Joe and Mary-Jane

London, 9 November 1885

“’Ere, Joe, take your coat off.”

“I’m fine as I am.”

“You look unhappy. Let me cheer you up.”

“I’m fine.”

“Well relax. Get undressed. Hey, what are you doin’?”

“What does it look like I’m doing?”

“Stroking me belly.”

“So? Can’t I touch you now.”

“Yeah. But you’re usually more interested in me tits.”

“I loves your belly, Mary-Jane. I wanted it to carry me babies.”

“Well stop it now. Give us a kiss.”

“Alright.”

“Hey, not so rough. That’s better. Now rub me lower down. You know…”

“I don’t feel like it.” 

“Why? What’s up?”

“You been goin’ with other blokes again, ain’t ya? I knows you ‘ave.”

“Rubbish, Joe, I’d never… Ow, that hurts. Let go.”

“I knows you ’ave.”

“Course I ain’t. I’d be crazy, what with what ‘appened to all them other girls.”

“What happened?”

“You know. They ‘ad their throats cut.”

“And?”

“And what?”

“What else?”

“I don’t know.”

“Their bellies were slit.”

“Was they?”

“Yeah, they was. From ‘ere to ‘ere.”

“Stop it, Joe. You’re frightening me.”

“’Ere.. to ‘ere…”

“Joe, that ain’t funny. Put the knife down.” 

“The others woz a warning.”

“What d’ya mean, a warning?”

“But you never paid any attention, did ya. You kept seeing other men.”

“No I never, Joe.”

“And people talks about Mary-Jane, now. Mary-Jane, the whore whose legs are always apart. It’s all over Whitechapel.”

“No I never, Joe. Honest.”

“You did. And you should ‘ave listened to me warning.”

“Joe?”

“Now it’s your turn.”

About the Author

PJ Stephenson is a British writer whose fiction is inspired by history, nature and human nature. He’s lived in Switzerland for 20 years but still takes milk in his tea. PJ’s historical short fiction – most of it set in World War Two – has appeared in Apricity, Dream Catcher, Edify Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, Flashback Fiction, Henshaw Press, The Fiction Pool,Scribble, The Sunlight Press, Writing Magazine and several anthologies. Follow him @Tweeting_Writer.

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