Entering the kitchen, I see a woman old enough to be my mother. She looks like she might even be a grandmother with those rollers in her greying, blonde hair.
“We’re having dinner in an hour. Can I do you up a snack?” She puts an apron over her pastel pink dress.
“I’m not hungry, thanks.” I can’t eat. I feel ill not knowing who had sex with me last night. I hope it wasn’t her. I can hear men talking in another room. Perhaps it was one of them. I don’t even know whose house this is, or where it is.
“Can I do you a tea or coffee, love?”
“Coffee please,” I reply. Heroin please, I think. I’m hoping there’s a smackhead in this house. I need a hit. I really need a hit.
“Come sit in the lounge with the others and I’ll bring it through in a minute.” The lady opens a door in the back of the kitchen.
Inside the room, there’s a strong smell of dope. Three men are sitting on a red leather sofa. One man sits on an armchair. Stix is one of the men on the sofa. Mickey is the man on the armchair. I don’t know the other two.
Who fucked me last night? I want to ask. I’m dying to ask. I have to know. But a girl can’t ask a question like that. A normal girl can’t and that’s what I want them to think of me. I’m a normal girl.
“Did you sleep well?” Stix hands me a joint.
I stand awkwardly in the middle of the room. “Kinda,” I reply. I take a pull on the joint. That’s not what I need. I need heroin. I’m clucking. My skin feels damp. My bones are aching. At least there’s a chance of having a hit now. Stix is on smack.
“So you’re the English girl Stix stole from the party. I thought it would be you.” Mickey smiles at me.
I don’t melt this time. Mickey is the man in the room that I want. The only man I’ve wanted in I don’t know how long. I can’t have him because I can’t be with a man in a normal way like other women can. Even still, I don’t want him to think I’m a slut. But now he probably knows I’ve slept with one of his friends. I don’t know which one but I know it was at least one of them. Or maybe it was him.
“Take a seat,” says one of the unknown men. He is really unattractive. I hope it wasn’t him. His greasy, brown hair falls on his shoulders. His teeth are yellow. His lips are crusty. He shuffles along the sofa, making a space between himself and Stix.
As I sit down, I have a memory from last night at the party in Dee Why. In my drunken state, I told Stix I was a hooker. That means every man in the room is likely to know this about me – every man including Mickey. Waves of shame wash over me. It’s just a job, I tell myself. It’s just a job and it’s none of their business.
“Mum’s doing Christmas dinner in a bit,” Stix says. “She’s making enough for you. I didn’t know if you wanted to stay or if you’ve other plans?”
So, this is Stix’s house. That means I’m in Elanora Heights, wherever that is. It might have been his room I stayed in. Maybe he fucked me. I look at him closely. He’s thin, gaunt, goateed and stubbly. He looks like a spider. I’m a spider-fucker. I could be.
“I don’t have plans,” I say to Stix.
I do have one plan, though – to get Stix alone. I’m craving heroin. I don’t want to say anything in front of the other men, especially Mickey. He said last night that he was three days off the gear. He’s only going to try to get me off it. I know what people like him are like. I used to be one of them.
Stix’s mum walks through the door, carrying a tray. She places a plate of biscuits on the battered coffee table. She hands out the mugs then leaves the room.
I take a sip of my coffee. “Can we have a private chat?” I whisper in Stix’s ear.