My reply to Margaret Atwood’s short story.
It’s a regular shift at work, nothing particularly special is going on. Everyone’s in the process of closing down from a private-hire event.
The venue is located underground, down a fairly narrow staircase. The owners had to hang a huge, red neon sign out on the street so that anyone can find the place.
Megan is a petite girl with cropped blonde hair and curves. She likes to call herself a dancer, but she always leaves out the part about dancing around a pole.
Clearing up with her is:
- Her boss: brown hair, a face that you could mistake or anyone else and a slim figure.
- A new girl: chubby, bubbly and naïve.
- Her ex: Deep blue eyes, broad shoulders and a complete bellend.
Let’s call them B, NG and X, since they’re all a little irrelevant to this.
Megan is in the middle of pulling soaking-wet napkins out of the glasses on the table.
Why the fuck do people always think this is helpful?
SUDDENLY – bang! In rush a gorgeous and tall dark-haired guy with a stunning blonde accomplice. They have guns in their hands, but nothing to cover their beautiful faces.
“Everyone,” the first guy says, “get down on your knees right now. I want all of the money out of your safe.”
He’s very aggressive and NG is positively wetting herself. Yet, Megan stays cool.
“That’s right, guys,” Blondie mumbles. “We don’t want to hurt you – just do as we say.”
Megan calmly brings herself down to her knees and raises her hands above her head. She’s wearing this fabulous little black dress with a plunged neckline and tiny sleeves. It’s so short that when she raises her arms, her tiny orange thong is slightly on display. She bites down on her lip in embarrassment.
“[Blondie], gather up four chairs and tie them up for me,” the first robber demands.
Blondie wanders around, brushing confetti off the chairs, one by one, and tries to from a circle, so that every chair is facing another. He lifts up the first three delicately, by the wrists, and sits them down.
When he approaches Megan, she scrunches up her brows as if she’s going to cry.
“It’s okay, we’ll be out of here in no time,” he says.
Putty in my hand already.
He ties her up like the others, threading her hands through the back-bars of the chair and wrapping them in rope. Each leg is also strapped down to a chair-leg with rope, so tight that it would be impossible to wriggle off. The last thing that he does is place a strip of tape over her mouth. Before he meets The First Guy in the office, he gently replaces Megan’s dress, to retain her modesty.
She catches X looking and gives him a look meaning: fuck off – you had your fucking chance.
Honestly, he was such a dickhead, but this isn’t his story.
NG and B exchange looks.
Poor sods, fucking useless.
Megan tries to jump in her chair and make some noise.
That’s when The First Guy comes out and screams, “Quiet the fuck down, or I’ll make you sorry.”
I doubt you have it in you, cunt.
“Are you trying to say something, sweetie?” he says. “I can’t quite make out what with that duct-tape over your mouth.” He rips back one half, allowing her to speak.
“I doubt you have it in you, cunt.”
She’s so fearless.
The First Guys eyes glance down towards her thighs. All of the moving has caused her thong to be on display again. He looks back into her eyes, slaps her around the face and sticks the tape back down.
B looks shocked. NG is sobbing. X is a wanker.
Before The First Guy leaves, Megan winks seductively.
She’s a very sexy girl, early-twenties, has so much going for her as well.
“Take over from me, [Blondie],” he says.
Out steps Blondie from the office.
It’s not one-hundred-percent certain what exactly they’re doing in the office. They probably should have brought B in with them to open a safe or something, but they seem to be getting on with things fairly well anyway. The bad-guys also each have a ginormous walkie-talkie on their belts. They look like Action Man, but sexier.
Megan tilts her head to the side, highlighting the redness of her cheek. She uses her throat to make a sweet moan, like that of a new born kitten or a baby trying to find a nipple for feeding.
Fall into my trap, you stupid man.
“Oh my god,” he whispers. “Did he hurt you?”
Megan forces her throat to choke.
“It’s okay. I’ll grab you something to drink.”
Blondie hands over a nearby half-drank pint of beer.
Megan shakes her head.
Eww, I hate beer. Makes me bloated.
Instead he provides a full glass of processo.
She nods her head. He rips off half of her duct-tape and feeds her a mouthful of the finest prosecco. She swallows half and keeps the other inside her mouth.
He re-covers her lips and whispers, “This will be our little secret.”
Megan batts her eyelashes and nods coyly.
