I See You, Jack! Chapter 4

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I See You, Jack!

Glowing pocket-watch-like thing with word cloud.

Chapter 4

'Thanks, Cathy, nice weather. . . if you're a duck! Coming up on Chat Radio, home of nighttime talk throughout Liverpool and the Northwest, we've got a real treat for you. Award-winning author, local lad, and all-round nice guy, James Riding, will be with us at ten.

Answering your calls, having a good old chat, and hopefully giving us a peek inside the making of the global best seller, I See You, Jack!

If you want to chat with Jack, oops, I mean James, sorry James, the number to call is 0151. . . '

Riding switched the radio off. He hated these bloody interviews, always the same drivel.

The windscreen wipers on the Audi squeaked horribly, the rain had stopped.

James waited patiently, knowing they'd be back on Duke Street now it had dried up.

Two, three, now four girls teetered along the curb in ridiculously high heels. Too-short leather-look skirts, badly applied makeup. Far from the bustles and pinched cheeked look he was used to.

But a bit of modern-day research couldn't hurt; it would give him perspective on the changes over the years.

The big white Ford van pulled into the curb. Horn beeps and an arm beckons the girls over.

Names noted (though the cops were almost certainly on first name terms with the regulars), first and only warning. Go home or CPL arrests loomed.

The charade over, point of law satisfied, 'persistently soliciting' needed that archaic warning. The cops drove away, the girls knowing they'd have a couple of hours to make their earnings before the inevitable arrest and bail in the early hours.

It always made him laugh, these stupid modern-day laws. Nothing illegal about being a prostitute, but it was illegal to be a common prostitute loitering. Prove the girl (or boy) was a sex worker, warn them off, and if they were seen soliciting again, power of arrest.

But how did you prove they were a 'comment prostitute' without then being first convicted for prostitution, an offence that wasn't actually illegal? Baffling!

Back in his day. . . (Jeez, back in the time of his book!) . . . He supposed the Contagious Diseases Act was worse. Any woman suspected of being on the game and suspected of carrying a disease could be arrested and carted off to a hospital for a forced medical examination.

Some were detained for up to six months. Not for the health and wellbeing of the woman, but because sexually transmitted diseases were becoming rife, not only among the 'respectable' men using their services, but in the military, and, as a port town, Liverpool was probably the prostitution centre of the bloody Empire!

A tough life, no matter what the century. These girls needed help, not punishment.

The opportunity to evolve, become part of the Divine. . . he ignored the voice.

A knock on his window.

'Looking for business, lovely?'

The girl's breath smelled of cheap roll-up ciggies and latex.

Riding checked his mirror, noting the van had turned back into town.

'Don't worry about them, darlin', bizzies are done for the night, we got loads of time, handsome!'

Her hand reached in through the window, squeezing his thigh, skinny arms showing track marks.

'Last thing I need is the mutton shunters locking me up!'

'Mutton what?' The hand was withdrawn, ever suspicious of weirdos. Riding noticed her expression change.

Fear? How delightful!

Delightful! Riding pushed the thought away, annoyed the voice was seemingly reading his mind. Instead, he forced a sheepish smile.

'Sorry, it's what we call, erm, used to call the police, the �bizzies' as you put it.'

On the opposite side of the street, a Mini pulled over, the middle-aged driver nodding to the girl.

She gave a sigh of relief, recognising a regular punter. Grimacing at Riding, pushing out her boobs in what was supposed to be a sexy look, she shouted, 'Snooze you lose, babe!'

He watched her tottering off, Riding checked his watch, and decided to head into the radio station early.

He adjusted the rear view, as he saw the girl seal the deal, hitching her short fake-leather skirt even higher, before climbing rather immodestly into the Mini, and couldn't help wondering what she'd look like in a long dress and bustle.

Traffic on the Dock Road was bloody awful.

Riding sat in the jam, thoughts of the girl in a velvet dress, fear in her eyes, throat bared as the Architect began to transform her. He checked his watch, pulling into a drive-thru, the Audi's tyres screeching as the car U-turned, Riding heading back to Duke Street, just one more look, a little more research.

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