Sometimes having the right assets is all you need to get ahead – Mata Hari.
Heels, check. Inappropriate skirt, check. Garish makeup, check. Garter knife and garotte, double check. This is going back to basics, I so love challenges. The mark is in his thirties, typical high flying party animal with a preference for boys and a cocaine habit, the kind of guy I’d off on generally principles. But that’s not why his name has found its way to my lips. He’s wronged the wrong man.
The bouncer takes one look at the little plastic tag hanging from my left earlobe and waves me in. He doesnt notice the blood specks on the underside. The stragglers start to protest and he opens his jacket and flashes his piece. The hallway grows quiet very quickly, just the way I like it. The club is dark and the patrons are smoking up a storm. The occasional flashes of the strobe pierces the haze and reveals couples and groups scattered all over, entwined in orgiastic fantasies. Midgets in loin cloths stand nearby with baskets of condoms in their pudgy hands and ten year old girls in flimsy night gowns walk around holding trays of cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and viagra. In here its almost easy to forget you’re in a third world country. Most of the patrons here are aliens; whites, mulattoes, the occasional Arab. The black patrons are few and far between, Most can’t afford to revel in a place like this. I do a quick head count and survey the exits. Two guards at the pneumatic front entrance and one by the toilets. Four handlers mill around the room, motivating reluctant performers with slaps and kicks. I’m a little impressed, Ekpenyong has really come into his own. This is exactly how I’d run a prostitution ring. I suspect he’s heard rumors of the hit that will go down in his club tonight but I’d like to think he knows better than to interfere in my employer’s schemes; sex clubs which’ve been marked and raided by Mopol squads dont last long. I avoid other ‘performers’ and negotiate the room, offering kisses and terrible lap dances. Easier to explain when I don’t show up again, the good ones get noticed, the bad ones get fired. The handlers pretend not to notice the john protesting that I refused to ‘blow’ him. I spot the mark, he is being serviced by an ugly blob of meat and his exaggerated squealing has attracted an audience, professional voyeurs in the club gathering round like crows on a carcass. I’ll bide my time, a bit.
A john grabs me by the waist from behind and slips his hand into the waistband of my skirt.
“What the fuck are you doing?” I hiss.
He grabs a clump of my hair and pulls backwards.
“Green ear tag na for prostitute wey I fit rough handle now, abi you no like rough play?”
Shit! I know I should have asked that idiot what the color of her tag meant before I buried my garter knife between her fourth and fifth ribs.
Instinctively I pivot on my heel and grab his testicles. It is the best I can do to control the situation without attracting attention. The john is in his forties, with a bald pate, a beer gut and breath that reeks of isi-ewu pepper soup and cheap liquor. In my heels, I am three inches taller than he is. A smarter man would see the odds stacked against him and walk away, but this one isn’t all that bright. I squeeze his testicles and he squeaks.
“Adanna, squeeze it small na.” He begs in a slurring igbo accent. I smile and slap him instead. His smile widens to reveal gums that are beginning to bleed.
“Where does Ekpeyong get you girls from sef? You are like zoo animals.”
The john hits me unexpectedly and I reflexively retaliate with a swift headbutt to his temple and a rabbit punch to his larynx with my free hand. He goes down gagging. He passes out a minute later, he shouldn’t have touched me, literally. I look around but our little dance has gone ignored. I steal a furtive glance at my mark and I see him ambling towards the toilets, a slight limp the only evidence of the manhandling he just received, his pain threshhold must be superhuman. This couldn’t have happened better if I’d orchestrated it myself. My temple begins to swell and I make a dash for the bathroom and ‘intentionally’ collide with the mark and we both topple over. The guard at the bathroom door points his AK47 at us and barks that I help the mark up immediately. I pretend to cower at the gun and help the now bristling man up.
“I’m really sorry sir.” I say loudly.
He spits in my face and stalks into the bathroom, his limp more pronounced. I try to follow and the guard jams the AK’s nozzle into my exposed belly.
“Where you dey go?”
I point to my now swollen forehead. He pokes the swelling and I pretend to flinch. He steps out of my way and as I pass, he grabs at my butt. I spare him a final glance and memorize his face, the next time I see him, he dies.
The toilets are bright and sterile , with industrial strength flourescent lamps and a tray full of syringes for the more discreet cokehead. Three of the five toilet stalls are missing doors and are obviously designed to hold more than one person at a time. Seems the orgies don’t end in the club. I search the stalls, the mark isnt in any of them. The door of the fourth stall is slightly ajar, that leaves the fifth. I position myself at the sink in front of the fifth stall and bide my time. I memorize the layout. Each one has a panic button and the the exit door back to the club doesnt have a knob on the inside. That eliminates a hasty exit. I grab a handful of syringes, fashion them into makeshift blow darts and line them up ; if this degenerates into a melee, sharp objects will come in handy. The sound of a toilet flushing announces his exit and I feel the anticipation build. The door opens and he comes out looking pale. I block his path and kneel in front of him, with my blouse open, my head down and my left hand over my garter knife.
