A/N: I was originally going to write this from the girl's point of view but then though nah. It's more interesting this way though, less angsty rubbish. :)
Max Reichs was a man who trod on women. And they let him do it. What was it in Max Reichs's charm that made women inferior to him automatically, as if in their programming an extra notch was added in the line of God? God = Max Reichs. Oh! But don't forget to question the real God. In this life, Max Reichs was a god. His own. He did whatever he wanted, and he got away with it… eventually. His battle scars were numerous – the same old thing, and they were only visible to the keen eye; multiple slaps on the face. A broken nose – the doings of an ex-girlfriend of his. She called him a "Blonde-haired creep." Yes, Max Reichs thought, life was good. His secondary job (the better job) was one that captured the helplessness and vain physical superiority of women at their weakest, most vulnerable point; nakedness.
Just today, the 12 of June 1998, a new piece of meat had walked in. Max stifled a laugh. Paper meat. Meat sold by the picture. She was a pretty, though dainty little thing – lanky hair, wide hips and large breasts, but her aura was that of a weak person – a lost person.
'So you're…' Max began, pulling out a clipboard and handing the girl a pen and form. The girl filled it out and handed it back. 'Julie?' He frowned. 'What's your last name?'
'My last name is irrelevant,' the girl drawled, trying to appear unimpressed underneath her frightened exterior. It was all in the eyes. She was scared shitless.
'I'm only kidding, Julie!' Max chortled, amicably touching the girl's shoulder. 'No last names.' He winked and sat back down on his stool, camera in hand. He motioned towards the garage wall where a sheet of grey fabric had been hoisted up against the wall. A tall light flashed in the direction, and Max waved an arm at it. 'Stand over there, please, honey.'
The girl winced and then carefully, slowly, walked towards the lit area. Max suppressed a groan. Do you want me to die? Hurry up, already, I'm on a tight schedule today.
Max's photography job was only on Saturdays, in a garage he rented for each weekend. The girls would arrive for twenty minute sessions, one by one, from one in the afternoon till eleven at night. Often the same girls came back, finding their jobs quite easy to do. But occasionally, like today, Max would be approached by a new candidate.
'Now, take off your clothes and I'll tell you what to do from there.'
The girl, Julie, suddenly looked petrified.
'Come on, dearie, I've seen it all before. Don't you want your money?'
Julie made a sound at the back of her throat then shed her clothing. Max stared over her pale flesh with a small smile, then held up the camera and adjusted the shot on the tripod. She shivered. Max didn't care. He had been through this before, it was just a matter of wearing a mask – and wearing a mask he did well.
He remembered his first girlfriend and how, like the hormonal teenager he was, he had tried to get her naked and nail her as soon as possible. Slap one. But after two or three goes he finally learnt how he was going to get things working… manipulation. He didn't know why he didn't see it before! Acting was something he did for fun, but he never consciously considered doing something with it. So, with this tool, he pretended to be sick, unwell, made up some excuse to get the girls falling for him left right and centre. And it worked – by God, it worked!
Max couldn't believe his luck, and soon he had acquired pictures of girls from across the country. He was a sales agent by day… and a pornographic photographer on Saturday. Pornography. The word was luscious. It would do.
He sold his photos over the Internet – the easiest way to find customers. This way his identity could remain completely anonymous. The thing about the photographs though, he quickly learnt, that it wasn't the photos themselves which were appealing, but the idea of the submission involved… Watching a woman exposing herself before you like a wounded puppy. They would whine and bitch later, but they inferior in that take of the shutter. Besides, they got their money's worth -business was business. It was nothing personal, Max just loved to watch the fear and unease in their eyes… it sent his spine aquiver.
Click. Click. Click. Click. The sweet sound of photography.
'Okay, sweet, you're done! Thanks a bunch. Here's a cheque.'
The girls pulled her clothes back on, her eyes red with sudden tears as she pulled the sheet out of Max's large hands. She spat at him.
'It's nothing personal, Julie, it's just business. Hand me that towel over there, please.'
She threw it at him and left. Max could hear her crying all the way up the stairs. Then, his next client came in. This one he knew well. Black, slim, sexy Sophie.
'Sophie!' Max beamed, as the girl jumped forward, dropped her bag to the floor and threw her dress off.
Sophie strode in front of the camera and frowned. 'What was with that girl just now?'
'She's a newbie.'
Little did Max know what trouble would come to him. He had never considered being caught, even though he kept a gun nearby just in case something happened – like a client went insane and tried to attack him. Thing was, lots of people delved in pornographic photography and they never got in trouble. Besides, he was paying them. It wasn't like he was raping them.
Though I easily could.
As he got ready to work the next Saturday, Julie came in early and told him she was resigning. Max glowered. 'Why?'
'Because,' Julie replied. 'You're a jerk, and frankly, I have better things to do.'
'Like what? Selling burgers on eBay?'
'Like running a business.'
Max didn't realize Julie ran a business. In fact, his clients rarely opened up to him – except Sophie. Normally they were drug-addicts looking for a cheap way to make money to buy their cheap grog. Max didn't like to pry. The question was, though, was what on earth was Julie doing here if she had enough money to run a business somewhere else? Max considered it.
Maybe she was bankrupt.
Maybe the business crashed and burned.
On June 26, Max heard knocking at the door.
'It's open!' he called. He would always tell priers that he was doing a model photo shoot. What kind of model photo shoot? Well, for make up, of course. He had a suitcase full of it on a chair next to his sitting spot. Some of the girls liked to use it to make them feel better before the camera went clickity click. Yes, Max rehearsed mentally, they're uncomfortable with an audience so if you would please leave so we can get started as quickly as possible?
But this click wasn't the click of a camera. It was a click of a gun.
Max's face went white as he spun around. A couple of navy blue police officers stood at the base of the stairs, fully armed, ready to shoot if necessary. In the middle of the two was a woman. Was –
'Julie!' shouted the photographer, completely bewildered. 'What are you –?'
'I told you I ran a business.'
She was smirking now and Max fully realized the extent of her power; his eyes bulged at a golden badge on her chest. Before she had appeared frightened, but now… Max understood. She was an actor too. The best kind.
He moved towards the suitcase of make up.
'Freeze! Put your hands over your head and lie on the ground!' screeched Julie's voice. 'Come on, boys, cuff him.'
Max Reichs, be cuffed? Never would he sink that low! It wasn't in his nature. The irony of it all struck him hard and his mouth perked into a sly grin. Then, suddenly, he kicked the make up case to the ground, bottles of powder and creams shattering on the floor; he pulled out the foam base of the suitcase and pulled out his revolver.
'He's got a gun! Shoot to disarm!'
Shot in the thigh, tumbled to the ground – grazed a palm. That, Max scoffed, hardly feeling the pain in his leg, will never stop Max Reichs. Max Reichs was superior, he'd never take the place of his clients, he'd never lose!
'Drop the gun!'
But Max Reichs didn't drop the gun. Max lifted the barrel to his temple and choked back an insane laugh, a wild grin plastered across his battered features. Wiping his blond hair out of his face, he pulled the trigger.