“[Blondie], I need you in here – stat,” The First Guy calls. (Bad guys always shout and then finish by saying ‘STAT’)
The bad guys are both in the office, Megan pushes her tongue against the inside of the tape and filters through a little of the prosecco. It tastes so good on the tongue.
Once she can feel the tape loosening, she swallows all the liquid down and pushes the final bit away with her skilled-tongue.
When she can finally breathe again with her mouth, she lowers her gorgeous head down to her left knee and carefully peels the rest back.
The duct-tape is now half-off, thanks to the bad guys loosening it for her and her own improvisation.
I’ve fucking got this.
She uses her perfectly white and straight teeth to drag up her dress to her crotch. With the dress still in her teeth, she arches her back, which allows the dress to ride up further and reveal her navel-piercing.
Megan quickly flips the dress up and towards her chest, curving her head towards her navel and locking her teeth on to the belly-bar. She carefully unwinds the piercing and holds both pieces in between her lips. Then, shimmies her dress back into position.
NG looks confused. B looks a little turned on. X is still such an awful guy – he dumped her for her sister. The fucker.
Step one: complete.
She hides the ball-end of the two components underneath her tongue. She then focuses her eyes behind her, on her right hand. Megan has been complimented hundreds of times on her hands, they’re uniformly perfect – slim and pretty. Not like normal-peoples’ wide, gross-fingernail phalanges.
With a flick of her head, the stem of the belly-bar successfully lands in her right hand.
X stomps his foot on the ground, the bad guys are coming back in.
Megan rubs her mouth on her thighs, replacing her tape.
“Sitting pretty, I can see,” The First Guy says. “I knew that I could rely on you desperate fuckers to sit still for me.”
“Yeah,” Blondie chimes in.
“Oh dear,” The First Guy says, looking at Megan. “Someone has managed to cover up their panties. We can’t have that.”
He walks over and drags up her dress to reveal the orange glow once more.
Blondie looks Megan in the eyes with sincerity.
Two can play at that game.
She jumps in her chair and the dress falls back into place.
What’re you gonna do now?
The First Guy locks his hand around her throat, peels back her tape and kisses her hard.
She keeps her eyes open the whole time and makes eye-contact with Blondie, pushing out a fat tear.
“That’ll shut the slut up.”
The walkie-talkies bark, “I got the code. [The First Guy], head to the storage room. The real shit is there.”
The First Guy walks heads into a room on the left.
“I’m so sorry,” he whispers. “I promise, that’ll never happen again. I’ll protect you. All of you.”
Megan pushes out another tear and nods her head weakly.
He bows his head down, causing his blonde locks to swish in front of his face, like a majestic fucking unicorn or a character from My Little Pony. And then goes into the office, closing the door behind him.
He’s probably gone in there to cry. Fucking grow a pair.
Megan uses the spiked end of the piercing in her hands to saw away part of the rope. As soon as a quarter of it has been torn, she holds it between her fingers and pushes it horizontally, enough that space has been created. She then wiggles out her left hand and unravels the rope.
Her hands are free.
She unties the rope at both her feet, loosens it slightly and reties the knot.
Her next move is to tear the bottom of the dress and shimmy her thong down slightly, just enough so that it looks suspicious. She punches herself in the face, on top of the spot where The First Guy hit her, gathers the first piece of rope and makes it look as if her hands are still tied.
Come and get me.
She holds onto her chair and jumps, hard.
NG has passed out from the panic. B is red in the face and probably has a boner. Forget about X, he’s not important.
Blondie strides in.
He tries to sew the dress back up with sheer will-power and shakes his head, “How could he do this to you? Just a robbery, he said.”
The First Guy enters the room.
Blondie punches him in the face. The First Guy punches back, and misses. The force of his blow drives him, by his right side, onto the floor. He’s unconscious.
Blondie ties his hands behind his back with a spare piece of rope, which just so happens to be right at his side.
“It’s okay.” He rips the tap from Megan’s mouth. And gives her a gentle kiss. It felt like a rose blossoming.
In return, she opened her mouth and pushed her lips back against his, like a hurricane. He moaned and kissed deeper. Megan stole a glance of X.
Yeah, be jealous, bitch.
That’d when she spat the ball-end of her piercing to the back of his throat.
As he’s choking, she pounces up from her chair, the restraints falling away like leaves in the autumn.
Megan flattens her hands around his small throat and thrusts all of her energy. He doesn’t stop until her eyes glaze over.
