CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
The woman was wearing a creased red and yellow dress, which did not match her shoes, nor her handbag, which both looked battered, and her hair was untidy. Andrea felt sure the woman had deliberately arranged her hair in this fashion in the mistaken belief it would attract customers. This irritated Andrea. She could see the woman needed to make changes to her appearance if she was ever going to be successful.
She decided to cross the street and instruct the prostitute on how to dress properly and was about to step off the pavement when she noticed a short-haired man talking to her. The man seemed interested. Andrea paused and noticed an old woman standing a few yards along the pavement from herself. The old woman looked afraid. She was obviously concerned about crossing the busy road. Andrea stepped over to her and put her arm through hers. The woman pulled away from her, shielding her handbag. Andrea grabbed her arm and tried to pull her across the road. The woman started shouting, “Thief, thief; help me someone.”
Andrea said, “You are wrong. You need help.”
The woman shouted, “Stop her someone, stop her.”
At that moment, the short-haired man and two uniformed police officers closed in on Andrea. She looked across the street and saw a police woman leading the prostitute away. The short-haired man held up some credentials and one of the police officers took possession of Andrea’s arm.
The old woman said, “She tried to steal my bag,” turned to Andrea and said, “I haven’t collected my pension yet, so you’re out of luck.”
Andrea said, “I do not want a pension. I am much too young.”
The police arrested her and led her to a van. She sat in the back, next to a prostitute. Sitting across from her were two other prostitutes, one of them being the woman with the red and yellow dress.
Andrea told her, “You will never get work looking like that.”
The woman folded her arms and looked away.
Andrea said, “Your dress is creased; you should iron it each day. And the colour is all wrong. And your hair is a mess.”
The woman said, “Who are you?—my pimp.”
Andrea said, “You look unclean.”
The woman leapt across the van and tried to grab Andrea’s hair but the prostitute beside Andrea intervened, pushing the other one away, and one of the police officers at the front of the van rattled the cage, saying, “No fighting in there, girls—you’ll get yourselves a bad name,” and smirked at his colleague.
At the police station Andrea got confused and pleaded guilty to soliciting for sex. She was locked in a cell, since there was some suspicion over the address she had given and the custody sergeant was not happy about her identity. When she gave him her name he said, sarcastically, “Oh! do you play guitar?”
She did not respond. And further, the vice squad wanted to interview her, since she was not previously known to them.
The duty solicitor, who, by a happy coincidence, was Dicky Bright, was shown in to her cell. Dicky sat down and said, sarcastically, “I bet you’ll shake my hand now.” He opened his briefcase and added, “But there’s no way I’m shaking yours—‘impolite to make assumptions’—ha!”

In the goldfish bowl, Bruce and Sheila Softly were hovering side by side. For the past ten minutes there was nothing but silence, and—to Bruce, anyway—the silence seemed to deepen with each minute.
For one further time, Sheila looked accusingly at Bruce; and Bruce could not stand this any longer. He turned to swim off, when Sheila said, “Where do you think you’re going, Bruce?”
Bruce opened his mouth to speak but there did not seem anything to say, so he just watched Sheila with his mouth hanging open.
Sheila demanded, “Well?”
Bruce said, in an experimental tone, “For a swim—?”
Sheila snapped, “Get back here—I want a word with you.”
Bruce turned back and sighed.
Sheila said, “And just why can’t you see me as a bus driver?”
“That! you’re asking me about that?”
“Come on, why?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes you do, Bruce.”
“No, I don’t.”
“You do!”
“I don’t!”
“Do!”
“Don’t!”
“Do!”
After a pause, Bruce said, “It was only an example—that’s all.”
“But why pick that?”
“No reason, Sheila; it was just the first thing I thought of.”
Sheila scowled at him and said, “You think that’s all I’m good for, don’t you?—driving busses.”
“Of course not.”
“Why then?”
“It— er— it just didn’t seem like your style, that’s all, Sheila, not your style.”
“Not my style?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“I just pictured you doing something better.”
“Something better?”
“Of course, Sheila.”
“Like what?”
“Like whatever you wanted to.”
“Anything?”
“Anything.”
“And what if I wanted to be bus driver!”
Bruce shouted, “Be a bus driver, if that’s what you want!”
“But you said it wasn’t my style, Bruce.”
Bruce glared at Sheila for several seconds—his glare steadily intensifying—then he turned and darted away.
Sheila called, “You said you couldn’t really see me as a bus driver, Bruce.”
Bruce circled the bowl, going quicker and quicker, trying to block out the sound of Sheila’s taunts.
Sheila kept shouting, “—Saying that’s all I’m good for—that’s what you were doing. I can see exactly what you’re thinking, so don’t think you’ve fooled me. No, you’re just pretending it’s not what you were thinking, Bruce. That’s it—I can see everything you’re thinking—I can see it in your face!”
Bruce was now so enraged he was in danger of deliberately leaping from the bowl to escape Sheila’s taunts.
But Sheila then seemed to have finally emptied his whole head of words, so he turned, peered silently through the glass of the bowl and continued watching the view in the living room—but this time smirking smugly.

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