Poison Coast - Scene 3A Story by Brenden Bow
Aiden talks to the boys of Sexy Mutant Unicorn.
"I swear, you have the most irritating mind I've ever had the displeasure of hearing,” Dana says as I sit down at a bar stool directly in front of where she stands, holding a glass. “Can you focus on anything properly?"
She carelessly washes the glass " which looks like it hasn’t seen a drop of soap in a little over a decade. I like the bar. I like our apartment " more or less. I like Dana. Nevertheless, the road to caution is paved with diamonds.
I remember the first thing my teacher taught me about Poison Coast. In his gruff, Bugs Bunny-esque Flatbush accent, he told me, “Aiden, my boy, when you’re in need of a drink and the Dancing Dove is the closest, and only, place available, do the smart thing. Go to the store and buy your own beverages. That way, you can use your own glasses. That particular stratagem is both frugal and self-preserving..... Plus, it doesn’t incite fear and worry about the inexplicable, and wholly imminent, contracting of an unknown, cureless, organ-eating disease from whatever thing used the glass before you…. You also bet on a much less, much, much, much less risky horse. The horse is, of course, being served poison instead of your ordered drink.”
Looking back at all the “poison” scenarios, which occur more often than they should, in hindsight, I can’t help feeling the old man was right. I grimace. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dancing Dove sets an extra-dimensional record in the most accidental poisonings during one shift somewhere down the line.
I look around, seeing a non-uniform variety of bar slugs. Some of them I know. Some of them I don’t. Some are regulars. Some are new kids on the block. There are two witches sat a few seats down from me. They cackle while spinning on their bar stools. Powerful, pressurized incantata fills this section of the bar, parts of the pressurized energy discharge, flying off them as they rapidly rotate. Matheson, an overly-muscled up centaur bodybuilder who’s always clad in a tank top to better flaunt his freakish biceps, the Dancing Dove’s bouncer, and Dana’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, has his sunglasses on his head, allowing him to shoot the two battleaxes dirty looks from where he stands by the entrance.
The introverted, reptilian business magnate, Sal M. Derrick, is sat in a section all by his lonesome. Wearing his best business attire, forked tongue licking at a drink that looks suspiciously like blood, he sits, looking like his usual self, shining rays of town-depressing gloom down on everyone near him " one guy sitting a few booths away from him is actually sobbing over a pint of what looks to be Guinness. There are a few of the members of Sexy Mutant-Unicorn at a private booth in the roped off back corner of the bar with a number of scantily clad groupies.
Snidely, I reply, “It’s interesting that you would be the one to comment on how someone ‘properly’ does something. The way you haphazardly wash that glass, phenomenal, it’s great. You know, you’re right. I should take a leaf from your book. I mean, look at it, it’s sparkling so much. Your revolutionary dish-washing handiwork is, in all honesty, Nobel prize-worthy."
She scowls at me and my sarcasm before I have my first sentence out. I don't have to say anything to Dana for her to know exactly what's on my mind. I could just think it, and she would know. I did it to annoy her and we both knew it.
"Wow, okay, I don’t see how this is like I Love Lucy … but to each their own. We can ignore your love of fifty’s sitcoms and get to the point. You want to grille me on what I know about Big Jack’s thugs."
"Bingo." I painstakingly stifle another yawn.
"There were some of vampires parading around in those rotting corpse-ugly overcoats he makes his ‘enforces’ wear here last night. I don’t remember them thinking anything about some kid though. Mainly, they just thought about f*****g me hard and sucking me dry."
I laugh. Despite the perverse, graphic imagery, I can kind of, not really, but kind of, understand where they were coming from. Dana is a nice-looking graduate school-age girl. She’s been pierced, poked, and prodded so many times an acupuncturist would gape, slack-jawed and bug-eyed at her. She fondly refers to herself as a “Tatted-Up Terror”. I find that self-appointed title speaks legions about her appearance, and personality. She wears copious amounts of make-up, specifically eyeliner, around her odd-colored eyes. They’re “odd” because Dana and her older sister, Jessica Slaughter, were born with a rare genetic mutation called heterochromia. There are two varieties of it: partial and complete. Dana has complete heterochromia, meaning both of her irises are two completely different colors; one is tropical ocean water, the other is a ring of gold that turns a dark green as it diffuses.
