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 quickly, 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 quickly reminded that I was apparently being hunted by the associates of Mr Karpinsky and the 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.”

Thrusting : One Night In February

The Blue King Club was situated along Old Street in the East End of a London. It was an unassuming place housed above a row of Georgian shops.

It was one of London’s best kept secrets during the sixties. It was not as exuberant as its West End neighbours, there was nothing about the exterior that was welcoming, let alone to let you know it was in fact a nightclub.

To the unassuming passer by they would just assume they were walking past a Haberdashers and an Asian restaurant. Yet sandwiched between the two was a brown door.

A knock on that door and Fred, adorned in his favourite flat cap and nursing an old shrapnel wound in his leg, would open it inviting you up the cramped staircase.

Once you had ascended the creaky bare wooden stairs, a sharp right would take you through a beaded curtain and into the main area of The Blue King.

First timers were always surprised having travelled up the most narrowest of staircases how large the club actually was. It filled the top floor of both the Haberdashers and Asian restaurant that neighboured below.

Immediately to your left was the bar area made of mahogany with the occasional stool dotted around it for the casual patron just popping in for a quick fix.

Along the wood panelled sides was a small corridor that led to the less than luxurious restrooms. The Male cubicle often occupied by a patron who has seen too much of the show that the girls put on.

When not out on show the girls would be housed in a tiny changing room towards the back of the club. It was no bigger than a broom cupboard where they would scramble for any available space to change into a variety of lingerie.

On the opposite side behind a thick wooden door was a larger room. Inside a huge desk dominated the middle with a larger leather chair behind. This was the office of Jimmy Calvin, the owner of The Blue King.

In essence Jimmy was just a petty criminal with unrealistic dreams of being a big time gangster. His office was adorned with photos of all the celebrities, sports stars and those higher up the echelons of the underworld he had met.

Despite Jimmy’s lofty ambitions he knew his place in the hierarchy. He was small fry, a loner who could only be relied upon for the odd job. He was rarely trusted with anything important.

He acquired The Blue King after he took the blame for some crime carried out by someone in The Kray’s firm. ‘A little favour for Reggie’ is all he used to say about it. Five years inside and he emerges as the proprietor of his very own nightclub.

The larger Firms were wary of Jimmy simply for the fact that unchecked ambition can lead to negligence. For his part, Jimmy was largely content with his little slice of the London underworld. He ruled The Blue King and this kept him from doing anything stupid

Every night he would emerge from his office, dressed in a tuxedo, his cummerbund straining at the expanse of his belly. His hair was always slicked back with a middle parting. His rosy cheeks would flush, smiling as he observed his kingdom; dramatically lighting a cigar to emphasise you were on his turf. He had beady little eyes and an upturned nose, which the girls thought made him resemble a pig; Piggy Calvin is what they would giggle after he had done his obligatory tour of their dressing room.

He’d then move to the centre of the club amongst the tiny circular tables covered in red velvet tablecloth, a small green lamp provided limited illumination. Here is where the more important guests would sit and those who Jimmy wished to impress the most.

Should they require a favour from him they would engage in conversation, otherwise there would be some brief pleasantries before Jimmy moved to edge of the bar and sat observing the Kingdom he ruled.

Although his resemblance to a pig was clear I often felt he was an owl. I would catch sight of him from where I was on the stage.

I could see Jimmy craning his neck and observing all those who walked in. He wanted to be noticed. He wanted to be somebody. I, on the other hand remained content to be unnoticed. In this place it was good to be nobody.

I begun working at The Blue King when I was sixteen in the cloakroom. Jimmy gave me the job as a favour to my Dad who wanted me out of his hair. Even though the relationship between Jimmy and my Dad soured I stayed on at the club, working my way up to selling cigarettes, followed by a brief stint behind the bar to eventually being the resident club singer.

The latter occurred by accident when the normal singer failed to show, Jimmy approached me and asked if I could sing. My vague response of ‘a little bit’ was enough to secure me the position.

Jimmy didn’t care about a singer. No one turned up to hear me sing a few Alma Colgan numbers. They were there to ogle at the girls while finalising some shady deals.

The girls paraded on stage as the less refined men at the back of the club whooped and cheered getting their quick arousing fix. Those at the tables would sit in quiet contemplation, studying the girls, choosing which one would provide company later on. A quick word with Jimmy and he’d ensure that the girl of their choice would provide a suitably entertaining climax to the evening.

I was never ‘chosen’ and that suited me fine. I could live with the shouts of ‘take your top off’ as I sung, the awkward silence as I finished and walked to the bar. It never bothered me. Sing, have a drink, get my money, go home. It was a simple uncomplicated life.

Yet on that one night in February my life got incredibly complicated.

