From the author: “This story is all about a breakdown of order, which is the classic idea of chaos.”
‘I saw you.’
She does not move. She blinks, once, twice, but does not move. His lips curl at the corners as he nears her.
‘I saw you here, alone, and thought, mighty, a girl like that shouldn’t be alone.’
Her fingers tighten on the stem of her glass. The knuckles whiten. But he does not understand; he nears enough for her to recognise the stale stench of yesterday’s sex.
‘You shouldn’t be alone, for you are so beautiful. So beautiful, yes you are.’
His stench is strong. He has not washed. She glances down to the between of his trousers. It bulges.
‘You are too beautiful to be left alone? Are you alone? Are you with someone? And why on earth would they have left you here, all by yourself? If you were mine, if you were mine, why I would build you a palace of pure marble and present you to the world as my queen, my goddess, my courtesan exquisite!’
Extravagant promises. She can tell he has done this many times, that he has come here, gone there, watched the lone girls as they are abandoned by their boyfriends, their companions, their pimps. He has experience. He practises in front of the mirror his woos and wiles, his charms and smiles, trying to find fakery love in this pit-stop before hell.
‘Do you come here often? I come here quite a lot. Have been for a number of years, so I know the staff. In fact, I know the owner, if you want some inside work. She’s a love, she is, Miss Gretel, not that you would know. Or you might, if you come here often. Because it’s a beautiful place, suitable for beautiful women. You are beautiful, like the stars of the heavens which adorn Adonis’ brow, like the moon in all of her glory washed up on the still waters of the dark midnight lake. Like the sun, glowing as a beacon of hope, light and above all else, love!’
He speaks the word with passion, extreme passion, then his eyes drop down to her breasts. She sees his fingers twitch, his eyes widen, his scalp glisten. Her hand tightens on the glass.
‘Can I get you anything? Wine, beer, lager, ale, vodka? I see you have a white wine, mind if I join you. Waiter, a white chardonnay, if you will, and a bottle of champagne, if you will, two glasses, for me and my beautiful companion here. No ice, just the glasses, just the champagne, to drink, to divulge, to imbibe to our hearts content. For that is its purpose, is it not? The purpose of the Moët, to die from enjoying the taste and the freedom in your heart after drinking something so beautiful, that is the purpose in life is it not? To enjoy life, then to die forever happy.’
He pauses, very briefly, but she does not answer. Instead, he takes his chance. He nears enough for their breaths to embrace, and slowly raises a hand. His finger floats, following the contours of her throat, chin, jaw, but does not touch until it reaches her cheek. Then, cold, seizing, entrancing, he caresses her face.