I know a few things about Dana thanks to Reagan, who was under the charge of Jessica for five years. She grew up in Miasma City, contracting her bad habit of changing her hairstyle every month " about as often as some Poison Coasters change their clothes. This month her hair has been given a purposely bedraggled punk rock look. Half of her head is shaved off; the other half is dirty blonde, long enough to hang in her face, with purple, blue, and dark blue highlights. Her clothes are the type of thing I’ve come to expect from her; disturbing, but somewhat cute. Her parents are red-colored leather, tight. Her striped black and white shirt is black, stopping at her midriff.
Dana smiles at my appraisal of her and continues, "I got one thing from those degenerates. Apparently, Timmy did a job for Big Jack a while back and may be doing another sometime this week.”
I groan, seeing an awkward war of snappiness and doomed-to-fail flirtation, a hurricane of discomfort and catty remarks on the horizon. Timmy is a great guy. Doesn’t think too much, but he’s still great. The problem is: Reagan likes Timmy about as much as a fox likes a bear trap. If I were to wager a guess, I'd have to bet her dislike for him stems from his persistent attempts at courting her.
"She is pretty overbearing, eh?"
I say, "That, ruthless and vicious," I pause and consider it. "She hasn't always been so hostile."
"I blame my sister for that one,” Dana says.
"Ah, right, some ghosts came in earlier bitching about Timmy ‘stinking up the atmosphere’ of the Moan-a-Lisa down on Club Street. That was a few hours ago, doubt he’d still be there. If I were you, I’d ask his band if they know where he is.”
“Yeah, that sounds like Timmy.” Not being able to help it, I smile.
His irritating antics are infamous throughout the West District’s Club Street. If he wasn’t picking a fight with someone, he was smart-mouthing a kingpin’s crew; and if he wasn’t smart-mouthing a kingpin’s crew, he was skipping payments on the exorbitant bills he somehow managed to rack up.
I make the decision to ask the other members of SMU if they know where Timmy is. Not seeing Dante, I figure my chance at hitting pay dirt was low. Dante, the group’s lead singer and front man, is Timmy’s childhood best friend. He is always the most likely person capable of tracking down the bass player’s whereabouts. Asking them is a long shot, but they could maybe help out " or at the very least confirm his presence at the Moan-a-Lisa.
Not wanting to get sucked into the world of social networking " ugh ", I had neglected to purchase a cellphone. But, right now, they are starting to look pretty attractive.
Dana says, “If they can’t help, the Moan-a-Lisa is right next to the Ogre's Breath. You can't miss it."
I never admit it out loud, but I'm already well-acquainted with the ‘establishment’. One of mine and Reagan's clients a while back didn’t know where his wife spent most of her time, and his money. After calling in a bunch of favors, and indebting myself to a few shady opportunists, I tracked her down to the Moan-a-Lisa. His wife was an 'exotic dancer' and regular ‘customer’ to one of her coworkers, who only looks human. I hadn’t had a doubt in my mind about the man being thoroughly displeased with what we uncovered. We never heard from him, or his wife, again. Of course, I never really bothered to try and find out. I hadn’t cared about his marital problems then, and I sure as hell don't care now. The guy's a worm " it was no shocker for his wife to cheat on him; hell, I would have, too. Besides, I got paid whether I cared or not.
Throwing the rope separating the VIP section and the rest of the bar away, I saunter over to the boys of Sexy Mutant Unicorn.
As I approach, Martin, the group’s late teenage, bespectacled incubus drummer, asks, “Yo, Aiden, bro, what is good in the neighborhood?”
I nod at him. I don’t really know Martin all that well. He’s a fairly knew addition to the band. Dante might’ve mentioned something about him the previous night. What he may have mentioned, I can’t remember.
The elven girl rubbing herself all over his body stops what she’s doing, looks at me, hiccups, and then giggles. “Dude,” she says. “That’s a big a*s scar, it’s like… across your face.” She giggles again. “It’s like… radical.”
I say, “That’s cool.”
She says, “Way cool, dude, way cool.”
Sandwiched between two seriously pale girls, Daryl, the DJ, moves his hair out of his eyes with a flick of his head. He looks at me for a minute, grins, and says, “I told you how awful that jacket was, didn’t I? If not, it’s bad, really bad.” He throws his head back and laughs, showing off his overly long canines, causing his dark, curly hair to fall back in front of his eyes when he faces me once more.
