Angel 59 (QC)
‘I’m not too worried,’ Angel, a slight edge in her voice, caught Stacey hurrying out of the kitchen with a folder in her hand. ‘But Lisa is beginning to make noises and trying to shape her mouth and say Ma-Ma. Adam’s…Adam’s doesn’t say anything. Maybe I’m not feeding him enough. Do you think he’s deaf and dumb?’
Stacey winced, and drew her breath through her teeth. ‘No, I wouldn’t think so.’ Noting the desperation in Angel’s face, she added, ‘You should talk to the Health Visitor about it. Mine didn’t speak until they were nearer two. But I’m sure I’ve heard him making noises.’
Stacey shook her head. ‘I’ve got a meeting. I really have to go.’
Angel went into the kitchen and put the kettle on. She’d nobody really to talk to since Margo left about a month ago. Her mum was worse than useless. Tony had disappeared. Bruno wasn’t answering the phone. And when Pizza Face did phone, and asked to visit her, she put him off because he’d worm his way in and want sex. There was no help from anybody. She felt like greeting, but scampered back to her room because she thought she heard Lisa screaming.
Lisa had a scratch on her face, where she’d clawed at her cheek. Angel reminded herself to cut her nails. She frowned looking at Adam who sat smiling up at her and wondered why he didn’t have a scratch on his face. He gurgled.
‘That’s right. Ma-mmmmma.’ She loomed over him in the cot and drew the world out like a needle following a thread, thrilled that he’d spoken and wasn’t deaf and dumb. ‘Ma-mmmmma.’
She left him sitting while she changed Lisa’s nappy. He didn’t seem offended and shut his eyes and went back to sleep.
Dinner time came and went and the darkness outside advanced into the room. Television provided dim shapes and a puddle of light. Footsteps creaked on the lobby and the muffled noises of talking, a conversation, half registered. A brief rap on the door had Angel sitting up straighter on the couch and checking to see if the noise had woken the twins. She’d on a flowery dressing gown, over her nylon nightdress.
When the door opened and Harold Cole peered around it, Angel mumbled sleepily, ‘Whit a nice surprise.’
‘Sorry, I won’t bother you for long.’ He stood in the doorway holding his Russian hat in his hand, bald head glinting from the light from the hall and his face shiny with rain. ‘I was just passing.’
Angel nodded and blinked a few times, confused. ‘Is Bruno no with you?’
‘No, unfortunately, not.’ He was hesitant, wetting his moustache with the tip of his tongue. ‘I thought we could have a chat, just ourselves.’ He clicked the door shut behind him. ‘No lock?’
‘No,’ muttered Angel, keeping her tone soft and unconcerned. ‘No need for a lock. We’re officially in a prison.’ She made a joke of it. ‘They’re meant to lock us in, not the other way about.’
‘Ah, yes,’ he harrumphed. ‘Absent without leave and all that.’
‘Are the babies sleeping?’
He was making her uneasy and he smelt fusty and funny.
He gawped at her face for a few seconds his grey eyes glistening and dipped into his Crombie coat, inside, pocket, pulling out a flat green bottle. ‘Medicinal, tonic wine.’ He looked about the room. ‘I thought we could have a little snifter, while discussing your case. Have you got such a thing as a…’
‘I don’t think so,’ she said, sharply.
‘Ah,’ he glanced at her and shrugged. ‘I see.’
He tugged at the nap of his coat and medicinal wine disappeared back into his pocket. ‘You mind if I sit down, rest the old legs?’ His smile was as counterfeit as a Halloween pumpkin.
Unbuttoning his coat he folded it carefully, placed it on the chair. He sat on the couch beside her, sighing, an earnest gleam as he leaned sideways and patted her knee.
She flinched and drew back from him. They stared at each other.
‘I know what you’re thinking,’ he whispered, edging his knee closer to her. ‘Bruno’s friend, an old roué, what does he want here with me? You want to know where you stand. And I can tell you that and so much more. I’ve studied your case and it excites me. You are such a perfect little slut.’
‘I don’t need to listen to this,’ she hissed. ‘I want you to leave now.’
He rubbed at his eyes. They gleamed with malicious delight. ‘No, you don’t. If I’ve offended you I’m heartily sorry.’ He pulled down his zip and pulled out the soft sponge of his penis and started tugging at it. ‘Call me slut and you remind me of everything I’m not. Slut makes you everything you are. Not all such terms are derogatory. If we follow a syntax labyrinth we confuse and get lost in a lexical maze of meaning. The posterboy insults other use objectifies, obliterates and illuminates.’
She slid away from him and stood up, clenching her nightdress tighter around her neck. ‘Whit you doing?’
‘I’m having a wank,’ he carried on masturbating, but his cock remained flaccid. ‘I’m sure there’s a much more powerful and potent word for it, but that will suffice. These are loaded terms.’
‘Why don’t you fuck off,’ she squealed. ‘I’ll report you.’
‘Em,’ he jerked a bit faster. ‘That’s more like it. Tell me what it was like. Meeting a man and letting him use you. Sucking his big dick. Letting him fuck you. Any hole he wanted. Gangbanged. Prostituting yourself. Being a slut.’
He grunted as he came. ‘One doesn’t happen to have a hanky? Does one?’
She shook her head. ‘You’re a sick bastard.’
‘No matter,’ he wiped his jizzy hand on the cushion. ‘We’re alike you and I. We used to see the world as a blank page, and we’d draw god in the top corner watching down on us and noting everything we did, and writing in the lines, but, of course, there’s no god. And without god there is no morality. No right and wrong. Only imperatives. You sucked guys off to stop you going to prison and I envy you that girly experience and I wanted to share it with you.’
He held out his jizzy hand to shake and laughed when she pushed it away. ‘I come bearing good tidings. Your case is to be reviewed.’ He stood up and retrieved his coat, bowing, slightly. ‘Don’t bother letting me out.’