Dr. Jones shifted in her seat, lifting her bifocals from where they hung from a chain around her neck so she could stare down at her nose through them at Flynn. She really wasn't a bad looking lady. He'd ask for her home number if she weren't so damn uptight.
"So, Mr.… Rider. Let's say you had pulled off the robbery at the Corona Museum. What then? What would you have done with that crown?"
Flynn sighed. Shrinks always wanted to know why. As if the motive behind theft weren't obvious. "I'd have hocked it, and been filthy rich."
She nodded, even though it was clear she didn't understand. "And what would you have done with the money?"
"I don't know," Flynn said, exasperated. "Whatever I felt like. I'd have bought a penthouse. I'd have flown around the world on a private jet just for fun. I'd have bought an island – yeah, that's what I'd do. If I had that crown now, I'd sell it so I could buy an island."
"Yeah. Just for me. No other people. None of the crowds like the city. None of the stink. Just me and some palm trees. I'd just work on my tan all day long."
"But you'd be all alone," Dr. Jones said. "Or would you buy yourself friends as well?"
"Who needs 'em? An island to myself. That's what I want."
Dr. Jones hummed, scribbling something on her pad and pursing her lips. He didn't bother asking what she wrote – she never told him. "And what is your living situation like right now?" she asked.
"Oh you know," he said, leaning back in his chair, crossing his legs, ankle to knee. "I like to move around, I'm not home often."
She narrowed her eyes, her mouth twitching down at the corners. "You do have someplace to stay, don't you?"
"Of course," said Flynn, flashing a smile. "Wanna see it?"
"How kind of you to offer," Dr. Jones said with a glare. "But no. Where did you grow up?"
"I'm a citizen of the world!" Flynn boasted. "You name it, I've been there."
"Were your parents in the military then? Diplomats?"
"Something like that."
Dr. Jones's expression was unreadable, but Flynn knew what she was thinking. It was what his shrinks always thought. "Your records say otherwise," he said simply. "They say I never had any parents."
She nodded. "There is a bit of a disparity between what you've told me today and what I have here in your file."
"Lady, I can't speak very highly of police record keeping. Have you seen the sketches of me their artists did? They just can't get my nose right."
She didn't even smile, only looked more thoughtful. "You're very fond of your appearance, aren't you?"
"Is that a trick question? What's not to be fond of? My dashing smile? My smoldering brown eyes? The way it always looks like the wind is in my hair?" He turned this way and that. "Seriously, Doc. There isn't any airflow in this stuffy office and yet – it wafts. My hair wafts. It's a gift, really. I was born this way."
"Your self esteem is impressive."
"Sure, sure, write it off as my self esteem and not your undeniable attraction to me. I know you're probably scared – it's okay. It's normal. Even shrinks can't resist me. Don't worry about losing your job – I won't tell if you won't."
Dr. Jones quickly glanced at the clock, clearing her throat. "That's quite enough for today, Flynn. Stop by Sandra's desk on your way out, she'll set up your next appointment. I will let your parole officer know you've begun treatment. Next week we'll discuss medication."
"Don't waste your time," Flynn said, getting to his feet. "No drugs can make me less irresistible. My pheromones are indomitable."
"We can discuss your pheromones next week, as well. It was nice meeting you."
Flynn winked and swaggered out of the office, sure that she was watching his ass. They always watched his ass.
That night, the bar was packed. More work, but there was a bachelorette party, so more tips as well. The ladies were sprawled over their stools, ordering one Cosmo after another. Behind them, a bunch of slobs leered, and behind them the hockey fans hollered at the TV and threw back pint after pint. Flynn would have preferred not working at all – he didn't like being expected to show up somewhere, and he didn't like paying taxes, either – but his parole officer was always breathing down his neck, and part of the conditions of his release was that he hold a steady job and get therapy. He'd take bar tending and hitting on Dr. Jones over jail.
A skinny blonde with a maid of honor sash waved a hundred crown bill and offered a devious smile. He headed over and she quirked a finger at him, hoisting herself up on the bar so her breasts brushed his arm when she leaned up to whisper in his ear. "I'll let you keep the change if you give a little sugar to Tina, here. It's her last night as a single lady."
Flynn smiled. "How much sugar?"
"A kiss will do. With tongue."
The bride-to-be was swaying on her stool a little, looking Flynn over, up and down, completely unashamed. He should really cut her off. She was incredibly drunk and promised to another man. But neither of those things were really his problem, and he could use the money.
Did whoring count as a steady job?
He gave them another round and barely bent over the bar before said bride launched herself at him, twining her arms around his neck and sucking his tongue right into her mouth. She tasted like triple sec and desperation, but it wasn't the worst drunken slobber fest he'd ever been a part of.
After several long moments he pulled back, but she clung to him like a barnacle. "How much for another?"
He smiled gently, reaching up to detach her arms. "I think you've had enough." She was close to puke-drunk, and that wasn't appealing to him as a bartender or as someone who might otherwise take advantage of the situation.
She pouted, and he nipped her extended lower lip. "If it doesn't work out with Mr. Right, or even if it does, you know where to find me." At fifty crowns a kiss, he might yet buy that island.
The bride started looking decidedly green, and Flynn didn't feel like finding the mop, so he flagged Joe, the other bartender. "I'm going out for a butt," he said. "Back in ten."
