My first novel “Dirty Business” is almost complete and should hit the streets in early 2013. Join Willow, a thirty year old lesbian Private Investigator, as she bumbles her way through a life on the darker side of town. Tough, sarcastic and no-holes-barred, “Dirty Business” is the first in the Willow series.
Check out the preview of the first two chapters below and feel free to comment. I apologise for the lack of ability to format the text correctly on the following extract.
They emerged from the blackness that’s the dim corners and low hide-aways of the alley. They’re like bats exiting their cave. I’m taken by surprise. I was distracted. Not my usual self. The first indication of their presence I get is a sense of movement followed by a blow to the side of my head. It’s forceful enough to bring me to my knees but not enough to leave my mind blank. And that’s his first mistake. His second is his bravado.
“Like that bitch?” Russian. He chuckles. Looks for his other comrades. That was all I needed to pull the switch blade from my boot, eject it, and drive it into his leg just below the knee.
The wail a man makes when you jab him in such a tender place reminds me of the first cry of a newborn baby. It screams mummy. Well, mummy aint’ gonna help you now you son-of-a-bitch. I don’t have much time. I pull the knife free and in a fluid move get to my feet, swing behind the Russian oaf, and with one arm around his chest I slit his throat. He gurgles and reflexively elbows my right tit. Gurgles some more and begins to slide to the ground. It’s not a nice sound. My tit throbs. My arm hurts from trying to carry the weight of a man twice my own. I don’t falter.
Dropping the knife I reach around his mass and into his coat to rest my hand on the butt of his gun. Russians. Always packing at the shoulder. You can always count on that one. One of his approaching comrades fires off a shot. Lucky for me it lodges in the now dead weight I’m holding onto without going all the way through. I glance up quickly.
Not a bad day to get shot but unfortunately I don’t have the time boys.
I have confidence with a gun and it isn’t long before comrade number one is on the ground, oozing his life away. I take quick aim at comrade number two and squeeze the trigger. My shot lodges in his lower belly. What a painful place to get shot. I was aiming for his head. He goes down, his own gun clanking to the dirty ground. I drop my heavy shield and notice the blood soaked through my left sleeve. The cut throat must have been flowing like a broken hydrant. I assess the scene before me. The ever expanding red puddles that stream from beneath my attackers mean about as much to me as the sewerage flowing out the clogged up grates of the alleyway. I push back the urge to blow the barrel of the Makarov like they do in the cowboy movies. It takes something special to get the best of me.
Comrade two is still alive. I’m sure it’s only barely. I approach him warily, but with an outward confidence. You never give away your nerves. It only serves to provide a cockiness to your enemy. I crouch beside him and make a point of pushing my gun to his temple as I lean my face close to his.
“Who the fuck are you?”
All I get from him is more panting. A few groans and a slight grin on his face. I admire his bravery in the face of death. I once watched a man with a severed limb stand back up, determined to continue his fight. The mind and the body can carry your aggression to the end if you are strong enough to let it.
“Who the fuck are you?” I repeat.
The brave Russian spits blood into my hovering face. He laughs momentarily before the sound turns to a drowning gurgle. The flood of death streams from his mouth as his eyes close for the last time.
Searching for ID on the three bodies, I’m not surprised to find that there isn’t any. You’d have to be an amateur to carry ID while you were doing business. Dirty business. The alleyway’s a mess. At least, more of a mess than usual with the addition of three blood covered bodies. It’s probably in my best interest not to park my bike here tonight. To get out quick. I tuck the Russian’s gun into my jeans. I need a drink anyway.
The rattle and shake of the xv750’s v-twin tickles my vagina. I can never help but juice up to the vibrations I get when riding a motorbike and tonight’s no different as I pull into the carpark of the Crabbed Dame. The flickering blue, pink and yellow neon soothes the atmosphere of the dirty street. I like the reflections the neon makes in the wet street. The faded paint-marked signs on the facade a testament to the Dame’s longevity.
Stale tobacco stench, spilt and moulding alcohol and sweaty unbathed bodies greet me inside the door. It always reminds me so much of my Daddy. It’s soothing. The regulars sit at their stools. The same stools, day in day out. Buck, the sixty year old poet who drinks away his lack of success. Red-nosed, weathered and balding. Tammie, the mid thirties whore dolled up and drunk as usual. Mutton dressed up as lamb. Tammie hates me. Tammie hates any other woman that walks into the Dame because Tammie hates all competition. Charlie is sitting in his dark return at the end of the bar. His name used to be Charles Edward the Third, or so he says. His family used to run an import business until his father lost his fortune to a hooker smarter than they gave her credit for. Signed his entire life away with a swish of wet pussy and false promises. I don’t know much more than that, except all Charlie does is drinks and fucks these days. He lifts his drink at me and gets back to it.
