Thrusting : Band Together

I took the first few steps as Labia Lefeure. Admittedly I would have preferred it to be at some gala event yet my new life was to begin walking along a dark foreboding corridor.

There was no gliding across a beautiful red carpet to the sound of applause rather it was to be a tentative walk along a soulless grey floor, the only noise were my heels clip clopping on the worn concrete.

I was not to be dazzled by the flashing bulbs as photographers jostled for position instead the intermittent flickering of the lights above were to be my only welcome to my new life.

Crowds did not marvel at my elegant attire as I strolled proudly across the lush carpet. The dress I wore for the debut of Labia Lefeure was poorly made, stained with mud and probably other dubious substances. I was tired, hungry, a tad hungover and as I followed the strange gentleman who I knew only as ‘The Manager’ the feeling of dread I had experienced in the field returned.

Whilst I had put aside any thought that he would kill me in the field the fact he had now taken me to some derelict building where no-one would either hear my final blood curdling scream nor ever find my body made me once again question his intentions.

My feet hurt and I was not prepared to go on a long walk to my demise. I called out to him in the hope that it would speed up the conclusion to all of this.

“So explain to me all this again” I asked

The Manager stopped walking and spun round. He looked irritated making me wonder if this is just an emotion I provoked or if it was his usual resting expression.

“What part would you like me to explain?” he sighed.

“All of it” I replied

He rolled his eyes and threw his head back staring at the overhead light that seemed to flicker in tune with his visible irritation of me.

“Very well but pay attention” he said with the same tone as my teacher who once lost patience trying to explain trigonometry to me.

“You will be working for MOIST, a specialist department of MI6. Our role is to disseminate secret coded messages, especially to the Agents we have inside SNATCH“

“Sorry? Inside what?”

“SNATCH – Special Network And Tactical Counter-intelligence Hierachy. They are a conglomerate of organised crime, despots and tyrants all with the goal of undermining democracy and destabilising governments for their own greed.”

“And my job to ensure they don’t destroy the world is to sing songs?” I enquired

“Yes over the years we have designed ways of encoding important messages into songs. You will perform at gigs, galas and parties where our inside SNATCH agents will be. Understood?” He said, not waiting for a response but spinning on his heels and walking off.

“One more thing” I shouted out. He turned around with that same look that did nothing to dispel the feeling he really wanted to kill me

“Do I get a change of clothing?” I asked pointing out the stains on my tatty dress.

He smiled, which was more unnerving than reassuring and pulled on a large metal handle, sliding open a rusty metal door to reveal a hidden room filled with all manner of clothing.

“Be my guest” he said “But hurry up you need to meet the band.”

An hour and multiple costume changes later I was standing in what would have been a hangar back in the day when this was used as an actual air base. I would like to have stayed longer trying on clothes. Admittedly, The Manager, grew impatient after I tried on the second outfit, muttering to himself about what was wrong with the first one I tried on.

I’d never seen such an array of clothing – dresses, mini-skirts, tops, boots and heels; and not cheap either, a lot of this stuff were from those expensive shops along Carnaby Street. Places I had stopped at and gazed into the window dreaming of what it would be like to be seen in their attire.

The Manager would look away each time I excitedly changed into whatever outfit caught my eye. When I asked him if an outfit looked okay he would offer a dismissive hand with a “Yes that looks fine, can we go please”.

I didn’t understand his coyness. Maybe he was just being a gentleman but working in The Blue King I was used to Jimmy barging in as I and the girls were getting changed.

Noting the growing frustration of The Manager I eventually settled on an outfit. A black high neck chiffon top, hot pants, white tights and matching knee high boots.

“What do you think?” I asked

“This was the first outfit you chose” The Manager sighed “Come on let’s go”

The walk to the main hangar was a more pleasant one. The Manager still seemed to want to kill me but I happily ignored him. I was not focused on what dangers may lay ahead in being part of a secret spy organisation, I was just happy I got to wear nice clothes.

