I Have a Smile for Every Occasion

I Have a Smile for Every Occasion

They were dangerous men. One look at their gruff, scarred faces and their smug, hungry grins was all it took to identify them. They were the kind of men who enjoyed life’s excesses without wanting to work for them. Liars, cheaters, and murderers. And they were armed, despite the station’s regulations. With vibro-blades, more than likely, and black-market blasters.

All three of them eyed her in a way that suggested they were mentally undressing her as she sauntered into their center. Not that she minded. If she exaggerated the sway of her hips slightly, and pushed out her chest to draw their attention, it was only to keep their focus where she wanted it. After all, if their hands were on her, they wouldn’t be reaching for the killing implements.

“This ain’t exactly the kind of place a gal like you should be walkin’ alone,” one of them taunted, flashing a gold-crusted toothy grin.

The man beside him, shorter by a full head, purred like a cat before he clicked his tongue three times. “Ya never know what might happen.”

She knew. She smiled, the seductive smile, coy and inviting. She lifted her chin, not with pride, but so that her thick blue curls fell away from her ruby red lips. She fluttered blue-painted eyelids accented by long lashes.

“You wouldn’t hurt an innocent girl like me, would you?” Pouty lips parted to grant a glimpse of her tongue.

All three men leaned forward, vipers ready to pounce. She knew how the game was played, and she was good at it. The right amount of feigned innocence and provocative confidence would let her slide among them in the most literal sense. As soon as they allowed her hands on their hips, their legs, their chest, her quick fingers could slide into their pockets, easily rearranging the information she needed. Digital information traveled on lightweight chips these days, paper thin, a weight so slight it was rarely missed. Especially with the same quick fingers and silver tongue keeping their focus elsewhere.

There would be satisfied smiles at the end from her prey, and a smile of triumph for herself.

* * * * *

Morning was softer, gentler, though she had to abandon the warm comfort of her bed sooner than she liked. She dressed for the job she preferred; a simple uniform and a small black apron. She slid two extra pens in the pocket on her way out the door.

As she waded into the chaos of the Mad Minister, Cazella reflected on her darker duties. There was no question she preferred the soothing of disgruntled pub-goers to the wrangling of mad men with dreams of grandeur and twitchy trigger fingers. Others might consider it menial, but she found it refreshing.

She prepared her smiles as she passed behind the counter. The smile of greeting for those she hadn’t seen yet today. The smile of recognition for returning customers as she danced between the busy tables. The smile of greeting for new patrons as she helped them navigate the chaos.

There was always something going on at the Mad Minister, from dart games and dice, to drinking contests and even the occasional shady deal, though it was best if the owner never learned of them. For Cazella, it was the closest thing to home she had ever known. The people here knew her name and face. They regarded her not as an exotic beauty, a seductive enchantress or a thief of well-guarded secrets, but instead as helpful, welcoming and friendly.

She knew the best smile to employ for every situation. The reassuring smile for the nervous girl in the kitchen who dropped a tray of recently prepared entrees. The smile of tolerance for the patrons who told inappropriate jokes. And the encouraging smile that helped everyone through the mad rush just after business hours ended.

Whenever someone had a problem, they trusted Cazella had an answer. She found a solution for every conundrum, save her own; how to be rid of the night job without tarnishing the day job?

Hours passed in a whirlwind of minutes. Even exhausted, Cazella wished she could linger. She would work twenty-four-seven if it would offer an escape, but she had long since learned that life didn’t work that way. The double-dealing, greasy holders of her fate might leave her alone a few days after a job well done, but they always came calling for more. A debt she could never repay.

She was on her way out the door when another voice called her name. Normally she called an apology over her shoulder without stopping; she would never get out the door otherwise. But this voice was different; it gave her pause. She altered her course to move past the owner’s table.

“You still working?” the station’s chief officer of security asked, poking the coaster on which his drink would soon sit.

“Just finished,” she replied, sliding into the vacant chair across from him. “But I might be convinced to stay awhile longer, if you need someone to warm this chair, over here.”

Kurt Haider wasn’t the kind of man to give out smiles the way she did. He nodded instead. “Wouldn’t mind having someone to share a few appetizers with.”

“I’m sold,” she announced with an ear-splitting grin; her first genuine smile in days.

Please check out what my writing partner did with this prompt!

If you’d like to participate, leave a link to your response in the comments and I’ll feature it next week. You can see the prompts we’ve done so far here.

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