NG is still passed out. B looks like he’s trying to rub his boner against his thigh. X looks jealous – YES!
The First Guy gathers to his feet.
(They’re never dead, unless you check –duhh)
Bring it on.
He is holding the unravelled rope, that had him tied-up previously, in one hand and a knife in the other.
Fucksake, Blondie, you could’ve tied him up better.
The First Guy rushes up to her as she runs behind her chair and knocks it to the ground, creating a barrier between them.
He goes one way, she goes the other. Same again, switching sides. Like the first sequence of a tango.
Then – he LUNGES on top of her, forcing the knife through her left hand and into the wooden floor.
“Got you now, princess.”
His hands grab her crotch and rips off her thong. His fingers seek entrance.
“Loosen up, baby,” he purrs.
With what strength Megan can muster, she raises her left hand to meet the shaft of the knife and presses her flesh against it’s hard base.
Megan makes the final push, as The First Guy starts to unbuckle his pants. And stabs him in the throat, with the knife still firmly lodged in the centre of her perfect hand.
Blood flows over her hourglass figure and stains the floor.
I always get what I want.
Megan is dressed in a schoolgirl outfit: colourful trainers, flowing black skirt, tied-up white shirt and pigtails in her hair, garnished with pink pom-pom hairbands.
She is left stranded in a city which is foreign to her and doesn’t have a plan (for once).
Her phone is extremely low on battery, so she chooses who to call carefully. Not her parents, they’ll be too worried. Not her ex, he can’t drive. Most of her friends are out clubbing, so they’ll be no use.
She scrolls down the contacts in her phone and calls her therapist. She’s in her thirties, probably has nothing better to do, and can drive.
“It’s me. I’m stranded in [unfamiliar city]”
“Can’t you find a friend or something?”
“No. I’m on my own and I’m lost. I have zero battery so my mobile will be dead after this call.”
“Megan, what have we said about getting yourself into these situations? I can’t come and simply bail you out.”
“What do I do then?”
“Write down my number with something.”
Megan whips out a Max Factor Two-Stage lip-stain and writes down [said number] in ‘candyfloss pink’.
“Read it back to me, let me make sure you wrote it down correctly.”
“Perfect. Look after yourself. You’re a resourceful girl. And if you get into any difficultly and can’t find a safe way home then call me again and I’ll collect you.”
“Okay, but –“
The phone ran out of battery. Worst-timing ever. EVER.
Okay, but – I’m actually really scared and I need you to come and get me now.
A taxi pulls up. “Hello, sweetheart. Let me take you into town centre. I’m a nice guy and I’ll do it for free for you. You are crying, it makes my heart ache.”
Megan wiped her face, she had no idea that she had been crying until this man pointed it out.
Let’s call him: STD, for ‘Strange Taxi Driver’.
“I’m alright,” Megan replied. “Point me in the direction of town-centre and I’ll walk to find a policeman or something.
Talk about stranger-danger…
“It’s very far. Miles and miles,” STD said. “I’ll take you. You’ll be safe.”
She checked that the phone number on her arm hadn’t smudged, shrugged her shoulders and got into STD’s car.
Megan turned her face away from him, to look out of the window. Within minutes, they were in town.
“Pull over,” she shouted.
He did as instructed and waited in the cab, as she ran up to the police officer. He was mid-twenties with short ginger hair and a friendly smile.
“You have to help me. I’m lost here. I live up in [home town] and I have barely any money. Could I please borrow your phone to call my friend?”
They’re eyes both studied her arm in unison.
Fuck. I should’ve used stage-two to make sure that the colour locked in! That’s what [pop icon] says to do in the television ad! Fuck.
“Do you know it off by heart?” the officer said.
“No. No, no, no. I wasn’t supposed to smudge!” she began to cry.
“I can help you, pretty girl,” STD said, climbing out of his car and approaching them. “I’ll give you a lift back for cheap. Very good price for you.”
Megan turned to the officer, “I need your help…”
“This guy will take good care of you, go with him.”
“I don’t trust him,” Megan said. “Could I please log-in to [social networking site] on your mobile and call my friend?”
“No can do, sorry,” the officer replied.
Megan gritted her teeth, “Then, when do you finish? You could give me a lift.”
“Look,” the officer said. “If it were any other night and if I was off duty, I would take you home in a heartbeat – you’re a gorgeous girl. Go with this guy, he’ll keep you safe I promise.”
