Jordan turned over on the rumpled mattress and looked at the shuttered windows. She could hear the water ploshing onto the sidewalk from the balcony. Her neighbors kept ferns out almost all year round and she always knew that it was time to consider getting out of bed when she heard the afternoon run off.
She waited until the water sounds stopped and then went in to take a shower. She had come in later than usual and drunker than usual, so she hadn't showered before bed. She sighed as the warm water slid down her back and over her skin, washing off the filth of the French Quarter. As the silt and stench came off, she started remembering the night before in bits and pieces and she smiled and shook her head.
It had all started normally enough. She had gone out to hustle enough money for the rent on her studio apartment. She started early, going to Razoo during happy hour and getting frat boys to buy her 3 for 1 drinks.
August was always sparse in terms of a good hustle. Most men in the Quarter were little more than boys who tended to travel in frat packs. They were good for a few rounds, but Jordan knew better than to push her luck. A hustle on a college frat boy was a hustle on the whole posse. Practically impossible unless you want to get trained if you're a girl or curbed if you're a guy. After a couple of rounds and a few dances with underage groin grinders, Jordan was bored. Deciding that no good candidates were going to visit the club, she left to scope out the street.
It was only 7:30 and the strip clubs on Bourbon were just getting started and the street was beginning to fill with people and the smell of stale beer and cheap fried food. Jordan ducked off Bourbon Street and cut down to Royal, followed it down to St. Ann and finally down to Jackson Square. Most of the card readers had started packing up their cards and tables, but a few were lighting candles and incense, hoping to draw in the after dinner crowd. Feeling woozy from her free drinks, Jordan decided to stop at Le Madeline for a bit of dinner and a cup of coffee. She knew she could sit until the Quarter got moving and no one would bother her.
After getting her food, she chose a table near the window that looked out on the corner of the square. Watching the light traffic, she ate slowly, taking long sips of coffee in between bites.
By the time she'd had all the coffee she wanted and freshened up, the sun was almost fully set, casting long shadows on the square. She ambled past the front of the cathedral, listening to a tour guide's spiel about how it had been rebuilt after the original structure burned down. Ducking into Pirate's Alley, she headed to the Royal A&P to buy a pack of Camels and then headed back to Bourbon Street.
The hour or so that she had been gone helped. Tourists, fresh from having showered and eaten dinner, were swarming the street, looking for new sights and hoping for adventure. Her best bet was to o into one or two of the shops and hope she caught a good target's eye.
She finally saw him; he was the perfect mark--around 35, alone and average looking. Pleasant looking, actually. She followed him, watching his behavior. He showed slight interest in some of the strip clubs as he strolled by, but didn't go in.
She was patient and kept following him. He entered one of the sleazy sex toy shops on the strip, and she edged into the store, just brushing past him on her way upstairs where they kept the leather goods. She knew he would follow her, and soon they were on opposite ends of the loft, trying to look as if neither saw the other. She moved toward him and then asked the salesperson to please get down the leather bra hanging on the top row, right above where her mark was standing. He looked at her as she spoke and she gave him an embarrassed grin.
She took the bra in her hands and turned it over, pretending to look at the stitching and then she went to the mirror, holding it up against her chest. She could see him watching her, his reflection behind her in the mirror. She turned around, smiling.
"I just can't tell. And it really is expensive. Would you buy one for your girlfriend?"
He looked down and said, "Yeah, if I had one, sure."
She handed the bra back to the salesperson and went over to the spike-heeled boots.
"Where are you from?" She asked, trying to appear aloof and disinterested, even though she was anything but.
I'm not sure when I wrote this, but it was over ten years ago, well before the original short story "Blood Sisters" was penned. I have no characters named Jordan, but I can see where this fragment could be revised and worked into a section about Wren's early days as a hustler in Book 1.
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- © 2014 Angelic Rodgers