The Guilty Are Afraid

by James Hadley Chase

The first thing that attracted my attention as I came out of St. Raphael City station was a blonde doll in a bikini swimsuit, a straw hat as big as a cartwheel and doughnut-sized sun goggles. Her skin—and you could see a lot of it—was a golden satin, and she had a shape on her that Mr. Varga himself would have been proud to have designed. She was getting into a hardtop Cadillac, taking her time while the unattached males feasted their eyes on her.

I feasted my eyes too.
She settled herself behind the driving wheel and surveyed her male kingdom with lifted eyebrows. As she drove off she sneered in my direction.

The red cap with my baggage nudged me.
“If that makes your eyes pop, brother,” he said, “you’re in for a rare time when you get to the beach. Do you want a cab?”

“Are there more like her?” I asked, slightly dazed. “If a girl showed that much of herself where I come from, she’d land in jail.”
“The place is lousy with them,” the red cap told me. “This is St. Raphael City. Anything goes here. But don’t kid yourself.

The more these chippies show, the less they give away. The only thing that talks with them is money. Do you want a cab?” I said I wanted a cab, took out my handkerchief and mopped
my face.

It was eleven-thirty a.m. and the sun blazed down. People streamed out of the station to waiting cars, cabs and horsedrawn carriages. This was vacation city, and I earnestly hoped
Jack had thought to reserve a room for me. A cab drew up and the red cap piled in my baggage I tipped him and he went away.

“The Adelphi Hotel,” I said to the driver, got into the cab and started mopping my face again.
The cab fought its way through the traffic, and after two or three minutes, turned into the main road to the sea: an imposing, broad boulevard with smart-looking shops, palm trees and cops in tropical uniforms. The town had a rich look to it. Big Cadillac and Clipper convertibles lined the street on either side: every one of them the size of a bus. As we crawled with the traffic, I sat forward, staring out of the window at the women. Most of them were in beachwear: some in lounging pyjamas, some in halters and shorts, some in

French swimsuits: the fat ones invariably favoured the shorts.
Every now and then I spotted a pippin, but most of them were the middle-aged and the fat.

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