This week at Friday Flash Fiction, just for something different, Cormac offered us up four words, to be included in our stories, rather than a starter sentence. These words were Panic, Manic, Organic and Non-corrosive. A different challenge but one I was happy to take up. My story is below.
Jack Was Here
Carrie stood in the doorway; well-tanned arms resting on her well-rounded hips. Her posture announced to anyone unfortunate enough to pass her that she was in a foul mood. Her alabaster skin seemingly shimmered in the light cast by the single lacklustre bulb that lit the hallway and threw indistinct shadows on the walls around her. Dressed only in a negligee, pert breasts straining against the white satin, she was the epitome of the phrase all dressed up with no one to blow.
She had made his acquaintance downstairs at the blackjack table, where he had been throwing fifty dollar chips around like a child would throw bread crumbs to ducks. She had always been a sucker for a man with some coin so she had eased up next to him at the table, surreptitiously rubbing her bosom across his arm to capture his attention. And capture it she did, if only for a moment. He sized her up in an instant before returning his interest to the game before him.
“What’s the matter, Sugar, don’t like what you see?”
“Darlin’, you look mighty fine but can’t you see I’m in the middle of something?” was his only reply. He barely even glanced her way, his attention solely focussed on the cards in his hand.
“I can see you are in the middle of something,” she had answered, “but wouldn’t you rather be in the middle of something else.” Carrie fluttered her eyebrows like she had seen some of the older girls do. She also added a few seductive deep breaths – another trait she had learned from the long-termers. On the spur of the moment, she had taken one of his hands and placed it against her bosom.
“What do you think of them?” she had whispered into his ear.
He hastily withdrew his hand. “I think they are a magnificent pair, but nowhere near as good as the pair I have in my other hand.”
Carrie had stared at him. “Oh, you men, you always have something else clouding your brains when you are gambling. Don’t you think I am pretty?” Carrie flashed him a come-hither look, pouting and gyrating against his hip. “Don’t you want some of this? Wouldn’t you like to accompany me to my quarters later and we can get to know each other just a little better? Here, let me start: my name is Carrie. See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?”
“The difficulty isn’t the issue here, Carrie...that’s what you said you’re name was, am I correct?” Without waiting for confirmation, he continued. “You have come down here, dripping with sexual intentions and interrupting what had been a profitable evening. No, it’s a matter of manners, dear woman. I never said I wasn’t interested – just that I was otherwise engaged.”
Carrie leapt on that remark like a shearer on a sheep. “So, you are interested in a little getting-to-know-you session, then? That makes me so happy.” Carrie ran the tip of her index finger across her lipstick-laden bottom lip. “Come and make me even happier, sugar.”
“It doesn’t appear that I will be able to say no to you, so, let me finish up here and I will meet you upstairs.” He bedazzled her with a smile full of perfectly white teeth. The casino was open all night and he didn’t plan on being with her for the duration.
“That would be wonderful. I am in Room 16. Look forward to getting to know you more...umm...”
“Jack, the name is Jack.”
Carrie now observed Jack sauntering up the hallway toward her. Her anger at his dilly-dallying had abated, sensing that he had made himself a bit of a profit; money that she could easily relieve him of if things went according to plan.
“I thought you must have had a moment of panic and contemplated making a run for it, Sugar.” Carrie said, casually extending her arms towards him. “I had hoped the tables would not have been too much of a lure for you. You were attacking those cards like a maniac.”
“Not a maniac, sweetie. It is true that the lights and sounds excite me and that I zone out into some sort of a manic state when the dice or cards are in front of me, but that certainly doesn’t make me a maniac.”
“Yeah, whatever, honey,” Carrie replied, inching closer to him, until the bare skin of their arms touched, setting of a thrill in Carrie that she couldn’t describe. Something about his character was drawing her; his reckless nature at the tables, his obvious wealth, and his unbeatable good looks. But what really did it for her was the obvious bulge beginning to appear in the front of Jack’s pants.
“Shall we go inside and take care of that?” She asked him, smiling impishly, nodding into the room the whole time. “I may not be a doctor but I know a sure-fire way of bringing down that swelling.”
Carrie followed Jack inside. She noticed as he brushed past that he was carrying a half-full bottle of Evian. Good thinking, Sugar, she thought to herself, you’re going to need to keep your fluids up. We are gonna sweat up a storm tonight.
“Why don’t you put that bottle down and make your hands more useful? I sure could use a bit of a squeeze in the all right places, if you know what I mean?”
Removing his tie and undoing the top button of his shirt, Jack held the bottle out to Carrie. “Fancy a bit of Dutch courage – not that you really need it?” A grin broke out on Carrie’s face as she took the proffered bottle from his hand.
“Shit, Jack, this smells weird. What the hell is it, baby?”
“That is one of the most expensive gins in the entire world. It is awfully costly but I figured that if you were going to offer up to me your own heady wine, I could do nothing but reciprocate.”
Carrie shrugged her shoulders, tipped the bottle back and took a large swig of the contents. Immediately, she started to gag and gasp for air. Her face contorted in agony. She started clawing at her throat, her long nails peeling layers of skin until blood started to stream down her neck and onto her chest, staining her elegant camisole.
“Actually, I may have lied to you, Sugar,” Jack said, sarcasm dripping heavily from each word, “As a matter of fact, that is sulphuric acid – one of the more nastier liquids going around. I used to deal with the non-corrosive stuff but it just didn’t have the same zing, if you know what I mean?” Jack stared at the writhing form on the floor; vomit and blood quickly staining the plush white rug beneath. “My God, girl, don’t you watch the news broadcasts? There is a serial killer in town and you continue to offer your services – such as they are – to any man who looks your way. I know your type and I know that you had lied to me about your intentions. You wanted to do me out of my winnings and that’s fine – as far as it goes.”
Jack glanced a final time at Carrie.
“Unfortunately for you, this isn’t as far as it goes. The next step – and the beauty of this method - is to wait for the acids to reduce your earthly body back down to an organic matter, which then simply gets returned from whence it came – in your case, probably a garbage tip or a swamp. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.”
Jack dipped his finger in the decaying matter that was once Carrie and roughly daubed his calling card on the wall:
“Jack Was Here.”