All posts by G Emil Reutter

G Emil Reutter is a writer of poems and stories. Born in Bristol, raised in Levittown he has lived most of his adult life in Philadelphia. Nine collections of his poetry and fiction have been published. He published The Fox Chase Review (2008-2015) and is currently a contributing editor at North of Oxford. He can be found at

Darkness of the Night

When afternoon dropped to dusk she prepared for evening. Dressed in black pleather jacket, half top, yoga pants, and heels. Her dirty brown hair tied off with a rubber band. She departed her apartment, melded into the darkness of night. Two bus trips later she arrived at the seedy motel full of transients and met her pimp. He stood in the hallway just outside the door to the room. She stripped down to a thong, her hip bones protruding, stomach distended, blue eyes the only color on her skeletal face, track marks on arms and behind knees. The pimp collected twenty bucks for fifteen minutes as eight men entered the room in just two hours. After the last, the pimp entered the room.

+++++“How is it going Mandy?”

+++++“I’m bored King! “

+++++He reached in his pocket, pulled out a bag of pills, gave her two.

+++++“There you go, that should make you happy.”

+++++King returned to the door and for over three hours collected twenty after twenty as the men came and went. There were migrant workers, old men, down on their luck men, frat boys who didn’t care who was on the other side of the door. The last to enter were four frat boys who King charged one hundred and fifty bucks for a half hour. When they departed, King entered the room. He untied the pillow cases that held her hands to the bed post, picked her up and placed her in the shower. She walked out and dressed. A pizza arrived and the two ate. When finished he tied off her bicep, took out a needle and injected heroin. King placed one hundred and fifty bucks on the night stand as Mandy began to nod.

+++++“Same time tomorrow night Mandy. Don’t be late.”

+++++She curled into a ball on the bed as King left the room.

+++++Early morning light seeped through the blinds. She stirred, eyes blurry, muscles and bones ached. She pocketed the money, left the room and caught her buses home. When she unlocked the door her mother greeted her.

+++++“Honey, you look so tired. That factory job is wearing you down.”

+++++“We need the money Mom. How is Angela?”

+++++“She is ready to go to school.”

+++++The little girl ran down the hallway and hugged her Mom. Mandy went into the bedroom and changed into a sweat suit and sneakers. The two walked to Angela’s school, Mandy kissed her on the cheek.

+++++“I’ll be back at three for you.”

+++++The little girl smiled and walked into the school.

+++++At three Mandy met Angela and walked her home. The two went over Angela’s homework as the grandmother cooked dinner. As dusk fell into night Mandy left for work. King was waiting by the door.

+++++“It’s going to be a busy night. Those frat boys are coming back for some more.”

+++++“They were rough King, before you let them in you’re going to have to give me a shot.”

+++++And so the parade began again, one after another for two hours. Then the frat boys arrived, six of them this time. The tall preppy one asked King if the price was the same as the night before.

+++++“There’s six of you, so no it’s not the same price.”

+++++“How much?”

+++++“Four hundred for half an hour.”

+++++“There’s six of us, a half hour isn’t long enough.”

+++++“Six hundred for an hour.”

+++++The boys were pulling bills out of their wealthy pockets as King smiled. The tall one handed him the cash.

+++++“Anything goes, right?

+++++“Anything you want, it will be just a minute.”

+++++King entered the room and told Mandy the boys had arrived. He told her no hot shot. He gave her three pills. King waited for fifteen minutes and departed the room. The boys entered as King laughed at what losers they were, such easy money he thought, they didn’t even haggle. As the door shut King walked away down the hall and out to his car. After an hour he returned and walked into the room. A fat kid was still on top of Mandy. He pulled him off and told them to leave. One shoved him, he decked him. The others picked the kid up and departed the room.

+++++“So how did you do?”

+++++“It was degrading, more than normal, I hated it.”

+++++“You know what you signed up for.”

+++++“They said they paid you six hundred.”

+++++“Their kids, they talk big, you know the normal rate.”

+++++The after ritual commenced with the shower, dressing, pizza and then the hot shot. King left one hundred and fifty bucks on the nightstand and left the room. He began to rethink using Mandy as she was just a bag of bones now and soon customers would complain and he wasn’t a ten dollar pimp. In the morning Mandy woke, took her bus trip home, and began counting money in her head and what she was paid.

+++++It was her last night of work for the week. She met King at the door and they both entered the room.

+++++“So you have a problem believing me about the cash?

+++++“I just told you what they said.”

+++++King slapped her across the face, she fell onto the floor.

+++++“You’re just a big bag of bones, useless!”

+++++“I’ll be good, anything for you King!”

+++++He tied off her bicep, injected a double dose, left the needle in her arm as she drifted into the abyss.

+++++He wiped down the doorknobs and furniture, even the needle as it dangled from her arm. He took her purse, left the room and went to his new spot where his new bitch would meet him in an hour.

