Bad Penny

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts


Written for the BoMoWriCha House Daily Prompt. Cover supplied by the very talented designer, Markie Bee. https://www.booksie.com/users/markie-bee-223538

Submitted: August 06, 2018

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Submitted: August 06, 2018

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Bad Penny

Penny sipped at her glass of red wine, taking it slowly because there was no telling how long it would take. She might even have to move off and go elsewhere, as things were certainly slow in this dive.

The wine was what they called the ‘House Red’. She didn’t even get to see the label but just the smell of it told her all she needed to know – cheap and nasty. The over-whelming taste was that of vinegar. At least, she thought, the unpleasantness put her off from gulping it down and ordering another.

Penny took another sip and took the other customers in with a quick glance. It would not do to let her gaze linger on anyone, not until she had decided if any of them were worth setting her sights on.

Two guys at the pool table, both in their early, maybe mid, twenties. Several times they had been up to the bar for beers and it was already showing around their waistbands. Work-mates, maybe, or even brothers. They definitely looked like they were travelling together so for her purposes that ruled them both out. Besides, they probably had already frittered away their wages on food and drink, cigarettes. No, they could definitely be ignored completely even though both of them kept looking her way.

A couple of old guys sharing a bit of gossip by the looks of things. Way too old to be interested in her charms and definitely not affluent enough for her to bother with. Then there were the couples, the women aiming ‘keep away’ glances towards her. Needlessly, for she was not interested in their partners at all.

No, she knew just what she was looking for, if not who. And he was not going to be found here.

Penny finished her drink. The barman was lingering, waiting to see if she was going to ask for another, then, as she stood, turned his attention to another guy ordering a beer.

Penny could feel all eyes fixed on her as she took her time walking towards the exit. It was nice to feel appreciated, desired. Many times she’d had guys catcalling, vying for her attention once the night had worn on and the alcohol had made them brave. She didn’t mind, lapped it up, but unless they were what she was looking for, she gave no obvious signs of interest.

It was nice to walk along in the cooling evening. There were a few choices here, from cocktail bars to the more exclusive, expensive venues. And plenty of cheaper places like the one she had left, too. She took a seat on a bench for a while, taking her time in making her choice, watching and noting the type of customers entering and leaving the various buildings. The slight breeze soothed her, helped her think. Maybe she should give it a rest tonight and just enjoy the evening for what it was...

No, that was not the way to think. Stay motivated, Penny. You know you’ll find him. And it was at that moment she group of ten guys entered one of the wine bars together. Some kind of work do, she’d guess. They were all familiar with each other but she would bet they would all be making their own way home.

Patience, she had learned, was essential. It would not do to enter the place on their heels. That was fine with Penny. She’d relax a bit more, soaking up the street atmosphere before setting off to work. For amongst that group was her job for tonight.

It was not something she often did, just sit and let herself be seduced by the sights and the sounds. Many people found this sort of thing stress-inducing but not her. For Penny, nothing was more stressful than rural nothingness that so many seemed to long for. It had taken her a long time to escape from that, and she would do anything to make sure that she never had to return to that kind of place again.

More time had passed now. She’d go in, take note of their position and make sure she was close, but not too close. She’d have her pick of that lot she was certain.

A seat at the bar, her back towards the other customers, apart from those on either side of her. Both seemed to be lost in their own worlds, their own thoughts; good, Penny was not too fond of making small-talk.

The group of men that had caught her interest were clearly already on some kind of high – alcohol or otherwise induced. There was loud outbursts laughter, plenty of ribbing and shared embarrassments. It was a bit like they were putting on a show for the entertainment of anyone that chose to watch.

Bankers, she decided, or insurance, maybe. Definitely some kind of financial services firm, and from their general appearance she’d guess it was quite a successful one. There was no shortage of cash being flashed around, along with those platinum cards.

Penny watched in the mirror. The ones with the cards could be ruled out. Plastic was not worth much. It was the ones that stuck with the paper notes that she was interested in. A choice of four, she narrowed it down to.

The wine, here, was of a much better quality. Ordering a second glass she relaxed in to watching. It was easy to see that she had caught their interest too. She could afford to take her time. Plenty of practice had made Penny a woman that could down a full bottle of wine and still act as though she was entirely sober.

One of the men was heading her way. Not one that she was interested in, being a Mr platinum plastic, but he could serve a purpose, introduce her in to the group. o, she decided; she’d play uninterested, have another drink and make her final choice before wandering his way, having a little ‘accident’. It would be safer that way.

He pushed in beside her at the bar. “Nice night, isn’t it. My friends and I were wondering if you’d like to come and join us.” So confident that she was going to say yes.

I’m fine where I am, okay. But thanks for the invite.” Penny did not even turn his way.

Suit yourself. If you change your mind, just come on over when you’re ready.” He headed back to the table, proving to her that his sole purpose of walking her way had been to issue that invite.