“Sir, my handler has asked me to come show my remorse;” I lift my head till my eyes are level with his crotch, “in any way possible.”
It takes him a moment to connect the dots. He mumbles to himself about women never knowing how to get him off properly but he drops his pants anyway. Typical. He drops the lid on the bidet and sit atop it.
“What are you waiting for? Get to it.” He snaps. I stand up and drop my blouse but I make no move to join him.
That irritates him. “What now?”
I wring my hands. “I’m shy.”
He throws his hands up. “Then close the fucking door, my ass is freezing! Stupid assholes putting AC’s in toilets.”
I bolt the door behind me. He raises an eyebrow but says nothing. I let my panties drop halfway down my legs.
“Who said I wanted to fuck?” The mark asks. “Get on your knees and put your mouth to work.”
As I kneel slowly, I tap my garrotte. He just lost his right to a quick death. Out of nowhere pain hits and disorients me as the mark’s knee connects with my jaw. My vision blurs and I try to back away. The mark kicks me into the door and pulls up his trousers. He slaps me a couple of times and drags me up by the throat and pins me on the door. I don’t struggle, there’s no dignity in that, besides the time isn’t right yet. Like all men, he begins to gloat.
“Bash must be getting soft, sending a girl after me.”
I paint on a look of surprise, if I can get this idiot to spill his guts, I might be able to salvage the situation and explain away this blunder. I’m certain Ekpeyong is filming this, and everything gets back to Babu eventually. He sees the look and takes the bait.
“Oh! You’re wondering how I know Bash was sending someone? Ekpeyong told me of course. He isnt going to interfere, which is why no one is here yet. But he owes me, big time, and I just cashed in. You were so obvious though. One of Bash’s infamous half-caste bastards, bred like prize Pitbulls for his dirty work. You all have one father, don’t you?”
“Then kill me!” I spit. “If don’t bring back your head, I take your place. Better you than them.”
He laughs. “You’ll die soon enough. What’s the rush? Guess how I knew you were the one he sent?”
I stay silent.
He lands a punch to my ribs. “Do what I fucking tell you!”
“How?” I rasp.
He reaches under my skirt and pulls out my garter knife. He uses it to trace the curvature of my lips.
“This little thing exposed you. Ekpeyong just recently installed a metal detector. Of course it has to be discreet so no alarms but it ensures we know who’s coming ready for a fight. You obviously didn’t know none of Ekpeyong’s girls are allowed to carry weapons, did you?”
It’s been more than ten minutes since we entered the toilets, more than enough time. I begin to struggle and flail and the mark tightens his grip on my neck. The muscle relaxant I’d slathered on him when I helped him up begins to travel through his blood, and the effects are instant. The antidote I ingested earlier has already neutralized my own symptoms. It is a last resort, incase Chaos works against me.
His left facial muscles start to twitch, he nudges his cheek with a shoulder but the twitching only worsens. He degenerates into full spasms and his other hands abandon my neck and fly to his face.
“What have you done to me?” he shrieks, though the horror on the left side of his face doesn’t quite match his right. The spasms have travelled down from his face and he is jerking like a marionette. I pick up my knife and return it to its sheath and I pull out the underwire of my bra. Its two feet long and made of fibreglass, the perfect understated weapon. By now the mark is on the floor, still seated only because his back is leaning against the bidet bowl. His eyes are set on the panic button and he doesn’t dare look away. I wrap my garotte around his neck and pull, his gasping and choking increasing in pitch as his body struggles to take in air. His bulging eyes dart around in panic. I put my knee against his back and pull till the garotte scores my palms. When it’s over, he slumps and falls on his side.
I rifle through his pockets and take his wallet as a prize. His identity will fetch me a reasonable bonus. There’s always someone desperate to become someone else. I climb out of the stall and kick out one of the asbestos roof slabs, hold it up with my foot and drop discreetly to the side. I climb in and feel my way to the southwest end of the floor. Its a church office and a change of clothes awaits me in an unlocked cabinet. As I change, I hear the faint din of the alarms go off at Eros. Everyone on the floor is in a panic, they must have misinterpreted the noise as a fire alarm and chaos follows. I embrace the anarchy and disappear into the crowd.
I’ve seen a lot of Edwin’s works at Phantom Pages
where @weirdo_oo spins the most clever stories too. I’ve also got one more thriller story by Edwin. Same killer girl, different challenge.
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This coming Monday, The Decades Project part II commences. (Watch out for the preview). It’s been a long journey and thatDarkBetty and her team have put together something wonderful. Tell your friends, tell your family. Let it be known that AfroSays’ Decades is back!
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