How fucking unprofessional. Sexist, predatory twat. Fuck off.
“Okay,” Megan said. “I’ll go with him… What’s your name by the way?”
“It’s [I know his name]” he replied.
Gonna report the fuck out of you tomorrow, fucking knobhead.
Back in the taxi, driving down the motorway, heading North.
“I can’t believe it,” Megan says. “I lost my fucking cigarettes in all the confusion. Could we stop at a station so I can get a pack?”
“No, child. We not stop,” STD said. “I have plenty. We can smoke in car. It will relax you, loosen you up.”
Megan took a cigarette, lighted it and inhaled as fast as she could.
Worst end of a night ever.
“Why so dressed up?” STD said. “Did you just finish school?”
“I went to a concert. Everyone dressed like this.”
“Everyone? How exciting,” he said, rubbing his free hand against his left thigh.
“What’s your name anyway?” Megan asked.
I should make a fucking tally of every fucked up bastard I meet tonight.
“It’s [I know his name too],” STD said.
“You got any kids at all? Tell me more about you,” Megan said.
Here comes his whole life story: where he lives, how many children, his wife etc. Megan found out almost everything.
“I see you as a daughter, you see?” STD said. “I have all sons so seeing you in all your school outfit, makes me think of me as your father. You can call me father if you like.”
Would. I. Fuck.
“No, thanks,” Megan said. “I already have a dad.”
“This,” he said, touching her blouse with his left hand. “This is very see-through. What have you got on underneath? You can tell me, I’m your father?”
“I’d rather not.”
“Look, I doing huge favour for you, getting you home safe. I am a friend to you. You show me. There is no-one on the roads, no-one else will see.”
Megan looked around, there really was no-one else around. No-one to save her.
She carefully pulled back part of her blouse revealing a black-sequined push-up bra.
Really wish I wore my T-shirt bra instead…
He hooked his fingers around the cup of the bra and pulled back so that her pierced nipple was on display.
Megan moved away and forced out a giggle, “Don’t do that, I’m very shy.”
What do I do?
“You’re a very naughty girl with those piercings,” STD said. “Are you impure?”
“Not at all!” Megan replied. “In fact, I have arranged to stay pure until marriage. I’m a Christian through’n’through. See my ring?”
She showed him her left hand which, luckily, had a large amethyst ring on the wedding-finger.
“We’re getting married next June, I’m so excited,” she said. “That’s actually who I’m meeting now. He’s waiting for me to come home, I text him before I got in.”
“We may be a little late, traffic is bad.”
Again, there was zero traffic to be seen.
“I can’t text him now,” Megan said, channelling her inner Bree Van De Kamp (Desperate Housewives). “It would be so rude since I am in company.”
I knew I should have brought a portable charger.
“You want to see mine?” STD said. “You showed me yours. I’m a fair man. You can touch it if you like, I won’t tell the husband.”
“No,” Megan said with a shaky voice.
He clocked this immediately and used it to his advantage. “You show me yours – now.”
It was an order.
Megan pulled down her skirt and pants slightly. He reached out his hand and felt down, trying to claw his way inside.
Think – What would Bree do?
“Enough of that,” she said. “Such a thrill: but I am engaged so NO MORE.”
“You are disgusting,” he said. “Why do you not shave?”
“Excuse me, I wax. My next appointment is Monday.”
“I like my girls shaven,” STD said. “My daughter would be clean. Anyway, I’ll show you mine now. Only fair.”
Megan noticed a sign for [home town], 10 miles away. She could recognise the road.
Then a sign for a service station.
“Could we make a quick stop?” she said. “I really need a wee and I can’t hold it.”
“You can hold it,” STD said.
“Nope. I’m embarrassed to say – but I think I’m going to wee in your taxi, I can feel it coming in the next few minutes.”
“Okay. We stop.”
He pulled over in a lay-by.
He leaned over to grab her, but she unbuckled her seatbelt quickly and grabbed her coat. She was wearing a bumbag. She had never been more thankful to have her possessions strapped to her in such an old-fashioned and disgusting purse.
“No,” STD shouted. “You keep your things here with me.”
“I’m so cold!” Megan shouted back.
Someone will drive by soon and I can flag them down.
“Piss in front of me, like a good daughter.”
Fucking leave me alone.
