My name is Jack

My heart is pounding out of my chest. I never thought I would be this anxious.

Calm down now, I’ve put in too much thought and planning into this just to let a case of the nerves get in the way.

Right.

An irritating itch is crawling up the back of my throat. I hastily fumble around my coat pocket for a handkerchief and cough into it.

Damn this city and its foul air, my eyes are starting to water!

The dense evening fog and the hot soot spewing from about a thousand chimneys above me make a recipe that would leave even the most robust brigand unable to move in bed for weeks. Its already enough of a bother navigating through these dilapidated cobblestone streets that matched the impounded buildings above them, as well as ragged peddlers begging for alms adding themselves to the decay in the backdrop of society. I don’t need to know where I am of course, I’ve made this trip a few times just to take the path and the surrounding area by heart. Everything is in place except for one piece which is the object of my quest at the moment. I pick at my mustache to relieve a persistent itch, I am once again reminded why I don’t grow real facial hair.

Finally, I’ve arrived, A seedy pub in the heart of the backwater of the East End. A single storey building with no windows and a faded sign over the door that says something I can’t make out in the darkness.

There is a light post beside the building but it’s out, a juvenile’s prank no doubt, the next one is on the corner curb a few yards away. I think nothing of it as I entered, it suits my plans for the evening after all.

Inside it was no cleaner or cheerier than on the outside, in fact it was even dirtier and more depressing. Perhaps this was because of the presence of people. I take a seat at the bar and put a shilling in front of the keep without a word. It was off the table and into his pocket in a moment. He did it so smoothly and without sound that it was almost mystical was I not paying attention. After a few more minutes he gave me a dirty glass with suspicious brown liquid. I gulp it down faster than a breath. The taste was mossy acid and it burned my chest as it went down. I tap the bar for another glass. Two hours and a few more drinks passed when an unfortunate sits beside me.

“Care to buy me a drink?” she said feigning sweetness even batting her eyes at me as she said it. I nod at the keep. He gave her the same drink he had been giving me and she throws it down with the expertise of a man and belches for the whole bar to hear. This wasn’t her first drink of the night and I wasn’t her first job of the night either.

It doesn’t take much thought to read this woman like a 10 ft. sign board. Obviously an alcoholic that sleeps where ever she passes out born into the streets probably illegitimate too. She talks me up trying to find whether I’m open to do business for her.

You can always tell who the women of the impoverished classes were. They were either ghastly thin with ugly skeletal faces or obscenely fat with large pendulous breasts.

This one was of the latter variety. We make conversation and I gradually let her talk me into going with her, can’t look too eager after all. Martha, she said her name was, as I thought, an illegitimate child of a carnival dancer married twice, one was named Mark the other Tim both men left her because she was drinking them dry.

What could you expect from trying to love a woman?

Another one, a friend of hers looks like, approaches us. Polly, Martha called her, I don’t think it was her real name though. As dimwitted as she looked she didn’t look as dimwitted for the name Polly to suit her, she was a large one as well. Polly sat down next to Martha tugging along a soldier on her arm, a private.

They both chatted for a while, I join in occasionally for a smart comment or a witty remark, partly to impress Martha, I’m ashamed to confess, partly to show who the fools at this bar were. The soldier said nothing. I assume he wanted to conduct his business with Polly as soon as possible.

After much time, talk and drink he got his wish, all four of us left the pub and went our separate ways. Polly and the soldier went west while Martha and I headed east. She kept talking as I retraced my steps back from where I came from. Everything looked and felt the same as before except the beggars had all gone home.

I didn’t originally plan for it to get this late. I pull out my handkerchief from my coat pocket and a spare from my pants pocket. I offer it to her, she takes it with a smile that stretches her pudgy face into a wrinkly mass fortunately covered in darkness and heavy make-up. I return her smile, women like that, and lead her into a small square where I formerly resided. I didn’t care for the place very much but even I had to admit that it had style.

A Victorian-gothic building covering two lots and stood five storeys, it had a small arch over its main door adorned with sculptures of men and angels. The roofs were pointed and had small 15th century style gargoyles on them. Or was it the 14th ? I can’t recall. Of course the most all the sculptures were destroyed, the rain melted the paint off even before I came here, the shutters were always noisy, it was infested with rats and even worse it stunk of the people who resided there. It wasn’t an easy choice whether or not to leave the place, then again it wasn’t a difficult choice either.

I lead her inside and into the receiving room. I told her this was as good a place as any and asked her if she objected. She peered around in the darkness for a moment and approached an old loveseat sofa. She dropped herself heavily on it with a thud and beckoned me to come closer. I did. She told me that I had been especially sweet to her this evening and that I wasn’t like any man she had been with before. Of course this is an act for the customer, a strategy to make him feel good so he could hand over more money. She said she would provide for me a special service. This puzzled me for a moment. Ordinarily a prostitute would simply turn her back and lift her dress. If the customer was drunk enough she would just slip the thing between her thighs and he wouldn’t penetrate her at all. I stood there trying to decipher what she meant when she grabbed between my legs. Her eyebrows furrowed and asked “Where is it?”

—————————————————————–

That was messy indeed. Good thinking on my part to bring an extra set of clothes hidden behind the fireplace. It was everywhere. Perhaps that was my fault. I let my emotions get the better of me, just like a beginner. On the other hand it was easier than expected. And the thrill of it all was exhilarating. The blood rushing to my extremities; my hands, the balls of my feet, the head of my penis. My own heartbeat as it pounded against my ears. Adrenaline lacing every neuron of my brain. I felt lighter, more powerful with every thrust and pomp. Her eyes drew me in as she gasped wide-eyed at my dominion of her being.

I’m starting to get uncomfortable. Honestly, these formal uniforms may be stylish but they’re dreadfully itchy. I was about two blocks away from the building where Martha and I conducted our business when a soldier probably a sergeant stopped me. “Where’re you headin’ off to in this time of night private?” I tell him I was waiting for a chap who went off with a girl. He gave a knowing nod and dismissed me. I should probably discard my clothes, the police will be looking for traces of evidence, not that they’ll ever find anything. They’re all a bunch of glorified farts after all.

Speaking of Martha, nobody will probably notice her until morning perhaps someone will see her sooner but they’ll just assume she was drunk and passed out, it’s not that uncommon to see whores on the street. No, not until morning, ‘til they find her. Not until morning that they’ll find that she’s dead.

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