This is my contribution to the Sweet Dreams flash fiction challenge set by Patti over at Pattinase. Here's Patti's set-up: "It begins in a food/drink establishment of some sort. The radio/juke box/band is playing 'Sweet Dreams' by the Eurythmics. A red-headed woman in an electric blue dress comes through the door. And then what?"
And here's my story:
Kyle was hiding at the rear of the diner, facing the door, his back to a wall, head tucked into his shoulders.
The Eurythmics were playing on the jukebox, Annie Lennox warbling in a hypnotic mantra. ‘Sweet dreams are made of this.’
He moved the salt shaker in time to the music, sliding it nervously back and forth across the formica top. Jimmy should have arrived by now. Should have arrived half an hour ago.
The front door swung open and a beautiful young woman in a spray-on, electric blue dress entered.
‘And who am I to disagree?’ Kyle muttered, instinctively craning his neck to sneak a better look.
It had to be a movie star or a model that’d lost their bearings and accidentally drifted into the neighbourhood. Anybody with those kinds of looks left in the first red Porsche that coasted along Main Street; and they only came back for marriages and funerals.
The chatter of the few, late evening patrons died, heads turning to take in the new arrival.
‘I’ve travelled the world and the seven seas. Everybody is looking for something.’
The woman’s eyes scanned the room and locked on his gaze. She smiled, gave a small wave, and started to head towards him, every pair of eyes in the joint following her progress.
He slid back down into his chair, the song churning in his head. ‘Some of them want to use you. Some of them want to get used by you. Some of them want to abuse you. Some of them want to be abused.’
She pulled to stop next to his table.
‘I wanna use you and abuse you. I wanna know what's inside you. Hold your head up, movin' on. ’
He kept his head down, avoiding eye contact, hoping that the poor deluded woman would go away. He’d no idea who she was.
‘Kyle Morgan?’ she asked cheerily.
‘Keep your head up, movin' on.’
He lifted his eyes from her exquisite, tanned legs and squinted up at her beautiful face – sparkling blue eyes, high cheekbones, straight nose and wide mouth, framed by a shock of auburn hair.
‘Hold your head up, movin' on.’
‘You are Kyle Morgan, right?’ She smiled hesitantly, revealing a set of perfect white teeth.
‘Keep your head up!’
‘Who wants to know?’
‘I do, who do you think? Is anybody sitting here?’ she pointed at the chair facing him.
‘I, er …’
She pulled out the chair and dropped down, her head tipping back, letting out a dramatic sigh.
‘These shoes are killing me.’ She angled her foot out so he could see one of the electric blue stilettos.
‘Sweet dreams are made of this.’
He nodded, unsure what to say, trying not to let his gaze plunge down the dress’ neckline to her cleavage, and failing.
‘Who am I to disagree?’
‘The cat’s got your tongue, hey?’ she mocked, aware of the power of her beauty. ‘Well that makes a change.’ She held out a slender hand. ‘Mr Freeman sent me.’
‘Mr Freeman?’ Kyle repeated, ignoring her hand, the song dropping from the stereo soundtrack in his head back into the general noise of the diner.
‘Yeah, you know, Mr Freeman. Marty Freeman. Big man, no hair, long leather coat, prone to losing his temper. The man you stole twelve thousand dollars from.’
‘Not the cleverest thing you’ve ever done, Kyle. But then you’re hardly the brightest firework in the box, are you? I’m here for the money.’
He glanced at the sports bag placed on the chair next to him, then to the door of the diner.
‘Don’t even think about it, Kyle. I’m not in the mood. As you can see, I’m meant to be at a cocktail party for the Governor.’
He glanced at her, then grabbed the bag.
The ball of her foot hit his pubic bone, the stiletto heal slid beneath his manhood, the arch forming a fortunate bridge.
‘You really are as dumb as you look, Kyle, you know that?’
He let out a low whimper, his eyes fixed on the ankle and shoe pinning him to the chair. He tried to wriggle backwards, but the wall stopped his progress.
She started to ease her foot upwards. ‘The bag please, Kyle.’
‘What?’ he muttered, his voice up an octave, his eyes not leaving the shoe.
‘I said, pass me the bag,’ she dug her heal in.
His eyes opened wide a fraction, before his face crumpled in a grimace. Reluctantly he passed the bag across the table. Once her foot was removed he’d grab the bag back and teach her a couple of lessons; she was crazy if she thought she could waltz in on her own in a slip of a cocktail dress and take what was rightfully his.
She unzipped the bag and eased it open. ‘Going on a little holiday, were we?’ she said, removing a wad of twenty dollar notes. ‘And your wallet.’
‘Yes, your wallet. Call it the interest due.’
‘Who are you?’
‘The hired help.’
‘The hired help?’
‘For Mr Freeman. Do you need revision notes?’ She smiled at him pityingly. ‘Your wallet.’
He dug into his back pocket and placed his fat wallet on the table. Where the hell was Jimmy? If he’d been here when he was meant to have been they’d have avoided this she-devil. And who was she, in any case? Mr Freeman had an established cadre of hired muscle.
She picked up the wallet and dropped it into the bag.
‘There, that wasn’t too bad was it?’
‘Do you really think you’re going to just walk out of here with my money?’
‘Mr Freeman’s money. And yes, I do.’ She jerked back her foot six inches and slammed it forward.
Kyle lurched back and folded in two in one movement, his body arcing across the table. For a moment his mouth was a silent O, before some unearthly sound roared from his lungs.
‘At least Jimmy took it like a man,’ the woman said rising, tugging the dress down her thighs. She picked up the bag and headed for the door. ‘He cheated on me,’ she explained to an elderly couple transfixed by Kyle’s howling.
‘Sweet dreams are made of this. Who am I to disagree?’ she sang in unison with Annie as she pushed open the door and exited. She hoped that the governor wasn’t going to be too disappointed when she arrived half an hour late.