The plate was full of food, a large hamburger, and fries, and Deborah dug into it with a passion reserved for the starving. The blond waitress, her hair tied up into a tight bun, eyes blue and deep, laid a plate in front of Llorne, a small sandwich, and wished them a good meal.
"Mama works for Danny," Deborah choked out over her eating. "Well, she actually works for herself, but if she wants to live in Danny's building and work his streets, she has to pay him a percentage of whatever she earns. She never makes all that much, but we always had enough to eat." A large man in a suit and a hat settled down in the booth behind Llorne, and for a moment caught Deborah's eye, mostly because he was very, very large.
"Anyway," she continued, downing a bit of soda to help wash down the beef, bread, lettuce and onions go down, the tomatoes sat unwanted on the edge of the plate. "So mama worked the streets before I was even born, then she got pregnant and things changed. Don't know what she was like before, but the way the other girls talk about those days, she was different."
"Did you ever know your father?" Llorne's food remained untouched, and would remain that way. The skinny woman sitting across from the booth dropped a fork on the floor and bent over to recover it, her long brown hair dusting the floor.
A handful of fries disappeared into Deborah's mouth. "No," she said through the chewing, pausing long enough to finish and swallow. "Never knew him, mama never talked about him either. I know Danny wasn't happy about it, but the other girls helped mama out until I was born and she could earn a 'proper living' as he called it, again."
"Order up!" The cook, a skinny kid with short black hair cried out for the waitress in a high pitched but still quite male voice.
"When I turned 10, I guess Danny was tired of me living in the place because he said I had to start earning a 'proper living.' Mama was ticked, refused to let me, not that I wanted to you know? The other girls gave Danny a hard time about it too, enough that he decided that I could slide on it, for a while. Still, I had to do something or Danny would throw me and mama out of his apartment complex we lived in, so I had to go on cop watch."
An old man, grey but still reasonably fit called out to the waitress for the check. His wife, looking much older than her husband, muttered something about poor service.
"Oh sure," Deborah had finished the hamburger, and was now busy covering her fries in lines of ketchup. "See, the cops get upset when the girls do their thing along certain streets, the ones they seem to do best on, incidentally. So my job, along with some other kids Danny would hire, would stand watch at the corners looking for them to come by, and when they did, we'd cry out and the girls would pull away from the curb and look like they were just passing through instead of working the street.
"I was pretty good at it too. Danny even said so, as when I worked a corner, no cop ever got by. Not even when they were on the other side. He said it was like I could almost smell them. So that's what I was doing that night." She paused and looked towards Llorne's untouched sandwich. "Are you going to eat that?"
Llorne smiled and pushed it forward to her. The girl grabbed at the sandwich and began chewing, the half eaten plate of fries forgotten in favor of a short ruben. "You were working a corner the night your mother disappeared."
Deborah swallowed and her eyes grew angry. "Disappeared nothing, she was kidnapped, not block away from where I was." The anger evaporated to sadness. "I couldn't get to her in time."
A hand reached out and grasped hers. "It's not your fault," Llorne said. "Now, what happened?"
The sandwich, only a handful of bites taken out of it, settled onto the plate, the burning hunger that had brought it to this side of the table at least temporarily gone. "I was working the corner for mama, Mary and Louise about three weeks ago. They were walking along 5th, between Hyde and Sullivan, it’s a very prime spot. I was at Hyde about a block away from where mama was when this limo pulls around the corner. I didn't think nothing of it because a limo means money and on 5th, that means money looking for a girl for the night.
"Now I don't watch mama or the limo because I'm looking for the cops. Don't want to mess up a prime deal because some patrol car decides to go down the road. I look over after a bit and mama's talking to the limo passenger. I guess she didn't like what he had to say, because she pulls away from the limo, pretty angry from what I could see. That's when the rear doors of the limo, on both sides, open up and three big, scary guys in white suits climb out.
"They grab mama and she screams something, I don't hear it because I'm screaming too. Mary and Louise come running, but one of the big guys pulls a gun. I start running to help mama, trying to get close, but there are suddenly crowds of people in my way, refusing to move to let me through. Maybe they saw the gun, I don't know, but I tried to force my way through. I can hear mama yelling, I think she was trying to tell me to run away, but I'm not really listening, I'm too busy. Suddenly, Mary's arm reaches out of nowhere and grabs me and begins dragging me deeper into the crowds.
"They shoved her into the limo, she's screaming the whole way, but I don't know what she's screaming because I’m screaming just the same. The limo then takes off, but I'm being pulled faster by Mary and Louise who has joined in holding me back. I don't know how I remembered, but I got the license plate number even as I'm screaming and thrashing. I wanted to go to the cops after the limo was long gone, but Mary insisted that Danny could handle this and we were on our way back to the apartments."
"What was the license number?"
"Oh, uh, GV 8830, local plates."
"So what did Danny do?"
The sandwich returned to Deborah's hand and she began nibbling on it once again. "He was mad, didn't like one of his girls taken against their will. ‘No way, no how’ he said. I guess he found how who owned the limo, some guy named Sirkowski, and went to go see him."
"Marcus J. Sirkowski," Llorn read slowly.
"Yeah, him. You know him?"
"No, but I've heard of him. Pretty rich guy, rich enough not to need a streetwalker of any kind. Especially an unwilling one."