He wove through the crowd, past the groping swooning bachelorettes and the leather-clad pool players and the victorious U Corona Polo team as they crushed beer cans with their heads. He pushed through the back door and took the steps two and a time, patting his pockets to find his cigarettes.
It wasn't the seediest bar in town by a long shot, but it was seedy enough, and the fresh night air on the roof was cool and good on his skin and in his lungs. He took a few deep breaths before lighting up, cupping his hand around the flame to fend off the evening breeze. The night was clear, and the stars were visible even with all the light pollution. Wind came in off of the ocean and made the air slightly sticky, slightly salty.
He exhaled slowly, watching the smoke drift out along the breeze towards the old castle, half crumbling now on the top of the hill. Part of it had been restored and was now a museum. Some days he thought about actually buying admission and going in, maybe just the age old need to return to the scene of the crime. But if he were caught anywhere near that crown it was a one-way ticket back to Bleach Street for him, and he'd had enough of prison.
There was a sudden squeaking sound, like a scared mouse, and he turned to see some kid in a hoodie backing away from him, a can of spray paint falling from their grip. Behind them, on the dirty brick of the taller building next door, an enormous sun was outlined in orange and purple, jagged rays extending in all directions. It was a definite improvement over the array of genitalia someone had painted there before.
Flynn tapped some ash away, nodding. "How patriotic," he said. "Nice."
Even under the bulky sweatshirt he could tell the artiste was female, he kind of had an eye for those things. Plus, she had a distinctly feminine voice when she "meep"ed again.
"Gotta warn you though, the cops tend to come by this bar a lot. Not really the best spot for doodling."
She shifted her weight from foot to foot, looking like she'd bolt at any moment. Finally, she said, "Where's a better spot?"
Flynn raised an eyebrow. Odd question. Candid. Trusting. Not qualities he tended to associate with people who hung out on the roofs of bars. "Beats me. Canvas?"
She shrugged a little, shifting out of the shadows. She was cute – big green eyes and delicate features, freckles on her fair skin. A few strands of dark hair peeked out from under her hood. "I don't… I like drawing on big things."
There was something seriously awkward about this girl. She lifted her hand a little, just her fingertips extending beyond her sleeves. "How do you do that?"
He wasn't doing anything, which meant she was talking about his standard state of being. "I can't help it, I always look this good."
She frowned a little, not the reaction he generally got. "I meant that," she pointed to his cigarette. "I see people doing it sometimes, and I don't really get it."
Something seriously awkward. "It's just tobacco, if that's what you're asking." Although, at her age, she should have recognized something else by the smell.
She shook her head again, it was a sad and silly gesture, like a confused puppy or something. "No I mean… what's the point?"
Flynn took another drag, shrugging as he let the smoke blow out his nose.
She laughed a little, the sound clear and strange against the sirens and sounds from the bar below. "You look like a dragon."
Alright, how old was this girl? If she was underage, and his parole officer came by, he'd be brought in just for standing next to her.
She took a step closer to him, her sneakers scuffing against the concrete. She was tiny, quite short and quite skinny, and was as out of place on the roof of the pub as a flower growing out of the taps. She smiled, and it lit up her face. "Can you do any other tricks?"
Tricks? "I was just breathing," he said.
"Oh. Well. Can you do any tricks?"
He inhaled again, then blew a few smoke rings.
She gasped, lips parting in awe. She must be homeschooled. And not own a TV. Or a radio. Or a computer. Or have any friends. "How did you do that?"
He shrugged, blowing out the rest in a huff. "You just kind of make this shape with your mouth, and then this other shape." He tried to demonstrate, but he didn't like the way it made his face feel unattractive.
She tried to mimic him, and she ended up looking kind of adorable, which wasn't fair. She reached out hesitantly. "Can I try?"
Whatever, he'd already stuck his tongue down the throat of a bride-to-be that night, he might as well give a homeschooler her first smoke. He handed her the cigarette, hoping she at least put the right end to her lips. She did.
As expected, she tried taking a breath and immediately erupted into fits of coughing as she inadvertently dropped the thing . Her spasms tossed her hood back to reveal a full head of dark brown hair. It was choppy, like her mom had cut it with safety scissors after arts and crafts. He liked brunettes, even homeschooled ones. But not as much as he disliked prisons. He patted her back gingerly.
She apologized between coughs, reaching for the butt.
"Leave it," he said, pushing his toe into the embers. "My break's over anyway."
She finally straightened, her eyes red and watery. "How is that fun?"
He smiled. "You get used to it."
Shrinks and women, always with the 'why's. "Why is it fun to paint on grungy walls?"
She shrank back, hunching her shoulders. He didn't mean it as an insult, but she seemed to take it as one. She mumbled an answer, picking up her backpack which rattled with paint cans.
He asked "what's your name?" before he had a second to wonder why he even cared. He wasn't good with names. He met and left too many people to keep track of them. He mostly didn't bother asking anymore.
She looked like she'd been slapped, turning her face away as she flipped her hood back up and mumbled another answer.
"It's probably not that stupid."
She inched towards the fire escape. It was the most obvious sneak he'd ever seen. He wondered if this was the first time she'd tried anything like this. "I don't really know what my name is," she said, and the weird part was that it sounded like she was telling the truth.
Then she turned around abruptly and slipped down the stairs, not saying goodbye or looking up at him once. He watched her until she disappeared down into the subway.