Territory

January 28th, 2015

Some guys didn’t get it.

Diana understood the problem. The hooker transaction was seductive. The client called, and she appeared at his door, ready for action. He never saw the part about leaving her dishes half done and sitting in her miserable lingerie while she fought the rush hour.

Although right now she was feeling nostalgic about the traffic.

Only halfway to her destination, she felt like giving up. Hiking in ten inches of snow made a mile feel like a hundred. She was meeting the client in a motel right over the line in Witherspoon Township, where most of her police hassles happened. With a state of emergency declared, only the cops should be out driving, and they would love to catch her flouting the governor’s decree.

On top of everything else, the chill was having its usual effect on her bladder. That was awkward. Asking to use the client’s facilities threatened to destroy the glamor, and her jeans and snow boots were already stretching that point. The bathroom also made her feel trapped.

Twenty minutes later she put on her professional smile and knocked on the door.

“Hi, Diana,” said Brian.

He didn’t seem impressed that she had made it. As she detoured toward the flimsy table in the corner, she felt like being crass enough to count the cash in her envelope with him there watching. He had agreed to an extra hundred.

But she hesitated. Which envelope?

“Oh, either one,” said Brian. “The other is for Amanda.”

“Brian,” she said.

He froze. As a formerly married man, he knew that tone.

“We’ve known each other a long time, right?”

“Right.”

The word took a long time to arrive.

“So maybe it’s partly my fault. Maybe I haven’t reminded you recently that I don’t like surprises.”

“Not even good surprises?”

“How is this good?”

“They tell me Amanda is gorgeous.”

“I’m sure she is, but you know I don’t do threesomes.”

“I just figured–why not make it a snowed-in party?”

“I told you why not.”

Someone knocked on the door.

“Is that Amanda?”

“Must be.”

“I’m going to make this quick, because she shouldn’t have to stand out there in the cold.”

Something occurred to her.

“You didn’t make her drive, did you?”

“How else is she going to get here?”

“She could get killed. Or arrested.”

He stood there looking like a little boy, in spite of his thickening waistline and comb-over. It wasn’t cute.

“Too late now. Here’s what’s going to happen. You answer the door, you hand her the envelope, and you make a nice excuse. I’ll stay out of the way. When she’s gone, we can talk.”

“I’m not going to pay her for doing nothing.”

“She didn’t do nothing. She came out in a blizzard.”

Diana turned and went toward the only hiding place. She thought about using the bathroom to solve her other problem, but she couldn’t. When she let go, the gusher was going to be epic.

Halfway to the bathroom she realized that the two envelopes on the table would also advertise her presence. She went back and took one. Now she had to hurry out of sight.

She left the door ajar for listening. A moment later Brian and Amanda were talking, and Diana felt her hooker’s radar ping. The woman sounded familiar. She shouldn’t. And she was methodically naming all the steps of the prostitution transaction. Diana always made a point of finessing them.

“There’s three hundred in here, right?”

“Right,” said Brian.

Could he really be that clueless?

“And what do you want to do for the money?”

In a moment Brian would name a sex act, and that would be the second element of a bust. Diana stepped out of the bathroom.

“Brian, shut up. Officer Hadley. Is your name really Amanda?”

The woman was indeed a beautiful blonde, but lighter than Diana’s own tawny coloring. Not that it would do Brian any good.

“What a pleasure,” said Hadley. “Two busts, and one is the biggest pain in the ass in the State of New Jersey.”

“All I heard was something about three hundred dollars. Nobody said what for.”

Hadley glared.

“Good thing you’re not wired,” said Diana, “because you don’t have a case.”

Hadley said nothing.

“I knew it. Brian, give the nice officer her money.”

“Why?” said Brian.

“Because this is Witherspoon.”

“So?”

“So it’s not a bust. It’s a shakedown.”

She watched a stubborn look appear on his face, as he worked it all out.

“But if she can’t arrest us, why do I need to pay her at all?”

“Because this is her territory. She can make life hard for you.”

Hadley picked up the envelope. Diana watched her and knew what was coming next. Witherspoon cops didn’t know the meaning of gratitude.

“That’s a good start,” said Hadley. “Now I’ll take your end.”

She held her hand out.

“No, you won’t,” said Diana.

“You want me to put the cuffs on you? You’re not supposed to be out on the roads today.”

“I’m not supposed to be driving. Did you see my car? Think hard, now.”

That last dig would cost her sooner or later, but it felt too good to skip.

Hadley gave her an ugly smile.

“You just said, this is my territory.”

“Life is already hard.”

Hadley’s expression said it. She had lost this round, but now they had unfinished business. Diana wasn’t impressed. Things were never finished with cops.

The officer left without another word.

“Brian,” said Diana, “when we’re done here, you can drive me home.”

“I’ll get in trouble.”

“You just bought Hadley off. She’ll stay bought for today.”

Diana’s bladder sent her a twinge that made her squeeze her thighs together.

“And speaking of territory, that bathroom is mine.”

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