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The Gecko

(286 words)
by Neil Anthony


They called her The Gecko because she was always flat against a wall.

“Maria,” I said with heavy disappointment when I found her at her usual post. No more accusations. We'd crossed that territory long ago.

She was leaning against a sun-baked wall, bare foot lifted and sole pressed flat against the concrete. She squinted at me in the glare of the early afternoon. “Hey, you,” she said.

Fifteen, she was, and only just. The United Nations paid me a wage ten times larger per month than her whole family's annual income, and for that I was supposed to get Maria to go to school. There were many Marias and my success rate was ludicrous — maybe one in twenty. Maybe.

The Gecko was special, though. She was as fiercely pretty as a small bird of prey, and just as quick and sharp. She did something to me, and this she knew with feral instinct.

“Hey, you,” she said cheerfully. “You I fuck for free.”

It was not the first time she'd offered. The temptation licked at me like cold fire.

“If you went to school,” I said, “you wouldn't have to fuck anybody. You're smart. You could get away from here.”

She looked at me with eyes too wise for a ghetto girl. “Go home to England,” she said, but good-naturedly. “You talk shit.”

I had the authority to physically take her to school, but there was no point. She'd just leave again.

“See you tomorrow, Maria,” I said, leaving.

But she already had her eyes on two blue-bereted UN soldiers from Greece who'd turned the corner. She'd suck their cocks for five American bucks the pair.

Economic assistance from the United Nations takes many forms.



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