Love ya - Chrys
“My brother’s an ass! That looks nice.”
“No, g’day? Nothing like that?”
Chrys looked at her girlfriend with innocent puppy eyes. “I said that looks nice.” She paced around the room. Chrys didn’t even bother going upstairs to the apartment. She stormed out the back door of the restaurant, circled around the front of the building and ran across the street to Skin Junkies Tattoo. She hoped Spencer saw her, but the blinds were down.
Sloane put her concentration back into the tattoo she was putting on a man’s bicep. The Australian had started to work at the tattoo parlour last summer and both women fell for each other. Chrys had been in relationships with both sexes through her twenty-six years. She still wasn’t certain which way she would end up going and sticking with. The last time she dated a man he ended up being a killer. She was happy with the way things were in the moment.
“I know you’re dying to tell me, so go ahead. Why is your bro an ass?” Sloane’s accent was thick and lovely.
“He just is. He thinks the restaurant’s all his, so he does what he wants.”
The hum of the tattoo machine mixed with the dance beats coming from a phone hooked up to speakers. The room had white walls with copies of Sloane’s work tacked all over. Chrys’ chrysanthemum tattoo was in the top right. In the corner behind the artist was a black and turquois toolbox just like the giant ones you would see in a mechanics garage. Two shelves held every colour of ink you could imagine. Sloane looked up. “He is the owner, isn’t he?”
“Whatever.” Chrys’ arms flew out at her sides. “That’s not the point. It’s called The Alcrest Gastropub. Alcrest. I’m an Alcrest. Maybe not in blood but in name I am. I should get a say in what goes on there as much as he does.”
“But he’s the owner,” Sloane tried to keep her smile hidden as she worked on her art.
If asked the guy in the chair, who looked like he would never be caught in a tattoo shop let and was confused to what was going on, would have had a difficult time deciding which one was better looking. Chrys had the girl-next-door look going for her while the tattoo artist had an androgynist beauty augmented and enhanced by several tattoos on her body.
“Whose side are you on, Sloane?”
“I’m not on anyone’s side. He’s your brother and at that restaurant he’s your boss.”
“Probably not after tonight.” Chrys went over what happened across the street. “And I just left. He probably doesn’t even know I’m not coming back. I don’t care. I don’t need the money or anything.” Chrys couldn’t stand still. She felt her phone vibrate in her back pocket. It was probably going to be somebody at the restaurant. Where are you? Are you coming back?
“Did you tell him about your other job?”
“No! God no. He’d kill me if he knew where I was working. He’s always downstairs before I leave, so I don’t even think he knows I go to work every day. There’s no reason he should be upset about my job. It’s not like its illegal or anything.”
“Tell him then.”
Chrys didn’t speak another word about it. Spencer would insist she quit and she had enough of him running her life. She was independent and hated anyone telling her what to do. She had to do something if all she was doing was waitressing. The dancing – she had gone about as far as she could in this city teaching a few nights a week at the Elizabeth Frances Dance Studio. Roller-derby – she wasn’t much into it any more. Modeling and acting – she wasn’t really into those either. The thing that gave her the biggest rush lately was investigating murders and strange occurrences. Her new boss gave her the information on the dead bodies, but she did tell her brother she wouldn’t look into it and she didn’t feel right going back on that. Even if he was a dick.
Chrys bent down to look at the design developing on the arm. It was a dragon’s body almost tying itself into a knot. “Do you want to go clown searching tonight?”
“Alright. I’ve got another hour here if you want to come back.”
“Shiny!” Chrys knew her brother was probably busy. Especially since he had become one of those chef’s that insisted on doing everything himself. The street out front had a few cars and the parking lot in the back was a third full. She wouldn’t have to run into him if she took the back stairs. She quickly changed her clothes and gathered the dogs to take them for a walk.
She carried Breeze, her Chihuahua, down the stairs while Spencer’s bulldog, Bullet, took each step one at a time pausing on each step before attempting the next one. As soon as they all hit the ground Breeze took off to the end of her leash. Bullet was already panting and trudged along beside Chrys. She took them into the side street behind the restaurant. The area was residential with a few streets of businesses. It was probably not the best place to have the restaurant, but The Alcrest and most of the small businesses had been there a long time. Sooner or later it would be over for them. She hoped for later.
As the street lights came on she headed for home. The only time she stopped was to give someone directions. It was a much different neighborhood than what she worked in. That place was not safe at night. Her home neighborhood was fine.
“Can you give me a hand? I’m trying to find 435 Sc-scoble Avenue.” I don’t smile. People worried about finding where they need to go don’t smile. “I turned somewhere and I’m lost.”
If you drove a mini-van you were less intimidating. If you only rolled the window down half-way you were being a little wary. You had to be unassuming. You had to make them think you were being cautious of them. A baby on board sticker never hurt.
“Sure.” The woman turned away from me to point. My ruse worked. “Go down here to Pearson and turn right.”
I don’t listen. I look. I’m aware of how she moves. She has muscle and good reactions. She’d put up a fight. I see the scar on her upper arm and her misshapen right earlobe. I see the curves of her body. I could easily stun her now and get her in the back of the van before anyone would notice. The one dog would yap. The other is fat enough to make a good steak. If I left the dogs someone would notice. Someone would call the police. A search would start. That wasn’t how I played the game. She isn’t who I want anyway. She wouldn’t scream. And I’m not a fan of dark meat.
“I think to get to 435 you hang a left on Scoble. Pretty sure.”
She doesn’t recognize me. Yesterday she looked at my ticket, gave me her best welcoming smile and told me to climb on board and have a seat. She looks right at me and doesn’t see through my human camouflage. It’s always the pretty ones who can’t see. That’s what makes them easy to take.
“Thank you. N-nice looking dogs. Have a nice night.” Now is the time to give her a smile and an awkward wave.
I drive away and in the rear-view mirror can tell she doesn’t look at the license plate of this simple family vehicle. She doesn’t even think twice about it. Why should she? It’s just a nice night in a nice neighborhood.