Another day in the life of Det. Peter Valis. The perils of working in Vice.

There was a joke around the station that it was one of the inevitable consequences of working the vice beat.

She worked her hands on his shoulders, a low moan rattling in her throat. The dim light of the motel room flickered across her too-long fake nails, deep purple, and caught his eye. Valis turned his head, just a little, to get a better look at her hands. Her knuckles were bony, betraying her age, and he could feel the occasional pop of one of the joints in her left index finger. He could smell the lingering scent of marijuana and cigarettes on her. He wondered, not for the first time that evening, just what the hell he was doing.

“Why don’tchoo take yo’ shirt off, honey?” she crooned, and dug her thumbs into the back of his neck. A small sound escaped him. “Make yo’self comfortable.”

Later, naked except for his wedding band, sweating and swearing, he sagged onto his back and closed his eyes. Pulled away from her, retreated to the cramped, dingy bathroom, leaving the door slightly ajar.

“That’s it, honey?” she called from the bed, drumming her nails on the nightstand. There was a long silence except for the sound of running water. “You still gotta pay me, you know.” It was sort of a joke, but as soon as the words were out she regretted them.  It was part of her job to stroke egos as well.

“Money’s on the dresser.” Flat.

“All right.” She was dressed in all of a minute. She fluffed her hair, touched up her lipstick and slipped the money into her hiding place. “I’ll see you around Holland Street. Take care of yo’self, honey.”

He was still in the bathroom when she shut the door, and she didn’t see him again.

The End

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