Midnight at the Sud-Z-Clean by J.C. Hill

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SUMMARY: This is an early concept chapter of a potential novel/trilogy I was contemplating. If it gets decent feedback, I will write more of the story. Oh, and it has some bad language, so be warned.

Tabby slammed the door behind her and flounced across her tiny apartment in a huff. How dare that little bastard get upset with her for flirting with another guy! Marco probably had three or four other girls that he was screwing at any given time. He was the last person that should throw a fit about a little flirting. Why did she keep putting up with his stupid macho bullcrap, anyway?

The tiny brunette let out an enraged scream and threw her keys at the wall with enough force to chip the paint. Somebody on the other side banged on the wall and yelled an obscenity, but Tabby was just too pissed off to care. Her evening out with Marco had been against her better judgment to start with and the scene he had made at the club had been the last straw. He had nearly slapped her, but the murderous look in her eyes and the glint of the knife she had pulled from one of her knee-high black boots quickly disabused him of that notion. After living and working in one of the rougher neighborhoods in West Atlanta, she made a habit of carrying a bit of personal protection. Fortunately, Marco had saved her the trouble of gutting him in front of his buddies. He had stormed off in a cloud of alcohol fumes and impotent rage, leaving her stranded at the club. She'd had to pay for a cab ride home, which cost more money than she had to spare. Maybe she should have cut the sleazy punk, after all.

Tabby set her purse on the cluttered bar, knocking over a stack of bills she didn't have the money to pay. She looked around the dingy apartment and sighed, her anger turning to a sort of restless despair. When she got like this, she usually wanted to clean something. Call it some latent domestic instinct hidden under her usual leather and studs attitude. She took in the pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, the clutter on the counter and the piles of clothes on the battered old couch. This time she just didn't know where to start. It all seemed so daunting somehow. So overwhelming. Should she take out the trash maybe? Or clean the bathroom? Did it matter? In despair, she slumped down on the dirty carpet, put her arms around her knees, hid her face and gave in to tears for a several long minutes. Her life, like her apartment, was a total wreck.

Her crying slowly subsided, but it was a long time before she raised her head from her knees. When she did, there was determination in her dark eyes. She couldn't do anything about the shambles of her life, but she could do something about the mess in her apartment. Pulling herself up with sudden energy, she rushed into the bedroom and came back with an oversized laundry basket. The pink plastic was incongruous against her black leather outfit. She giggled as she saw her reflection in the hallway mirror. She looked like some kinky old man's wet dream. A cross between a French maid and a dominatrix. Putting the basket down, she went and changed into a plain gray sweatshirt and a comfortable pair of jeans. Her black goth boots were replaced with pink and white tennis shoes and her dark, curly hair pulled back with a red paisley handkerchief.

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