“What’s her name?” I stalked slowly towards the man hunched over the drunk girl sprawled on the pavement. It was a scene played out every Friday and Saturday, and I knew the script. A predator had found his prey.
“She’s my girlfriend, and she’s sick.” He lied. “I just want to get her home.” He avoided my eyes. I didn’t blame him too much. I am a tall, well built man who is completely sober. I’m not an easy target like the woman crumpled next to him.
“What’s her name.” I pushed past him easily and picked up her bag, pulling out her driver’s licence.
“I think she needs to go home. I’ll call a taxi.” He tried to meet my gaze and failed.
“What’s her name?”
“I’ll go get a cab from the station.” He ran off.
I gently helped her up and guided her to the shop at the end of the street. It was a 24 hour convenience store, and, though corporate probably didn’t know, a safe haven with reliable people and a good relationship with the local cops. She swayed a little but managed. I checked her name and made sure she still had her phone. “Come on, Rose, come in here. It’s nice and warm and you can have a nice cup of tea.”
Steve came over, and nodded to Shelley who started calling the paramedics. “How is she?”
“I think she’s okay.” I said. “But I don’t think it’s just drink. She may have been spiked.”
“That’s the third one tonight.” Steve guided Rose onto a chair set next to the door, with a sturdy back and stable arms to support a vulnerable guest.
“I had a good look at him.” I said. “About the same height as Shelley, not tall, and skinny with it. He was wearing jeans and a denim jacket.” I shrugged. “That might help. I mean, who wears denim jackets these days?”
Steve raised an eyebrow. “You’re keeping up with fashion? I know what you are. I wouldn’t have thought you noticed these things.”
I looked away and shrugged. “It’s useful information.” I looked down at Rose who was still semi conscious. “I had better get back on watch.”
“You’ve been watching this street since I was a kid.” Steve said. “It’s not just at night, either. Last week someone raised the alarm about Surjit falling and getting stuck at the corner of Wine Street. I guess you couldn’t show yourself in daylight, but if someone hadn’t pulled down that stand of brochures into the alley, Surjit would still be there.”
“I need to get back to my post.” I said, taking a last look at Rose and backing out of the door.
“I know we are all grateful, but it must be hard for you.” Steve said. “When are you going to rest?”
“When I’ve paid my debt.” I faded into my usual nothingness and slipped past the paramedics as they rushed in. I looked down the street and watched a group of lads stalking a drunk. They looked like they had robbery on their mind. Softly, into Steve’s ear, just before I set off, I whispered, “There’s no rest for the formerly wicked.”