+++++Margaret took to walking Angela to school. Mandy hadn’t been home in a month. There were other times when Mandy took off for half a year only to return. She knew Mandy wasn’t a factory worker, it was just easier for her to make believe. Months turned to years and Mandy never came home and Margaret didn’t want to know. She had a new chance with Angela, this time it would be right. Ten years had passed and the remains of Mandy sat in a box cremated as unclaimed. Soon she would be taken with five hundred others to Laurel Hill Cemetery buried where a thousand others rest under a marker simply engraved, “1500 Citizens Consigned to the Earth – City of Philadelphia 2010.”


He made his money during the early 2000s when Fishtown was making a turn. Gerald Rivers was there to scoop up what he could. Young professionals, hipsters and later on millennials were appearing on the narrow streets and along Frankford and Girard Avenue. Rivers bought up all he could and sat on most, rented out what he could. By 2010 Rivers had flipped all his residential real estate at almost triple the price he paid for it. He began buying on the commercial strip where coffee shops, bakeries, vegetarian restaurants and hipster pubs opened up. He flew under the radar as other big buyers made splashes about their talents developing old city neighborhoods. Rivers preferred to be in the background although he was known in certain circles as realtor, speculator. In others he was known as a skirt chasing cocaine sniffing egotist. The one thing Gerald Rivers didn’t realize during his money making days was his age. He was now 16 years older than when he began his business dealings. 52 in Fishtown was a lot different than being 36. His other problem was he would hit on any woman in a skirt no matter the age and was horrified when a twenty something asked him bluntly how many grandchildren he had. The change came to him one night at Johnny Brenda’s when he bought drinks for a group of ladies, he waved at them when in unison they all said “thank you Pappy”.
+++++Caroline Peterson had her eye on Gerald Rivers for some time. She had come out of a bad marriage, obtained her real estate license and worked for a small broker. Some of her girlfriends told her stories of Rivers, his condo on the river, his cocaine habit, how wealthy he was. Caroline considered herself different from the others. She came out of her marriage hardened not needy. In her early forties she knew she had a brief period of time to make some money and land a man she could take advantage of. She knew how to dress, spent her free time at the gym, hardened her body as she had her mind, wore her hair in a bun although when set free it hung down to her waist. Caroline was at Johnny Brenda’s the night Rivers was called “Pappy” and made sure he noticed her laughing at his stunned look. The following morning she made sure to bump into him at his favorite coffee shop and did so for the next two weeks until Rivers made his approach. She smiled at him the first time he attempted to speak to her and left the shop. Caroline made a habit out of wearing short skirts and low cut tops with just the right pair of heels. She would sit at the first high top table and cross her legs. Rivers would come in and order his coffee and without fail come over to speak with her. After his fourth attempt she engaged him. He was charming asking what she did for a living and what her hobbies were. Rivers was impressed she was in real estate telling her he dabbled a bit here and there. He asked her out on a date and she politely declined. That evening she arranged to be at Rivers favorite restaurant, arrived at five and took a table in the corner. Like clockwork he arrived at five-thirty and immediately noticed Caroline. He walked to her table and asked if he could join her as he sat down. Caroline smiled at him. They each spoke of their lives and ambitions and Caroline of course told him she was newly single and desired to get involved with a decent man. Rivers told her he just might be that guy. Caroline was spinning her web and Rivers didn’t notice, he was enthralled with her. Over the next two months they dated, went to theater, five star restaurants and not once did Rivers even get to third base. Caroline noticed Rivers wasn’t snorting cocaine although he drank a bit too much.
+++++The moon was full in the summer sky; there was just enough humidity in the air to cause Sean Forks to break out in a sweat. It took him over four years to admit to himself that he had been a bad husband. He often thought back to telling his ex she was too fat, her hair was shabby and her clothes disgustingly tight on her. There was nothing she could do that was good enough and when he got drunk he slapped her around. Sean stood along the river at Penn’s Landing breathing in the warm air thinking of what an idiot he was and still is. The last time he slapped her around she broke out a baseball bat and cracked his ribs. Within an hour she had moved out all of her stuff and he hadn’t talked to her since. Their divorce was uncontested, she didn’t ask for anything. Over the last month Sean Forks had been stalking his ex-wife who was in fact stalking a rich realtor. Unlike Sean, Caroline has transitioned to a full dating relationship and now the guy was chasing after her. Sean had noticed a woman everywhere he went while on his stalking detail, she was always lurking in the background. Every so often she would enter a restaurant and sit in the back watching the couple.
+++++It was a Tuesday evening at seven o’clock and like the clock Caroline and her realtor arrived at El Rey on Chestnut Street. He noticed the woman standing at the Dunkin Donuts. Sean decided to walk over and talk to her.
+++++“I’m Sean, I’ve seen you around a bit.”
+++++“I noticed you around.”
+++++“So what brings you here?”
+++++“I’m hunting a pig!”
+++++Sean looked her over. She had long blond hair, green eyes, and an excellent figure. He took her for a rich girl by the designer pocket book she had slung over her shoulder.
+++++“So who’s the pig?”
+++++“A creepy old guy like you! All I want is to get him alone but he’s always with that glamour chick!”
+++++“Hey I’m not a creep!”
+++++“What else do you call a guy who walks up and talks to someone he doesn’t know?”
+++++“I think we have something in common.”
+++++“What the fuck would that be?”
+++++“Your pig is dating my ex-wife.”
+++++“Isn’t that something? We’re both loser stalkers!”
+++++“So why do you want to get him alone?”
+++++“He dated me for a month, he degraded me, had his way and when he was done told me to get lost, treated me like a fucking whore!”
+++++“So what do you want to do to him?”
+++++“I wanna blow his brains out! What do you think of that?”
+++++“A little drastic I think.”
+++++“Drastic? That fucker gave me the clap!”
+++++“That sucks!”
+++++“So what did the princess do to you?”
+++++“She broke my ribs and left me.”
+++++“That’s pretty cool.”
+++++“No one deserves that!”
+++++“You look like an abuser, she probably waited too long to kick your ass!”
+++++“I wasn’t a good husband. I’ve changed.”
+++++“So you think she’ll take you back?”
+++++“No. I just want to say I’m sorry.”
+++++“She doesn’t care.”
+++++“Good advice from you. Your stalking a guy, call me names and you want to blow his brains out!”
+++++“At least I’m not a whinny bitch like you.”
+++++“You didn’t tell me your name.”
+++++“Well Monica, I thought about you being in all the places I was and figured you were doing the same thing I was. I have an idea.”
+++++“And how aren’t you a creep? You have a plan for me?”
+++++“I was thinking instead of you lurking out here or hiding in the back of the joint we could go in together.”
+++++“So let me get this right. You are asking me on a date so that we can stalk our exes together?”
+++++“I just thought we could both get this over with and I don’t think you need to shoot him.”
+++++“What’s your plan?”
+++++“Let’s go in like a couple, grab a booth across from them. They always sit in a booth. We can act like a couple and I’ll pretend to notice Caroline and take you over to introduce you. After I apologize to her you can have your say with him.”