Bob pushes my drink across the bar before my ass is on the stool. Gin. Slight twist of lime and on the rocks. Just like Daddy used to drink. Bob’s been like a father to me. Always looking out for me. Never treating me any other way than like his own little girl. A big man with hands large enough to wrap around one of my thighs. A giant in build and in the attitude that oozes off him to anyone who enters the bar. I watched him snap a man’s arm in half once and he didn’t even break a sweat. Yeah, a giant of a man, but a gentle giant to me.
“You been gettin’ yourself into trouble again by the looks.” He points at the side of my face. Must be bruised where the Russian hit me. I have blood all over me.
“Nothing I can’t handle.”
“Yeah, well, remember I’m here if you need me.”
“Say no more.”
“Listen. You need anything? Money?” He says it quiet enough so the rest of the bar doesn’t hear.
“No. I’m good. Got a few job possibilities coming my way.”
He pours me another drink. “Speakin’ of. A broad came in here looking for you. Yesterday I think it was. Said I should give you her number.”
He retrieves a piece of paper from next to the register. I read it.
Not much to go on.
“She was a bit of looker that one.” Says Bob. “Had on a real tight purple dress. Her legs looked like a highway to heaven. Reckon Charlie nearly had a heart attack.”
“Charlie’d nearly have a heart attack watching Playschool.” I was dry. Had another swig.
“Anyhow, she seemed pretty keen on seeing you. Was gonna’ wait for you ‘till I told her it could be days ‘fore I seen you.”
“She say anything else?”
“No. Glanced around the bar a bit, took an interest in Charlie, then left as quick as she came in.”
“Thanks Bob.” I stuff the paper in the front pocket of my jeans.
“Alright.” He wanders off to do what bar tenders do.
My hand wanders back to my drink while my mind wanders back to the Russians in the alleyway. I try to think of any work I had done for Russians. None comes to mind. I’d done work for the Italians, the Jamaicans, even an English gentleman, but never a Russian. They were obviously professionals. Or as professional as dead men can be. I knew enough about them to know that they ran organized crime, packed from the shoulder and had brutal and ruthless reputations. But that was where it ended. So what would they want with me?
“I’ve got room on my face for one.”
I turn. “Charlie.”
He motions at the stool next to me.
“So how are you on this fine but wet evening Willow?”
I like Charlie’s English accent. Accents turned me on. Some more than others.
“You seemed to have developed quite the bruise on the side of your face there. Are you sure good is the appropriate term?”
“Interesting enough. Bob! Another round for myself and this charming lady! So tell me more Willow. About these Russians.” Emphasis on Russians.
“No more to tell Charlie.”
“Oh, a bruise like that! The blood. There must be more.”
“What is it to you? Leave it. Mind your own business.”
He looks hurt but not taken aback. “Sure. Sure…”
“What do you want Charlie?” My patience as usual is slightly thin.
“How about it Willow? I’ve got a spare hundred here.”
I guess that’s the power of a woman. Running short of cash? An easy hundred was always standing in front of you. I have no shame. I have a veejay, well shaped b-cups and people seem to comment on my ass all the time (even if most of them are drunks).
“Sure Charlie. I’ll meet you in the bathroom in five.”
Bob places the drinks in front of us. Charlie skulls his like an eager boy wanting to get back to his toys and staggers off to the bathroom.
“What are you doin’ Willow?”
“You don’t need to do that shit.”
“I don’t need to do anything Bob, but I do what I do. Leave it.”
Bob throws his arms in the air. He looks disappointed.
“Ok, ok…” He says.
Tammie glares at me from her perch.
“Fucking whore,” she screams, “Fucking two bit whore. Who the fuck do you think you are? This is my bar. These are my fucking clients and I don’t need no fucking bitch takin’ them away from me.”
“Shut the fuck up Tammie.” I respond. “Have another drink.” I slam the rest of mine down and get up.
“You shut the fuck up.” She sounds teary.
I giggle. It doesn’t help the situation.
“I’m gonna kick your tits in bitch!” She gets off her stool un-gracefully.
I like Tammie. She seems like a nice girl just trying to get by in life like the rest of us. It must be hard for a person who relies so much on body and looks to survive when those very qualities take a downward spiral. When they react so dramatically to the constant abuse of drugs and alcohol. Poor Tammie’s only clientele nowadays are the ancient and dis-figured, the type that spend their days in dirty bars drinking stale alcohol and smoking cheap cigarettes. So when I hit her, I hit a little more gentle than usual. Her breath leaves her as she hits the floor. I make my way to the bathroom to a wheezing soundtrack as the poor whore continues to search for her breath. I cringe a little as I go, it’s got to be one of the worst feelings, struggling for the very air that keeps you alive.