I caught my reflection when passing a glass frame that probably once housed important war information. I looked different, I felt different. Fingering the expensive fabric I smiled; Molly was now truly gone and it was Labia from here on in.

It was clear the hangar was where I would be spending most of my time; albeit I resolved I would ensure I got back to the clothing room whenever I could.

At the far end an array of musical instruments rested on stands next to a makeshift sound booth that housed a solitary microphone.

Adjacent to this was what looked liked the set up for a mini photography studio. Lights, white umbrellas on stands all circled a black screen.

In the middle stood a large table adorned with a variety of snacks and drinks. My stomach roared a reminder of its growing hunger that had only been temporarily quietened by my enthusiasm of dressing up.

On the opposite side of the hangar was a leather sofa surrounded by a myriad of different chairs, none of them matching. Seated were four people, two men and two women. The females occupied the sofa. One had long dark hair and laid across the length of the sofa, her feet resting in the lap of a youthful Asian girl.

The two men sat on separate chairs either side of the sofa. The larger man straddled his chair, his dark muscular arms crossed over the back of it.

The other man was wiry with long hair and a poor excuse for a goatee. His sunken cheekbones were clearly visible even from a distance. He sat with his arms folded and legs arrogantly stretched out.

“Okay everyone” announced The Manager, clapping his hands “I would like you to meet the newest member of the band. Lead singer….Labia Lefeure.” There was a hint of him rolling his eyes as he pronounced my name.

The seated foursome all stood up and walked over to me as The Manager continued with introductions.

“This is Vanda” he said as the dark haired woman high fived me “She is rhythm guitar but also an expert in covert operations”

Next the Asian girl bounded over to give me a big hug “This is Kaku. Bass guitarist and a wonderful gymnast”

“Regis is the drummer” the Manager continued as the gentile hug of Kaku was replaced by a big bear hug “He’s also the muscle…should we ever require it.”

“And I’m Dick Splash” interrupted the thin man. I saw The Manager wince as he pronounced his name, clearly I wasn’t the only one who got to choose. “I should have been the lead singer but instead I’m lead guitar”

Whilst the others mocked Dick’s singing credentials I noticed over at the far end of the hangar was a piano.

“Who is that?” I enquired pointing at the solitary figure who was hunched over a table next to the piano.

“That is Stef. One of Bletchley’s finest. Her job is to write the songs which will contain the coded messages”

I walked over to introduce myself to her.

“Hi I’m Labia.” It felt a little weird announcing myself by my brand new name.

She looked up from scribbling away on paper. I could see random words in capitals, amongst lines of lyrics; some had been furiously scrubbed out.

Her eyes were perfectly framed behind thick heavy glasses. Stef seemed reluctant to return my greeting. She certainly was not as enthusiastic with her welcome as Regis or Kaku with their big hugs but equally she did not have the arrogance of Dick. There was clearly kindness in those eyes but she looked exhausted.

“Are you ok?” I whispered leaning in towards her.

“Yeh I’m just a…..” she began to reply before being interrupted by The Manager.

“Okay Mol….Labia…. that’s enough let Stef get on with her work. She needs to finish the song before the performance tonight”

“Tonight?!!” I exclaimed “But I’m tired”

The Manager rolled his eyes, a look I had become more than familiar with in just a short time “Oh I’m sorry that evil organisations hadn’t taken into consideration your sleeping pattern before planning their world domination! There is a concert tonight and we need to pass on an important message.”

I watched as he gestured for everyone to do something although everyone seemed unclear what they actually had to do.

“What are we called?” I asked

“Excuse me?” The Manager replied

“The name of the band. What’s it called?”

He waved a dismissive hand “Oh I don’t know maybe something like Labia and the LoveHearts.”

This title was not met with enthusiasm from any of the members of the band. Noting the lack of support he said “Well….what would you call it?”

A variety of names were shouted out by the likes of Vanda and Kaku. Dick wanted the band to be called The Dick Splash Orchestra.

