The early morning mist seemed to lightly hug the ground as she effortlessly pounded the long and winding path around Barnard Park. She thought that this park was far better suited to her needs than the others that she had tried out during the past few weeks. Regent's and Saint James' Park had too many overweight joggers and excessively meandering corgi-walkers vying for space even at the ungodly hour of six in the morning. As she stopped for a minute by a park bench to take on some fluids and caught sight of a red squirrel merrily scampering up a nearby tree, Christie thought about the shit-storm that had just gone down in the past few days and tried to finalize the plan for her last few hours in London.
She didn't blame herself in any way for what had happened to the magazine guy at the club two nights ago. She had been paid for information and whatever someone did with it, or however someone acted on it afterwards, was none of her business. Sighing as she pictured his ruffled hair, cheeky grin and warm brown eyes, she admitted to herself that he had been kind of cute....for an Englishman. The majority of the guys that she had come into contact with during her six-week stay in the capital had all openly expressed, in her view, the very worst traits in men possible. Granted, she never strayed very far from dancing at the club at night but for a supposedly well renowned 'gentleman's' establishment, was it too much for a gal to expect a few gentle men to pass through its gaudy batwing doors? Instead, over the past few weeks shed had to contend with the lowest of the low - guys who reeked of stale cigarette smoke and cheap hooch, guys with terrible crooked teeth and matching pungent breath, guys with cheap crumpled suits who felt it was their god-given right to surreptitiously touch her up or slide a hand in between her ass cheeks as she bent over and went through the motions of her well rehearsed routine. It was true that the money was easy, the tips were mostly generous, and she knew that she had the ability to squeeze every last note out of her adoring punters, but their unwanted lecherous advances coupled with the murderous events taking place right now in 'jolly old' London had caused Christie to reassess her current situation and hastened her plans to return to the States.
Around eight weeks ago, Christie had bailed out and left Vegas shortly after a scam she had been working turned badly south. After watching her move her sweet, sweet stuff up on stage one night a gullible high roller had fallen head over heels in lust with her, and she, never looking a gift horse in the mouth, intended to lead him on and bleed him bone dry. After fleecing her intended mark of over close to thirty thousand dollars Christie discovered that the supposedly mild-mannered software technician was actually being pay-rolled by some pretty angry Jersey mobsters - a bunch of real nice guys who all turned up one fateful Saturday night looking for a return on their investment. Sensing the impending danger Christie had immediately gathered all of her money, caught a cab to the airport and bought a flight to London. At the time it seemed like a good idea she hadnt been to Europe for a number of years and it seemed like the perfect place to lie low for a while, to let the smoke settle, as it where, before returning home (to her real home this time) - turned out that the reality of the situation couldnt have been more farther from the truth.
Upon arrival she'd made contact with an old girlfriend who had moved from the states to London about six years ago and, fortunately, she had been kind enough to put Christie up for a few days in her flat - no questions asked - until she had got her bearings. They'd shared a fairly brief but intense relationship in the past which had ended on good terms after both girls realised that, although the animalistic sex they shared was so fine, they were looking for very different things in life. They went their separate ways and had sporadically kept in touch. Justine, as she now called herself, even managed to find Christie a job at one of the best strip clubs in London as a barmaid. The manager of the establishment, who could have been described as looking like a badly tanned teddy bear with a penchant for wearing stripes, took one look at Christie's figure and, after a short audition, soon had her working her magic on the pole. Billed as 'Darla...the American Dream', Christie's near flawless figure, energetic sets and myriad of exotic costume changes soon made her one of the clubs favourites. An accolade which brought with it more money and opened doors for 'private' parties.
It had been at one of these after work 'parties' that Christie had first come into contact with the 'Euro-creep' as she liked to label him. It had been, in her opinion, one of the most unsettling experiences in her varied and often dangerous life. An experience she was to later share with the cute looking news guy the very next night at the club. As she finished her bottle of water and dropped it into a wastebasket beside the park bench Christie shook her head and started to run again. After overtaking an old lady walking an anorexic looking poodle, which, incidentally took a crafty air-snap close to her heels as she passed, Christie tried to replay the conversation she had shared with him in her head, tried to further convince herself that she was not to blame for what had happened, and tried to shake the sudden feeling that she was being watched.
The morning mist grew thick and Christie soon disappeared into the descending gloom.......