Grinning, I laugh, too. Daryl is a womanizer through and through, him and Dante. The bad part about it all is: the girls the two screw and then lose actually don’t expect it. Really, they don’t expect the DJ and the lead singer to use them for sex and toss them out when they’re done. The idea of how one doesn’t foresee band members screwing them and, subsequently, screwing them over, can’t register in my head. It doesn’t make a lick of sense.
Daryl is sarcastic, cocky, but warm and friendly, too. He has a habit of smiling big so whoever looks at him will get an eyeful of dagger-like werewolf teeth. The guyliner he wears had been applied with precision, and his thin, loose jacket, like every other person in this sector wearing a coat, displays his chest " which, much like mine, is covered in sigils and charms.
I know him well. The party boy persona he puts on while with his band is a, for lack of a better word, front. He’s actually quite the incantata nerd. His prowess in essence-crafting is on par with Reagan’s.
“Aiden,” says Michael, the band’s rhythmic guitar player who ‘suffers’ from vampirism. “I got those clips of delayed explosive rounds Reagan ordered for you. Swing by my house later. I’ll hook you up. You know where it is?”
I raise my eyebrows, hoping I look serious. In an unaffected tone of voice, I say, “Your parent’s garage in the Golden Galleria. Right, I remember. It was always hard to steel beer when your parents were breathing down our necks.”
Daryl, Martin, and the girls laugh.
Flipping me off, he says, “Ah-ha, you’re a comedic genius. It’s not a garage.”
Daryl points out, “It’s a pool house, right?”
Michael says, “Right.”
“Isn’t that just a glorified garage you put floaties in?” Martin asked.
“Up yours, Aiden, look at what you’ve started,” Michael says, rolling his red eyes.
I probably shouldn’t have messed with him. Michael gets easily offended. It’s darling, cute in a fashion that only works for him. It’s his eyes. For a vampire, they’re something special; big, warm, and happy. He has, from what I see, been the black sheep of the group of friends turned band mates since they were enrolled in a private elementary school. Places of education are a rarity in Miasma City if you’re not wealthy and can only be found in Poison Coast’s relatively tame South District. Reagan and I, being unimportant children from the real world, never got the chance to see what Miasma City schools are like.
I give him a look to let him know I was playing and he flips me off again, the a*s. I drop the jokes and decide it’s high time I get down to business. “Do you guys know if Timmy’s still at the Moan-a-Lisa? If not, where would he be? I need his help for a commission.”
Daryl whistles, “Wow, I bet Reagan loves that.”
“She doesn’t know yet,” I say, matter of fact.
Martin says, “That’s hilarious. What are you guys supposed to be doing?”
“There’s this girl, Jamie, she got kidnapped by Big Jack. Reagan and I are supposed to get her back. We’ve got, I think, one, three days maybe, before her mother … fires us, I think.”
“You weren’t paying attention?” Michael asks.
“Scatter never pays attention, Mikey. You know that,” says Daryl.
I have nothing to say in my defense, so I say, “Timmy’s worked for him, so, if anyone can help, it’s him.”
Daryl regards me for a second. He thinks about it for a while before telling me, “Yeah, his dad owns the place and figured Timmy could use some ‘respectable’ job skills, so he hired him as a bouncer, says his ‘casting could be useful’ or some s**t. I don’t know. The point is: his shift doesn’t end until twelve. He’ll probably skip out no prob’ if you come in with something more fun, and this, this sounds fun.”
I ask, “You wanna help out?”
He looks at the girls, causing them to giggle once more, and says, “Thanks for the offer, but instead of working, I think I’m going to not kill myself.”
The others agree.
I can’t blame them.
Daryl pushes the elf girl’s " who is licking and nibbling at his neck " head away to look at Michael. “I bet Reagan tears Timmy apart. Whoever loses has to get next week’s fast food.”
I think “fast food” is supposed to be a funny nickname for tourists. Because, you know, they run when they see " bah, you get it. Is it a bad joke? It is without a lovely f*****g doubt a terrible, terrible joke. Is it weird that my friends eat people? Nah, not really, tourists kind of deserve it. The whole constant picture taking thing, it’s piss-annoying. I guarantee you haven’t felt fury if you’ve never gotten a camera shoved into your face by a wide-eyed, rubbernecking a*****e.
Michael says, “Deals on, Reagan’s got more control than that.”
© 2012 Brenden Bow
Added on June 18, 2012
Last Updated on June 18, 2012
AboutI've been writing for nine years. It's a solitary art, writing; seclusion works wonders for one's evolution as a writer. I enjoy secluding myself for days, sometimes weeks, with my work. more..