A Hard Operation
story by Denis Leduc
Translated by Sue Neale, Oxford Brookes University
Denis Leduc was born in Brussells
in 1957. He trained as a social worker and journalist. He has lived
in Louvain-la-Neuve since 1990. He is active in the world of urban
politics and from this he has developed a taste for bringing to public
notice the way urban power politics furnctions. The discovery of similar
mechanisms in the new town led him to write novels. Sang
Dalle (the first volume of Les Mystères
de Louvain-la-Neuve ) appeared in 1999, followed by Les
Pluies d'A.L'E'A ., Les ressacs de l'Ondine and Flux
Tendu . They were followed by the series Suites
Noires de Louvain-la-Neuve : La nuit est
un compost , La congrégation
des sponsors and La Jactance de la Fontaine.
The exams were over and they
were bored. All three of them. Leonie, the blonde. Anouk, the former
punk whose hair still looked like she had been pulled through a hedge
backwards. And Beatrice, the redhead. It was only Leonie who really
belonged to the student community and had that special ability to
fail exams every time but be exceptionally confident that next time
she would pass them easily. Jealous girls and a legion of guys she
had chucked suggested that really she was talking out of her arse,
but Leonie didn't give a toss. She was the youngest of the trio though
she cleverly glossed over her age, which slipped from 20 one day
to 25 the next. Where she hid her identity card was a secret as well-kept
as where she hid her pill or her condom collection, well-known for
their wild colours and shapes. Beatrice looked and acted 26. She
worked as a barmaid at the Mouche and
had done for ages. The oldest students and certain other people in
the university village laughingly said she's been there since the ark.
It was rumoured that she had studied psychology and that she was gay,
which she happily acknowledged. However, she knew, better than many
younger women, how to give head in the toilets or how to manipulate
her fingers to give a man a hard on and suck him off in the underground
car parks. Her friendship with Leonie had set tongues wagging. Anouk
didn't quite fit in with the trio. For a start she was much younger.
Also she looked like someone of a future which would certainly never
happen. Finally she was so shy and reserved. While the other two know
how to drink like fish, Anouk liked to tempt herself with a lemon tea
or mineral water which she sipped daintily. At the end of a bender
she would allow herself just one Rodenbach which made her
blush to the tips of her ears. They were bored. It was stiflingly hot.
The terraces was heaving, the town's pedestrian precinct hummed with
a gentle nonchalance, swaying to the rhythms of people worrying about
the end result of the next round of discussions and holiday plans.
All around outbursts broke into the general hubbub made by circles
of friends or other small groups of people. Couples got together, others
broke up. Drug dealers, young and down on their luck, pocketed their
takings which they would blow at the Luna in one go.
They were getting bored when they decided to have some fun. Anouk
hated the heat especially when it felt like a storm was about to break.
She said it made her feel sick. That night she was feeling really shitty.
Pablo had dumped her. Every time she got herself it was like this:
her belly ached. But … and she wouldn't tell her friends this, she
was late coming on and that made her feel even worse. Leone liked the
heat and knew how to dress in a way that allowed the warm waves of
heat roll over her body. That night she was really furious. Lucien
had left her in the lurch and she didn't think it was just to jerk
himself off alone in his room.
Beatrice did not give a shit about the heat. She had felt alone for
a long time and she was going to have a good time tonight. That morning
she had decided that tonight she needed a good screw and she had been
thinking about it all day long. For more than an hour they wandered
around and still nothing was on offer. She too began to feel really
pissed off. Time was dragging, the storm was breaking, the conversation
petered out and the best clients were getting drunk or passed them
without even a glance. Their mood was grim.
Around ten they were walking down the rue des Wallons . Beatrice
had rolled her sleeves up over the round part of her charming shoulder.
The night made the contrast between her ample breasts that swayed in
her flashy white blouse and the warm brown of her arms pure poetry.
She could tell that something was up with Anouk and from time to time
she looked at her anxiously, in an almost maternal way.
Anouk felt bitterness overwhelm her, the feeling was getting worse,
and she tried to throw it off by repeatedly shaking her head which
must have been intriguing for her friends. She walked with her arms
behind her back at an odd angle, her thin reptilian hands hooked into
the small back pockets of her loose, crackled black leather trousers.
They made her feel too hot and they rubbed her thighs.
Leone wanted to distract them and hummed a Maurane song. She had pulled
the zip of her sand-coloured dungarees right down and in the dark it
was more and more difficult to see the difference between the fabric
and her body, which was ready to catch her prey.
