A girl's curiosity gets the better of her and pays for it.
BLOOD ON BLOTTING PAPER
When she first noticed him that Monday morning while lifting her eyes habitually from her magazine, little did she know what an impact he would have on her life. At once she was struck by his good looks, his clean-shaven appearance, his sharp features, the strong jaw line. She dropped her eyes, not because he was looking at her, but rather he might if she continued to do so.
He was standing halfway down the crowded train carriage along with a dozen or so other passengers, holding onto an overhead strap, eye level with one of the curved advertisements posters between wall and roof. She looked again. He seemed deep in thought, staring aimlessly at a poster until suddenly he turned to look down the carriage, and for a moment it seemed he was staring at her. She froze like a rabbit caught in a spotlight. But he wasn't looking at her or anyone else for that matter. His blank expression told her he was in another world, and that pleased her. And it pleased her more to find that he was even more handsome than his profile.
She now took to admiring his good looks in more detail: his sweeping eyebrows that tapered away, his cold blue eyes, his pale pursed lips pouted as if by a sculpture's hand, and his long lean form without an inkling of fat wrapped in a bone coloured overcoat. In his gloved hand he held a briefcase. Somehow it completed him. She concluded there and then that he had to be without doubt the most handsome man she had ever looked upon. She tried going back to her magazine, but it was hopeless. She sneaked a look to find he had turned back to the posters.
During these stolen glimpses the train would stop and disgorge its human cargo, and take on new passengers. It was during one such stop that she found him at the door ready to disembark. A panic came over her, followed by an aching regret. She knew that once he stepped out of the sliding doors and into the world beyond, she would never see him again.
But she did, next morning on the train, and to see him there again filled her with such joy that it made her nervous with anticipation. And now she knew at which station he boarded--in one of the inner suburbs in an exclusive part of town, which didn't surprise her. She had him for a wealthy type from the moment she set eyes on him. But what type? Probably not on a board of directors. No. He looked too young for that. And not someone holding an important position either, otherwise he'd have his own parking space without having to bother with public transport. He was an inspiring young executive on the way up she concluded looking him over as he stood in the aisle with his briefcase. And with those intelligent good looks promotion was inevitable. She couldn't make out a ring on his finger, not from want of trying. He was just a little bit too far away for her to notice that sort of thing. But he had to be married. No man like that could survive single in a world where women were constantly on the prowl. He probably had a glamorous wife professional like himself, with one child in kindergarten,. A big mortgage in a leafy quiet street, comfortable without being wealthy. And yet there was a look about him as if all the worries of the world were on his shoulders. She wondered where he worked. Probably somewhere on the south side where he got off yesterday. Yes. Probably in one of those tall rise insurance buildings which dominated that part of town. She fantasised that he was employed where she worked. That he was her boss, and he hand picked her from the drudgery of the typing pool to become his personal secretary. She could see all the girls eye her with envy as she left the pool forever, and he smiling at her, looking her over and liking what he saw. She may not have been as good looking as the other girls, but she had a body that men lusted over.
The train was slowing down. His stop was coming up. She watched as he moved towards the doors, hoping he would notice her, that their eyes might meet. But no. The doors slid open, cold, impersonal, and he was gone.
At work she told the girls all about this gorgeous guy she met on the train, explaining about yesterday, how she first noticed him and that he had to be the most beautiful man she had ever gazed upon. Her colleagues drooled along with her, clamouring for more information, offering their own advice on how to 'make contact', something she didn't need from them. She had a reputation when it came to the affairs of the heart. Not that she bragged about her sexual exploits, or anything. No. She was discreet. It was such a pity her lovers didn't share her sentiment. This had tagged her as a good time girl, an easy lay, which was not altogether true. She was selective. In fact she turned down more men than she had lovers. The girls in the typing pool nicknamed her, Miss Mansfield, in reference to the glamorous sex symbol of the time--Jayne Mansfield, because like the famous actress, she was tall, leggy, and blond, and curvaceous in all the right places. But not so much in the facial department. Her mouth was small, her nose on the long side, her eyes pleasant but not what you'd call beautiful, and her oval face perhaps a little too oval, heavy. But she had sex appeal, loads of it, and it oozed from every pore of her being, and she knew it.