I had just finished singing Sugartime to the echo of horny silence and with a happy shrug left the stage to get myself a drink, a straight whiskey which I would swallow in one before meeting Jimmy at the end of the bar to get my wages, then it was down the stairs, a cheery goodbye to Fred and home.

Every now and then a few men would try it on but my demeanour quickly told them I was not interested. Besides I only had to ignore them for five minutes and then then voluptuous Scarlet would be on the stage and I would no longer be in their thoughts.

I would like to think I was attractive enough to justify the attention of the men who frequented the club. But they came here with a certain expectation. They could take what they wanted. If there was the slightest bit of effort involved in they would quickly lose interest.

Therefore I was not totally surprised when a guy approached me. He was tall, completely bald, sunken cheeks and pinhole dark eyes. His smart dressed indicated he was one of Jimmy’s preferred guests.

“Mr Karpinsky would like you to join him” he said he a deep Eastern European accent

“Who’s Mr Karpinsky” I replied.

He pointed over to the furthest table and there sat a overweight man with a heavy black beard, his beady eyes staring over at us.

I wanted to say no but I caught the gaze of Jimmy who was watching. He gestured with his eyes that I was to comply with the request to join Mr Karpinsky .

“Fine” I reluctantly said, grabbing my drink and following the tall man to the table.

I sat down in the vacant chair next to the demanding Mr Karpinsky, who moved closer towards me.  A combination of cigar smoke, alcohol and body odour filled my nostrils as his large frame pressed against me.

“You sing like an angel” he said, his voice had the same eastern European accent as his colleague although slightly higher pitched which surprised me given his size.

He placed his thick hand on my thigh as he continued “You look like an angel”.

It was clear by the way his stubby fingers worked their way up my dress what his intentions were. There was no attractive quality about him. I had no desire to fulfil whatever grubby plan he had in mind. I could see Jimmy watching owl like from his perch at the bar.

A gentleman would intervene, see my vacant expression and offer sanctuary to the women being manhandled. But not Jimmy. To Jimmy we were all his property and he was happy to loan us out to the right sort of people. In his club the girls were bargaining chips and commodity he could trade.

As Mr Karpinsky’s fingers continued their journey all I could think about was grabbing the bottle of champagne and smashing it over his large flabby head. But I knew if I did that I would not have a job to return to. Besides, I was unsure how Mr Karpinsky’s colleague would react to me bludgeoning his fat friend to death with a bottle of the cheap shit that Jimmy pretended was high quality champagne.

It was difficult to think with Mr Karpinsky’s wandering hands.   I needed to formulate a plan on how I could get out of this with preferably my job and dignity intact.  I excused myself politely and walked towards the restrooms.  Jimmy’s steely gaze following me on my journey.

I paused in the narrow corridor just outside the entrance to the Ladies. I breathed deeply, the smell of the toilets a strange welcome relief to the putrid odour of Mr Karpinsky. Suddenly I felt someone nudge into me.

“Oh I am terribly sorry” said the man responsible.  He was impeccably dressed in a three piece suit, his hair was jet black, dazzling blue eyes and although he must have been in his forties was very attractive.  I did not reply, part of me wanted him to try something on with me.  Rescue me from the clumsy fondling of Mr Karpinsky but he just smiled and disappeared into the Gents toilet.

I opened the door to the Ladies and splashed water on my face. I contemplated how long I could conceivably stay in here. Perhaps the likes of Scarlet or Divine would distract him enough that he would soon forget about me and I could just go home without his hand taking that any further lumbering steps up my dress.

I heard the low hum of the music indicating that Scarlet was just about to start her show. I dried my face and left the toilets. As you exit, to the left at the far end is a door which lead to a fire escape and into the alleyway adjacent to the club. The girls call it their Escape Plan if things ever got too much. All I had to do was turn left and I would be free, keep out of Jimmy’s way until he calmed down and then back to work like nothing ever happened.

“I hope you ain’t thinking of leaving Mr Karpinsky on his own.  He’d be most disappointed”

I turned to see Jimmy leaning up against the wall.

“Look Jimmy….this is more what the girls do.  I am just here to sing” I would have continued my pleading but the look in Jimmy’s eyes clearly told me it was futile.

“The girls work for me. You work for me. It’s important we keep our guests…..entertained” he instinctively licked his lips as a he said the last word.

Moving closer to me he continued “Your rent is due at the end of the week, ain’t it? Be a shame if you didn’t have the money to pay him. I hear your landlord will expect something in return if you can’t pay up”.

“Jimmy….please…”

He cut me off by putting a finger to his lips and making an irritating shushing sound “Now Mr Karpinsky requires a little alone time with you, so you’ll find him in my office.  I suggest you hurry up now”

A brief thought of punching Jimmy’s arrogant face and running out the fire escape crossed my mind but it would only be a momentary win. Jimmy was not the sort that would take such impertinence lightly, he would see it as a betrayal, a declaration of war. I couldn’t fight him on my own and I had no-one to help me.

