By Keith Rawson

She’d been gone for two weeks.It never bothered me all that much when she’d disappear; I mean, seriously, she fucked other men for money, so jealousy of what she was doing never factored into our lives. Besides, most of the time I’d want her gone so I could have a few days alone to attempt to clean and organize the apartment; Jenna was a slob and when she was home she didn’t lift a finger and the place started taking on the look and feel of a bag ladies overgrown shopping cart. But after two weeks I was running out of cash, which meant I was running out of gak and I was starting to panic. I had a solid connection with my man Eddie, but I preferred having cash on hand, because no matter how good of a customer I was, if I was late on a consignment payment, my man Eddie was either gonna put a bullet in my head, or worse he was gonna put me in so much pain that I’d wish I was dead; plus, I’d burn a rock solid connection.

So after two weeks of Jenna being gone, I started looking for her.

Jenna never worked the street; she was strictly word of mouth. I never knew how she made money doing it that way, I guess it was kind of a referral system; one pervert telling another lonely shitheel about some hot piece of natural blonde tail who’d let you screw her in the ass for two hundred and fifty bucks a throw.

But I didn’t have anywhere else to go but the street, the street or her mother, and I’d already called Pam early on in the week.

Pam loved me, I may have been a tweaked out piece of shit, but I was charming tweaked out piece of shit. She thought both me and Jenna were students at ASU. Most of the time I think that’s what she kept me around for: To act as her beard; her semblance of a so-called normal life.

Pam hadn’t heard from Jenna in three weeks and she was starting to get worried, now that she knew I hadn’t heard from her in a week. I threw Pam a line and told her we’d just gotten into a little fight and that she shouldn’t worry; Jenna was probably still pissed at me and wasn’t taking my calls.So I had no other choice, I got in the car and headed down to Van Buren Ave. I ran into a couple of girls who use to pal around with Jenna when they were first starting out in the life. Pauline and Christy, they were both in their twenties but the warzone world of gash for cash had turned them into something resembling squeezed out tubes of toothpaste.

It took the promise of a few bucks for them to tell me where Jenna was.

“Shit, sweetie, Jenna’s with Harvey down at Sally’s, everyone knows that.”

Who the fuck was Harvey?

I scooted down to Mustang Sally’s. These days it was mostly known as a queer bar, but draft beer was only two bucks a glass, so the cheap drunks mingled with the pillow biters in a fair amount of harmony. It was also where I first met Jenna.

I spotted her nibbling on some shrunken old man’s ear, giggling like a little girl at something he was saying. I marched over, and clamped a hand down around her upper arm. She looked at me and smirked with her eyes as she took a hard swallow from her shot glass. I didn’t notice the old man get up from his stool when I grabbed her. I didn’t notice him slip on a pair of brass knuckles. His first shot split my right temple open, the second knocked me cold. I woke up out in the parking lot choking on my blood and the chalky remains of my four front teeth. I sat up and spat out the ruins of my mouth and decided to get into the car and drive to Eddie’s. I’d figure out a way to pay for my shit somehow.
Keith Rawson lives in the Phoenix, AZ suburb of Gilbert with his wife and daughter. His stories have appeared (or are waiting to appear)in such publications as DZ Allen's Muzzle flash, Powderburn flash, Flashshots, Darkest Before the Dawn, A Twist of Noir, Bad Things, Crooked,, PulpPusher, and Yellow Mama. He has also finished the first draft of a hardboiled novel tentatively titled, Retirement.And yes, just like every Pulp writer on the net, he has a blog which he occasionally updates when he's not chasing around a two year old or working on new writing projects. You can find it at:


Paul Brazill said...

As twisted a torch song as I've heard in a while.

Liam José said...

Nice man, rush of a story. Love it.