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cece jones

This place scares me. I try not to show it, but the way the men here look at me… I should be used to it, of course, I know men find me pretty, known that since I was in high school, but here it seems so much more visceral and threatening. 

Still, I knew what I was getting into. More or less. Not really a job for a slip of a girl, that’s what they all thought, but they sent me here all the same as there aren’t many who can do what I can. 

And I was running away. Guess I can see that now. Strange that I should run away from a good man who loved me to come here and be surrounded by… the other sort. 

I got work singing in the saloon as soon as I arrived. Not something they taught me during training, of course, I learnt how to sing and play piano a long time before I was taught how to use a knife to skin a rabbit or kill a man. They told me to fit in and live off the land, not sure that’s what they meant, but, hey, a girl’s gotta work with what she’s given. 

The locals say I sing like an angel and they come and pack out Jack’s Saloon every night. They don’t seem particularly bothered that they don’t know any of my songs. I'm sure a fair few are only here to gawp at me and paw my ass as soon as my back is turned. The news that I don't whore clearly hasn't reached every unwashed ear in town yet. 

Monty, the parsimonious old skinflint who owns the saloon, worries that if I keep slapping his customers when their hands start wandering he’ll lose business. He also reckons I should dress like the other girls who work for him too. Like a slut in other words. Well, while he’s only paying me with food and a cramped attic room with a blood-stained carpet, I think I’m entitled to wear what I like. Might make me look like a frumpy scarecrow, but, in Hawker’s Drift, that’s just fine by me. 

I just need to stay safe, avoid drawing attention to myself and get the job done. Then I can go home. At least I hope and pray I can. In my line of work its best not to take anything for granted, I know as well as any how many never come back…

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