Whilst everyone shouted out suggestions I glanced down at the notebook Stef had been writing in. She had split the page into two columns; one side were the lyrics to a song and the other side was a list of words that she crossed out. I was drawn to the remaining words still visible.

Precious. Comfort. Love. Thrust.

“What about Precious Comfort Love Thrust?” I offered, a suggestion which was met by that same, familiar look from The Manager.

It was Regis who broke the silence “Yeh I love that. Precious…Comfort..Love…Thrust”

Kaku and Vanda repeated the name with similar approval. Dick, on the other hand, still attempted to push his suggestion.

“Very well” said The Manager, raising his hands to quieten everyone down “Precious Comfort Love Thrust it is. Now everyone get to work!”

I gave Stef a brief smile before watching The Manager leave the hangar, probably regretting his decision he allowed us to choose our own names.

Giving a little wave to Stef I walked over to join my band mates. My stomach gurgled, unsure if it was just hunger or fear of the unknown. Apprehension for this mysterious new life I had signed up for.

All you got to do is sing I told myself, that’s what The Manager had said.

Twelve hours later I would realise he hadn’t told me everything.

Thrusting : Laa-Bye-Ahh

Four hours after agreeing to the bizarre proposal from a mysterious well groomed stranger I was standing in the middle of a field somewhere on the Kent/Sussex border.

I would have loved to have enjoyed the crisp, clean morning air that usually I am starved of in the smog ridden city. The feel of the fresh breeze bringing forth memories of family day trips to the coast,

However my thoughts at that present time were not to recall some pleasant time of building sandcastles with my dad. Any sweet recollections were barred by one pressing thought – this stranger is going to kill me.

I battled through the hazy pain in my mind caused by the alcohol I had consumed to piece together how, in the space of a few hours, I had gone from singing old standards in a sleazy little club to standing in a field. The only logical conclusion I arrived at was that the only reason someone would drive you out to the middle of nowhere was to kill you.

I had contemplated the possibility he wanted to have sex with me but discounted that on the basis that there were plenty of other places he could have chosen. Besides he struck me as the sort of guy who would require ordering room service after an orgasm not wiping dirt from his knees.

He had definitely told me he was a spy and from what I had read about spies in novels they took people to fields to kill them. If he had said he worked for the Environmental Department rather than the Ministry of Defence then I may have just assumed he wanted to discuss the migratory pattern of swallows or the importance of flood plains.

I looked around and all I could see was fields. It had rained overnight and the unkempt grass shone in the dawn sunlight that yawned across the horizon.

In addition to the usual thought of why did I drink too much there were two other particular considerations that occupied my mind; why he wanted me dead and whether I could make a run for it.

There was a futility in spending too much time contemplating either. I assumed he had lied about being a spy and actually worked for Mr Karpinsky and was just getting revenge for my role in the death of his boss. In any event, knowing the reason for my demise would provide little comfort; especially if I took the second option of attempting to run across a seemingly endless drenched field.

I had never given much thought to my eventual death preferring instead to just enjoy my existence as best as society would allow. However, it never occurred to me it may end in the middle of nowhere with my final moments being me screaming whilst looking like I’m wading in syrup. I had hoped it would be a tad more dignified than that.

Any belief I could overpower him sunk as fast as my heels into the sodden ground. One attempted leap and I would fall down, laying face first in the mud so he could conveniently put a bullet in the back of my head. I weren’t prepared to make it that easy for him.

I breathed deeply as I watched his hand slowly reach into the inside pocket of his immaculate tailored suit. Yet he didn’t pull out a gun but instead a silver case; the morning light briefly glistened off the shiny surface as he delicately opened the lid and took out a cigarette. Looking up at me he offered the case.

“Why do you want to kill me?” I asked, deciding my only option was to discuss my imminent murder.

