Sunday Night Meat Market

I watched him nudge his friend and make lewd signals as she got up to go to the bathroom. She was dressed from head-to-toe in white flowing things that made her look vaguely biblical. As she passed me I felt a desperate rush of air. He played on his phone while she was away and I could imagine the Twitter update or Facebook status he was writing, his face lit up blue by the screen. The smile he gave her on her return let me know that he knew exactly what he was aiming for.

Leaning against the bar was a woman wearing an outfit that was far too small for someone her age, presumably to show off her numerous tattoos, some of which were beautiful. She’d obviously been there all afternoon and was just a little too loud as she flicked her bottle blonde hair while chatting up a body builder gone-to-seed at the bar, or being chatted up, I couldn’t quite tell and hadn’t been paying attention when it started to know who’d started with who. My money would’ve been on her if I had to bet. Again, I could see where their story would end.

My attention had been distracted by the beautiful young woman in the corner wearing jeans that fitted her so snugly I worried she might not be able to ever take them off. Her dark skin glowed in the candlelight from the table in front of her, the same candlelight that shone through her glass of white wine that was being kept full by the much older man next to her, his wedding band glinting. Beside us, a suave guy watched them, not secretly but unobtrusively. Her pimp.

It sounds like I was out at some dodgy bar. I wasn’t. It’s an upmarket place on the sea with a beautiful view over the ocean. The waves were crashing over the rocks outside and sending spray twelve feet in the air, the sea looking in the window. I’m convinced the waves, like me, were fascinated with the goings-on in the meat market I found myself in on a gentle Sunday evening.

We left after the band started up and the ebony-skinned woman began dancing to the beat. Breathing in the sea air of the harbour, I wasn’t sure if it was the scenes I’d seen in the bar that were making me feel slightly queasy or the bobbing boats in the harbour giving me flashbacks to my childhood of sea sickness.

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