The doctor paused for a moment, his eyes moving from Jake to Clair.  His hand ran through his buzz cut brown hair.  “Unfortunately, his injuries were too extensive.”

Clair gasped and clung on to Jake to hold her up.

“His heart stopped.  We tried to revive him, but…”

Clair’s head spun enough that she did not feel it smack off the floor.

Around 18 years later…

“Happy birthday.”

Clair grinned at the man across the desk from her.  “Thank you.”

The reporter looked down at his notes.  “Forty today, right?”

“Yes.  My red hair is no longer nautral.”  She sipped from a giant steaming coffee mug. An email on the computer screan beside her caught her eye for a second.

“So, tell me about Jack and Jake.”

She nodded and thought for a moment to give the right first impression.  “There was a time when those two were my family.  My parents, my brothers, my lovers…they were my everything.”

“Where did you meet them?”

“Jack was my driver when I first got into…”

“The sex trade?”

Clair nodded again and pushed her glasses up her nose.  “My parents were the only family I knew.  They were killed in a car accident when I was 12.  I was on the street at 15 and quickly hooked up with a pimp that used Jack as a driver.”

“How old was he?”

“Seventeen I think?  Maybe 18.  He was just a kid, himself.”

“And Jake?” the reporter checked to make sure his device was taping.

“Jake was a university professor that Jack met a few years later.  He never taught Jack, so there was nothing odd about their relationship in that sense.”  She pulled a tissue from the box on her desk, just in case.

“There were other odd things?”

She chuckled, “They were both bisexual.  They did end up being married, but as I said, they were my lovers too and not just figuratively.”

The reporter nodded.  “So back to Jack.  i have read that you once said…” He flipped open a tiny notebook. “Robin to Jack’s Batman.”

“Yes, I did say that,” she confirmed over a quick laugh.

“You were loyal to him then?”

She nodded. “Absolutely. He to me as well.”

“Where did that come from?”

“For starters, he killed my pimp.”

A slight gasp from the reporter as this answer was unexpected.

“Gerry, my pimp, decided on a whim to beat me one night…”

“Where’s the money?”

Clair looked up from the green torn fabric couch. “Gerry? What money?”

Gerry was very tall. His black hair was shoulder leangth and he had a black fumanchu mustache over his white skin. “The money you were gonna get tonight.”

Clair glanced around nervously. “I haven’t had any calls yet.”

Band posters of Nirvana, Metallica and Iron Maiden were scattered on the walls amidst pictures of scantily clad women from the back pages of the Toronto Sun.

“Why the fuck not?” Gerry stumbled.

“You’re drunk, Gerry.”

He gave a single low laugh. “No shit, Sherlock.” He slipped a hand inside his jack and produced a half empty beer bottle. He tipped it and chugged the rest. He rested the bottle on the coffee table and pulled a dusty Toronto Maple Leaf ballcap from his back pocket.

Clair checked her watch. “Shit, Gerry. It isn’t even six yet.”

His stumble stopped in front of her. “I don’t give a fuck what time it is. Where is my money?”

His hand lashed out and struck her cheek hard enough to send her sprawling across the couch. His second blow came to her gut and forced all her breath out.

“Where?!?”

His boot toe slammed the couch cushion enough so that it just grazed her forehead. Then he had her up with his arms in her armpits. Her feet a good foot off the floor as he shook her like a rag doll.

“I don’t have it yet,” she whimpered.

He dropped her on the couch and stumbled backward a step. “Now look what you made me do.” His voice sounded as though he were on the verge of tears. “You’re no good to me tonight now, you bitch.”

He stumbled backward again and kicked back for support. His boot went through the television screen behind him. The stereo unit on top of the TV crashed down behind the unit as well.

He stood silently for a moment in thought before pulling his boot out. “You bitch,” he whispered.

He reached into his jacket just as the front door opened.

Jack stood in the hall, silent, as he watched Gerry pull out a large knife.

Gerry sneared at Clair, “You’re never gonna do any good for anyone now, you…”

Jack blindsided him under the arm brandishing the knife. Jack was not big, but was very strong with his legs.

Gerry stumbled to his left and ran through the screen door without stopping. He finally regained his composure as he hit the balcony rail.

Turning to face Jack he announced through white breath, “You’re fired, asshole.” He stepped back towards the ruined screen door.

Jack, still silent charged. His right shoulder took a shot from Gerry’s knife just before it pushed into Gerry’s belly.

Gerry’s boots were a good foot off the ground when he hit the railing again. This time, he quickly flipped over the rail and was gone.

Jack stood, grasping his bloodied shoulder and looked down.

Clair, in shock, sat up on the couch. “What happened to…?”

Jack stepped through the broken screen and put his finger to her lips to shush her. “We’re leaving.”

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