He looked at me quizzically and then referring to the cigarette case said “Oh you’re one of them that thinks these are dangerous. Nonsense they’d put warnings on them if that was the case”

“No. I mean you want to shoot me in this field”

“Why would I want to do that?” He replied lighting his cigarette “Come on. This way”

I watched as he turned and walked up a steep incline. Although he hadn’t denied he was going to shoot me I nevertheless followed him, attempting to be as graceful as I could as the ground tried to swallow me up. I just hoped wherever we were going they had a Shoe Shop.

This mysterious man waited impatiently at the brow of the hill as I unceremoniously attempted my ascent. Each laboured step was met by a look of frustration from him.

Eventually I managed to reach him and he pointed out into the distance to what looked like a large metal shed. It was a curiosity amongst the lush green fields. Those who liked architecture might have marvelled at the impressive iron structure. I was just pleased that it sat on concrete and I wouldn’t be walking in a swamp for much longer. My favourite pair of heels were ruined.

“This base was used during the War” he explained “but since then has been the base of operations for MOIST”

“I’m sorry… for what?”

“MOIST…. Ministry of International Secret Transmissions. It is the Section I head up and who you will be working for” he explained.

“So I’m gonna be a spy?” I asked

“Something like that”

“Do I have to go to spy school?”

“No” he said bluntly before walking down the hill towards the imposing structure.

I followed him with the same grace that had accompanied me on the way up the hill. My arms stretched out to the side as if I were some cool surfer riding an awesome wave, although in reality I was just trying to stop myself from falling on my arse.

If I were to become a spy of sorts I wanted to make a good first impression and rolling down a muddy hill probably wasn’t the sort of thing MI6 would see as a positive attribute.

“So what is it I will be doing exactly?” I shouted out, my voice trailing off as my concentration went from talking to staying on my feet.

He stopped and turned to me, a look of impatience on his face as if he had already explained this to me, which, to be fair, he probably already had. I wondered if alcohol induced forgetfulness was also an attribute that MI6 were looking for.

“You will be singing” he replied bluntly, hints that my persistent questioning may be irritating him, yet I still continued.

“Do I do any actual spying?”

“No”

“Do I get a gun?”

“No”

“Will I have a secret identity?”

He turned toward me once again, even though he was some distance away I could tell he was making no effort to hide his growing frustration from me.

“No!” he replied, pausing for a moment before continuing “You will have a completely new identity. Once you walk into that building the life you knew as Molly Jones would be over”

I ignored the overly dramatic way he had expressed it and spent a brief moment reflecting on my life so far.

A singer in a club working for a slimy boss being paid just enough to avoid the wandering hands of a pervy landlord, all the while walking the streets concerned that one of my Dad’s enemies may use me to exact some revenge. There really was no desire for me to cling on to any of that.

“Do I get to choose my name?” I shouted out after him.

“What?”

“Can I choose my new name?” I asked, hurrying to catch up with him.

He rolled his eyes at every stumble that I took before shrugging his shoulders and replying “Yes. I guess you can”.

I felt a little giddy at the thought of this new life starting. I contemplated my new name with all the care and consideration that parents with a new born child would take in naming their little bundle of joy.

I never got a say in being called ‘Molly’, it certainly was not a name I would have chosen. But now I had the opportunity to christen myself as I embarked on this mysterious life of a sort-of-spy.

Do I pick a super cool spy sounding name? Like, Veronica Voluptua. No. Too obvious and besides people would expect me to speak with a Russian accent.

I was to be a singer in a band so maybe something like Mandy MoonShadow. It was certainly memorable. Sounded cool and the sort of name the lead singer of a band would have.

“Ahh Good Evening Miss MoonShadow your normal table is waiting for you”

Then I recalled when I used to go to the hairdressers. Money had always been tight but I saved enough so each month I could get my hair done in whatever style was fashionable at that time. It was the one luxury I afforded myself to make me feel special. It made up for the secondhand or home made dresses I tried to pass off as decent.

