The girl lay curled on her side beneath a ripped poster of an ecstatic, leering GG Allin.  She shuddered in her unconsciousness, her bruised knees drawn to her bruised chin, her stained, chipped nails digging bloody trails into the pale, tattooed flesh of her arms.

Vainglory was inked into the side of her shaved head.

He picked her up and she mewed like a kitten, still unconscious.  He arranged her dirty robe about her stick thin body and carried her to the battered sofa on the other side of the cluttered, stinking room.  He began to place her on the sofa when she opened her eyes.

Her eyes were green, lined with stale tears and dementia.  She didn’t blink.

He frowned at her, watched her pierced brows furrow.  Then he hefted her, turned from the sofa and left that stinking room, the broken girl unresisting in his arms.

The Manhattan was bitter, but he sucked it down and rolled the cherry around in his mouth.  The club he’d sequestered himself in bounced and rocked to a quick electronic beat.  Someone jarred him, and he glared, but the kid merely staggered on, laughing, surrounded by equally staggering, laughing friends.

He checked; his wallet was still in his pocket.

He chewed the cherry as he left the bar and made his way through the crowded club.  He wondered about the broken girl, but shook her from his mind.  He’d left her in the capable hands of a couple of paramedics he’d flagged down in front of some nameless hospital. While the two men had begun treating the girl and getting ready to move her into Emergency, he’d left silently.  In the distance, he’d heard one of the paramedics call out, but that was all.

He emerged from the club and found himself amid a jumbled ring of smokers, all wrapped in expensive coats, heads wreathed in motionless smoke and frigid air. The street beyond was black and shining.  The cars that moved along it hissed as they passed.

Kruger looked up as he came in, watched him as he crossed to the office vending machine and pulled a bottled water from its neon depths. He crossed to his desk, Kruger’s eyes still on him.

“What?” he asked.

Kruger sat back, pushed his keyboard away.  “Jake said you went over to Hollyoak Drive.”

He nodded. “I did. No one home,” he said, truthfully. The broken girl was in the apartment next door.

“Why didn’t you send a cruiser over?” Kruger asked.  “Or take me or Tom?”

“Why?  It was a domestic dispute. It was on my way, so I figured I’d swing by.  The initial report didn’t indicate any reason to worry about backup.”  It also hadn’t mentioned the stinking next door apartment, with its evidence of heroin and ketamine use, and its lone broken occupant.


The taste of the bitter Manhattan crawled up his throat.

Kruger leaned forward and pulled his keyboard close again, muttering:  “Christ, there’s nothing worse than a single cop.”

~ by liberdementia on April 24, 2010.

2 Responses to “Vainglory”

  1. very visual and descriptive. i like how i was sucked into the story.

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