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It was the kind of humid night which made thighs rub. Helena was mulling over the acrid burn in her stomach as she dropped into her flats. They had been buried at the bottom of her handbag and they smelt rancid, so did the bag. 


She shocked herself, at how quickly she had become jaded with just a few sore scenarios. The dating-business was a bit of grey area. Actually, that had been its appeal, but tonight had been bitterly predictable. Average_Joe71 had a honed himself in the likeness of money and straight talk; Which he swilled around in a goblet of craft ale and gargled over his tonsils with an air of supremacy. 


“I don’t get women.” he’d let hang in the air… waiting for her to protest. 


The buyer pays into an open contract of unlimited minutes, data and texts in return for a voluntary donation. It’s tricky waters to navigate at best. Scaling the cobbles homewards, she inadvertently caught the eye of a woman. 


Sweety double-took, second-guessing her recognition. Helena smiled back with a feeling she’d been caught in the act. With her hospitable disposition, she beckoned Helena over to the empty seat and ordered her a long, milky drink. Sweety straddled an enticing mix of flirtation and accomplishment.


Don’t you think if a person looks entirely at ease eating alone at a restaurant, it tells you a lot about their inner confidence?


Helena tugged on her dress to make it longer and hid her bra straps, wishing she’d kept her heels on. As it goes, Sweety didn’t mind that Helena was dressed like a tart. She’d come to Berlin to judge a beauty pageant - Helena’s painted face acted as familiar furniture in her world of vaseline and blow-outs. In fact, until then, she had harboured the belief that her temporary flatmate wasn't making the best of herself.  


The two women were struggling to quartile the flat between themselves. Ordinarily, Helena had run of the house on weekdays, where she would read Inuit fairytales and make small ironic friezes with her Barbie Launderette. Sweety on the other hand needed space to run her empire and was holding digital court in the front room. Where the wifi was best. The two of them would have to learn to share.


Germany didn’t suit Sweety so much, the supermarket was basic, the food bland, the weather cold, the people rude…  


“Ah… but Berlin isn’t Germany and Germany isn’t Europe,” said Helena, who adored Berlin. 


Berlin was the black sheep of the family, who got lost on a pacific island trying to find herself and instead of cleaning up her act became a bratty sinkhole to the fatherland’s wallet. She felt right at home. 


More dishes arrived on the table surreptitiously, taking up the space where their elbows would have sat. Of course, the staff at the restaurant knew Sweety’s face from the timeless television soap. Behind the counter, one of them had dug out his old copy of Playboy, where she’d posed on all fours in buttock-scraping denim hot pants 3 or 4 years ago. Below the till they were drawing cocks on the glossy pages with a permanent marker. The table got more than its fair share of service and constant replenishment of jewel-coloured liquors. It came time to pay the bill and once again it was wavered.


On the walk home, the streets were oddly quiet. Sweety recounted her biography in short to Helena, who listened on with abstract admiration. Sweety had streamlined her filmic life into a pithy monologue. Delightful to consume. 


//// A young woman flees her home town with 300 dollars in her pocket heading for the big city. Her motive; was to escape an arranged marriage. She seeks to finish her education and make her own way in the world. Her ascent within the financial sector flows with the rising curve of the economy -  But Bang! Unexpectedly the market crashes and leaves her with nothing. This story’s headstrong heroine, not deterred by losing everything, seizes an opportunity when she is asked to model for a friend’s business. Over the course of a year, she claws her way back to solvency through acting and modelling with steel-like vigour… That is until her family finds out about her “unsavoury” new job via a gossip-mongering snake. She is promptly disowned. But once again, she uses the business acumen learnt through handling the stock market to fathom a media career. Finally, she breaks through to the big time by winning “Miss World Bikini”. News of her fame and fortune reaches the village she was born in. Her family is delighted and now she lives in a beautiful palace where she is currently courting a prince. ////


“You're quite a formidable woman hey!” applauded Helena. 


She loved Sweety's story and how it had been artfully narrated, it served as the perfect Digestif.


The only part of the story she couldn’t reconcile was her resurrection through beauty. It lacked modernity, and countered everything she stood for. Maybe she’d have preferred it with a little subversion to pepper it along. Perhaps, if the main character had melted her crown down to make a victory dildo or something?

"And you?"  said Sweety


Helena’s banal tale of apathetic disillusion didn't lens so majestically. 


“I'm just running away. I suppose." she answered 

"From what?" Sweety answered.



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