On the table while I waited was a load of magazines that had pictures of these beautiful looking women on yachts or having fun in places like the French Riveria. Living amongst the grime of the East End it was like a different world. A world I envied. A world I so wanted to be a part of.

On the occasions I couldn’t afford my rent and my landlord suggested other means of payment I would escape to that world. His laboured grunts replaced by the clinking of champagne glasses as I attended some luxurious gala. Descending an expansive staircase in a full length dress with far more grace than I had descended that hill on the way to my new life.

I could be those women in the magazine. If nothing else at least by name. It needed to be something exotic. Something mysterious.

“I got it!” I exclaimed “Labia Lefeure”

“Sorry? What Lefeure?” He replied

“My new name …. Labia Lefeure”

“How we spelling that?”

“L-A-B-I-A”

“Labia?” He said raising his eyebrows

“It’s pronounced LAA-BYE-AHH” I corrected him with a sense of pride over my new identity.

He sighed, shaking his head “Very well. Come on let’s get inside”

“Wait!” I said “What do I call you? I mean who even are you?”

“Me?” He replied giving a wry smile “I’m The Manager. Come on…. It’s time to meet the band”

He opened a large metal door and gestured for me to go inside. I placed one muddy foot across the threshold.

Goodbye Molly Jones. Hello Labia Lefeure.

Thrusting: Proposals & Disposals

I watched The Blue King disappear in the rear view mirror as my apparent saviour drove at speed down Old Street.

An uncomfortable silence filled the car. This mysterious man clearly wanted to say something to me and I had plenty of questions for him, such as

“Who are you?”

“Not important right now” he replied without disturbing his attention on the road.

“Okay. Where we are going?”

“Also not important” he said bluntly “Just relax you’re safe now.”

His tone was far from reassuring but I persisted in ensuring I got all my questions in at this early stage.

“Are you taking me home?”

He sighed “You shouldn’t go home” .

He added nothing more which led me to contemplate whether I had made the right decision getting into his car.

I gazed out the window and into the murkiness of the night. There was little illumination and what there was offered only a fleeting glimpse of revellers making their way home or seeking out a place to get another drink; I doubted The Blue King would be open to cater for that final indulgence.

I asked no more questions of my saviour and instead just stared into dark nothingness as I tried to process the events of the night. Did Mr Karpinsky die? Did I kill him? Will I still get paid my wages, rent was due after all. I shuddered at the thought of my Landlord’s alternative means of payment.

Lost in thought I had not realised that we had travelled all the way into central London. The car came to a gentle stop outside a grandiose building; the gloom of the night made it difficult to witness it in all its gothic splendour.

The mystery man, who still hadn’t told me his name, exited the car, took the time to do up the button of his impeccably tailored suit before walking briskly round to my side and opened the door. He offered his hand which I nervously took as he gently escorted me out the vehicle.

I followed him up a few stone steps to an imposing set of double wooden doors. He used the large wrought iron door knocker, one crashing knock seemed to cause the door to open magically.

As the door slowly opened I was presented with a long hallway, a regal red carpet stretched as far as I could see. Paintings of old men sporting different moustaches looked down at me, each with their own expression of disapproval that a woman dare walk these halls. Not just any woman, a working class girl of all things; as I walked further down the hall I half expected the paintings to shake and fall off with unrepentant fury.

Despite the unwelcoming interior I felt comfortable. The cold silence in the car had left me wondering if my apparent saviour had more sinister intentions. However seeing the splendour of this place made me realise he wouldn’t kill me here. No way would they allow the blood of a girl from the East End to stain these expensive carpets.

We turned right into a large room, red leather chairs were neatly positioned around large circular wooden tables, much more lavish than the ones in The Blue King.

Some of the chairs were occupied, all were men and all were dressed in tailored suits. An elderly gentleman was asleep in one chair, his drink precariously balanced in his hand.

Some acknowledged my saviour as he walked in with a nod of recognition which he politely returned. None acknowledged my presence; they chose not to see me although I had no doubt they were mentally drafting a letter to the management regarding that time they let a common woman into this place.

