I had no right to spank Ana, and it wasn’t my place even to be thinking about it. But I did have every right to be angry with her. She would be going back to court, with her brand new criminal offence. The charge was stupid, and no-one would have taken it to court if it wasn’t that a local cop felt annoyed because she hadn’t flirted with him. But the shoplifting made her arrest record another item longer. It put her back in danger of jail. Also, I’d told the judge she was very unlikely to reoffend, and she’d lasted six weeks. This stupid incident had weakened my credibility with the judge, and that would affect other clients.
So I needed to talk to her. The Probation Office was closed. I couldn’t talk at my place, or at her place. But the road to her place followed the river. I took another risk, and drove off the road at an old track I knew. Trucks went there to pick up shingle for the road, but it was a pretty spot if you drove on past the gravel piles, a little closer to the water.
I’d just had a sexual fantasy about her, and although I’d managed to suppress that set of thoughts, what I was doing now was stupid. I was so busy feeling righteous that it didn’t occur to me how going off-road and parking looked to her. I turned the van off and pulled the brake. Ana had one hand near the door handle. She was pretending to be relaxed but she was tensed and ready to run. I said, “Ana, for fuck’s sake, you’re going to listen to me.”
She decided the anger in my voice must mean I wasn’t going to try to fuck her. I was puzzled to see her relax when I shouted at her. I was being stupid.
I said, “Ana, you’re playing with the justice system like it’s, I don’t know, like it’s a cat. Like it’ll scratch your hand if you annoy it. But it can actually destroy you. It can fuck your life up. I mean, shop-lifting a fucking broach.”
“Hair clip. Like a butterfly.”
“Whatever. You were being a fucking idiot. You’ve got to stop being a fucking idiot, right now.”