The Town Mouse: 1

The shadows from the buildings crowd in on her, take her into their chilly embrace. Neon flashes seduce her eyes and snippets of conversation tantalise her imagination.

Its night-time in the city, a world of endless possibilities laid out for her delectation. She is seventeen, free and indestructible.

A gold card nestles in her pocket and the ATM is calling her. The name on the card isn’t hers, of course, but she left the owner of the name sleeping the sleep of the very drunk and completely satiated not an hour ago, in a hotel room which was surprisingly clean and pleasant, given the neighbourhood. She figures she’s got most of the night to mine that gold.

She looks into the darkened shop window in front of her and smiles at the reflection that smiles back. Tall, long, honey blonde hair, a body to die for, and all topped off with what her grandmother always called “The face of an angel”. And, (she pulls out the card) R.S. Evesleigh thought he was getting all that for the price of a meal and a drink or two. You’d have thought a commodities broker would have a more pragmatic view of market values, now wouldn’t you?

She slides the card into the machine, and thinks cynically that this insertion is sexier than the last one by several orders of magnitude. Next she keys in the four numbers that might as well be “Open sesame” (he was far too drunk and far too eager to hide his movements when he paid for the room) and gasps as she sees the total balance. Oh Amy, she thinks you’re a genius girl, you can pick 'em like an expert!

Six ATMs later the card disappears down a drain, with a murmured word of thanks to the inept but highly profitable broker, and a kindly wish that he will snore happily till dawn, and only find disillusion when his hangover will be enough to drown out the pain of it. She stows the last of the cash, all but twenty bucks, deep inside her battered pack, holding it in a fist to hide from any prying eyes the fact that there’s enough there to be worth stealing.

“Yous on your own, eh?” A voice speaks from behind her, as she turns onto Queen’s Street.

She doesn’t even look at him, just nods at a group on the other side of the road “Nah, with those fullas.” Whirl, step, she is gone. Unassailable.

She surfs the crowd like an expert, knows all the tricks of seeming protected without ever getting involved. Evesleigh wasn’t involvement, of course, that was commerce.

She buys a coke and a bag of hot donuts from a stand on a corner, and she throws back her head and laughs aloud as sugar dissolves on her tongue, and her mouth fills with hot sweetness, chasing any other taste away.

Part Two

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