From the Field

Daniel Boyco

It was late and the dirty, winter wind whistled from out of the darkness and into the small cone of pale light that was thrown upon the corner pavement. Under the battered lamppost she stood, alone with hopes that another buyer would notice her and see what she had to sell. This was how she made a living and it was an indifferent world that passed her by.

Her vulgar propositions were a sign that she was open for business, and although her scars could easily be seen in the daylight by anyone who cared enough to look, the facade bewitched the wanton eye of the buyer who would invariably overlook her faults. But she hadn't been in the business long and already her natural beauty had taken a beating.

She was a natural and had everything that anyone in the business could want. All she had to do was wait around for some slick talker to do the sell job. Her "business managers" came and went but they all had one thing in common. They knew what she had to offer a clientele with an unquenchable thirst and they knew what it was worth. They convinced her that it would last forever and they pranced around her in a bid to show how much they really cared. Meanwhile, the smiling bastards laughed all the way to the bank.

Sadly, the buyers treated her no better. They would take what they paid for and in return, beat the hell out of her while they did it. They didn't care - they didn't have to live with her. Besides, once she had served her purpose they would dump her and find another to take her place. In fact, her close friend was now working the street just a block to the west.

She didn't like what she had become but knew of no way out. She had stepped into the business with both feet and now she was sinking fast. This was not a game that she could quit when she wanted; she had nothing to fall back on. The things she should have cherished were being sold to the highest bidder. Her youth was spent and like so many before her, she was soon going to be broke. Who could or would stop her spiral into the gutter? No one had any idea how long it would be before she hit bottom but many had told her that it was just a matter of time if she didn't straighten out.

A whisper from the darkness signaled that she had charmed another buyer and although she couldn't see the face beyond the lamplight, she ignored the danger and made her pitch. It didn't matter who it was as long as they paid cash. Yes, so far she still had what they wanted and many of them would ask for her by name. In fact, most everyone on the street knew where Alberta could be found at that time of night.

Daniel Boyco is a member of the Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officers Association in Edmonton.