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A Time For

They stood swaying, hands in pockets, soft brown toes pointing outwards, as though they were only waiting for a train. And what they were waiting for, an obsequious, stubby, black Volkswagen drifted up the road, stopping at their feet. And, gone, into the night.

At the corner of Fairy road and Mountbatten the old twisted glass sign was lit up. In garish saffron neon it spelled Nikkies. The panes of the windows were encrusted with mosquitoes, impinged by iron slats. The lone street lamp was shattered. The only patrons regulars, who knew to walk directly to the door, because either side of the patio stones was mud and broken bottles. The interior was cramped, hazy with smoke and roving red lights that only occasionally highlighted the nights entertainment. The affect was that of a much favoured, local, sleazy dive, but it was less even than that. There were three women, and two men plus the dancer. The women, were all prostitutes, at least one of the men a bum and the barman, past drunk.

A bum can make a fair bit of cash, if he knows where to sit, and what time to leave. He can afford, liquor, drugs, prostitutes, the animal necessities. But a bum, vulgar, filthy, a drain, is still very much human, susceptible to the pitfalls of love. And whatever a man may learn on the street he does not learn how to read a woman.

An ambitious man, born into the right family, knowing the right friends, can earn thousands of dollars a day. In fact, a life in a city like this goes for an average of three thousand dollars. The life of a cheap, older prostitute, is only about seven hundred dollars. Well in the range of even a bum if he can control his addictions long enough.

So, if anyone at Nikkies bar was thinking that night, and it is doubtful any of them were. It is more doubtful still they would have thought anything about a young man in a brown suit stepping in, sitting down, and stepping out again. Kitty, did not notice. She did not notice the man sit directly beside her. She stared at the Coca Cola sign above the bar, until five minutes later she swigged back the rest of her drink. The rest of the barflies did not notice her lying slumped, head down on the glass topped railing. Just the bum, after an assuring ten hours, shuffled over to the pay-phone and dialled nine one one.
"Who can give law to lovers? Love is a greater law to itself." Boethius
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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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