The First Rule


This was the part she didn’t like.

Diana could usually convince herself that she had come to terms with her job. A hooker went where she had to go, and a certain number of bystanders would guess what she was doing.

But this situation left no room for doubt. Diana walked across the shop floor, past the three lifts, each of which held a car aloft. The three mechanics looked everywhere but at her.

They were still taking in every detail. Her T-shirt, jeans and athletic shoes weren’t fooling them.

The walk of shame took her to the boss’s office in the far corner. Under the circumstances, she appreciated the grimy blinds that covered the equally dirty windows. She knocked and pushed the door open. The client was sitting behind the desk.

“Hi, Vern. I’m Diana.”

She thought he had the perfect name for a fifty-ish man who looked like the dictionary definition of a mechanic.

Diana closed the door behind her and locked it. Her eyes went to the only corner of the desk that was clear of paperwork and boxed auto parts. There it was—the white envelope that justified this ordeal.

Next to it sat a grease gun. She made a mental note of it.

“Should I get ready?”


She went to the elderly padded chair in the corner and put her bag down. She stripped off her outer garments and dropped them next to the bag. Underneath she wore Victoria’s Secret, which put the usual smile on his face. She performed the practiced balancing act that let her exchange her sneakers for four-inch heels from her bag without touching the dirty floor with her feet.

He kept watching and smiling, as she made a production of slipping the bra and panties off.

She knew what he wanted next. Most women would have overlooked the grease gun, but Diana had seen similar things before. This kind of man often had her come to his shop because he thought it was hot to watch a naked woman playing with his tools

All of them.

“Nice,” she said, as she took the tool from the desk and sniffed the nozzle. “State of the art synthetic grease.”

She enjoyed his look of surprise.

“I’ve met a few mechanics.”

“I guess so.”

“You know what might be fun? Have me come after hours, and I’ll fix a car for you. Like this.”

She indicated her nakedness with a wave of her hand.

He shook his head regretfully.

“My wife would never believe I was working late.”

Diana heard a key turn in the lock. In an instant she did the arithmetic. Who would have a key? Her money was on Vern’s wife. Had his mention of her summoned her like some horror film character? Or had she intimidated one of the mechanics into keeping her informed?

A blonde forty-something stood in the doorway

“Asshole. Think I can’t read your mind?”

The gun in her hand was doing the talking that mattered. The muzzle shifted from Vern to Diana.

“I suppose you’re a customer.”

Diana knew that silence was the best reply, but Vern didn’t.

“Alison, it’s not what you think.”

The gun swiveled toward him. Diana felt free to wince at the lameness of his words.

“It’s exactly what I think. Did you think I was kidding last time?”

Alison aimed, but she didn’t pull the trigger. She must know that even this distance was too great for a snubnose revolver. She took a step toward her husband, and then another.

Diana pumped the grease gun. The first rule of hooking was get paid, and murder interfered.

She laid down a squirt in the woman’s path. Before Alison could stop herself, she put her stylish boot in the glob of goo. Her feet flew up, and she fell hard on her back.

Dazed, she let her gun hand go slack. Diana plucked her envelope off the desk as she kicked the weapon away. She pointed at the slick spot with her toe.

“That’s going to be hard to get up. But you two can work that out.”

~ fin ~

Albert Tucher is the creator of sex worker Diana Andrews, who has appeared in more than one hundred stories in venues including SHOTGUN HONEY and the anthology THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2010. Her first longer case, the novella THE SAME MISTAKE TWICE, was published in 2013. In 2017 Albert Tucher launched a second series set on the Big Island of Hawaii, in which BLOOD LIKE RAIN is the most recent entry. He lives in New Jersey, and he loves NJ Turnpike jokes.