"How much," Jack asked.
"It's $250," Victoria said, exhaling smoke in his face.
Jack winced, more at the price than the fumes from her Marlboro light.
"The cost of pain keeps going up," he sighed, handing over 12 twenties and a ten. He jerked from the sharp jolt of her four-inch red stiletto digging into his calf. He then felt a trickle of blood as she'd nicked the scab she had created last week with her black five-inch stiletto when he made a similar crack.
"You don't like it, go somewhere else. You know the rules," she said.
"I know, I know. And if I didn't, there's that over there reminding me," he said pointing to the big mirror where a sign hung declaring `The Customer Isn't Always Right Here.' Boy some of these dommes could use a sense of humor.
Jack rubbed his calf, stuffed his wallet back in his pocket and said he'd see her next week. Heading down the stairs he pulled out a Marlboro and lit it as he hit the street. Somehow he didn't mind blowing this money when he was wasted but clean was another story.
Jack walked towards Lexington to grab the local up to 96th and then he'd either grab the bus or hoof it through the park. The sun was still out so that was a viable option. But even with a gun strapped to his ankle the prospect of the park was daunting. It shouldn't have been after all this time but there is only so much the couch can cure. He still couldn't walk in peace past that gravelly path along the Reservoir. Before his mind could take him back 10 years and that rainy night he felt his phone vibrating. He'd forgotten to turn the ringer on after leaving V's. He quickly glanced at the number, saw a 323 area code and put the phone back into his pocket. It's not that he didn't want to talk to John, he just wanted to talk to him on his own terms. Plus, it wasn't like he was his sponsor or anything. At some point he'd have to learn to reach out to people in his own backyard, he said to himself in an attempt to justify not answering the call. Anyway, he was at the subway station so how much wisdom could he have realistically passed on? He flicked his butt into the street, almost hitting an old lady who gave him a dirty look. Jack grimaced at her and headed down the stairs.
On the platform Jack spied a kid who couldn't have been more than seven. Seeing kids out when they should be in, alone when they should be accompanied, hungry when they should be fed and crying when they should be smiling was nothing new to him. Still, this kid did not really look like he belonged on this platform. He stared a little while longer then breathed a slight sigh of relief as he saw the kid turn and acknowledge the guy walking towards him from the newsstand in the middle of the platform. He got so caught up watching them board the train that he forgot to board himself. He resisted the urge to tell the man that while today's New York wasn't the one that they had grown up in, it still probably wasn't such great idea to leave your kid alone on a platform even if it's just to walk to the newsstand for 30 seconds. A lot can happen in 30 seconds.
I don't know where I'm headed with this is, but I'll keep it going if there's interest...critics and critiques welcome