Stale piss smells so much better than stale beer. The bathrooms in the Dame are dirtier than the tug booths at a busy adult store. But they serve their purpose, and tonights purpose is an easy hundred in my pocket. Charlie’s waiting for me.
“All right Charlie, suck only. Hundred bucks.”
I prefer women to men. Although I don’t really understand why I sometimes think it has to do with trying to connect myself to some type of femininity. I never was a doll kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong I’m not butch, in fact, I look as slight as the best of them. My difference is that I know how to look after myself. I rely on no-one. If it needs doing, I’m your woMAN. There’s no underlying need to leave home made up, to prance in high heals with a matching handbag hanging from my shoulder. It’s not practical. Especially in my kind of work.
Based on the law of one’s average experience, Charlie’s pretty well hung for an Englishman, and unlike most drunks, he doesn’t have a problem getting it up. It’s not the first time I’ve had this slab of meat in my mouth. I’m good at giving head on both sides of the fence and it isn’t long before I have Charlie moaning with pleasure. You can tell when a man’s about to blow because his balls start pulsating, and it was as soon as Charlie’s began to do so that the bathroom door opened with an ear splitting crack that resounded around the small dirty room.
It all happened so quickly. One minute Charlie’s balls were beginning to pulsate, the next my ears were ringing death, my hair was matted with his brains and his cock was pulling from my mouth as he slid down the wall, the white goo on my chin his last good-bye. I didn’t hear whoever pulled the trigger leave, but I did hear the blast of a shotgun from out in the bar. Trying not to look at Charlie’s caved in head as I extract his wallet and mobile from his pocket, I move out the bathroom door with the Makarov in my hand pretty quickly.
I was worried about Bob, pointlessly though it seems. He stands over the body of a man, face down on the floor, a gaping shotgun-blasted hole in his back. His blood’s pooling and his leg’s still convulsing. It’s reminiscent of an Elvis dance as it jiggles about in random sequence.
“Fuck.” It’s all I’ve got.
Bob just stares at me, smoking shotgun propped up on his hip like he’s posing for an action movie poster. Bob, the shotgun toting gunslinger from the shitty side of town. I can see no regret in his face. Bob does what he needs to in this hell hole and this is just another one of those cases. I admire him standing there.
“The other fucker got away.” He says.
“Do you know who they are?” I ask him.
“Nope. Never seen ‘em before. Can’t mistake them ugly faces though. Russians.”
“Russians.” I say. “Fucking Russians.”
“Um…” Bob gestures at his own face, “You should get cleaned up and get out of here.”
“What would Charlie have to do with Russians?” I ask.
“No idea. Maybe they were here for you?”
“Maybe. That was a hit, pure and simple.”
The whole thing was too efficient to be anything but a hit, despite their lack of expectation that they would be met by a shotgun wielding bar tending giant. If they were here for me I doubt they would have got Charlie instead. Unless, of course, it was meant only as a warning. In this business everyone’s a pawn, expendable. What’s the life of a drunk if you get your message across?
“Willow, you need to go.”
I clean up a little in the Ladies Room and head back out to the bar. Bob’s poured me a drink. It’s on the counter. I pick it up and down it in one. Thirsty. Needed that. It was turning into an interesting evening. Bob hands me a full bottle.
“Here. Take that with you.”
“Thanks. I need it.”
“We all need it. ‘Cept for him.” He gestures to Buck’s stool. The old poet is fast asleep at the counter. He’s dribbling, snoring a little.
“He sleep through the whole thing?”
“Fuck.” I say.
“Ran out the door screaming her head off. Who knows where she might be now.”
“Fuck. I can’t get caught up in this Bob.”
“I know. That’s why you gotta go.”
“I’ll talk to her.” He tries to reassure me.
I take the full bottle of Gin with gratitude and head out the door.
Bob stops me. “Willow.”
“I will Bob. Promise.”
I know I’m all the old guy has in life besides the Crabbed Dame. Like a daughter. I wish I could be more normal for him. But I can’t. I am who I am and I do what I have to do. I’m pretty sure the big guy understands that. Besides, what constitutes normal in this world and who’s judgement is it?
Outside the night’s cooler than I remember. Looking at the reflection of neon on the dirty pavement I feel a small pang of sadness at what’s gone down. With a full bottle of Gin tucked into my jacket, a dead man’s phone and wallet, a Russian’s old Makarov and a face bruised and starting to swell, I fire the 750 into life. The sound as always, helps to soothe me. To calm my nerves a little. I can’t stay at the bar. I can’t stay at home. I roar from The Crabbed Dame, the sound of the motorbike amplified by the stillness of the late hour, what an interesting fucking night…