Although the throbbing sound had been audible for a few minutes already,
they had hardly enough time to throw themselves against the window
of the Courseur . Three heavy motorbikes, adorned with various
pennants, brushed past them, the chrome sparkling brightly; they choked
the women with stinking exhaust fumes. One bike was brightly decorated
with several small teddy bears threaded onto a fifties television aerial.
The three bikers seemed like knights of some ancient dark prince, with
their gleaming silvery visors, looking tough in their enormous boots
with spurs and squeezed into huge fringed leather jackets like Billy
It reminded Beatrice of a similar incident on a holiday long ago.
Leone cried out. Anouk cursed, she detested men like this.
The spluttering caravan slowly descended the long slope and they watched
the three destroyers parking in the university square. When they reached
it, the three knights took a table on the terrace at the corner of
the main street; their abandoned mounts lay resting beside the fountain.
Beatrice watched the trio. She thought it was funny that one of the
bikers had not taken off his helmet. Looking more closely she felt
herself shiver; something in the silhouette, much less substantial
than the other two, made her think that it must be a woman. Pursing
her lips, she signalled to the others to follow her. They settled themselves
at down at a table nearer the centre of the square.
Anoul could not stop herself from giving a disproving look as she
passed the knights, which though brief, did not escape their notice.
The big bald one with the thick handlebar moustache and wearing a vest
decorated with the tag ‘Kiss of Death' played with the his ear pierced
with lots of grubby rings belched as she passed. The other, taller
and slim, with the chiselled face of a bullfighter sniggered before
clicking his tongue as Leonie went by.
They sat down. Anouk turned her back on them calling them ‘wankers'.
Leone placed herself at and angle, pulling her zip down at the same
time. Beatrice positioned herself so that she could keep an eye on
the helmet that was still closed and mysterious. They continued their
conversation, aware that the presence of these bikers had given it
a new twist. Anouk began to laugh throwing herself back in a way that
transformed her body into a form that was not only superb but perfect.
Leone stretched out rhythmically, each small movement making her zip
slide a little to almost completely reveal the outline of her pert
breasts. Beatrice was happy running her tongue around her lips to moisten
and thicken them, shaking out her heavy red locks and opening and closing
her thighs under the table.
The last helmet was removed and Anouk watched as it revealed a beautiful
face with short silvery hair. Eventually, as time passed the six pairs
of eyes met. When the bullfighter had swaggered past their table, Leone
had whispered to him to sit down. They were soon all together.
The three friends became animated, their laughter and suggestive gestures
intensified. The three bikers played their role of rotten angels to
Only Anouk remained relatively reserved. She felt left out: Alex the
bullfighter seemed only to be passionately interested in Leone's white
doves which were now almost spilling out. She did not like the look
of Jules even if he was really good at word play. The woman, Esther,
a real ice maiden, seemed fascinated by Beatrice's crotch.
It was Jules who suggested that they could go for a ride together
and play a bit of pool, if the women fancied it.
They agreed without needing to discuss it; certainly they thought
the unknown was better than staying here and being bored witless.
Jules stood his bike up and seeing that Alex was holding out his hand
to Leonie, he motioned to Anouk to mount up. Suddenly safety conscious,
he crowned her with his helmet but only covered his cranium with an
old bushman's hat. Anouk laughed out loud when she saw her two friends.
Leonie was trying to keep her balance while pulling up her zip but
as little as possible. Beatrice, on the woman's iron horse, had a helmet
on too but when they started off it was her bum, suddenly uncovered,
that really need some protection.
Beatrice had initially felt intrigued by the frosty demeanour of the
woman but she had also sensed her look that scrutinised and weighed
her up like a sweet that she was going savour/appreciate. That pleased
her and she would do whatever she had to in order to up the stakes
in this silent game, only conscious of the first tingling of arousal
she was feeling in her thighs. So she threw her leg over the bike and
pressed her breasts into Esther's back.
Jules set off first, shouting to the other: “We'll meet at Auderghem.”
They arrived well before the others and he offered his jacket to Anouk
who was feeling the cold. Without knowing why, the lateness of the
two other chrome steeds made her anxious. She refused the small pill
that he offered her but accepted the joint that he rolled with his
dirty, podgy fingers.
