Powder Burn Flash #133 - Jake Hinkson
The Girl In The Corner
by Jake Hinkson
It took me a second to place her face. It was a big party, and at first I thought she might be one of Rob's friends from work. He apparently knew a lot of attractive women. The party had spilled out of the house and down onto the beach, and many of the people drinking beer and talking were tanned and toned women. At first, I thought the girl in the corner of the kitchen was just another bronze-skinned beauty queen with long, honey-colored hair.
Then it hit me. I knew her from the internet. A few weeks before, I'd seen her in some amateur online porno. The realization nearly knocked me over. It was her for sure.
I watched her as she stood in the corner of the huge, crowded kitchen nursing a beer. She wasn't talking to anyone, and I didn't blame her. I was Rob's guest for the weekend, but in two days it had become clear that we didn't run in the same circles, anymore. In college, we had played football together, but he'd always had his eyes on the dollars.
Now he had lots of dollars and lots of friends. Somewhere in the house some people erupted in laughter. Pretty girls strolled in and out of the kitchen to grab drinks. Guys in yachting clothes wandered the halls. In the den, Lil' Wayne blasted out of Rob's sound system. Girls danced and guys watched them. Everyone was beautiful, and everyone looked rich.
Rob walked up and handed me a Stella.
"Enjoying yourself?" he asked.
"Gotta loosen up. I know you're mister law and order now, but you gotta have fun. It's your last night in town."
"I'm having fun."
"Good. Hey, been meaning to ask you: you work any murder cases yet?"
"Nope. Still mostly giving out speeding tickets. Hey," I pointed at the girl in corner, "who's that girl? She looks familiar."
He looked at her and took a sip of his beer.
"Sunny," he said.
"Yeah. Lives down the beach. Why?"
"What do you know about her?"
He looked at me and something changed in his face. His thick eyebrows pressed down on his bright blue eyes. He took a hard pull off his beer.
"She's Sunny. She lives down the beach."
"You said that already."
Sunny wore a tight black t-shirt and low-riding jeans. She glanced at Rob, crossed her arms, and wandered away.
I looked back at Rob and realized he'd been watching me.
He smiled, but his smile lacked everything but a pair of lips. "Just a girl I know."
He slapped my arm and ambled off into the crowd.
Was he the guy in the video?
I couldn't remember, but I didn't think so. The guy in the video wasn't visible most of the time. Most of him wasn't visible, anyway.
I looked around for Sunny and found her on the porch watching the sun go down over the ocean.
I stood there sipping my beer for a while. People milled around the beach, holding beers, laughing, flirting. A volleyball game was winding down. Someone had started a bonfire.
She glanced over at me, and I turned to watch the volleyball game.
Rob walked out onto the porch and slid up to Sunny, whispering something in her ear. She looked down into her drink, nodded and followed him inside.
Something odd was happening here, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I threaded my way through the crowd inside, but Rob and Sunny were nowhere around. Passing some girls drinking on the bottom step, I went up the stairs. On the second floor, I heard voices coming from Rob's bedroom. I crept over near the door.
"You think your friend saw me online?" Sunny said. "So what? What did you think was going to happen?"
"I know, I know," Rob said.
"You begged me to fuck Sanderson. I told you the sick bastard wanted to tape it."
"I know. Jesus! It's just…I didn't think it would, you know…"
"No, I don't know," she said. "What? I make a fucking whore out myself for you, and this is still all about you. But it's me out there on the goddamn worldwide web."
"I have my future to think about, Sunny."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm just say—"
"What do you mean your future?"
"My future. Your future is your problem."
"You're a real motherfucker, you know that? I do you the favor, fuck some piece of shit you owe money to, and now you're blowing me off."
"Whatever. I paid you back."
"A bag of heroin. Thanks. I want more."
"I'm serious. I'll walk out there and tell all your rich asshole friends about your little financial problems."
"Shut your mouth."
"I'll tell them what I did to get you out of your little jam with your creditor. I'll tell them you're broke." There was a sound I couldn't quite make out. I eased closer. Sunny said, "What the hell are you—" Something crashed on the floor. Sunny screamed.
I kicked in the door, and found Rob choking Sunny. I pulled him off, and he swung at me. I ducked, came up, and put one on his chin. It staggered him, and he fell backwards through his plate-glass shower door.
Later, after the medics had patched up Rob and the cops had hauled him away, Sunny came up to me, her neck already starting to bruise.
"Thanks," she said.
"You guys were friends?"
"He and I were friends once, too."
"How long will he be in jail?"
"Probably get out in the morning. I'd stay clear of him if I were you."
She started to tear up, but she shook her head and turned away from me. "I don't know how life got so fucked up."
She looked at me again. "Some lives are messier than others."
"I know," I said.
BIO: Mr. Hinkson is a writer currently working on a book about film noir. His fiction has appeared on A Twist Of Noir, and he runs a blog called The Night Editor (http://thenighteditor.blogspot.com).