His eyes are dark and they look sort of gypsyish with a nice cosy way about them but now and then if I shut my eyes quick and look up again they are wicked and cruel…”


by christine tothill



Bling, I will call him, chats me up over a whiskey and ginger and a full ashtray. Bling, cos of his gold round his neck, studs in his eyebrows and his ring on his right hand, the one he smokes with, the one he drinks with – too much information.

He is full of yellow metal and is it all real?

He is.

He is so real I want to take him outside but the stupid landlord is watching me and I just can’t get up – anyway as my legs are weak, heels too high and I’m pissed. I will next time I see him – take him outside.

Bling goes on and on about this and that and I can’t remember after about a second what he is saying so I nod and smile and smoke his fags and cross my legs as I want to go to the Ladies. He is built big; bulky shoulders, fat fingers on his right hand. His eyes are dark and they look sort of gypsyish with a nice cosy way about them but now and then if I shut my eyes quick and look up again they are wicked and cruel.

I like them like that.

Wicked and cruel.

What I don’t like is that landlord staring at me.

He doesn’t own me. He doesn’t know me. Who does he think he is?

Bling is quiet now, watching me, so I take another fag and light up and try to steady my hands. He takes my fag and puts it out and says I don’t suit smoking. Bloody hell another one of them bossy types, but I like it really and giggle so much I nearly wet myself.

I leave Bling to go to the loo and pass the landlord on the way. He looks me up and down and says to me to be careful with the bloke with the gold. I snigger and wriggle past him as he has come up real close and I can smell his scent of want and lust.

The landlord isn’t there when I come back; he is at the card table – but he gives me a wink and do you know what? I like that. Bloody hell, who’d have thought?

Bling is waiting for me with a fresh whiskey and ginger and a new packet of fags. He tells me he was only joking about me not smoking and I could do anything because I am so lovely and wouldn’t he like to be in my knickers.

Not with that ring on his finger.

No way.

His hand is on the table ready to take another fag, another drink, another scratch of his balls and I can’t see his other hand. I can’t even see the rest of him. He’s been sitting all the time and I don’t know what the rest of him looks like. He could be small and fat with his thick hands and shoulders. He could be thin and dreary, padded out or just plain minging. Or, on the other hand, he could be the man of my dreams but why did the landlord say be careful?

Bling says to me to finish my drink, quick like, and I do swallowing quickly. He looks kind of impatient and is tapping the table with his fingers; the ring making a hard metallic sound.

I get up first and then Bling does. He takes my arm with his ring finger. There isn’t a left arm. There is nothing there.

Stupid landlord.

Bling is harmless, ha ha.

He steers me out of the pub and out the back.

I wake and the landlord is covering me with a blanket and an ambulance is next to me. I don’t remember anything.

Bling isn’t here.

Where is he? I can’t remember what happened – I must have blacked out at a vital moment as I can feel my tights are torn and there is blood on my toes, peeking from the blanket.

I should have listened to the landlord who isn’t bad looking really; he is rubbing my shoulders and saying I should have been on my guard. His eyes aren’t wicked and guess what? The only bling I can see is the gold in his teeth.

Originally published:
Issue Fifty-One
January 2008


Christine Tothill is British and lives in Spain.  She writes short fiction, flashes and articles.  Christine has published work in UK and Spain.  She writes with Alex Keegan’s online Boot Camp and plays the organ in any other spare time she has, which is hardly ever.

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