Wednesday morning, and there he was again standing in the crowded carriage briefcase in hand, as serious as ever. This time she was ready for him, dressed to kill in a tight short skirt, black nylons, silky blue blouse, cut away at the top to reveal in tempting detail the first signs of a plunging cleavage. Her eyes never left him, waiting for that moment when he would eventually look her way. And when that moment came, when he finally turned his head and looked down the carriage, she knew there and then that he had noticed her. She smiled as their eyes met, and then suddenly he looked away beyond her and then back to the posters again. Disappointed she boldly stared, waiting for him to turn his head again, but he never did.
At work she told the typing pool all about how he had finally noticed her and, as she bluntly put it, snubbed her!
And that's where it should have ended, her pride dented, her ego deflated. But she couldn't forget him, not for a moment.
That night she lay in her bed thinking of him, wondering who he was, what he was doing at that very moment. She visualised he had entered her bedroom, climbed in beside her, stroked the inside of her thighs, gently spreading them, his hot breath on her lips, his wild lustful penetrations, sending her to multiple orgasms. She shuddered and thought she had to find out more about him.
Thursday morning. She sat waiting for him wearing a more modest skirt, and a silky
white blouse with the first two buttons conveniently undone, her blond hair brushed back and falling around her shoulders. The train stopped, and he entered. She looked; he didn't. He seemed ill at ease for some reason this morning, restless, looking down at his briefcase every so often, looking left right, sighing deeply. His conduct intrigued, and at the same time saddened her. She wondered if she was to blame for his behaviour. Had he noticed her more than she gave him credit? She had an effect on most men; the nice ones would stammer or get flustered in her presence, the rest would leer and think themselves smart by coming out with one liners. And yet here was one more than nice, one that she desired above all the others, but couldn't reach. As she sat there pondering the situation, the train pulled into a station, his station. She observed him move towards the doors, waiting there impatiently to disembark. They slid open. He rushed out. And then she did a most peculiar thing: she suddenly got up and left the train in search of him.
Through the throng of the early morning commuters she pushed and weaved. She could make him out as he hurried towards the twin escalators, the loudspeakers crackling out the arrivals and departures somewhere high above her. Up and out into the bright chilly morning, alive with car horns and screeching brakes. A city awake and eager to take on the new day. He hailed a cab. She did likewise following three vehicles behind. She tingled with excitement, refusing to question why she was here in a taxi pursuing a total stranger in case it brought her to her senses. She bit her lower lip. Soon she would know where he worked, and from it hatch a strategy plan. A cafeteria on one of the floors where he worked might make for a perfect place for a chance meeting. Better still if she changed jobs. But these thoughts were put on hold when she noticed his cab heading west away from the city. Confused she sat back wondering as she passed by empty squalid streets, streets which led down to an abandoned dock area. His cab came to a stop at a deserted T intersection. Beyond stood the docks and the open sea. She told the driver to take the nearest side street, since she didn't want to be noticed, and while in the process of paying the fare and telling the driver to wait, the other taxi roared past minus its passenger.
She walked to the street corner. There was no sign of him. Beyond the deserted intersection lay a stripe of cold grey sea, as uninviting as these bleak empty surroundings. She hurried down to the intersection, conscious of the noise of her shoes on the kerb, occasionally breaking into a run, holding the strap of her handbag firm against her side. Reaching the intersection she looked left. There he was a hundred yards or so away walking briskly with his briefcase, the wind off the harbour whipping up the tail end of his overcoat. She followed cautiously hoping in her heart he wouldn't look back, wondering what on earth he was doing down here. On her left were warehouses one after the other in a seemingly endless unbroken line, many of them dilapidated, deserted. She had heard stories about this part of the city being a haven for druggies, and the homeless. She wanted to go back to the safety of her waiting cab, but her curiosity urged her on. Suddenly he threw away his briefcase. And then he ran as if his life depended on it. Bewildered she watched as he disappeared into what she assumed must be a laneway.
She ran up to where the briefcase lay in a shallow. She picked it up, curious as to why he would do such a thing. She unclipped the locks...
She probably never heard the sound of the gun, only the bullet exploding into the side of her head scattering pieces of skull and brain. She collapsed to the ground, limbs trembling until they trembled no more. A wetness oozed from her head like a busted pipe matting her long blond hair, and running down behind her ear to drip constantly onto the collar of her silky white blouse in an ever-expanding stain...like blood on blotting paper
michael downnes 2000