She’d have to hold back a while, otherwise she might find herself in over her head. She knew who she would be leaving with. The blond one, quite tall, but a little bit less rowdy than the rest. Look at the shirt – that alone had set him back big bucks. She’d bet he had a flashy car, too.

Shrugging her bag up on to her shoulder, Penny turned and, without giving the table so much as a glance, made her way to the rest-rooms. She knew she looked good, just a couple of quick touch-ups with the make-up, a few adjustments with her clothing and she was ready to make her move.

She did not even need to look where she was going, her route was so carefully planned. Just at the exact moment, she tripped, landed against him and gave him a tantalizing glance. His eyes moved up to Penny’s face.

So sorry,” she said. “I should have been paying more attention.”

Not at all. Look, it was the angle of my chair. Sit down here and I’ll get you a drink. My name is Greg, by the way.”

Penny. And I’d love a red wine.”

She was careful not to make eye-contact with any of the others, especially Mr Plastic. Greg would be getting her sole attention, and when he returned they began making small-talk. He seemed to be cutting out the others too, concentrating on her. It did not take so very long for her to be leaning against him with his arm possessively around her shoulders. Letting him think he had been the one to make a catch was very much a part of Penny’s plan.

The night wore on and drinks were drunk. Amazing how much these guys were prepared to drink before getting behind the wheels of their macho-machines. She guessed they could afford to buy they way out of any problems that they drove themselves in to.

Soon they began to leave, one at a time, so she was right in her presumption that they were all going their own way. She started to stand, to get ready to leave. He reached out, placed a hand on top of hers. “Have you got a car? Or a lift set up?” he asked.

No, but that’s okay. I’ll call a cab.”

No need for that, I’ll take you home.”

She raised her eye-brows in question. “Are you sure you’re capable.”

Oh, very. And perhaps we’ll go for a drive on the way, take in some of the more spectacular sights.” His eyes involuntarily roved south of her chin, then back up to her face. She smiled, letting him know that she understood just where his mind was heading and that she might be willing to go along with him.

The car, as she knew it would be, was a sporty, look-at-me, bachelor model. He opened the door for her, his hand lingering against her waist. She slid in, seductively shifting herself on the seat, drawing his eyes to her body.

He'd been drinking a lot and until they were out of town he had to put all of his concentration in to his driving, It wouldn't serve either of theirpurposes for him to be pulled over for speeding or running a red light.

With the town behind them, they could both relax, although for Penny, it was a time for calculation. She had to let things move along at just the right pace for her to make her final move. In the meantime, she’d give herself over to enjoying his obvious desire for her. There was no doubt that it was nice to feel wanted.

There, just ahead, was a darkened bend with a steep drop. Letting him move his hand that bit further, she slid her hand into his pocket removed his wallet to let it fall in to her bag. In one fluid movement, she undid her seatbelt, grabbed hold of the steering wheel, pulling it round so that the car had no choice but to head towards the verge, the drop. Her movement was so sudden that Greg did not even go for the brakes.

Hey,” Greg shouted, before she vanished to tumble to the ground, barely falling at all. If there was one thing that she had lots of practice at, it was falling out of moving cars.

The vehicle carried on, heading down the drop; drowned out any screams. A shame really, because Greg had been kind of cute. But a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. She had to make a living somehow.

The wallet felt thick, well-padded with cash. She found a sheltered space to sit and go through it’s contents. She wasn’t interested in much really, just the cash. There was a picture of his wife, so he’d been a naughty boy, playing away from home. A shame that she’d never know exactly what had happened to her husband but she would not be wondering for long. His car would be found eventually and it would no doubt be put down to a case of drunken driving. Maybe there would be rumours that he had left with a woman but by that time, the description would by no means match her appearance. Penny was a master at taking on different looks, different identities.

And look at all that cash. She’d certainly picked well with this one. Almost three thousand dollars in untraceable cash. Penny rarely found a ‘friend’ that flush with the ready money. She stashed the cash, closed the wallet, and threw it as far out in to the emptiness as she could. Was she rewarded by a faint splash? Maybe, but that could just be her wishful thinking.

Back to the waiting game, now. Someone would come along the road and offer her a lift on to the next town, or maybe a bit further. There was always the possibility that it would be the ‘right’ someone, a chance to make the night even more lucrative.

Penny was in no rush. There was no sign that the car had plunged off the road. She could sit it out, wait until the right vehicle came along. She’d need some kind of cover story. After all, how had she arrived in the middle of nowhere with no vehicle broken down along the highway.

An argument! That always worked well. Not with a husband because that tended to cause wariness, but with a boyfriend. She was upset, could do with a bit of comforting, of reassurance that she was still an attractive woman. And all the time she’d be watching, waiting, planning for the perfect time.

For there was one thing, just like in the saying, this bad Penny would always keep showing up.

 

(2250 words).


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