My mysterious companion escorted me to the far corner where he gestured for me to sit in one of the large leather seats. Catching the objecting glance of one of the older patrons I gently lowered myself into the seat, my hands sliding across the silky leather armrests. I half smiled wishing my family could see me in a place of such extravagance.

‘Look at our little Molly in such a posh place’ my Nan would have said before running to tell the neighbours. But the smile quickly faded as I reminded myself of the circumstances that led me here.

Lost in that daydream I hadn’t noticed that a man had approached our table, although he was quickly dismissed by my companion with an order of two scotches.

While waiting for the drinks he cocked his head to one side and looked me up and down, the awkwardness of this compounded by the realisation of how short my skirt was. I instinctively made the futile attempt to lower it below my thighs.

The silence was broken by the sound of two glasses of scotch being placed on the table. I picked up the glass and without any care that it’s content probably cost more than what I earned in a month at The Blue King swigged the whole thing down.

My companion smirked and ordered a replacement with a wave of his hand.

“Well you’ve had quite the evening, haven’t you Miss Jones” he said

Wiping the remnants of scotch from my lips with the back of my hand I replied “Is he dead?”

“Mr Karpinsky? Oh he is dead for sure”

“Did I kill him?” I asked

My companion smiled, “Intentionally? No. Seems Mr Karpinsky’s heart couldn’t take the thrill of being in your company Miss Jones”

I grabbed the glass from the table and holding it with both hands rested it on my lap. I watched as the amber liquid swirled in the expensive cut glass. With my head bowed I meekly said “So I’m not in trouble?”

“Oh you’re in big trouble Miss Jones”

I lifted my head up, the tears forming in my eyes were met with the outstretched hand of my companion, maybe partly to calm me down or perhaps this place had rules against ‘women making a scene’.

“You see Mr Karpinsky is not a nice man” he continued “His associates are not the sort that would be sitting around prepared to wait for the results of an autopsy that would show he died of natural causes. No, they’d be determined to find the young woman who ran away”.

“I was scared. I panicked”

“That may very well be the case but the associates of Mr Karpinsky aren’t the sort to listen”

I took a swig of my drink, the taste of the alcohol an antidote to the tears I was trying to fight back. “Why am I here?” I asked

“I told you Miss Jones. I can help you. I can keep you safe.”

“How?” Given that my companion was now in a talkative mood I wanted to get a response to all my unanswered questions I had raised in the car.

He didn’t respond promptly, instead he took a sip of his drink allowing the alcohol to swirl round his mouth before speaking.

“Come work for me.” he finally said, smiling.

“Why? Do you need a singer?” I asked.

“Something like that.” He paused to take another sip of his scotch before continuing “You ever hear of a band called The Konrads?”

“No. Should I have?”

“No Miss Jones and that is the point”

“Wait. You’re a manager of crap bands no one has ever heard of.” I said laughing “Cos I already have that gig with the worse manager you can think of”

“You really think you can return to Jimmy and The Blue King?” he said raising an eyebrow.

The boldness of my earlier statement quickly faded as I was suddenly reminded of the unnerving fact of apparently being hunted by the associates of Mr Karpinsky and the suffocating fear returned.

“But how does being in your band keep me safe?” I asked.

“The other people in the band are a very special bunch. They will keep you safe.”

He looked at me but all he was met with was my vacant expression. If he thought I was following what he was talking about then he was very much mistaken. Regardless of me not understanding what was going on he continued.

“What are you? Nineteen? Twenty? Certainly born after the war. You, like many of the population, believe the war is over. We live in peaceful times. But the war was never over. It merely evolved”

Still vacant.

“Those who would seek power realised there are other ways of achieving it besides guns and soldiers. And for years they have been working in the shadows attempting to take control without anyone noticing”

Still vacant.

“And those of us who would seek to stop them have to also work in these shadows. Secrecy is their weapon of choice. Information the silver bullet of success.”

