Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday…
…well, it had to happen sometime. Might as well get it out of the way now, right?
So anyway, it is Friday and I have a new story for you. Well, sort of. I have the beginning of a new story. I started it at Write Away! yesterday (I suspect you are starting to see why I picked Friday as my day for uploading creative things; it is, after all, the day after Thursday), where the challenge was to re-boot a classic story. I also re-booted Hansel & Gretel, but it wasn’t nearly as much fun as Aladdin. Enjoy.
Now I’m going to go bask in the rare beauty of Seattle sunlight.
I met him in this crap little club down on seventh and Broadway called the Cave of Wonder. You know, the kind of place where the music is too loud, the liquor is half gasoline and most of the strippers are pregnant. He was hunched over at the bar, elbow holes worn in his leather jacket, grit stains in his jeans, goatee marinating in a half-empty glass of mac-n-jacks. As I settled in beside him, I noticed he was barefoot.
“Rum and coke,” I told the bartender. The greasy man started awake and turned to squint at me, beer dribbling down his neck.
“Hey,” he said, and his voice boomed as deep as the club’s subwoofer. “What’s your name?”
I wouldn’t have answered him, but I was alone on a Friday night.
“Al,” I said.
“Well Al,” he giggled, producing a rusty flask from his pocket. “I’m going to make all your dreams come true.”
“No thanks,” I told him firmly. The bartender slid my drink across the counter and I made to escape, but the man seized my arm. I scowled my best at him. “Do you mind?” I demanded, drawing myself up to full height. “I ain’t a fairy.”
The man guffawed, as though I’d told the best joke in the world. “Neither am I,” he laughed. “Can’t be bothered with those pansy-ass bastards.”
I tried to shrug out of his grip, but he was stronger than he looked.
“I still ain’t interested,” I insisted. For a second, I thought he might let me go, but then he leaned in closer, his alcohol-stenched voice barely audible over the pulsing of the music as he waved the flask in my face.
“Hear me out,” he pleaded. A fire burned in his eyes, and for a moment I stood transfixed, unable even to breathe. Finally, mournfully, he let his hand fall from my arm and slumped back into his drink, flask disappearing into his jacket. “Or don’t.”
His words echoed through the glass. I heard my own voice answer, as though through a drunken haze: “…okay.”
He turned his sunken eyes on me for a moment, then grinned, his teeth yellow and crooked. “I knew you’d come around,” he jeered.
“Don’t make me regret it,” I answered, but I was already regretting it. I downed my rum and coke, but he was still there, grinning at me.
“Come on,” he said. “Back alley.”
“What? No, no, no, I told you—I ain’t a fairy.”
He rolled his eyes and grabbed my wrist again. “Just come on.”
It was cold in the alley. Cold enough that the muddy water in the gutters had frozen into muddy ice, and I could feel the sharp winter air penetrating my lungs. I had to stomp both feet and hug myself to get warm, but the stranger didn’t seem bothered. He stopped in front of a peeling dumpster and stared at me for a moment, his beetle-black eyes sparking.
“Here,” he said, and again that rusty flask was before me. I stared at it, confused.
“Don’t you know anything? Jesus Christ!” He stomped his feet impatiently. “Rub it!”
“What? No!” The flask was so close I could smell the rust. I pulled away, trying not to breathe too hard. “I don’t want tetanus.”
“God damn it, just do it!”
Before I could protest more, he seized my hand and pressed it to the cool, rough metal. Except it wasn’t cold. It was on fire.
“Ah!” I cried, intelligently, but when I tried to pull my hand away I found it was quite stuck. The flask glowed an angry red as the burning sensation began to creep up my arm, and the stranger let out a shrill noise that might have been laughter.
“Yes, yes, yes!” He was shouting, practically skipping with glee.
“What the hell, man?” I shouted, trying to throw the demonic thing at him. It held fast to my hand. “Get it off! Get it the hell off me!”
“No!” He closed his eyes, standing suddenly very still in the middle of the alleyway. “It’s almost here. I can feel it!”
“Feel what?” Sheer panic clawed at my insides, and I began banging the flask against the dumpster, but only succeeded in bruising my hand. A screech drew my attention back to the stranger, and I quickly forgot about the flask.
He was glowing. Well, not glowing so much as burning. Bright, white tongues of fire burst forth from his body, dissolving his clothing in an instant. He seemed almost to be floating, his head stretched to somewhere far above me. He cried out in pain, but his words were ecstatic, heavy with a delight I haven’t the balls to repeat here. I’m not that kind of man.
What happened next, I may never know. I fell suddenly into darkness, and the last thing I remember is the repulsive stench of the sidewalk.