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The Tourist (standard:fantasy, 1502 words)
Author: Andrew RAdded: Jun 17 2002Views/Reads: 1580/910Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
We all have a destiny, some of us just need someone else to point us in the right direction.
 



THE TOURIST 

By Andrew Rough 

Thursday.  The day my life changed forever.  Another dayshift at The
Cox's Arms.  The pub, off a Soho side street, with its usual patrons, 
alcoholics, dealers, pimps, hookers and tourists.  I had the normal 
prestige of a good barman in a local's pub, being able to walk home 
safely through some of the most dangerous parts of the city.  These men 
respect me.  I listen to their bigoted rants and don't comment.  I look 
away when a deal goes on in a murky corner.  I put the out of order 
sign on the disabled toilet when Jeff the tramp gets his fiver hand job 
from 'Lucille.'  I don't know her real name; she's probably forgotten 
it as well. 

This place is like a cycle of nature.  The pimps and the dealers are the
parasites feeding of the innocent.  The girls, underage or illegal feed 
off the alcoholics in order to feed the dealers and pimps what they 
want, money.  The alcoholics feed off me and occasionally another urge 
takes them that I won't service and they go to the girls.  It's all a 
cycle.  Occasionally it breaks down, the ever-present scent of 
aggression rises to the surface and a fight breaks out. 

It was Thursday and a drizzle of rain held the tourist element at bay. 
The monotony was dulling my senses.  In the farthest corners of the pub 
a man I was about to meet watched me.  At the same time that inevitable 
aggression was reaching its weary conclusion as two men argued over the 
price of a deal.  The fight broke out, glasses where smashed, blood was 
spilt and the ambulance came.  That was when he introduced himself to 
me. 

I was standing by the bar, surveying the damage.  Shocked numbness
overtook me as I looked down at the prone body leaking blood.  The 
others held the same expression.  He came up beside me, I didn't 
recognise him.  He looked fortyish, wearing a blue Mac and 
chain-smoking Marlboro.  He had a half drunk pint of Guinness in one 
hand.  He looked at me with a curious expression "I think we should 
leave now James." His voice had a strangely soothing tone and I found 
myself following him out into the drizzle.  He knew my name and I 
didn't know why, I didn't care, the numbness made me follow him like a 
sheep, dumb and obedient. "Where are we going?"  I said, noticing that 
he still had his pint in his hand.  He turned to me with a weary sigh 
"We are going to see someone, I need to show you what to do." I 
couldn't really take in what he was saying, something in the back of my 
mind was screaming at me, asking me what the hell was I doing walking 
along with this stranger. 

The streets where gloomy, clouds overhead darkened the atmosphere.  The
drizzle turned to rain, wind lashing it violently against my face, 
fighting me, pushing me away from wherever we were going. "What's your 
name?"  I said to him.  He smiled at me in a way that made me think of 
my father on the day of my mother's funeral.  He was so sad, tearing up 
inside, but his generation had demanded a show of strength, his social 
dictate said 'don't cry.'  He looked at me, straight in the eye and 
smiled, the pain clear to see in the teardrop crying to escape from his 
eye. "I have many names James, just as you will.  Come, we are nearly 
there." 

We where in a part of the city that I didn't recognise.  The streets
where dark and grey, the wind was raging aggressively around us.  He 
had taken me to an alleyway behind a main-street.  Overflowing rubbish 
bins from the shops covered the floor.  As we entered the alleyway a 
man in a suit passed us looking flushed. "Down here," he motioned me 
towards the end of the alley.  A girl was sitting on the floor leaning 
against the wall.  As we got closer I noticed that her top was ripped.  
She looked about fifteen but was dressed in a way that was meant to 
attract coveted glances.  She was heavily pasted in make-up, running 
down her cheeks with the rain and her tears.  She looked up at us, 
worried at first, then composing herself, "Hang on darlin, I'll be 
right with you." I recognised the patter, it made me think of Lucille.  
He turned to me and a look of understanding passed between us. "I must 
help her and show you the way."  I didn't know what he meant but I 
somehow knew what he was going to do.  He went over to her, pacifying 
her with his benevolent look, he smiled and laid his hands on her 
shoulders.  A light seemed to pass from him into her and something 


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