Mike wakes, and stumbles to the sink. He throws water on his face and drinks a handful. Bleary-eyed still, he stares at the mirror. Linda’s done a beautiful job this time – green eyeshadow, heavy eyeliner and mascara, bright red lips, pale pink cheeks.

“Fuck, I look like a clown at the fucking whorehouse!” he mutters, and sets about washing it off. Everything but the eyeliner and mascara budges with a minimum of effort. Those stay put, no matter what.

“FUCK!” he yells, frustrated, and gives up, leaving his cell in answer to the breakfast summons. Unsurprisingly, the boys stare and cheer.

“Mikey baby, settin’ up a little money-earner, are ya?” Hatchett leers, “Damn iffen ya don’ look jus’ a lil attractive, boy – ya might get more business than ya know what ta do with!”

“Arsehole!” mutters Mike, grabbing his breakfast.



What the hell made me think that someone would tell me the whole truth just because they were dead? Geez, shame reaches beyond the grave? More to the point… Linda has a sense of shame?

Weirdly enough, I feel betrayed. Not because she slept with the neighbour boys – I already knew about that. Not because of anything she might have done in that odd foursome. Because she lied to me. What a sap. I get up, grab my wallet, and slam my front door on the way out to the pub.


I’m sitting at the bar, just finished ordering another shot of Sambucca, when Linda materialises on the stool beside me.

“HOLY SHIT!” The man who’d been about to sit back down on the stool jumps back. “Oh, sorry, luv, I just didn’t see ya come in, ya scared the crap – sorry – outta me!”

Linda smiles sweetly and tells him that’s OK. “Would you like your chair back?” she purrs, leaning forward to ensure that he has a good view down her top. He shakes his head slowly as the woman with him looks daggers at her. Linda winks at me, then leans over to the irate woman and whispers to her. Suddenly the snarl disappears from the woman’s face, and she grins.

“What’d you tell her?” I whisper to Linda.

“’It’s all fake’”, she whispers back.

I laugh. More true than the woman’s ever likely to know.


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