Here's the next 1,000 words. Less than I'd liked but I didn't get in till gone eight after travelling home from Brighon and foodshopping. It is going to take at least 20,000. Mae's very chatty and prone to tangents.
Deedee walked back in with her head down. She’d learnt to walk like a mortal at times like these, a loping gait. It was very casual and perhaps only I could tell it wasn’t actually relaxed.
“Drink up.” She said.
I’d forgotten about my suspect coffee. It had got cold and I finished it in a gulp.
“Not that fast.” Said Deedee, and her eyebrows creased into a frown despite herself. She sat backwards in the booth with an air of great ease, swirled her beverage gently in the mug and took another sip.
“Are you auditioning for the part of a coffee drinker?” I ask.
“Pay the bill and let’s go.” She replied.
She straitened out her shoulders as we headed to the subway and became an elf again. Despite the dismal day, I would have been quite happy to meander through Central Park, but Deedee wanted to get underground as quickly as possible. I paid for her ticket so she wouldn’t leave traceable notes at her getaway. She’s more than a little rattled by her receiver’s arrest, you can tell. But then the thought of going to jail would terrify anyone. She’d worry about Treacle too.
The subway has always amazed me. People walking through holes in the sidewalk to teleport across the city. They seem so unmarked, these trap doors in the pavement and yet there the mortals go, marching down them in ranks. I often wondered if I lifted up a few paving slabs and put a ladder in the hole beneath would they still sleep walk down it, pacing onwards amongst the electric cables and the telephone wires looking for the Bronx Bound West Side IRT.
Xyro had once been a subway station. At the turn of the century it was nearly the terminus for an entire line, but the Inglewood Rapid Transit Company beat them to it, a block away on Lexington. So the navvies cut their losses, downed tools, and the Xyro tunnel ends blindly three hundred and twelve yards from where it began in a wall of New York granite.
It must have cost a small fortune to turn into a club, More than a million at least. That’s the price of capturing the zeitgeist.
There is something about underground life that lends itself to the demimonde. It’s wilfully unwholesome to deprive your skin from the light; it’s throwing God’s first creation back in his face. Earnestly pursued sickliness is always decedent. There was also much outcry and hand wringing in the city at the time about the drunk, drugged and psychotic poor scuttling into the disused tunnels for shelter. Mole People they called them, if I remember the term correctly, lost souls who took a wrong turn across a dimly lit landing one day and ended up living off roasted rat the next. They were everyone’s breakthrough piece of investigative journalism one year. Shock headlines in the Times and post all but cried out “New York has an Orc’s Lair in it!” So the drunk, drugged and psychotic rich doing up an old station in high style for their parties had a certain of-the-moment frission. We were living on borrowed hype.
It’s amazing how many European words one needs to talk about excess.
An express train rattled past us in its rusting iron cage. Little black mice scurried back from the platform edge in its wake. Deedee stared out at the platform opposite us, a strip of light in the darkness. It’s a disconcerting habit of hers, this constant watchful surveillance. It feels as though she is never quite with you.
“Where are you staying?” She asked into the chasm.
“With a friend.” I replied.
“Me and Treacle are your friends.”
“Treacle and I, Deedee.”
“Where did you meet him?”
I saw her shoulders heave and fall into a sigh.
“Not really a friend then.”
The metal box of the train rushed in and interrupted conversation once more. The florescent lights of the carriages were brutally bright after the yellowed glow of the elderly station lighting. I felt a rush of indignation at the tone Deedee took over the scrap of a mortal who uses me for a mattress. I felt defensive towards him as I had done to any who had sneered at the least and weakest of my pages. Once you are under my protection, you have no one to fear but me. I did not know why I had taken on this duty of care to him, I only knew it was there. It had become a precept in my thinking over the last few days, the only guideline I had.
There was one gap on the blue plastic benches and we were both overly insistent the other took it. I didn’t want to add to Deedee’s belief that my moral lassitude was weakening me physically by sitting in front of her. She didn’t want to accept any regal indulgences off me today. In the end a woman in a jogging suit took it.
We hung of the straps and said nothing for a while. I had the uneasy feeling that Deedee was right, that I had used friend inaccurately and euphemistically to describe Daniel, both things that I hate. But the euphemism wasn’t a gloss on anything sinister, or at least it didn’t feel that way.
Come on Nelyo, a voice in my head answered, what you’re really trying to whitewash is you enjoy having sex with the kid.
I laugh softly to myself. Deedee turned to me, ever alert for unexpected noises.
“Not quite a friend,” I said softly.
“Does he pay you?” She replied.
“No.” I say firmly.
“Did he work there too?”
“So he was a trick?”
“He didn’t now that.”
“What, he forgot to pay and that charmed you?”
“Someone put money behind the bar for him to party. They put a blank check for personal services.”
“So you’re saying he didn’t know?”
I’m not saying that. He knew. I could tell by the way he looked at me. I’m not sure if he thought I was giving him a freebie, I don’t think so. He had none of that kind of arrogance. I think he was just young and foolish and already far too used to unseen others picking up the bill.
Mae: Yes I am aware I'm discussing my sex life in front of a crowded train carriage.