A brief murderess's interlude in a seedy jazz club

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She bent over the sink, meticulously scrubbing her hands raw, occasionally glancing up to the splattered mirror and choking on the heavy perfumes and stale smoke that hung in permanent residence. A few minutes had gone by and her heart was beginning to descend to a normal beat; her fingers slowly ceased their quivering. She paused a moment in her scrubbing and scrutinized her face in the dim yellow light. Flushed – a little too much so – but then, she wore rouge. Her forehead wore a thin sheen of perspiration, but then, a lowbrow club – stuffy, crowded, smoky. Reasonable. All balanced by the dark fluff of immaculately waved tresses – they hadn’t gotten mussed during the tussle. Wait, there was one – she smoothed the stray wisp back into place with a blood-red nail, talonlike and rounded to a point. All smooth - good.
The throaty, muffled jazz suddenly became a crisp wail as the oak door swung open and another young woman entered, letting in a waft of smoke. They traded the cursory nods of two strangers in a bathroom and went about their separate businesses; the newcomer to her booth, she to her sink.
The last few gummy specks of blood were flicked from her hands and slid slowly down the grimy sides of the bowl, the last of the weak red water swirling down with them. At last. She straightened up again and reached for a towel as the other woman emerged. They both reapplied their lipstick; another mutual nod and the woman left. Good.
The strings shrieked as the door swung open and dampened as it began to close; before it thumped shut she leaned casually back to peer through the smoke into the main room. There he was, sitting at their table, a little uneasy in her prolonged absence. But he was still there. Good. After a final check she left the bathroom and headed for him, discreetly discarding the freshly washed knife, rewrapped in its napkin, on an unoccupied table.





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