(Drawing by Antonia Brennan)
She sat smoking three seats away from the door, cigarette pinched between black talons as she waited for the boy in a green apron to bring her coffee.
“There is something of the devil about that one.” whispered an old woman standing in line. She leant in so her companion could hear. “Something unnatural.” she said.
The pair twisted to stare; peering over round spectacles to examine the girl in black leather and brass buckles.
“Very unnatural.” hissed the old woman’s companion. “Not the right sort at all!”
The girl sighed, pouring the smoke from her lips. She smiled at the old women and stabbed out the cigarette on the table-top.
“Problem ladies?” she asked.
“This is a no smoking zone!” squawked the first, pointing a shrivelling, stumpy finger at the no smoking sign just beside the door. “You are no suppose to smoke that,” she pointed at the crushed cigarette, “in here.”
The girl smiled again, teeth bone white against ebony gloss.
“I must have missed the sign.” she said, curling her lips back further.
The old women clucked.
“Smoking in public places is banned completely!” said the second, shuffling her shoulder and readjusting the fold of her collar. “Do you not watch the news?” she demanded.
“Not partially.” replied the girl. “It’s always so depressing. All that death.”
She winked, still smiling as the boy in the green apron scurried over to her table, miniature coffee cup balanced on his tray.
“Double espresso?” he asked, trembling as the girl lifting an arm to pluck up the drink.
“Exactly what I need.” she purred, eyes trained on the boy’s face.
He blushed, stepped back and tripped over a table leg.
The old women watched him fall, hands clasped to mouths as they cooed sympathetically. The girl laughed, the sound spilling into the room like ice. The boy shivered as he scrambled to his feet.
“The poor lamb.” said the first old woman, placing a hand over her heart.
“The poor dear.” added the second.
“Fool.” said the girl. She threw back the espresso and stood. “But just what I need.”
“Need?” stammered the boy.
“Yes, need.” repeated the girl. “I need a little amusement in my life. I suppose you could say I’m recovering from a bad break-up of sorts.”
It wasn’t a complete lie of course. The boy had broken when he hit the street sixty-six stories below.
She stepped forward, closer to the boy in the green apron holding the empty tray.
“Call me Spider.” she said.