Steam wafted from the bath tub where he lay soaking, and the occasional ripple of water disturbed his quietude. The smell of sweat and perfume lingered on the air even after the hooker had left, both pungent and sweet, mingling with the abrasive fumes coming off the ashtray nearby. Enzo was listening to the noise of night-time Hathian as it boiled up through the walls from street level. The odd singular voice rising higher than the rest in expletive or exclamation used to intrigue him, but now he wasn’t so sure. Earlier there had been an argument next door punctuated with violent wall-pounding, and he’d immersed his head in the water for a while and held his breath while he waited. When he resurfaced, the neighbours were quiet, but sirens blared in the distance. The clock on the wall said four-thirty a.m, and sound was only just now beginning to die off.
His wrinkled fingerpads meant it was time to get out, so Enzo rose, shedding water in so many droplets. He toweled himself off as he went to the mirror, sure to dry every muscular contour and tousle his hair clean. To his dismay, his reflection showed the cut still bright against his jawline, like some awful shaving accident - as if he’d ever be so careless with a blade. He touched the edge of it then turned away, finding something to wriggle into, wanting to go stand on the balcony and lean over the street.
Enzo was thinking quite a bit about the girl who had attacked him. Certain the little hellion had been twacked out of her mind, he wasn’t all that upset with her, really. It was not like the little sharp-clawed waif could do any damage to someone twice her size and weight. No, the problem was sympathy and the very fact that he had it. He’d come to Hathian to sex brainlessly. To take his pleasure from a poor, desperate people who could really use the cash. He'd abused that need quite a bit... But now he had a tenure lecturing, and found himself obsessed with some woman who worked at the Titty Twister – the one with the hollow eyes that said she’d seen too much, and the same smile she fixed on everyone. And then there was the hooker who spent his spare change trying to shore up the holes in someone else’s life while he himself was drowning.
Enzo had come to Hathian some months ago to seek out his own selfish pleasure. But now he came to wondering:
Why was he really here?
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