Swylce

Musings and Writing of GG Alexander

Savage Writing: A Girl Can Make Mistakes, Can’t She?

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Theme for this night was “Games.”  I decided to stretch myself and take a ‘Love Games’ approach (what with playing games and doing a dissertation on games, I’m a bit gamed-out!), and took one scene idea from a longer story and expanded it into this.

 

The streetlight outside flared orange along the gun barrel as the masked man pointed it at Tony’s face. They had kicked down the door and dragged him out of bed before he had fully opened his eyes; now two men hovered over him while the third rifled through the organised piles of clutter next door. He crossed his eyes looking at the gun, and wished he hadn’t slept in his scabbiest pair of boxers. He didn’t want them to be the clothes he died in.

‘Whoever you are, whatever you want, I’ll give it,’ he said. Since he had no idea why they had invaded his flat at one in the morning, there wasn’t much point in being brave.

‘We’re only here for one thing, mate,’ the man with the gun said. ‘You friendly with a girl named Laura Harrington?’

The horror Tony felt upon hearing her name eclipsed any he would have felt had they threatened him, and the gunman smiled as he saw it.

‘Can’t find the bloody thing!’ came a shout from the next room. The gunman sighed and turned back to Tony.

‘Gonna tell us where your phone is, mate?’

Before he could refuse to answer, a loud saxophone riff, distorted and accompanied with a buzz of vibration, interrupted them, making everyone jump. The second intruder followed the noise, fighting with the duvet while trying to get to the phone. Finally, he straightened in triumph – and the phone stopped ringing.

‘Gone to answerphone,’ he said. ‘Let’s have a listen.’

He pressed the button and a sultry female voice filled up the room, beginning: ‘Hey hot stuff…’ Tony sighed and closed his eyes.

 

Twelve hours earlier, she had been waiting for him outside the coffee shop, brown hair artfully tumbling over her shoulder, arms folded in a way that accentuated her breasts.

‘Hey hot stuff,’ she said, as always.

He knew he shouldn’t meet up with her, knew that it’d be better for his health if he stopped seeing her, but she had whined so piteously down the phone about how “We’re still friends, aren’t we?” that he couldn’t say no.

‘How’s work?’ he asked, after a few minutes of listless conversation.

She stirred her coffee thirty times before touching it, as always, then glanced up at him from behind her eyelashes.

‘Boring, now I don’t have you to do on my desk.’

He gave an embarrassed laugh and looked away.

‘There’s guys queuing up, I’m sure.’

‘None like you,’ she purred. ‘But I’m sure you’ve plenty of office girls swooning over you in your fancy new job.’

She raised her eyebrows as she spoke, and apart from the stress she put on the words “plenty” and “fancy”, that was the only way to tell she was being sarcastic. He had always liked how stupid people never caught onto it. It was her blatant inside-joke.

‘Not exactly.’

And she was very good at catching on to every hint of his intonation, every breathy terminal and creaky laugh, and decoding it perfectly to guess his problems.

‘Have you got a crush, Tony?’ she said with a smile absent of envy. ‘I’m jealous. Who is she? What’s she like?’

They had always liked laughing at the absurdity of the world. She used to go on her laptop and find strange news stories when they lay around in bed on weekend afternoons, laughing as the golden light highlighted all the dust in her room and the freckles on her back. Hammock recalled because the wooden stand breaks if left outdoors, that kind of thing. Well, she would enjoy this.

‘She’s entirely inappropriate for me,’ he said.

‘Go on.’

‘She’s seventeen,’ he confessed.

‘That’ll never work, Tone. You need someone to boss you around.’

Trust her to make such an obtuse objection.

‘That’s not the worst part.’

‘Then what is?’ she asked, eyes gleaming. He breathed in, picturing again the blonde bundle of shyness and pink cheeks that had caught his heart’s imagination at the last company dinner.

‘She’s my new boss’s daughter. Laura Harrington.’

Gina burst out laughing, a piercing, high-pitched giggle that made half the cafe turn and look at them both.

‘You’re such a fuck-up, Tony,’ she said.

‘I know.’

She kept laughing. ‘Well, I’m always here, sunshine. If it all fucks up, I can fuck you up again.’

‘That implies you’ve stopped,’ he said. ‘Most exes at least pretend to be crazy before calling you in the middle of the night.’

‘It helps me get to sleep,’ she said. ‘Knowing you’re a phone call away, when I’m all alone in my bed.’ She finished her mug of coffee, before adding:

‘Makes me think that you’ll come round and alleviate my lonely loneliness.’

He didn’t know whether her redundancy was a joke or not, whether she was serious or not. And he had no chance to ask because she stood up and belted her coat, and he had to rush to finish his own drink. As they exited the cafe, she walked far too close to him for a non-girlfriend, arm nearly in his, her flowery perfume drifting over and settling on his body. Once outside, they hovered, waiting for the other to say something.

‘So…’ Gina said, swaying her shoulders backwards and forth, hands in her pockets. She was anticipating his next move already.

‘U-uhm,’ he said, ‘if you like, I can take a half day. If…you wanna do anything else.’

They had had sex at least five times since they broke up. He never intended to, but somehow whenever they met he always heard himself making this offer, new crush or none.

‘Can’t!’ she said abruptly. ‘I’ve got lots of work to do. Not to mention I’ve a date tonight. But I’ll see you soon, okay? Take care!’

With that she turned and walked away, springing on her heels. He felt as if he’d been dumped – not romantically dumped, but physically dumped into the sea. She was always like that. Every time, she swayed and smiled and made him think she wanted him, and nine times out of ten she snubbed him at the end. He scratched the back of his head and turned back towards the office.

‘Fucking Gina…’

 

When the voicemail had finished, the three criminals looked at each other and laughed, turning to leave.

‘That’s not her,’ Tony said, ‘I don’t have Laura’s number, that’s –’

‘Well, it says GF,’ the one with the gun said as he looked at the phone. ‘And it’s understandable why you wouldn’t want to put her name with her number, when her dad has such dodgy dealings…good thing we can get an address from this…’

‘Gina Foreman! It’s not her – I don’t have a girlfriend – listen to me!’

But the three men were making their way towards the door, laughing at his vain attempts to deceive them.

‘You just sit tight, “hot stuff”,’ one sneered. ‘Don’t touch the phone, and when her dad ponies up, we’ll bring her back in one piece…mostly…’

The door slammed behind them and Tony was left, still kneeling on the floor in his boxers, with the voicemail message running round and round his head:

‘Hey hot stuff. Just sitting here in my cold empty bed, thinking about you. I know I might have said some mean things yesterday, but a girl can make mistakes, can’t she? So I’m taking up your offer. Come on round…I’ll be waiting.’

—–

At the end of the cafe scene, after I said ‘Fffucking Gina,’ Greg burst out ‘I hate the bitch,’ and I thought he was joking until afterwards when he said he actually hated her. I’m so proud I managed to provoke such a response! Matt also called this ‘Psychotic Mills and Boon’ which sounds like something I could get into to make money, ha ha ha…

The larger story is more about Tony and Laura and is a little different, but there are kidnappings and at one point Gina very nearly gets in trouble by calling Tony like she does here. The next day he turns up at her work and bitches her out and that’s her comeuppance, I guess. She has a shred of sympathy in the long run, Greg~!

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Written by G.J.

14/06/2012 at 8:30 pm

One Response

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  1. […] book that we’ll be publishing soon. (The other pieces I submitted for the book were this, this and this). I decided to do something a little different from normal, and realised it’d be good […]


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