Alex stopped slowly at the Terhulpen rest area. He dismounted with
the grace of a cowboy dandy from a B movie, like the ones filmed in
Catalonia. Leonie stretched. He took her by the arm. She didn't like
this firm, violent handling but aware of his strength and what he might
be capable of, she followed him. They did not go far. Alex flopped
down on a bench by a stinking bin with rubbish strewn around. She joined
him three and waited while he took her helmet off let her frothy roughed
up hair untangle itself. He grunted unpleasantly. But already Leonie
had already seen in his flinty look just what he seemed to be expecting,
if not hoping for, no really wanting. Leonie was still having fun and
even though the venue was hardly suitable for romantic declarations,
she made up her mind to give him what was his due. Fixing his gaze
she pulled the zip right down. His eyes blinked, he put his hands out
and placed them on the beautiful soft and golden orbs. He pinched her
dark red nipples that were pierced with heavy translucent rings. Leonie
felt the pain but whatever she never, ever liked moves that were too
fast. She was completely surprised by what happened next. Still holding
her breasts, he pushed her down to his crotch, while at the same time
he growled: “Suck that” in a rough, desperate tone. She had no choice
but to obey though she was unable to stop herself from gagging when
he ejaculated very quickly into her mouth. Immediately, without a word
he grabbed her arm again, put her back on the bike and they set off
again. Leonie was sweating, her left breast was painful and it seemed
that the nipple was irritated, maybe even burnt, above all she felt
a tremor of strange anxiety that tempered her enthusiasm for some pleasure.
Was this jaunt really a good idea?
Esther stopped at the Rixensart rest area. A few truck drivers, who
were finishing the last dregs of their coffees, whistled when they
saw Beatriz's nude butt.
The bike came to a halt at the end of the lay-by, near the copse that
bordered a field that seemed detached from the countryside around.
Beatrice got down, took a few wobbly steps, removed her helmet and
asked the silver-haired woman: “What are we doing here?” Esther pouted,
puckering up her lips and shrugged her shoulders. “I need to do something…” With
these enigmatic words, she took off and in the vegetation that was
more diesel than chlorophyll. Beatrice walked up and down the length
of the bike. After a short while, it seemed to her that Esther had
finally left so she plunged off into the copse. There it was darker
than the night. She could see nothing; she called out. A noise made
her jump; she made out a crouched shape which she approached, “Esther?” When
she was barely more than two or three metres from the silhouette, the
shape changed and sprang up and Beatrice found herself thrown down
onto the grass. Before she could really work out what had happened,
she felt a finger exploring her fanny. She tried to resist it despite
the wave of pleasure that it gave her; she managed to put her legs
together and let fly with a punch which made contact with the padded
leather of Esther's jacket. Esther stood up laughing coarsely: “Can't
anyone have some fun with you?”
Beatrice stood up, noticed that one of her short sleeves had been
torn, adjusted her crumpled short skirt and replied with a trembling
voice: “Yes. But not like that. Are we going or what?” Esther stroked
her shoulder gently. “Ok, let's go they must be waiting for us.”
On the bike, Beatrice, who hated being taken in such a cavalier fashion,
still felt insidiously drawn to this beautiful but strange woman, pressed
her body against her with all the strength her small breasts could
After the meeting at Audgergham things happened very quickly.
What follows is thanks to the difficulties in relating the events
that Anouk was able to do for police inspector Vandooren and the psychologist
Michielsen three days later. The chain of events is somewhat patchy
“I knew that there was a smell of shit…” these were the first truly
conscious, rational words that Anouk had spoken. They were also those
which terminated her deposition and which we find in the transcriptions
of her interview with Florence Michielsen.
“ … it stank, or it really stank in that warehouse… there …. there
were some flags with skull and crossbones on them. Shit. It stank of
shit. Oh I am so sorry for the shop who, which…”
Anouk remembered three elements which overlapped in her conscience
which was turned upside down by the fear which had not left her.
The strength of the joint, “stronger than anything she had puffed
on before…” She explained that she had felt as if she has been plunged
into a delightful bath, enveloped in an impression of being split into
two planes. She insisted that she had “found Leonie and Beatrix odd
from the moment they had arrived…” Then that: “Beatrice's blouse was
torn, her skirt dirty. Leonie was livid with Alex…” They left. She
had experienced this new trip like “a silent and lonely aerial ride,
I wondered if we were flying…” Where? From her statement it seemed
clear that the trio seemed familiar with this old disused warehouse
in the Place Koeckx at Molenbeek-St-Jean. They had entered by the main
door, and the bikes had immediately been parked in the main room. In
her statements Anouk maintained that there were six large pool tables,
above a glittering bar there was an enormous sound system and above
everything flags and other embarassing banners.
