Saturday 21 June 2014

'Betrayed' by Anne Goodwin

I used to pride myself on being a sound judge of character.  That was before I got embroiled with Whitney. 
She was fun initially: laughing at my jokes and screaming for me to give it more throttle when she rode pillion on the bike, leaning over into the bends with her knee almost kissing tarmac. 
She’d had to grow up quickly when her parents split, but she’d carved out a cushy life for herself in the space between their separate houses.  No inquisitions about where she was going.  No curfews.  From the hints she dropped about her father’s poker habit and her mother’s affair with a gin bottle, she was better off without them.  She admitted herself, that night in the Seaton Steakhouse when I gave her the ring, she was much better off with me.
Yet she cried when I told her about the others.  I said, Whitney love, what do you expect?  You don’t get nothing for nothing in this world.  How much you think that ring cost?  And that leather jacket you wanted.
She didn’t need no roughing up, or not much, to see sense.  It only took a slug or two of vodka to see her through her first time – although Danny might have given her something else, a toke of tex-mex or some charlie, I don’t know, I’m not a pervert, I wasn’t in the room.  After that she was fine, paid her way like the rest of the girls.
Call me naive if you like.  Tell me I should have read the signs.  Such as the way Whitney stopped laughing at my jokes.  But I wasn’t telling her so many at that stage.  I was focusing my attention on another kid who was hanging around the arcade when she should have been at school.
Was I a fool to trust her when she said her parents didn’t give a shit?  Was she leading me on right from the start?  Because one of them found the time to listen to her story and cared enough to call the cops.
Now I’m stuck in here, punished for my gullibility, for choosing a girl who said one thing and meant another.
Yet I haven’t lost hope.  She’s written to me, you see, asking about the bike.  I reckon I’ll have her riding pillion again one day. Just got to bide my time.

'Betrayed' was previously published at

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