"Yeah, that's what Danny said." The girl took a large bite from the sandwich and chewed for a moment. A middle aged red haired woman rose up from the other side of the diner and left quickly, as if she were in a great hurry for some reason. No one seemed to notice or care. "Anyway," Deborah started again, her mouth only partially full of food now. "Danny goes out to see him, and boy was he angry. I wanted to go, but Danny says no and orders the other girls to make sure I don't leave. I guess he was trying to protect me or something, I don't know. Now he's gone for like two or three hours, but when he gets back, he isn't angry anymore." The sandwich returns to the plate again. "He was scared.
"I mean white as a sheet scared, and he was shaking too. I don't know what that Sirkowski guy told him, but whatever it was, Terrible Danny was a shivering wreck. He tells me that mama wasn't coming back, and then he runs off to his room to shake it off, I guess. I blew up, you know? Screaming and yelling so much it took five or six of the girls to hold me back and down until I calmed down, which I really never did. I think I cried myself to sleep eventually, but I don't remember much from after that."
"Would you guys like some desert?" the waitress interrupted. Deborah looked to Llorne for a moment, and after a nod of confirmation ordered a slice of chocolate cake and ice cream.
"Uh, sorry," Deborah said afterwards. "I hope you've got enough money."
"Don't worry about it. I'll just make more as I need it."
The girl blinked, shook it off, and finished off the sandwich. "The next day, Danny comes to see me. He's not so scared anymore, but he says that since my mama wasn't coming back, I'd have to earn a proper living like the rest of the girls. I didn't want to, and the other girls didn't want me to either, so I gathered up a few things, like this coat," she lifted part of the long light brown coat she had been wearing since Llorne had first found her. "It was mama's favorite, didn't want her to lose it to Danny's fire sale or anything. There was a quick pool for cash, and I left with a bag of stuff on my back. Been living on the streets ever since."
The waitress returned, removed the two plates and replaced them with the desert and the check. Deborah silently offered a fork to Llorne, who passed, and dug right in. "I tried to see that Sirkowski guy, but they wouldn't even let me in the door. Then I went to the cops, and this cop named, uh, Brown I think, he listened to my whole story and told me to come back after a couple of days and he'd have something. Came back later, and I was told that he'd been transferred, and another cop, a real jerk, took up my 'case' and told me that mama was dead and that I should go to an orphanage or something. I split quick after that. Then I found you."
Desert was finished, the check paid and the two sat at in the red plastic booth for a long moment in silence. "Sounds," Llorne finally said. "Like someone doesn't want anyone even looking for your mother, let alone finding her."
"Yeah, I go that impression."
Llorne stretched her arms, flinging her long black hair up as she did. "Well, I guess we better get going then." Deborah chased after Llorne as she left, a final good bye from the waitress was only half heard.
"So we're going to see Sirkowski?"
"Nope, he doesn't know where she is."
Deborah fell into step next to Llorne, cocking her head up to look at her. "How do you figure that?"
"He's rich, sure, but he doesn't have the clout to get a seasoned detective transferred simply for looking into a case about a missing prostitute." Llorne turned a corner, forcing Deborah to break into a short run to catch up. "At best, he could get him pulled from the case. No, this goes much higher than Sirkowski. Hell, I'd say he's just as scared as Danny."
"What could scare Sirkowski, especially if he's so rich?" A cluster of people stood at a corner, waiting for the light to go green, and the pack slowed Deborah's walk, but not Llorne's, she kept moving forward, right into the crowd, and as her foot touched the street, the light changed. Another sprint and Deborah was caught up.
"Easy," Llorne said after Deborah was next to her again. "The government. High level government, possibly even some unheard of agency that has connections and power that make the government proper look like a pauper. We need to go see them about finding your mother."
"Oh." Deborah stayed next to Llorne, but still had to play catch up at the next intersection where again Llorne blew through the crosswalk at a long steady rate, ignoring the very real possibility of some fool driver not stopping at the light. "So where are we going?"
"The capitol, that's where the government is."
"Right, of course." Several minutes went by as they walked a bit further down the road. "Um, you know your motel is the other way, right?"
"Checked out this morning, no need to go back."
"Oh, okay." Deborah followed, with hesitation, as they crossed another street just as the light turned and the cars began to stop. "So where did you park your car?"
"I don't have a car."
"Well, then the airport is a bit outside of town, we can ride the train," she indicated the subway tunnel entrance but Llorne just kept on walking past it. Deborah stopped there. "Wait!"
Llorne stopped and turned back. "Yes?"
"What are you doing?"
Deborah blinked. "Walking? The whole way?"
"Sure, why not?"
"Do you know how far away it is?"
"135 miles, give or take a few thousand feet."
"And you want to walk the whole way?" Llorne smiled, turned back to her path and began walking again. Deborah stood for a few minutes running the thought through her head. Finally she gave up thinking about it and broke into a run. "Hey, wait up!"
1. What kind of person is Lcorn Llorne? What does she look like (in your mind)?
2. What kind of person is the Deborah Ignigus? What does she look like (in your mind)?
3. Does the setting seem fitting? Would you like to know more?
4. Any suggestions for a nickname for Danny? He's a pimp, technically, but I'm tapped on that.
5. I mention, but do not name, the capitol of this country, does it matter at this point?