In his report Inspector Vandooren had been obliged to underline what
follows: “From the first examinations following Miss Anouk Demmester's
statement, it seems that it would be completely impossible for three
motorbikes to have been parked in this warehouse: we have actually
found a pool table which we have asked experts to test to determine
when it was last used – but only one. A large bar counter certainly
occupies a portion of the wall but it is in such a state of decrepitude
that the use reported by the witness seems doubtful; no trace of a
sound system has been uncovered; the staircase leading to the first
floor and the state it is in make it difficult to believe the declaration
of the above named person; on the other hand , the broken window and
its crumbling frame match exactly her assertion of a violent exit;
the condom found there is subject to an examination at the Institute…”
Anouk kept repeating (almost every minute) “You have no idea what
they did to us: dis-gus-ting! I got out by jumping out of the window.
They were still screaming, oh how they cried out! But it had all started
The sequence of the orgy has been put together by the psychologist,
The basic facts have been assembled by the Inspector. Both regret
however the hysterical attitude of the press articles which have pounced
on this brief news item.
It seems that the two men and one woman were not equally or even intentionally
violent or cruel. It has not been easy to determine who put the sound
system on and who supplied the ecstasy, this new product which has
already taken its toll. Beatrice Ramirez was a well known pool player.
This is confirmed in Louvain-la-Neuve. However she had already been
questioned about drug offences.
Anouk acknowledged that she had accepted the pill that Esther gave
her without asking too many questions. “Things went funny straight
away… I remember starting to jump around on one of the tables…” Then
her period cramps increased; she was doubled up with the pain; Jules
had approached her. “He stroked my hair and a bit more… I pushed him
away, more than once! He insisted… and frankly his face became really
set. So I followed him upstairs. I felt like I was in a cloud. We went
down again quickly to find the others… Up there? I don't know, it did
not last long…” Esher took off her clothes first. Anouk remembered
her tattooed skin: “From her shoulders to her bum, her back was just
one large tattoo. Like the insert for a CD.
It was hard rock or heavy metal…” Vandooren noted that strangely Anouk
never made a link between these and the flags on the ground floor that
she had described in such stunning detail. Esther and Beatrice danced. “She
followed Beatrice's moves and then this tattooed face seemed to snigger
or hold out its tongue… Yeah, it was strange but splendid too, please
excuse me for saying this. Ah That's not all! Under her breasts there
was another tattoo, a sort of cross, a little like a swastika. And
the breasts had little silver caps on them…. At the time when Esther
seized Beatrice's body, I noticed that Leone was crying out… Alex was
holding her right against him, bent against the table… She had nothing
on. She was refusing to be taken that way… And Jules would not stop
Yes it could have been so good, yes yes! I'm telling you… I know what
we are like!”
Then the story really becomes confused.
How many times did Anouk go up to the first floor with the aforementioned
When did she notice that Leonie was lying on her back on the pool
table with Alex's studded belt around her neck?
How long did Anouk's friends cry out?
Who caused the bleeding sutures on Beatrice's back while she moaned
face down on one of the pool tables?
Did Anouk dream or really see the aforementioned Esther threaten her
both with a large nappy pin and scissors?
“I went upstairs again and, shaking with fear, had sex with Jules.
While he masturbated … without much success …the screams from downstairs
became more and more dreadful. I pushed him off and went down quickly.
Oh my god, my god. I will never be able to forget that. Leonie was
pouring blood every where. He had attached her to the pool table with
wire. He had put balls on her eyes … she was screaming; how did she
have enough strength to do that? And Beatrice was covered in bites
that were bleeding and the other one was sticking needles into her
all over, everywhere. I went back up. Why? I don't know Jules jumped
on me again. I grabbed the scissors and I stabbed him in his fat belly.
It was him who screamed then. I jumped out of the window. I fell badly
in the courtyard, I hurt my ankle and… there was this scooter. I took
it and I took off quickly and then I lost control and crashed into
the window of an upholsterer who immediately ran out in his pyjamas
and looked at me as if I had fallen from another planet… Which is what
it seemed like…”
It should be noted that Inspector Vandooren confirmed that apart from
the other remarks already mentioned, no body or any trace of a fight
or blood have been found at the crime scene.
The next day, on a sadomasochistic internet chatroom called Kiss
of death , known to the special police services, the following
intriguing message appeared: “Game over. Score: 2-1”. This site is
Three days later plastic sacks containing the dismembered parts of
female bodies were discovered in the car park of the central Post Office
of Molenbeek-St-Jean. Certain hypotheses have been suggested but Beatrice
and Leonie are still posted as missing persons.
Two years have passed, Anouk is slowly getting better.
I hope she will forgive me for telling
you the story of her nightmarish wrecking on the rocks.