Maybe a few years ago things would have been different. The mere mention of my Dad would have stopped Jimmy from ever making such demands but those days were over. I was alone. Jimmy controlled me and I saw no option but to agree to his demands.

I submissively walked back into the club and across the floor, passing Scarlet who was in the process of removing her bra to the enthusiastic cheers of the audience. I caught her eye as I passed, I thought I saw sympathy in her expression. I had seen her many times go into Jimmy’s office, she knew what I would experience behind that door.

The brief journey to the office seemed to take forever, the music and the cheers a vacant echo in my mind. I felt like a prisoner on death row taking their final walk. I was in a daze and only alerted to the fact that I had reached the door when the handle pushed against me.

I took one final futile look around the club, a desperate glance to see if that suave Gentleman was about to rescue me but all I could see was Jimmy back on his perch watching me.  I turned the handle, opened the door and accepted my fate.

When I entered it was clear that Mr Karpinsky had not intention of just wanting me to sing for him. There was to be no romance or companionship. He was in the process of unbuckling his trousers when he said

“Ahhh there’s my angel”

His trousers dropped to the ground exposing his chubby hairy legs. His underpants quickly followed, a tiny penis emerged from the two overhanging flaps of fat which in any other circumstance would have made me laugh at the thought of a tortoise poking its head out to eat some lettuce.

I stood there not moving, still clinging to the hope that someone would barge through the door and end this bizarre and unwanted coupling. 

“Don’t be shy” he said “I won’t bite…..It won’t bite.” He grabbed my hand and placed it on his penis, he let out a satisfied moan as his hand encouraged mine to stroke him.  

His idea of foreplay was simply to lift up my dress, pull down my tights and bend me over Jimmy’s desk. I felt nothing; whilst that could apply to the vacancy of my thoughts at the point it could equally apply to the fact that I actually felt nothing.

The only indication that he may have been having sex with me was the feel of his large flabby frame pressed against me and comically emphasised grunting.

That’s all I can really remember, his weight getting heavier and heavier on my back, his foul odour filling the room. I was suffocating. Literally suffocating. I just wanted to throw up. Then it stopped. He didn’t cry out in orgasmic pleasure, I felt nothing to indicate he had climaxed, he just lay on top of me.

It seemed like an eternity that I was under him. His full weight trapping me on the table. Then I noticed…. he wasn’t breathing. The possibility there may be a dead guy inside of me was encouragement enough to slide myself from underneath him. It was not an easy task and the momentum caused him to rock back before slamming face first on to the edge of the desk as I prised myself out.

He landed in a heap on the floor, one of Jimmy’s ornaments had fallen off the table and lay by Mr Karpinsky’s lifeless body.  My initial thought was simply ‘Jimmy’s not going to like this’.

I contemplated moving the body, but aside from the difficulty I had getting the lumbering mass off me I did not know what good that would do.  There was only one way in and out of the office so I couldn’t just say that Mr Karpinsky had popped out to get some cigarettes.

Maybe I could just go speak with Jimmy and explain what had happened, but he was not the most understanding person at the best of times. Besides, the bruise that formed on the side of Mr Karpinsky’s temple meant that ‘He simply died’ would be treated with some suspicion.

My only option was to run. I quickly rearranged my clothes, wiped the tears that formed in my eyes, opened the door and just ran across the club. Jimmy, in his curious owl like way, noticed me running but by the time he had hopped off his perch I was down the corridor and through the fire escape.

I took the rickety staircase two steps at a time fearing at any moment that either Jimmy or Mr Karpinsky’s lanky colleague would catch me. The fact that I had fled meant that I had abandoned any chance It was settled – I had killed Mr Karpinsky.

Tears spilled from eyes as I breathlessly made my way down the staircase.  I cursed myself – You should have just turned left when you had the chance.

I tried to put aside any thought of what might become of me.  My only goal at that moment was to get far away from The Blue King as possible.  I would figure everything else out when I was safe….if I ever could be safe.

I jumped the last few steps and sprinted down the alleyway.  My chest cried out in agony as I pushed myself to run as fast as I could.  As I neared where the alleyway opens onto Old Street a car pulled across the entrance.

They’ve already found me.

I stopped. Breathing deeply, I looked back into the gloom of the alleyway and thought I could hear footsteps coming up after me. I was trapped. There was nothing more I could do than hope they would listen to reason.

The car window routrolled down. It was not Mr Karpinsky’s colleague but the attractive gentleman who had bumped into me.

“You’re in danger” he shouted to me “But I can help you.  Get in.”

He opened the passenger door. Whilst I avoided getting into stranger’s cars I had little choice. With the sound of footsteps getting louder in the alley I ran round to the passenger side of the car and hopped in.

Little did I know this would be the final car journey that Molly Jones would make.