Joy

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six

The woman sitting at the bar with the wavy brown hair is not Joy Daisy. She’s got bags under her eyes and her skin is dry from too much stage makeup and not enough lotions and care after scrubbing it all off. She’s wearing a little black dress with barely-there nylons and sky-high stilettos.

She doesn’t care that the top of the garment dips a little too much because her tits are small. She doesn’t care that her stubby fingers end with broken fingernails that haven’t seen a manicure in years, usually hidden underneath fat-fingered sparkly gloves. She doesn’t care that her lips aren’t full and lush, but chapped and raw from being chewed on.

She’s Joy DeVries at this time of night, and the less glamorous she is, the less remarkable she is. The less memorable.

Because Joy DeVries doesn’t want to be remembered. She doesn’t want to be noticed. She just wants to consume the amber liquid in her glass—refill after refill after refill—and pick her own sack of meat to notice. She’s in control of her destiny, and she wants to decide which fleshbag she brings home, which one she’s going to remember.

Or not remember, depending on how many refills.

She wraps her lips around the rim of the glass, and as she tips it back, her eyes fixate on a smudged fingerprint on the back of it.

The bartender wipes the counter with a cloth that might have been white at one point. Joy wonders if it was the same cloth that ‘cleaned’ her glass.

At least alcohol is a disinfectant.

She glances to her left as a stout man in bike leathers tosses some bills on the bar and slides away to seek out other adventures, revealing a familiar beige-dressed man nursing a beer. She raises an eyebrow, studying the hard line of his jaw, the thin set of his lips, the knot of his furrowed brow.

He’s got the beginning of a five-o’clock shadow, and she wonders if his beard would be gold with silver flecks like the close-cropped hair on his head. His deep-set eyes are dark, serious, much too serious.

“Interesting choice of dive bar for a Detective,” she says, tongue darting out to run along her sore lips.

She imagines a thousand middle-aged housewives scrambling to Facebook. Have you tried essential oils? Lavender and coconut would take care of that dry skin lickety split!

He turns and blinks slowly, as if coming out of a trance, those too-serious eyes unfocused, struggling to focus on her, place her amongst his memories in his long list of humans he interacts with on a daily basis.

She wants to reach out and poke the crinkle of skin between his eyebrows—he’s thinking so hard—and smooth it out, flattening it like Play Doh. She’s impressed that his hand doesn’t immediately reach for the badge concealed beneath his jacket, at least. The only reason she knows it’s there is because she was on her knees in front of him earlier.

Oh, to be on my knees for you, Detective. A smirk curls her lips and she leans her head onto one hand, taking another swig of her Jameson’s as she enjoys the dim lighting playing across his features. She knows he’s not her mark tonight. Despite being deep in the belly of the beast, he’s too wholesome for her.

But isn’t it fun to make the wholesome ones sweat a bit?

“I’m sorry, I’m not sure I know you,” he finally says, his expression softening, sweet honeyed regret in his dark eyes.

Oh so wholesome…

Joy crosses her legs, one thigh molding around the other. “You don’t. But I see you.” She empties her glass and pushes it across the bar. Refill after refill after refill…

The DILF Detective moves closer to her, taking the stool that had been vacated before. Lips pursed, that oh-so-intense furrow still smack-planted in the middle of his brow, he glances around the bar, looking from person to person. He leans down and appears to concentrate on his beer, but he actually side-glances her, speaking in low tones.

“Do you need help?” He takes a swig of his beer.

She blinks at him, and then realization dawns on her, and a giggle escapes her throat. “Oh, sweetheart, you are too good for this place.” She lifts her refilled glass to her lips, sucking back the burning liquid like an elixir of life.

We all need help, don’t we? My demons aren’t the kind you can arrest, Detective.

His posture relaxes, and he lowers the arm closest to her, no longer keeping up the pretense that he’s not interacting with her. Now that he’s close, awkwardness hangs over his face like a curtain, and he doesn’t know what to say or how to interact. Life is easier for men like this when they have a purpose, someone to protect.

She lets him flounder, seeing the wheels turning in his head, little hands reaching out between them trying to grasp something out of the air, anything to say.

Then she spots him. A twenty-something guy in a faded Pink Floyd tee, downing a shot at the other end of the bar. He chases it with a light beer, staring down at the neck of the bottle with hollow eyes. Lonely, distant, a sallow husk encompassing a dirty soul. This is the kind of man that belongs here, the kind that Joy can use to pass the time.

“Go home, Detective.” She hops down from her bar stool, and pats him on the arm, lowering her voice to whisper, “Be joyful.”

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