She pulled down her pants and squatted, waiting for anyone to drive by. No-one did. Megan was so nervous that she pissed all over her shoes and began to cry. She looked at the smudged phone number on her arm and juicy tears shed over her wet shoes.
“You been five minutes. Get back in right now, you bad girl.”
There was nowhere to run.
Then it hit her: I can see his number-plate. I can see it. That’s why he wanted to keep me close to the car. Okay, remember [XXXX-XXX]… [XXXX-XXX]
[XXXX-XXX] (I know it)
“Get back NOW,” STD shouted.
Megan climbed back into the taxi and turned up the radio.
“I love this song,” Megan said. “I’m just gonna sing all the way home!”
She unzipped her bumbag as STD drove off, and grabbed her lip stain. She sang at the top of her lungs for distraction, and wrote down [XXXX-XXX]. He didn’t notice. Fantastic.
Okay, stage one is on, give it a sec to dry… and then stage two to colour-lock. [pop-icon] would be so proud.
Megan pretended to apply the lip stain in the side mirror of the car, then pulled out the stage -two. She continued to sing along to the Pitbull song playing, as she waited for everything to dry.
One minute my arse. This is taking a lifetime to dry.
Ready. She smeared the stage-two over her arm swifty and then on her lips.
Look on the bright side. A least when you talk to the police, your lippy will be perfect…
“Enough singing, child,” STD said, turning off the radio. “I like blowjobs. Do you like blowjobs. Very sexy. Sexy girl. I can pull your hair. You’ll like it, new girl to this. I’ll help.”
He unbuckled his trousers with his left hand, whilst his right hand remained steady on the stirring wheel.
“I don’t want –“
Too late. He forced her face down to his crotch and thrusted his hips. She could smell the disgustingly-familiar smell of ball-sack.
Men are revolting.
“Oh-no,” Megan said, whimpering, with him pulling aggressively on her pigtails. “I’m going to be sick all over your dick.”
He pushed her back up and she feigned gagging with her head in between her legs, smelling her own piss from her shoes.
“You’re a bad daughter,” STD said. “You do not please your father. Wait…” he grabbed her arm and inspected the symbols. “This is my number. I don’t like that. Rub it off. RIGHT NOW.”
Fuck you. It’s Max Factor lip-stain. This shit is on FOR LIFE.
Megan massaged the message with her right hand, but it was no use. The second-stage had it locked and loaded.
“Get lipstick,” he insisted. “Scratch it out.”
Megan pulled stage-one from her bag and made two large crosses through the centre. He forced her hand to scribble the whole thing out.
Sign to [home town]: one mile.
I can’t tell him my real home address, it’s a quiet street and I don’t have my keys on me, I’d have no escape.
“Where is your house?” STD said, trousers still open. His trouser-snake eying her from over the top.
Fuck. I only know a handful of addresses off by heart. My house is a no-go, my Dad’s is the same, and my grandparents… please… My work! But that shut hours ago… My old work: a nightclub. Busy, full of people, open ‘til late…
Megan gave STD the address of the busiest club in town. She had friends who worked there, friends who go there, and people who care about her.
He entered it into his Sat-Nav.
He started to rub his cock with his left hand, making it hard and ready.
He was going to rape her.
“Wait,” STD said, cock on full display. “This is not your house.”
It’s a one-way street, so he had no choice but to drive past at least.
“I live above it. It’s so noisy!” Megan said, unbuckling her seatbelt.
He began to drive faster.
Megan open the door of the taxi and jumped out whilst it was still moving. She ran straight into the arms of her friend and doorman.
STD shrieked his car to a stand-still, got out and walked towards Megan and doorman.
“She was sad,” STD said. “I tried to get her home safe, she’s not home. I’ll take her the whole way.”
I fucking bet you would.
“She’s safe with me,” Doorman said. “Thanks for taking care of her. I’ll make sure she gets back from here.”
Megan avoided STD’s gaze. He had no choice but to get back into his shitty car and drive away.
“Are you alright?” doorman asked. He had kind eyes and a soft voice.
“I need a pen,” Megan said and rushed to the guy on the door, re-scrawling the number-plate onto her hand. Not as if she’d forget. It’s ingrained in her memory for life now.
“What’s that?” Doorman asked. “The plate of that [make, model and colour of the car]?”
Megan made sure to write that down as well.
“Meg,” the bar manager said. “You look pretty fucking shaken, here’s a drink on us.”
This place is my fucking home.