use a girl like you.” I guessed he was two hundred and fifty pounds of pure muscle, not someone to upset.

“I’ll remember that big guy.” I said as I looked into his eyes.

He held me for a long time, too long, but I daren’t pull away. Finally he but his mouth to my ear and said, “You have a little more class than my usual girls, I could even keep you for myself.” He inhaled, “Mmm you smell good too!”

With that he went over to the far door and said something to the guy who guarded it. They both looked at me.

Shit!

Janie (Rosie) sat on her stool. Although her head hung down so far I couldn’t see her face, I knew she was crying, I saw the tear drops falling onto her lap.

Petal handed me a drink. “Cheers honey, it looks like you’ll be one of us soon!”

I took the drink and downed it in one gulp.

No fucking way! I’d rather die. Gran, I hope you’re out there. I’m going to need you!

 

The Game!

257_pokershuffle-940x626I slid out of the van into the cold dark night. My bravado had faded. I looked down at my high heeled boots and tugged on my ridiculously short skirt in an effort to cover up legs. Why didn’t I wear tight jeans? The effect would have been the same. Larry felt my hesitation. “Come on, you can do this. Too late to turn back now.”

“I know,” I replied, “I’m more worried about Jack than myself, I just feel awkward. I’m not used to dressing this way.”

Larry gave three sharp raps on the graffiti covered door. An eye appeared at the little peephole briefly, and then the door opened. A big guy let us in. He shook hands with Larry. It was one of those weird handshakes that I’m sure meant something. A secret handshake. A guy thing! “This your daughter Larry?”

Larry put his arm around me and said “Seriously, do you think I’d let my daughter go out dressed like this?”

I giggled and kissed his cheek.

“Didn’t think you had it in you old man, enjoy yourself.”

Larry took my hand and squeezed it as we walked a long a dimly lit passageway. Same process at the next door, three raps and then another guy let us in. No handshake this time. He brushed a little to close to me as I passed him by. I shivered! Not sure which made me more nervous, the implication or the cold metal that touched my thigh. I knew one thing for sure, I was going to stick to Larry like glue.

A poker table took up most of the small room. The game had not yet started, but a couple of men were already drinking, preparing for the game. On the far wall there was a small bar. A couple of girls in skirts shorter than mine sat there, well on their way to being drunk or stoned, or both. I didn’t blame them. I guessed what the night had in store for them.

Larry found a seat at the table. As he sat down he slapped me on the butt “Go get yourself a drink honey, I’m going to be busy for a while.” I wanted to slap his face, but it was all part of the act. I bent over and whispered in his ear suggestively “Don’t ever do that again.” No one heard but him, and he laughed and blew me a kiss.

I grabbed a beer from the ice box at the end of the bar and sat down with the two girls. They acknowledged me as I slid onto my stool, but didn’t show much interest in. Probably a good thing. Jack and two the nameless guys entered and took the last three seats at the table, making seven players.

“Okay guys, time to play poker.” This announcement was made by a wiry nerdy looking man who’d been sitting with his back to us when we entered. He looked like and accountant. Huge glasses, short black hair, plain pale face. “Keep the drinks flowing Petal.”

Right on cue the girl next to me slid off her bar stool and took an unopened bottle of whiskey to the table.

When she came back I leaned over to her and said “Hi Petal, I’m Sheila.”

She gave me a weak smile, nothing more.

The door behind me opened. I saw the reaction on Jack’s face and knew it must be Janie. He stood up quickly, almost tipping his chair.

Oh dear god  please don’t give the game away. 

Larry stood up too!

Shit, this isn’t good!

“You OK Pal?” the accountant asked?

You could have heard a pin drop!

“Looking for the bathroom old man?” Larry asked.

Jack recovered quickly. “Yes, don’t want to get up after the game’s started, don’t trust you guys.”

“Through the door at the back, turn right” Larry said as he sat down again.

Janie looked into my eyes briefly and then looked away. Make up barely covered her bruises. Her clothes barely covered her body. The look of fear in her eyes was raw and real. She crossed the room and sat on a chair by the door.

“Meet Rosie, she’s here to please the winner.” the skinny guy said. He leaned back and touched her leg, sliding his hand way too high on her inner thigh. “Rosie is a little wild, but after a few pills she’s a real sweetie. Show us your breasts honey.”

Rosie didn’t move.

“Come on lets play,” Jack said, “I have no time for women.”

“What, you gay old man?”

“No, just want to take your money.”

The game began, Janie looked at me across the room. There was no hope in her eyes, only fear.

 

 

 

Guns for Hire

1349149576_207110572717748_346456661_nI went to work the following day, but couldn’t concentrate. Dear God let me survive tonight! Honestly, I was more worried about Jack than myself. I spent my teenage years on the wrong side of the track. It’s a wonder I lived to see twenty, but I did. I talked myself out of so many bad situations I couldn’t remember them all, but Jack, well he didn’t look that strong. I left work early, we’d planned to meet Larry, the old guy from the bar, at eight o clock. I wanted to get home and have a couple of hours to myself first. I hoped to get a few words of wisdom from my gran. She had a habit of appearing when I needed her, but she’d been silent for a while now.

