A Woman Of Ill Repute

A western tale

JL Matthews

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Photo by Eric Marty on Unsplash

“Sanchez sent me,” she said.

“Sanchez?” The woman looked up from her plate of chicken and stared at the young woman across the table.

“He said that you have the best girls in the county.”

The older woman chuckled to herself and pulled another shred of meat off the bone. “He knows damn well there aren’t any other brothels in this county.” She tossed the piece of chicken into her mouth and licked a couple of fingers. “Well, no matter. Stand up.”

The young woman rose from her seat. Her clothes were that of a ranch hand; her posture offered not even a hint of refinement.

“Take off your hat,” the older woman said. The younger woman did, and hair tumbled to her shoulders. “I’m assuming your hair’s blonde — after it’s been given a decent washing.” The young woman gave the slightest of nods. “What’s your name, darlin?”

“Couldn’t we just make up a name?”

The older woman chuckled again. “We could. But honey, you’re gonna learn real soon, this type of work is personal. Half the bandits and outlaws in this county have been in here just this week. Most of ’em will want a hell of a lot more than your name.”

“My name’s Josey.”

The older woman smiled, then wiped her greasy hands on the front of her grubby dress. “Nice to meet you, Josey. You can call me Nan. Now follow me.” Nan led Josie out of the downstairs saloon and up a staircase. On the upper floor, there was a long hall with doors on each side. At the end of the hall, double doors opened into a study. Nan led Josey inside. “You want something to drink, hon?”

“No.”

“Suit yourself. You might change your mind after a few of my questions. Do you have any family?”

“No.”

“Any money?”

“Some.”

“Ever been with a man?”

“Yes — one man.”

“Ever been with child?”

“No. I can’t.”

“You can’t have children?”

“No.”

Nan sighed. “Well, I’d say I’m sorry to hear that. But I’m afraid that in this line of work…

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