“You can be reborn in the eyes of Christ. You are not lost, little one.”
“Thanks Willie, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.” Sophie kept walking her long strides, but looked back at the weathered old man holding a bible.
“Think about your sins, Sophie, and be saved from eternal damnation before it’s too late.”
“I know, Willie. After tonight, I promise, okay?” her worn out heels clacked on the cool pavement and she pulled her leather jacket tighter around her midsection.
“Oh baby, how do you expect to get any customers covering yourself up like that? You’ve got to give the people what they want, baby.”
“Why don’t you go and fuck yourself, Smith?”
He walked up behind her and ran a finger down her neck, “because I would much rather you do that to me.”
She narrowed her large green eyes and whipped around so she could see his face. “Charming, as always. Now if you’ll excuse me.”
Before she actually had time to turn and walk away he grabbed her wrist, “now baby, when are you going to stop being so stubborn and work for me. You know I can protect you. I can make sure you earn double what you’re earning now every night.”
“That is never going to happen, Smith. Now, I suggest you let go of my wrist.”
“Am I bothering you, sweetheart? You’ve got such sweet dainty wrists.” He pulled her closer so she could feel his warm breath on her ear and he whispered into it, “and I can’t imagine what you could do about it.”
Sophie got ready to twist her wrist violently to catch him off guard so she could elbow him quickly, but before she made a move she heard a familiar voice. “Smith, will you get off her please? How many times do I have to tell you to stay the fuck away from her?”
Smith immediately dropped her wrist and took a large step away from her. Donna slipped an arm around her shoulders and with it she turned the both of them and took off in the opposite direction. “Thank you, Donna, but I can handle myself. I’ve told you before, if you would just let me –”
“I know, but if I can help why wouldn’t I?” They both stopped under a familiar stoplight and Donna slipped her worn out sweater off her milky white shoulders. Sophie saw the track marks, some looked irritated and inflamed, but she tried to look away before Donna caught her eye. Sophie followed her lead and pulled off her own jacket to tie it around her small waist. Her skin was milky white as well, but it was unhindered by the same marks that freckled Donna’s skin.
A car pulled up in front of them and Donna sashayed over to it in her usual confident manner. The driver lowered the passenger side window and Donna folded her arms to lean into it. Sophie couldn’t hear exactly what she was saying, but she could guess easily enough. It was the same speech Donna had given a thousand times. The same one she had taught Sophie, reluctantly, before she took her under her wing. It wasn’t long before Donna was opening up the door, slipping her thin frame into the seat and Sophie was watching her drive away.
She always felt so alone when Donna got a John. She wanted to hunch her shoulders and hide from the world, but if she wanted to eat this week she was going to have to put herself out there. She could practically hear Donna’s voice in her head: Shoulders back, head up. You’ve got a pretty face, sell it. With one last deep breath and a tightening of the jacket still around her waist, Sophie thrust a hip out and pulled her long brown hair out of the elastic that was holding it out of her face.
A couple cars slowed down to give her a good look, but none stopped. She was pretty, she knew that, but she was also young, she knew that too. Some Johns were into that. They would stop specifically for that reason. Her legs were long, but skinny. In fact, her whole body was skinny to the point that she looked gangly, like she couldn’t control her limbs; a vision of a newborn deer came to mind. Her face was her winning feature. Big almond shaped eyes framed by thick, long eyelashes. Full pink lips hiding naturally straight, white teeth.
Her hair was being whipped around by the wind and Sophie had all but given up when a car slowed to a stop in front of her and rolled down the passenger window. She smoothed her skirt down and walked over on shaky legs. She was about halfway there when the man raced away; Sophie was confused until she saw the flashing lights. She tried to hide her face, but she heard the officer get out of the car and slam the door shut. His heavy strides were coming right for her and her heart started to beat uncontrollably.
“Well, well, what do we have here?” he had a deep voice and his face was hidden by the shadows caused by the overhead light hitting his hat.
Sophie turned slowly and tried to look as innocent as possible. She had never trusted the police. They had never taken her seriously. The people in the world who were supposed to help her and they made everything worse, she could tell this man would be no exception. “I’m sorry, sir, are you talking to me.”
“Who else would I be talking to? What are you doing around these parts so late?”
“I was out with my friends actually and I decided to go home, but I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I am a bit lost. Good thing you came along.”
He walked in slow circles around her, his hand constantly hovering over his gun. “I don’t believe you for a second. I know what you are, you little bitch. You’re a whore, scum, you are dirt. You are the problem in this city. Men are weak. They can’t drive anywhere in this town without being bombarded with cheap tits. How are they supposed to resist a piece of ass like you?” his hand grazed her lower back and Sophie bit her lip to stop from shouting obscenities at him.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I told you I got lost.”
He stopped circling her abruptly and walked directly at her as he shouted, “Stop lying to me!”
Her back was up against a brick wall now and he towered over her, “please just leave me alone.”
“Leave you alone?” He asked as he tucked her hair behind her ear. The gentle gesture made her whip her face away from his touch. At this he slapped her hard across the cheek.
“Don’t you dare look away from me. I’m the good guy here, you’re the whore. You don’t matter in this world. You could disappear and it wouldn’t even make a difference. No one would look for you. No one would worry about you. The earth would just keep on spinning.”
