Blood on the Potomac by Melissa Diane Algood

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  Iʼd been following him for days.  From the coffee shop, to the loading dock where he
worked, or the myriad of whorehouses in the tri-state area he visited.  I was not far.
  Now, I stand outside his row house, two blocks from the metro rail we both rode.  A
faint drizzle made a mist under the streetlight, but there was no sign of me as I stood in
the darkness watching him.  My decade of training made me invisible.
  The only light on in his house came from the television, making his stained undershirt
and overgrown gray facial hair visible.  He lifts up his Underdog Atlantic Lager to his
crusted lips and changes the channel.  A crimson glow washes over him.  A smile
crosses his pock marked face as a childlike, scantily clad, Asian girl stands up from
between his knees.
  I check my watch to verify how long it had been.  She was a trooper, working him for
forty-five minutes.  Maybe heʼd been thinking about his responsibilities and that clouded
his pleasure, since I doubt the whore was at fault.
  He threw a wad of cash at her which she tucks into her neon pink tube top, then
rushes out of the room and down the steps back to whatever dark corner sheʼd been
picked up at.
   Just then my phone lights up.
  “Itʼs time.” A French woman whispers in my ear.
  I turn it off without responding and stroll across the narrow street up the uneven
concrete steps, and rap on the door.  After some grumbling he swung it half open.

  “Who the fuck are you…Oh, shit Sam!”  
  I push the door open, exposing the trash pile he calls a home.  I waltz right past him.  
His eyes narrow, lips purse, as I kick the door closed with my boot, and push him onto
the couch.  He springs up.
  “Bitch this is my house!  What the fuck you doing!”
  “You know why Iʼm here.”  It was a statement, not a question as my body squared with
his.
  “Oh shit.”  He wiped his brow.  “Iʼm working on it ya know.  Iʼll get it to her by the end of
the week.  Tell her that, Sam.”
  Iʼm silent as he unravels like a ball of yarn.  Ignoring him I make my way to the kitchen,
opened the oven.
  “Well, look what we have here.”  I whisper, pulling a blue duffel bag out of it.  I smile
once the bag is unzipped.
  “Oh yeah, I was gonna give that to you Sam.  To give to her, ya know?”  His eyes wide
and wet, mouth slightly open.
  I toss the bag by the door, itʼs weight making a loud thump, rattling the windows.  
Startled with the sound, his shoulders hunch as he folds in on himself.  Our eyes lock, a
tear running down his cheek.

  “Enjoy your beer?”
  “Y-y-yes.” 
  “Good cuz itʼs your last anything.”

  Once I moved a step closer, his gaze broke away.  He darts like a rabbit toward the
door.  He isnʼt fast enough.
  I ram him in the knee with my boot, the bone pushes out of his calf like a bent
paperclip.  Yanking him up by his greasy hair, head bent backward forcing him to look
up at me, head bent backwards.  I love to watch them cry.

  “Be sure to tell the devil that Sam sent ya.”  I cackle.

  The butterfly knife flips open.  I run it across his sweaty throat.  His eyes dilate, a river
of blood flowed down his chest.  With a gurgle, he was gone and this job was done.  
Drop him to the floor, the thud reverberates throughout the room. I dodge the pool of
blood before it reaches my boots.  Didnʼt want to have to scrub them again.  Snatched
the bag, my primary mission, and stroll out the door to the Metro.
 
  I exit at Metro Center, surrounded by thousands of strangers rushing home.  Walk to
the third bench on the right.  Sit, legs crossed, and wait precisely six minutes.
   Her bright blonde hair is in a high ponytail, mobile phone attached to her ear, a map
unfolded in front of her, she sits next to me and places a large blue duffel bag at her
feet, right next to the identical one Iʼd set on the tarnished concrete ground.  Avril
ignores me.  She speaks French loudly into her phone, a perfectly manicured index
finger traces the maze of the D.C. subway system.   When the blue line pulls up I
reached for the clone bag and made my way to Foggy Bottom.  
 
  I tear Samʼs bloody rags off my body, then promptly toss them in a dumpster.  Pull on
Jessicaʼs clothes and feel as if Iʼve been born anew.  Light a match, throw it into the
heap of trash, a tornado of ash swirls around me.   The smell of the worn leather and
pack of smokes brings me back to the last time Jessica had prowled the night.  I stroll
the three blocks to Joelʼs row house overlooking the Potomac, the blaze of the
dumpster lit my way.