I took a large swig of my drink hoping to mask the fact I had no clue what he was talking about. My only thought at that time was if this was to be a long story I may get another drink out of it.

“Miss Jones I work for the British Government. The others in this room all play a role in the national security of this country”

I spied the old man snoring away in the chair and my confidence of how secure the country might be quickly dropped.

“The Konrads were an early project of mine to pass on information to our allies without it falling into enemies hands. It was based on earlier work done by my mentor during the war. He devised a way of sending messages encoded within songs. To innocent ears they were just morale boosting songs about meeting again or blue birds over Dover, yet to those behind enemy lines they contained vital information”

“Wait?!” I interrupted “You saying Vera Lynn was a Secret Agent?”

“Something like that. I tried to emulate the same principle with The Konrads but it did not have the same effect. Something was missing. Then I realised in these times you not only needed to pass on information but gather information. And this brings me to you.”

I drained my glass but this time my companion was not quick to offer me a refill “Me? What about me? And should you be telling me all this. I might be an agent for whoever it is we are supposedly at war with. I mean you’re a pretty shit spy if you’re just randomly blurting all this out.”

He smiled “I have done my homework Miss Jones. I know all about you….and your Father. Sorry about what happened to him by the way”

I brushed away any concern I ought to have had that he knew everything about me and concentrated on why he thought I was so special.

“Why me?” I asked.

“Mr Karpinsky was quite a private man. Paranoid as well. Never let his security leave his side. He had good reason to be worried, there were many people after him. I certainly could not get anywhere close to him. Yet tonight he forgot all that just to be with you. So that’s why.”

I stared at my empty glass desperate for alcohol to aid me with processing all this information.

“So you want me to sing coded messages and shag enemies to death?”

He laughed, loud enough to disturb the old guy from his slumber “Miss Jones what happened to Mr Karpinsky was a freak coincidence. However I certainly could use a woman of your talents.”

Part of me doubted there was any truth to what he was telling me. Many guys had lied about who they were to try and sleep with me. James Bond was all the rage and for all I knew this was just some posh bloke indulging in some pretend Secret Agent seduction.

“And if I refuse?” I asked.

He shrugged and finished drink, although to my disappointment did not seek to get another round.

“Then Miss Jones I will simply take you home.” He paused, scanning the room before continuing “Of course what happens to you after that will neither be my responsibility or concern. Maybe Mr Karpinsky’s men will already be waiting for you. That might come tomorrow or the day after but eventually they will find you. And as for The Blue King I doubt that place will ever open again.”

For some reason I didn’t want him to think I was scared even though my heart was pounding and my mind chaotically tried to process the events of that night which had spiralled drastically out of control the moment I stepped off the stage at The Blue King.

This attempt to stay strong was betrayed by me looking away from him and down at my lap muttering to myself “You should have turned left Molly.”

“Sorry Miss Jones?” He said, leaning forward to try and catch my eye “What do you wish to do?”

My head roared in confusion. I wanted to ask more questions but it was clear whoever this mysterious man was he had run out of patience with me.

I still was unsure that he was telling the truth. I may be perfectly safe, that no one was after me and after a grovelling apology to Jimmy I could go back to my job at The Blue King.

The guy in front of me maybe well connected but he could also be an absolute psycho trapping me in a lie for his own nefarious reasons. Secret agents didn’t go round telling strangers they were secret agents. Did they?

I dug my nails into the arms of the leather chair. My instinct was to run, that’s always been my instinct. Just run as far away as I could. But I would eventually have to stop running and if he was right they’d catch up with me.

At that moment the only certainty was the uncertainty of whatever choice I made. What I desired then was simply control, to manage my own destiny; but when your life is swirling around in a chaotic mess control and clarity come in very short supply.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Time to make your choice Molly. I lifted my head and stared him straight in the eye.

“So Miss Jones, what are you going to do?” he asked again.

Exhaling I replied “Get us another drink and I’ll tell you.”