Sophie remarked how dead on this description of her was, even if he didn’t know it. “You can hit me if you want to, if that’s what makes you feel like a man, to beat up a little girl. But don’t for a second think that it makes you a good person because it doesn’t. It just makes you another asshole that likes to beat up on women. You’re not special, you’re not brave, you’re a coward.”
He slapped her again, this time coming down hard with his backhand. Sophie felt her mouth fill with blood and could feel it trickle down her cheek as well. The officer reached behind him and pulled out his handcuffs. He twisted Sophie’s body around and shoved her face into the brick wall, scraping the flesh on her forehead, “don’t you ever call me a coward, you slut! Now I’m going to take you into the station, but if you’re a good little girl maybe we can have a little fun on the way there. You would like that, wouldn’t you? Bet you’re getting all turned on at the thought of it.”
He tightened the handcuffs so they were cutting into her wrists and pulled her shoulder so hard she heard it pop out of place. Then, he grasped her hair to spin her and lead her towards his car with the lights still flashing on the other side of the road. He pushed her up against the side of the car and kicked her legs as far apart as they would go. Then he bent down and ran his rough, calloused hand up one leg, then the other. Next, he felt the curve of her waist until he reached her breasts. He gave each one a quick squeeze and rubbed his crotch on her hip.
“Don’t get too excited, sweetheart. There’s more where that came from.”
He kicked out her knees and she fell to the ground, and he was about to pull her up when a beat cop called out to him, “officer, is everything alright?”
Sophie immediately looked up at this man who spoke with a bold, yet kind voice. Every orifice of her body was throbbing with pain, but when she looked into the man’s brown eyes it was like nothing in the world existed except him and her, then she was wrenched up by her elbow and it all came crashing back. She hadn’t made a sound throughout her entire ordeal, but he had pulled her up by the arm with the shoulder popped out and a gasp escaped her lips.
Both officers seemingly ignored her, but the new one spared her a glance. In that glance she saw kindness in his eyes and she was able to calm down a little. “Ah, Officer Rossum, is this your beat, then? What did you do to get this shit?”
“I volunteered for it actually. What are you doing here?”
“I had an undercover running some scenarios. Heard this one here trying to solicit so I picked her up. If you’ll excuse me, I’m about to take her into the station.”
“Undercover operations? I didn’t hear anything about that. Why didn’t they consult me? It is my beat after all?”
“I’m not sure why they didn’t. I’ll be sure to ask them when I get back to the station.” He opened the back door, but Officer Rossum closed it.
“And I’m to assume that this was the state she was in when you found her?”
“What exactly are you insinuating Officer Rossum?”
“Well, Officer Manning, I’m not insinuating anything, but I am suggesting that you uncuff this girl, leave her with me, and you drive away from here. What were you going to do with her at the station anyway? You and I both know there was no undercover operation here tonight, what were you going to charge her with, loitering?”
“Whatever, you can have the little whore, boy scout, but this isn’t over. Watch your back.”
He didn’t uncuff Sophie, but instead just shoved her to the ground at Officer Rossum’s feet. Then, he got into his car and drove away. The officer leaned down and carefully helped Sophie to her feet. He grabbed his keys and unlocked the cuffs, then eased her arms to her sides. Sophie held onto her left arm and looked at the shoulder which was drooping at an awkward angle.
“Hello,” the officer caught her eye, “I’m Officer Rossum. What’s your name?”
“I’m Sophie.” This man had been kind to her, but he was a cop, after all, so she was distrustful of him and tried to avoid his eye contact.
“Well, Sophie, it looks like Officer Manning has done quite a number on your shoulder there.”
She shook her head, “I’m alright. Thanks though.”
“You are quite clearly not alright. Now I can see this going one of two ways. Number one: I take you to a hospital where they can fix you up.” Sophie shot her eyes to his and shook her head, pleading with him to not go that route, “and by the look on your face I would say that you would rather go with option two. In this scenario I pop your shoulder back into place then I take you to get some hot chocolate.”
Sophie cautiously nodded her head, “If you have to, I suppose you can do it.”
“Alright, well full disclosure here, I’ve never actually done this in practise. Theoretically I know how to do it, I have some medical training, but I can’t guarantee that it will be effective, or painless. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s going to hurt. A lot.”
“Pain I can deal with.”
He lifted his eyebrows in surprise, “if that’s what you really want…” He rubbed his hands together and Sophie tentatively pulled her hand away from her left arm. “You might want to bite down on something, like I said, this isn’t going to feel good.”
Sophie nodded and pulled her jacket from her waist. She bunched up the sleeve and shoved it into her mouth before she gave Officer Rossum the thumbs up to go ahead. He gently grabbed her forearm and bent her elbow so it was at a 90 degree angle, then quickly, before she really knew what was happening he pulled down on the arm. Searing pain shot through her upper body and Sophie screamed into the fabric in her mouth. They both heard a popping noise over Sophie’s screams and Rossum released her arm. He then pulled the fabric out of her mouth, wrapped it around her arm and tied it on the uninjured shoulder, making a makeshift sling.
“So,” he straightened his cap, “how about that hot chocolate. I don’t know about you, but I sure could use it right about now.”