“I’m tellin’ yer, Joe,” Betty said, “my frog was the only reason my daddy stopped touching me. Sure, I was a little bitty thing back then, but I know’d what I seen.”

The bartender continued washing the few glasses left over from the eleven o’clock rush. Everyone had already gone home for the night. Betty was holding out surprisingly well. A couple of weeks before, she had become a regular who usually had to be walked outside and propped against the building at closing time. He glanced down her low-cut dress, becoming more convinced he could look past her age this once. She was his “type” in most other ways, including that no one would likely miss her if she vanished.

He liked that kind…a lot.

Betty slammed her empty glass on the wood counter.

“Sure could use more o’ that rotgut!”

At one of the only two occupied tables, a middle-aged man wearing a dark blue sports jacket sat next to a woman wearing a man catcher. The tiny red dress hugged every curve, even the ones brought on by too much beer and pretzels. As the man continued to make small talk, Joe wondered why he felt the need to wine and dine a women he ultimately had to pay anyway.

Joe poured Betty another drink.

“So my daddy never violined me again,” Betty finished.

“You mean violated?” Joe asked, peering down her dress again.

“Yep, that’s what I meaned,” Betty agreed.

Joe was silent. What did he care if her father diddled her?

As usual, she held her drink just below the counter, almost as though she liked the feel of ice against her thigh. Joe could think of something else she might like against her thigh.

“Little girl’s room!” Betty announced, sliding her empty glass on the counter. “Another one, Joe.”

She tilted as she walked, almost as though her purse were filled with bricks. He couldn’t help noticing that beneath her stained and baggy jeans was a glorious slender frame. Hunger did make women enticing, he thought. He’d seen it dozens, if not hundreds, of times.

He missed being overseas. The women surrounding U.S. military bases were amazing. And it helped that most were afraid to talk afterwards.

Joe placed another clean glass on the shelf under the counter.

Screw them, he thought. It was their loss when they kicked him out.

Betty returned walking a little straighter, but her eyes were still glazed.

Joe glanced at the clock: only ten minutes to one. He’d decided it was time Betty had a roof over her head, at least for part of the night. After everyone else was gone, he escorted her to his car then locked the place up. She snuggled up to him as they drove the half-hour to his storage unit.

“Nice place you got,” she mumbled as they parked in the dark alley and he rolled the door up.

He flipped the battery lantern on before throwing her onto the blood-stained mattress. He’d been meaning to replace it.

“I thought you might be the one,” she said, pulling a large water bottle from her purse and emptying the liquid onto the mattress and floor.

She smiled. “Never was much fer drinkin’”

He tried to kick her, but she suddenly seemed younger and rolled lithely away. Something flashed and sliced across his chest and hand. She held up a long knife with a silver frog on the handle.

“I’m not going to be violined again,” she said.

“I don’t….”

“Even homeless women’s got friends.”

The frog went to work.


* * *

Tim Greaton lives in Maine with his beautiful wife and three amazing children.  He shares 7-acres with 1 dog, 2 cats, and a population of ducks that varies with the weather. He’s a full-time corporate writer and novelist. His fiction, non-fiction and advertising work has appeared in forums all around the globe. His novels “The Santa Shop,” “Under-Heaven,” “Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End”, and “Ancestor: Book I” are all available in ebook. “The Santa Shop,” and “Under-Heaven ARC…From My Cold Young Fingers” are both available in paperback. “Heroes With Fangs” will also be available in the next few months. His brother’s publishing company refers to him as “Maine’s Other Author TM” but he prefer just Tim :-).


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