It was well past midnight when Avvarice exited the dispensary. She went out nearly every night, and she never paid for her own drinks. In fact, the woman skated on the razor’s edge in this regard. She took so much value from men, giving only her body in return, that she had been able to leave her job. She would enter a bar, smile at a few men, and eventually hit a mark. She would coddle a few drinks, and especially a meal out of them, and then she would except nearly any advance as long as it took place in their home. Then in the morning, she would awake in their bed on a mission. She would collect her things swiftly, and then proceed to the kitchen and make herself something. If she was feeling particularly confident in her host’s slumber, she would take some of their money too.
Avvarice had a few repeat customers. She never stole from someone who could potentially be a repeat, it was bad for business. Of all, only Hhook was in on her secret life. This is where she headed now, to Hhook’s house. Tonight was a rarity for her calendar, it was a failure. It appeared she’d used up all the men at this particular dispensary, and no one wanted to see her again. She would simply move on tomorrow. But tonight, she knocked on his door. It took a few tries, but when he awoke, Hhook knew exactly who it was. He rushed to put on some clothes, and then clambered down his steps. Hhook owned one of the city’s many “slimhouses,” the washroom and kitchen was downstairs, and upstairs was only a bedroom. Often they were smaller in square cubits than the average bachelor apartment.
“Hey,” Avvarice said lustily as he opened the door.
She didn’t have to put on the act for Hhook, and he had the suspicion that she knew this.
“Another failure? They’re getting closer together.” He said.
“Why do you always assume it’s a failure when I come here?” Avvarice asked.
“Because,” He said pouring them some tea, “It always is.”
He treated her with kindness, but then left her to his couch near the doorway and went back to bed. He wasn’t going to give her the pleasure tonight. Hhook was frustrated being the third wheel on the motorcycle, the backup plan. Tonight, he would show her this. If Avvarice came back again he would consider making more emotional advances towards her, but as it stood, he was tired of the carnal ones.
Avvarice awake in a foul mood. He head hurt from the drink, and worse she had been turned down twice. She was beginning to wonder if she had lost her touch. If she would have to become a contributing member of society once more. She sighed, and then heard the sound of metal clanging in the kitchen.
Hhook was already awake and cooking breakfast. He had considered cooking only for himself, but thought better of it. Hhook had work today, unlike Avvarice, and he had to wake up early to get there.
“Still jobless?” He assumed.
“This is my job.”
Avvarice sat on the couch now, elbows on her knees, face resting in her hands. For once, Hhook noticed, she seemed thoughtful.
“You know,” He said, “I heard that the Djeb has places where you actually get paid to do these things.”
“It’s not about that.”
Hhook wondered what else it could possibly be. He served her breakfast, ate himself, and then was on his way. He didn’t bother telling her to lock up after she left. They had been through this enough that she knew already. They had been through this enough that he trusted her in his home.
Hhook’s job was uneventful. He worked making metal kitchen cutlery, as well as plates, pans, cups and so on. For some reason, unlike weapons, these had at least some quality to them. Avvarice took full advantage of his charity, and also of his shower. She felt oddly comfortable in his house. When she was finished, she took her clothes out of his “labour saving washing device” and put them on. Then she waited, waited until the bars opened.
She surveyed the evening avenues, looking at the signs, and at the patrons through windows. Not much was promising in this area. Avvarice sought younger men, as they were less likely to be attached to someone, and also more likely to let a stranger into their house. She ventured into the ghetto. Often she avoided this place, hearing it was dangerous, or that crazy people lived here. But she was feeling a little desperate at this point. She didn’t want to have to return with a wounded reputation to Hhook’s house, especially since he seemed unhappy with her.
Avvarice decided to check only one bar. The Razor’s Edge had bright neon and shined iron walls. She peered inside casually and saw that there was an apparently even distribution of race. This was actually more common in the Lussa ghetto, as the lower class was marginalized almost equally by the racially unbiased law. Lussa law was a mess, but the majority of it was still the foundation for social structure and government tendencies.
She entered the bar despite this. For the first few hours, no one much paid attention to her signals, or even her. She ended up buying herself a drink for the first time in a long time. Something strong. It pained her to spend her own money, but she had to blend in it seemed. She sat at a two seater near the entrance and sipped.
Long after nightfall, someone walked in. A taller man with pale skin and a large jaw. He wore an intense, almost primal expression on his face. He looked around, Avvarice noticed, to all the women. Then his eyes settled on her and calmed. Mostly.
The man went to the bar and bought two drinks, then sat down at Avvarice’s table.
“Is this seat taken?” He breathed.
“Ah, no.” Avvarice was uncomfortable, but she had to prove her point tonight, that she didn’t need Hhook.
She downed her own drink and moved on to his. It was even stronger, and it had a subtle sparkle to it.
“Interesting tastes you have,” she said.
He was an entirely uninteresting man, but as the night stretched on, she realized that he was all she was getting. Before the bar even closed he was on his feet, and she followed. They went into the alley, the alley! And he wanted to do it then and there. She hadn’t signed up for that. She would have to come home empty handed either way, and she sure as hell wasn’t going to do it after messing around with this beast.
Upon her refusal, the man’s eyes widened, the wild look returning. He grabbed her hands and pinned them to the wall.
That was all that crossed Avvarice’s mind. She had a feeling it would come to this. She swiftly kneed him the groin and left gracefully, but also swiftly. Once she was out of sight, her grace turned to fitfulness as scampered to her own neighbourhood.
She caught her breath in the dark. It was very dark here. Her ears scanned for pursuing footsteps, but there were none. After this, she proceeded to canvas her regulars, all except that one that was cheating with her, as she was a fan of keeping her bridges. It seemed that not many people wanted a visitor on the first weeknight. Most didn’t even answer their doors.
Defeated, she returned to Hhook’s house. Again, she knocked on his door. He was awake still this time, on his couch. He opened the door.
Before even letting her in, he started a conversation.
“Tonight another loss? Your back against the wall?” He asked.
“Ah!” She felt a pang of pain in her heart, remembering what had just happened, “Well…”
“You should just go home tonight. Unless you’re here for me and not some pride haven.” He said.
“I-” She stopped. Slowly, it began to rain on her.
Avvarice thought on his words as her hair and clothing became dampened. She stared at his knees. Pride haven. She looked to his flooring, his house. It did feel like a haven. Avvarice alway thought she loved the chase, the exhilaration of not knowing when the next meal would be, where next she would stay. But maybe, maybe he had a point. Maybe what she really sought was haven. The next safe place, the next source of nourishment.
“I don’t know right now.” She finished, looking him in the face. “I think I’ve come to rely on you too much. I, I don’t have my own home anymore. I’ve been evicted.”
“So, you’ll be renting my couch then?” He smiled, “You’ll need a job, I don’t want you selling yourself, you understand.”
Avvarice exhaled deeply. Her skin was cold and wet now.
“I guess so. Gone are my days of lavish.” She looked away again, “And I guess also my reliance on men.”
“That’s good enough for me.” He said.
Hhook finally let her in. Her skin was sleek and shined. Tonight, he was interested and so, it seemed, was she.
This is a weird one. Probably not my greatest endeavour, but it was interesting nonetheless. Based loosely on the Shawn Hook song, Who do You Love. Inspiration is a weird thing, eh?
I’ve published this on my secondary blog because I’m so unsure as to what to do with this. Might publish it on the main one in the future… This is also a first draft, as you might have noticed.
For the more active blog, check out www.danieltriumph.com