003 - Kicking the Bucket Oct 28, 2016 2:29:07 GMT -6
Post by Cross Recoba on Oct 28, 2016 2:29:07 GMT -6
Originally Posted: 14th October 2016
The blonde hair in her hand wasn’t natural, the roots were showing revealing that Belle was a brunette, it was an odd thing to notice in the chaos but Recoba had come to realise that tiny details tended to be worth noting.
He racked his brain to work out if he’d seen this kind of trouble in the establishment before and came up empty. The general clientele that frequented these places were no issue and where they were it was a safe bet that substance abuse played a part, normally alcohol, cocaine, or both.
The bruising around her eyes had tipped Cross off to the broken nose, her hands obscuring the bottom half of her face. The makeup that had been applied that morning now ran down her face as the tears provided a current to guide them.
He walked back to his office – in part to gather his thoughts, although the ice bucket that sat on his desk would be useful right now. He tried to make sense of the situation; his only role at the brothel was to intervene when this sort of thing happened, but why was Joanna waving it off like it was nothing? Why was Joanna so dismissive of the incident? At this point there were more questions than answers but, again, Cross had learnt a long time ago that this was pretty natural.
He grabbed his pack of Lucky Strikes and the ice bucket and went to go back to Belle’s room; standing in his way was Joanna.
“I’ve got this.” the firmness of Joanna’s words were evident, he’d heard this tone used on undesirable visitors. What was it she said a few minutes ago? It was the third time this week?
“Last time I checked the boxing gym was three blocks down from here. I know you’ve been in this game a lot longer than I have but how can we continue to operate if we let clients get away with this? How many girls are going to come and work here if word gets out about this?”
Joanna’s face soured, while the two had never had a cross word between them she very much carried herself as the proprietor of the place.
“Do you know the key to this ‘game’, Cross? The customer is king, it’s no different to selling a condo or a stereo…” her words were delivered in an even tone devoid of any emotion.
“Where are the other two girls from this week?” Recoba matched her tone, he couldn’t have Costello pull him up on this, he’d be running coffee orders to men he was used to sending to get his own caffeine fix if this wasn’t handled correctly.
Joanna let out an audible huff and lit a cigarette, her hands calm and steady.
“They’re off for the rest of the week.”
Irritatingly, for Cross, this was something that seemed too convenient but he had no recourse to challenge it – his role was pretty much to be an enforcer, the rotas and roster management fell squarely on the shoulders of Joanna. Cross only had one real card to play on this matter, whether it would give him the answer he wanted was something he couldn’t predict.
“So, it happened before…to two girls…who are not due back in for another four days? Do we always give them a double-weekend off?” Recoba had to admit he wasn’t au fait with the working times or days of working girls, nor did he particularly pay attention to who was meant to be in and not in.
“Caju had booked the week off in advance; Liz hasn’t been able to sort out childcare for the week.” Joanna reeled off the reasons without pause or hesitance. Now Cross returned an audible sigh, he felt the ice bucket in his hand getting warmer and wetter.
“Can I just get this to Belle? She’s going to need an emergency room trip and we’re going to need a story.”
Joanna stood aside and made a ‘be my guest’ gesture.
“Thanks…” Cross’ words were tinged with sarcasm, surely a former whore would be more hurried to help a girl in the same trade.
Recoba walked past the Madame of the house and entered Belle’s room once more, shutting the door, he didn’t want the conversation to leave the room even if the CCTV would capture the movements.
Belle remained hunched over; in the time it had taken to return he noticed she’d moved to the bed. He walked to her dresser and grabbed a tissue from the box that sat in front of the mirror, wrapping the ice cubes inside before passing it to her. Her hands trembled as she took it from him and placed it on the bridge of her nose.
“Belle, I need you to tell me everything, and I mean everything, that you know about the guy who did this to you. I’m not leaving this room until I know if he manscapes, that’s the level of detail I need from you…”
Recoba’s words were firm, the information needed to be gathered, it needed to be processed, and it needed to make sense. The girl returned his words with a distinctly unalluring cough, he pulled a cigarette from the pack and handed it to her.
“I’m on your side, Belle…I just can’t do anything until I know the whole story….”
The waitress approached Cross and Joe and refilled their coffee. She sent a scowl in Recoba’s direction as he proceeded on with the fifth cigarette of their stop in the very much non-smoking diner, her efforts were in vain – the PAW superstar was trying to blow smoke rings through one another.
Joe’s face was a mixture of fear and excitement, the journalist questioned whether or not this was the conclusion to the story, he still had no clue as to why he was involved, who they were targeting, or more importantly – why the issue was a big deal to the Illinois native.
“Cross…” The muckraker's words seemed to go unnoticed as Recoba casually flicked his cigarette over the side of the booth.
“CROSS!” This time the words brought our narrator back into the real world. His face and voice dropped.
“Is this all you’re giving me to go on?”
Recoba’s expression betrayed a man who had taken to toying with his prey, the suspense being as much of an amusement to him as it was an irritant to his victim.
“No, but are you beginning to get a picture?”
“No! Who is this guy? Is he even the guy?” the journalist in Joe wanted the truth, the desperation in Joe needed the truth.
“Patience, Joe, the whole point about this dance of ours is to have patience…”