by Chris Leek
He was just smoking and leaning, trying to meld to the rhythm of the street as he watched her from across the Strip.
The girl strolled back and forth, the casual click of stiletto heels tapping out her tune. From the dumpster outside the 7-Eleven to the vacant lot by Taco Bell she was the queen of all she surveyed, working her turf with a cocktail of flesh and fantasy.
Beneath the neon she paused to light a cigarette; the match flared bathing her face with fire but lending it no warmth. A used up beauty revered in the subtle glow.
He flicked his own butt to the curb and picked his gap, side stepping a stretched limousine and dodging behind a cab with Circus Circus billboards riding the roof he arrived by her side.
“Are you doing business?” He asked
She was facing half away from him, gazing up at the desert night, breathing her smoke to the stars.
“Are you a cop?” She returned the question.
“Why do I look like one?”
She turned towards him now, her hand finding purchase on an accusing leather hip.
This play was well rehearsed; she knew her lines by heart and met his stare with one of her own that she kept for the occasion.
“If you’re a cop you gotta tell me, that’s the deal.”
Her eyes were cold, cutting through him and laying him open.
“I’m no cop. I’m just curious to know.”
“Okay here it is, straight in is an even $100, I don’t do any kinky shit and I don’t kiss, you still curious?”
“You don’t kiss?”
“Nope, it’s too personal.”
He smiled at that, seeing she could play both the hunter and the hunted in her version of this street safari.
“How about I give you $40 for one kiss right here, right now?”
“What are you some kind of weirdo?”
He slipped a roll of presidents from his pocket and discreetly peeled off two Jackson’s.
“Like I said I’m just curious, one kiss for 40 bones.”
“You’re one crazy bastard!” She said, smiling despite herself.
“Probably but what if I’m not, what if there is something in the night.”
She laughed and twirled on a heel thinking to leave but hesitated.
“And what if there is?”
“Then who knows, it could be beautiful.” He shrugged.
She grabbed his collar and leaned into him brushing her lips against his, they lingered for barely a moment, their naked truth only ever on loan.
“Keep your money.” She whispered and turned away.
He stood tasting her lipstick; the sound of her stilettos already fading, lost to the beat of the night.