“I always try and get them young, the younger the better!” Cyril licked his flabby lips and leered, perspiration dripping from his forehead as he gazed at the prostitutes who were walking all around us. “Young girls, they flock to this part of the park and they’re the ones I aim for – I can’t resist them!” So saying he stared across at one of the many young women in short skirts who were walking around this notorious ‘red light ‘ area in the town.
It was 11 o clock at night, and I’d become detached from my mates while we were out on my friend’s stag do. We’d gone to a number of pubs, ending up in this terrible part of town, the park where prostitutes plied their trade, more or less with impunity. I was pretty much comatose and drunk, falling asleep on and off on the park bench, fervently wishing I wasn’t in the company of this sleazy pervert, who seemed to think I was as interested in the sexual offers on display as he was. He kept saying how he enjoyed coming here, and how if I came down on the odd night I wouldn’t regret it. And that: “I can see by the way you’re looking at the girls that we’re two of a kind.”
“Two of a kind?” My God, I hoped not!
I kept falling into a drunken sleep while my new acquaintance, fiftyish Cyril, explained that he’d retired from the police force last year, and this new ‘hobby’ of his took up most of his time.
“I mean when they retire, some blokes like golf, others take up fishing, or go down the pub a lot, especially if they’re divorced, like I am. But I’d rather do this – it’s much more rewarding.” He grinned, leering at another girl, who winced and turned away from him. “I never had time to do it while I was in the job. Now I come down here as often as I can.”
I eyed the sleazy pervert with distaste as he ogled yet another young girl, a pathetically thin waif who looked barely in her teens. She had lots of make-up and her long tattooed legs were practically bare to the waist. She seemed to flinch self-consciously as she sashayed along, as if she was almost scared of the reaction she was provoking in the predatory men, who unlike pedestrian Cyril, mostly seemed to be cruising around in cars. I fell asleep again as he was muttering on about “Having two girls in one night…”
I’ve never been with a prostitute, and I’ve always thought the very idea of doing so pretty abhorrent. I also think It’s also terribly sad that girls expose themselves to such terrible risks from the disgusting men that pursue them. I thought of the ones who were smuggled here from Eastern Europe, forced by gangsters into the life, as well as the girls who were desperate drug addicts with children to support.
Of course I imagined that most of the men were probably inadequate and pathetic in some way, much as I guessed Cyril probably was. Someone once told me that lots of men use these girls to indulge in outlandish fetishes, and I pictured six-foot Cyril dressed up in a gymslip and being whipped. It’s hard to describe another man’s appearance, but if I had to sum Cyril up, I’d have to say he looked like an aging wart hog. He was also completely bald, with gaps between his yellow teeth, a large, white bladder of a face and an eternally perspiring upper lip above moist red lips. Perhaps ordinary women didn’t fancy him, and this was the only way he could find sex?
But that was no excuse.
Frankly, I couldn’t wait to get away from Cyril, despite his friendly chatter and laddish nudges, and entreaties to ‘pop down and meet him again any time, and I’ll sort you out.’
I thought about him all the next day at work. And in the evening I was so angry, I couldn’t resist going back to the same place to try and find him. What had he been talking about, I tried to remember? Ah yes, he kept going on about his ‘conquests’ and his ‘successes’ with the women and girls. And, most disgusting of all, I remember him boasting about how he liked them ‘young, as young as possible’. Was Cyril a bloody paedo on top of being a filthy pervert? If he was interfering with underage girls I’d get him!
Yes. I’d had all day to think about it, and now I was going down there to have it out with him, tell filthy disgusting Cyril just what I thought of him, and if I saw him trying to molest any of the really young girls that he professed to take such an interest in, I’d decided to call the police and if necessary make a citizen’s arrest.
I saw him as soon as I’d arrived. There he was, on the same park bench where I’d met him last night.
Only now he was sitting next to one of the girls. She looked very young indeed, indeed she looked more like a child, and the sight of Cyril with his arm around her shoulder made my flesh crawl.
I couldn’t stop myself. I was going to break up their liaison if it was the last thing I did.
But when I got closer, oddly enough Cyril didn’t react as I expected. Instead of shying away from me, perhaps trying to hustle his latest ‘conquest’ away to the shadows. He seemed to be genuinely pleased to see me there.
“Hello mate, you changed you mind about coming then?” he welcomed me as I came closer. “Blimey I’ve had a lucky night tonight. What a conquest I’ve had!”
As I came closer, my fists were balled, ready to smash them into his face. The girl, who looked about 13, took no notice of me.
And then she stood up as an older woman suddenly arrived on the scene. The child ran into the lady’s arms, both of them bursting into tears.
“This is Stacey,” Cyril said to me proudly, as he looked on at the reunion. “I recognised her from the photos I get every morning of the runaways and missing children from the Salvation Army missing persons unit. So your truly was able to phone her mum, and here she is, come down to take her daughter back home to Leicester. Reuniting a family – What a result eh?
“As I told you yesterday, I reckon it’s a good night’s work if I can persuade just two of the girls to go to our secret hostel, where the pimps can’t find them, maybe get them to see the drug councillors. But as I told you, it’s saving the youngest kids is our best chance, giving them their lives back before it’s too late is what it’s all about for me, and I ain’t scared of fronting up their bloody pimps if I have to. I tell you what mate, if we joined forces, I reckon we could get half these girls away from the kerb-crawling bastards, help them off the streets and back to a decent life. How about it?