Monica and Sean entered El Rey and were seated at a booth directly across from Caroline and Rivers. Monica leaned to the middle of the table and called Sean to her, he leaned across and she kissed him full on the lips. When they leaned back Sean noticed Caroline was staring at him. He stood up and walked over to the table.
+++++“Hi Caroline. I just wanted to tell you I was sorry.”
+++++He waved at Monica to come over.
+++++“Leave me alone. I don’t care. I wish I never met you scumbag.”
+++++Monica walked over as Caroline told her to run as far away as she could from Sean. He was a wife beater and a drunk.
+++++“Really? Did you know your rich boyfriend has VD! He gave me the clap!”
+++++Gerald Rivers looked at Monica.
+++++“Who are you?”
+++++“I’m the girl you fucked for a month, gave the clap and dumped me like I was nothing! You don’t remember me?”
+++++“Well there were so many back in the day. Now that I think of it, you’re that crazy chick!”
+++++“You’re a fucker you are! I ought to blow your brains out!”
+++++Sean and Monica were tossed out of El Rey. They went to Dunkin Donuts and had coffee.
+++++Caroline and Gerald left the restaurant. Caroline told him she was getting a cab, not to call her until he could prove he didn’t have any VD and was not HIV positive. If he didn’t do that he shouldn’t call her ever again.
+++++“So if I do that you’ll sleep with me?
+++++“Go get a test asshole!”
+++++With that Caroline grabbed a cab and went home. Sean and Monica went their separate ways after they chatted and finished their coffee. Neither of them asked for the others phone number. Gerald Rivers went home to his condo on the river. He felt he wasted over a month and half on a chick who would never sleep with him. He drank a few beers and went to bed.
+++++A few months passed as Sean made his way through the twelve steps of life. After his apology he moved on with his life. It was autumn and the city streets came alive with vibrant colors of trees. He had been dating a woman in the Northeast section of the city and the two of them enjoyed the great park areas of the Northeast. On Sundays they would go to the Quaker Diner for breakfast. On this October Sunday they sat by the large screen television. KYW news was on and it quickly caught Sean’s attention.
+++++“Early this morning a Fishtown realtor was stabbed to death in front of Johnny Brenda’s. Police believe it to be a domestic violence case and they have one male in custody.”
+++++Sean looked at the crowd shot. Leaning against a light pole with a huge smile on her face was Monica.
+++++“The latest information from police is that a jealous boyfriend attacked the realtor. More to follow later in the report.”
+++++Sean and his girlfriend finished their breakfast and headed off to Burholme Park for a walk in the West Woodlands.