  He opened the door before I knock, the blue glow from the flickering TV hides the bags
under his eyes.
  “Howʼd it go baby?”  Joelʼs hands rest on my hips, drawing me closer to him.
  “You know how it went.”  I whisper in his ear as my hand slides down the front of his
jeans.
  He unzips my leather studded jacket, and tears off my leggings.  Our clothes become
a pile on the floor as he picks me up by my thighs, and slams me against the wall.  He
moans as I scratch his back, and yank on his long curly hair.  I squeal as he moves
faster and harder inside of me.
  Then itʼs over, but we donʼt bother getting dressed, since weʼd screw all night. My
libido skyrockets after a job.  So for three years Joel has been an outlet for my anger,
desire, and adrenaline.  We never talk about ourselves, but I donʼt mind.  All I care
about are the eight inches in his boxer shorts.
  The sunlight reflects on the river and pours in through Joelʼs blinds.  I light up a
cigarette, still naked, tangled in the cotton king size sheets.  Joel leans over, kissing my
neck, plucking the cigarette from my lips, and inhales.  My jaw clenches.
  “Damn baby, I love it when you work.”  He falls back onto the bed.  I light another
smoke.
  He grins at me, crushing the cancer stick in the ashtray on the floor, and glides his
tongue down my body.  He continues until my cigarette is ash, I flip him over and get on
top of him.
  “Ah Jess, youʼre the best,”  he moans.
  With a flash the butterfly knife from under my pillow is at his throat.
  “My names is not Jess you stupid fuck.”  I lean in closer to him and hiss.  “My name is
Jessica.”
  “What the hell baby, we make sense,”  He whimpers.  A thin ribbon of red drips down
his throat.
  “You donʼt know anything Joel Chapman.  You were born November 20, 1984, in
Annapolis, Maryland.  Youʼre the youngest of three, blood type O, and you lost your
virginity at 23.  Mommyʼs dead, and Daddyʼs a drunk crabber.”
  “H-how do you know that?”  He stutters.  
  “Because Iʼm the fucking boss, and I donʼt fuck anyone until I know everything.”  My lip
curls, “Iʼve used you until you pissed me off, and now youʼve pissed me off.”
  “What did I do Jessica?  Iʼm so sorry!”  Joel pleads.
  I snarl in his ear, the knife pressed against his jugular.  “You never take a ladyʼs
cigarette without asking asshole.”  
  With a flick of wrist his eyes go dead, and with it every trace of the past three years,
isnʼt safe to have gotten so close.  Jessica would have to rest with him, for now at least.
  I shower and dress, but leave the black knit cap and jacket on the floor.  Wouldnʼt need
her clothes anymore.  After I reach the end of the block, I turn my phone back on and
type in the code.  Joelʼs row house explodes.  
  Debris scatter all over the street, giving the fraternity houses at GW something to look
at on an icy January morning.  I pull out the battery, crush it with my boot, and toss the
phone in the gutter two blocks later.

  Back at the metro station, Avril meets up with me again, her long blonde hair is curled,
and dark rimmed glasses enhance her blue eyes.
  “Itʼs done?”  I ask, turning the page in my book.  
  Emma loves to read, and now that I was going home, Iʼd have to get back to myself.
  “Oui Madame.”  The cell phone is still glued to her ear.
  Avril sets a creme colored suitcase in between our crossed legs.  Our exchange is lost
amongst the drones of Capitol Hill winding through a maze of dark underground tunnels.

 
  The metro line pulls up, takes me to Reagan National.  Once there, I dig the key out of
the suitcase and open locker 815.  In the bathroom, I change into a pencil skirt, shirt,
and black heels.  Threading the seven carat canary yellow diamond on my finger, I
complete the transition to Emma.  
  Leaving the bathroom, Coach bag slung over my shoulder, I place the key into the
oversize locket that hangs from my neck, and walk out into the frozen gray day.
  “Hey sexy, need a ride?”  Brad calls out the window of our white SUV.
  “Donʼt mind if I do.”  A sly grin crosses my face.
  Brad takes his keys out of the ignition, runs up to me, and spins me around like a
ballerina.  Our lips meet, tongues tousling, and I take him all in.  We brake apart and
jump into the car.
  “I missed you so much, Emma.”  He laces his fingers with mine and our eyes meet.  
“So how was the Junior League?  Did you raise enough money, honey?”
   Emma giggles, “It was great sweetie.  The silent auction was a big success.  I brought
lots of pictures.”
  “Thatʼs great Emma,” he kisses my hand which remains locked with his.  “I love you so
much.”
  “Love you too, Brad.”
  An hour later Brad pulls up to a light blue two story house, complete with bright white
picket fence, and red rose bushes.  We donʼt even bother with my luggage as we raced
upstairs peeling off each others clothes.  We make love all night, until he finally falls
asleep.  
   I sleep fitfully, imagining all the laundry, meatloaf, and book clubs Iʼll be forced to
attend and all that awaits me when the sun rises. It makes me feel like a cog in a wheel.
   Unable to drift off I roll over and watch him breathe.  I think about how I could kill him
right now, just with a snap of his neck.  Yet I wonʼt because Brad is the only thing that
keeps me glued to reality, and that is paramount.  Avril taught me to always have an
anchor, and an escape plan.  
  When I look deep into his eyes and see his purity, knowing that he is the closest to
undying love Iʼll ever experience.  My life with Brad will suffice, I want someone like me,
but there is no one else like me.  So Iʼll go on, each day will melt into the next.
  At least until my phone blinks again.
Blood on the Potomac

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