Big City Girl

Big City Girl by Charles Williams

Book: Big City Girl by Charles Williams Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charles Williams
pulled the kimono together across them, looking, away from him and blushing.
    “The first thing I’ll need in the morning is a hack saw,” he said. “And a little vise. I can work on this handcuff during the day while they’re tuning up them damn motorcycles down there. Nobody’ll hear the sawing.” He wasn’t thinking about the handcuff now, though. He was thinking about being in bed with her, remembering the smooth, warm feel of her in the dark and all the eager, responsive passion.
    “You remember how the motorcycles used to wake us” up in the mornings?” he went on. “When we slept late and how we would lie there in bed not having to worry about anybody hearing us because they made so much noise?”
    She made no reply to that. In a minute she asked, “Where do you get hack saws?”
    “In hardware stores. But you can get little ones at the dime store, in the tool department. They break, but you can get spare blades. They ain’t as good as the regular ones, but it’ll be safer that way. Nobody’ll see you carrying it in.”
    “And you want a little vise, too?”
    “Yes. You may have to get that in a hardware store. Just a small one. The cheapest one they have. One you can clamp onto a table.”
    “All right. I’ll get them in the morning.”
    “We’d better go to bed now,” he said. To hell with all this stalling around, he thought. All that can wait till tomorrow.
    She got up. “You can sleep here on the bed,” she said, as if she had been waiting for and dreading this moment. “I’ll take the sofa.”
    He ground out the cigarette in the ash tray and stared at her. “What the hell, sleep on the couch?” he demanded. “Since when? We’ll sleep in the bed. Both of us.”
    “No,” she said.
    “What do you mean, no? What’s the matter with you?”
    She stood and stared back at him as if he were a long way off. “Nothing.”
    “Well, where do you get this couch stuff?”
    “Do you have to ask so many questions? Can’t you be reasonable about it?”
    “Well, of all the silly damn— Oh, it’s that? Just my rotten luck. Of all the times to get here. But, Christ, why didn’t you just say so?”
    “No. That’s not it.”
    “Well, for God’s sake, what is it?” She had a perfect out, he thought, but she wouldn’t lie about anything. She’s a funny duck, all right. “Have you caught something?
    ”No,” she said coldly.
    “Well, what’s the trouble?”
    “I just don’t want to do it.” Her eyes were miserable, but she looked straight at him.
    He went around the table and moved to put his arm around her. She backed away from him, the way she had before.
    “Come on now, baby.”
    “No,” she said. “I mean it, Sewell. No.”
    He began to grow angry. “If there’s anything on earth crazier than a damned woman— I ought to clout you one.”
    “I suppose you could beat me up. But it would make a lot of noise.”
    “Oh, don’t be a damn fool. I’m not going to beat you up.” He sat down on the sofa again. “Pitch me one of those pillows. I’ll sleep here if you’re going to be that pigheaded about it.”
    “You’re so big. You ought to take the bed.”
    “To hell with the bed.’”
    He punched the pillow angrily and stuffed it under his head. His legs stuck out over the armrest on the other end of the sofa.
    She got her nightgown out of the closet and went into the bathroom with it. She kept her face turned away, but her shoulders were shaking and he knew she was crying. In a little while she came out, with the kimono on over the nightgown. She turned the light out and he heard her take off the kimono and get into bed.

Thirteen
    Above the rasp, rasp, rasp of the hack saw he looked at her. It was afternoon and she was sitting on the bed dressed to go to work at three-thirty. She would not look at the handcuff clamped in the vise on the table.
    “So you ain’t seen anything of her at all?” he asked, sighting at the groove he had sawed. It was slow work and he

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