I looked at myself in the mirror, not sure dressing like a hooker was a good idea, but I didn’t want to stand out and the only women in a bar we were going to, were working girls. I honked the horn outside Jack’s house. He appeared immediately and we drove to the Stage Coach in silence. We walked through the door to see Larry already waiting for us at the bar. He looked me up and down as I entered, but said nothing. Jack hadn’t noticed my outfit until now. His face told me what he thought.

Larry ordered a round of drinks. He and Jack ordered a shots, I stuck with beer.

“It shouldn’t be too busy tonight, it’s the beginning of the week, but for Gods sake be careful. Be pleasant in a rough sort of way. These folks look after their own and don’t care about anyone else. Women have one use to them and one use only. Sheila, you’re with me. If you have to sit on my lap all night, do it, it’s for your own safety. Giggle a lot and kiss my cheek if you feel like it, but you’re with me. Let them think I bought you for the night.”

Jack ordered another shot, he didn’t like this one bit.

Bonnie looked concerned. I followed her as she cleared tables at the far end of the Saloon. “What do you know about this guy, Larry?” I asked.

“Larry’s a good guy, drinks too much, but he’s OK! I’m not sure if he’ll be able to protect you if things go pear-shaped though. You’re going to a rough bar on East Colfax. Even the cops leave that place alone.”

“We have to do it! We have to try to save this girl. I think we’re her only chance of a normal life.”

The door opened and four guys walked in, they were big and rough-looking, I hadn’t seen them before. Larry raised his arm when he saw them and they pulled out chairs alongside him at the bar. Bonnie went to served them and I went back to my seat.

“I brought reinforcements.” Larry said. “I thought we might need them.”

Jack swallowed another shot, I don’t think it touched the sides as it went down his throat. I smiled and stuck my hand out “I’m Sheila and I’m really glad to see you guys.”

“You don’t need to know our names, in fact its better if you don’t.”

I looked back at the four strangers. They all grinned at me, showing lots of teeth, not all of them white.

“Drinks all round.” Larry said.

Bonnie obliged, then leaned towards me and whispered in my ear. “I feel a whole lot better now.” she tilted her head towards the guy standing closest to me. He had a gun tucked in the back of his jeans.

Guns for hire, I hope they don’t have to use them!

She worked hard for the money

We sat in silence, the car engine idling. “Where did it go? How can a truck just disappear?”

“It was a dark color Jack. All they had to do was pull off the road and switch off the lights and it would just blend into the night. What shall we do?”

“Drive slowly back up the dirt road as far as my house, maybe its prostitute_in_newyorkone of the driveways.”

I did as Jack told me, but worried what we’d do if we actually found it. “If we see the truck what do we do? We don’t know who’s driving it. I’m guessing we’d be no match if it came down to a fight.”  I needn’t have worried. The truck was gone. I pulled up on Jack’s drive way again, thinking we’d maybe wait in his house, hoping she’s find her way back.

“Lets go to the Stagecoach! She’s expecting us to be there.” Jack said.

“Great idea. All of those big burly bikers! They’ll look out for us.”

Jack laughed. “I think the big burly bikers are only weekend visitors. On a week night its full of locals who stop for a drink and a bite to eat on their way home from work.” He was right of course, but at least we’d have witnesses if anything did happen.

There weren’t many cars outside the Saloon when we arrived, but there were a few. Jack and I found a seat at the bar.

“Want anything to eat?” Jack asked.

I shook my head, food was the last thing on my mind.

Bonnie appeared from the kitchen. “Hi, I was thinking of you. Someone was in here earlier asking about a young girl. They showed me a photo. It looked like that girl we saw the other night. The one who lost the pendant. Have you seen anymore of her.”

Jack and I froze!

“Who was looking for her?” Jack asked.

Bonnie looked from me to him. “It was a guy. Maybe in his forties, rough looking. Big! Had a young girl with him, probably late teens. She was bruised up, swollen lip.”

“How long ago?” I asked.

She looked at the clock behind the bar. “Maybe an hour, maybe a little more.”

“Damn!” Jack put his head in his hands.

“Whats the deal” Bonnie asked.

“Long story, but I think the young girl is homeless. We don’t know her story yet. She was living in the old barn. Have you seen this guy before? Would you recognize…..” I didn’t finish my sentence.

“I’ve seen him before!”

I looked around. It was one of the old guys I’d seen many times in the Stagecoach. “He hangs out at a bar on Colfax. Sleazy place. I play poker there every once in a while. Rough place.”

We all looked at him. “Whats the guy do there?”

“Not sure you want to know.”

Jack and I looked at each other. “What now?” I said.

“Could you show us where this place is?” Jack asked.

“I could take you there, but I don’t think you should go alone.”

“Hey guys, think about this.” Bonnie said. “Doesn’t sound like a good place to be.”

“We have to help her. We can’t just turn our backs on her now.”

“Lets call the police!” I said.

“And tell them what? What can we say? We met a stranger, tried to help her and now she’s gone. I don’t think they’ll do anything.”

I said nothing. He ordered a shot of whiskey. I sipped a glass of wine.

The old guy sitting at the bar spoke again. “Do either of you play poker?”

“I do.” Jack said.

“OK, I’ll try to get a game down there tomorrow night. You need to keep your mouth shut though. It’s a rough place. I want to leave by the front door, not feet first in a fucking coffin!”