Daniel awoke in the grey of early morning to find the girls sleeping on piles of clothes and pillows on the floor next to him. Through the undraped windows he saw the silhouette of a city skyline preparing to greet the sun.
Slowly standing he tiptoed to the sink, stuck his mouth under the tap and sucked in the frigid water until his mouth no longer felt dry and salty. Then he grabbed the bread left out on the counter and ate until his empty stomach no longer retched.
The Catholic’s daughter slept with her face turned towards the setting moon, her head resting on a bundled up coat. She reminded him of his sister. She didn’t look like Francesca but she had the same sensuality, the same fiery contempt for all things Catholic and yet, like his sister, she slipped back on familiar symbols – like the crucifix – in times of distress. His sister, whose decline so young never touched his mother directly, entering through a secret crevice and exiting as a renewed calling. But Francesca no more wanted to her mother’s “cross to bear” than Daniel wanted to the Beloved of God.
He slumped into one of the bean bag chairs and considered going back to sleep. It was, after all, still dark outside. Then he heard someone with taps on their shoes crossing the courtyard below. Closer they came until they were in the stairwell. He crawled back into the kitchenette and reached into the drawer for a knife just as the door opened revealing two figures silhouetted in the doorway. One tall, the other short. “What the fuck is that?” the short man asked in a voice not quite human.
“Oh, those are the girls I told you about, mate. They ran away from Reno Nevahda and all those cowboys. Out to see the big world; meet the Beatles. The standard rot.”
“How fucking cute. Are they virgins cause I can’t stand balling virgins, man.”
Martin laughed, “Probably, old man, but this isn’t what I had in mind for you.”
Daniel ran his hand along the greasy wall until he found the light switch. The resulting burst of light caused the short man to twitch. “Fuck!” He shrieked as he tried to shield his eyes from the light. He was an albino with a Beatle haircut. Perhaps to compensate for his shocking appearance, he was dressed in limes and lemons as though he’d stolen the luggage of a middle-aged golfer from Tampa. “Shut off that fucking light!” he ordered.
“I thought you weren’t coming back, Martin.”
“A knife? Aren’t you just like mother hen defending her chicks? How domestic, really, I think you’re ready for the suburbs, old chap.”
“Why did you bring a junkie back here?”
“SHUT OFF THE FUCKING LIGHT!!!” screamed the albino, stamping his foot. “I’m not a fucking junkie! But I am horny as fucking hell and this British asshole told me he could get me some prime tail… ”
“I think you should shut off the light Daniel. Our friend has very sensitive eyes, if you know what I mean.”
“I know exactly what you mean.”
“Who is this shit head?” The albino demanded.
“Oh, don’t pay any attention to him, Jamie, he’s an ex-priest. You know the type. One minute he’s sweating because he’s not doing God’s work and the next he’s trying to convince himself that he doesn’t believe in anything.”
Jamie snorted, “What did you get defrocked for, Father Holier than thou? Screwing the choirboys?”