I fiddle with the small coin in my hand. This is going to be quite the eventful night, if anything. The radio is blaring some emo-punk song. I get shit for enjoying what I listen to, but God forbid I give my dipshit friend next to me crap for these whiny hormonal noise he calls music. The soft pitter-patter of rain is inaudible behind this sound.
“AND I SWEAR TO GOD I NEED YOUR TOUCH”
My God. It’s just getting worse. I almost feel myself aging backwards into the
“AND I SWEAR TO GOD I NEED YOUR LUST”
pouty seventeen-so-teen life. It doesn’t take long for me to turn down the philosophy of this band and turn to my friend.
“You seriously had to drag me along for this? I’ll have you know, this is not at all what I consider fun. Why couldn’t we just chill at my place and play dumb games or something?” I query
“For the five-thousandth time. This isn’t just us going to a bar. This isn’t me trying to hook you up with some tail. Although that would be a bonus,” he prods me with a laugh “this is also somewhat of an experiment. Congratulations. You’re a part of human-monster history!”
Yeah, I’ve heard this one too. I flip the shiny gold coin to the obverse side and stare at the engraving of a small star. A tenth ounce of gold. If I remembered correctly, he paid about two hundred bucks for this penny sized coin. But he was a coin collector, so it makes sense that he would have something like this lying around.
The hypothesis was simple. The dragons of legend were known gold hoarders. So did they have some sort of vestigial sense and attraction to gold? Glen was determined to find out. He was going to test the theory of attraction. Getting the short end of the stick though, I had to test the other end of the spectrum.
Legend has it dullahans would flee at the sight of a gold. Even a small pin made of gold would send them packing. So I had to go to this bar that he had discovered last week that had not only a dragon in its employment, but also a dullahan. So yeah. He gets to have fun, but I literally have to be repulsive to a girl. And chances were high she was fairly attractive.
Its times like this I think back to when everything was simple. When the thought of going to bars to put myself out there were not mentally crippling. I was by no means a social butterfly. I kept to myself, played guitar, and toked daily. Then I went to school for technology. Computer science, to be exact. The inner workings of that really just fascinated me.
But now I have a degree, and work as an IT guy who answers phones all day. Basic questions really. Most of the time, its fixed by simply restarting the computer. But the pay is extraordinary here. Human males make the dinero. But I swear the wight boss is eyeballing me. Its almost like the attraction Boggs had to Dufrene.
The night is fastly approaching, as the last pale orange glimmers of the sun begin to fade into the ink-colored sky. The soft glow of the cars’ clock shows it to be half past eight. My friend is still tapping the steering wheel to the beat of the song. I wish that being carefree was so easy.
“So, are you going to just ditch me, or are you going to make sure I don’t get drug off by unsavory types?”
“Oh, don’t worry. I got your back.’ He replies, shooting me the shit eating grin of all shit eating grins.
I fiddle with the coin a few more moments and slip it into my jackets inside breast pocket. Leather wasn’t normally my thing, but it was a gift from the nice arachne in the flat below me. I’ve heard the implications of accepting strange gifts, but I didn’t have a jacket. And this one is quite nice. Where did she manage to get leather? The autumn nights are getting colder, but damn, this jacket is getting warmer.
“Please don’t leave me hanging on this one, man. I barely know how to act around these…women…At work. And even then, they’re quite the pushy kind. I hate to imagine whats about to happen to me.”
“Good things, my friend. Good things.”
We both step into the bar, and are immediately greeted with loud music, and a smoky atmosphere. The place looks like your stereotypical club. A dance floor with numerous squares in the illuminated grid flashing different colors. Various inebriated monsters swaying drunkenly to a lusty beat playing over the PA. The tinge of red lighting illuminating everything in a dreamy sea of pink.
The friend gives me a look, and points out the bar to our left with his thumb. I nod, and we both head over. Sitting (or rather, coiled) at the bar is a lamia talking with the manticore barkeep. Guess I’m watching my drink even while it’s being prepared now. We both take our seats on the opposite end of the bar. The manticore shoots a glance at us, and goes back to casually chatting to her friend. The wingman purses his lips and begins to wave. The thud of my head hitting the bar in sheer embarrassment could probably be heard over the music by everyone.
“Are you fucking crazy, dipshit?” I whisper as loud quiet as I could be in this setting
“That’s a goddamn manticore. Do you want to have a raging erection with no end in sight for the entire night?”
“Maybe. If I get with a dragon, that might be a boon.” He replies, a huge grin spreading over his face
“Yeah, well, I’m glad you’re excited. I gotta be the one who gets fucking rejected, you cretin.”
The manticore notices, and parts with her friend laughing. I sit up and just stare at the bar. My friend has to be obnoxious as humanly possible, and it shows. I can hear him knocking on the bar, and can only imagine that he’s fistpumping with the other hand.
“You’re an energetic one. What could I get for you, love?” she asks with a laugh
“Got any dragons around? I’m feeling adventerous. Or perhaps foolhardy. Am I right, bud?” he asks me with a nudge. I just look up at him and nod, playing along.
“Yeah, foolhardy alright.” I add with a sigh.
“Well it sounds like you’re gonna need something strong. What about you?” She says with a smirk.
“Pass for now, thank you.”
“Bullshit, we’ll have two brewskis right now!” Todd exclaims. God damn you, Todd.
“Ookay then! I’ll go get them.” she says, shuffling off to get the suds.
I smirk on the outside, but on the inside, I hope I’m not guilty by association.
The barkeep returns with two frothy beverages. She pops the lids off the longnecks and slides them towards us. Atleast I’m sure that nothing shady were done to these. I think. She then leans forward, her breasts near bulging out of her blouse. She sets her head on her hand, her tail swaying behind you in rhythm with the music.
“So, dragons huh?”
“Yep. I enjoy a challenge.”
“Perhaps you are challenged.” I snap. I couldn’t resist. The manticore covers her mouth as she giggles. Todd just looks at me.
“Well, there’s one right over theerre.” she points out a loner sitting at one of those private booths. He looks at me and gives me a nod. He then up and leaves, giving me a pat on the back. There goes having backup.
“So. How about you? You one of those that have a, uh, ‘Type’?” She asks me, returning to her previous lazy position.
“I don’t have a type. I do have a preference though.” I comment, taking a gulp of the foul tasting pisswater that they call beer.
“What’s that then?”
“The type that doesn’t try to poison me.” I say with a grin.
“Aren’t you a spicy one? Come join me and my friend down here. We’ll protect you. Promise.”
I nod, and begin heading down closer to the snake-lady. I take the seat by her, and she looks me up and down. So I look her up and down, mimicking her. From my experiences, you had to show you didn’t take any shit from these types. Boundaries had to be shown, lines in the sand drawn. Or else they would do what they please to you.
“Not much to look at, really.” The lamia says out loud.
“It’s fine, I’m not the cloaca loving type.” I retort, turning back to the bar. Silence.
“Excuse the lamia. She’s a bit brash. Kids these days.” the tail-lady explains, gently slapping her friends hand.
“Kids?” I inquire.
“Well… All I’m saying is her ID says she’s 21…” She says with a wishy washy tone, curling her hair with her finger.
“Ah, gotcha. Well. Whatever, bygones and what not.” I say, tipping the bottle back to my lips to take another sip of disgusting liquid.
“So your friend’s the animated, foolish type. But you seem to be the cool, introverted smart-ass. Surely you have a type.” The monster behind the bar ponders out loud.
“Yeah, its probably the nerdy hellhound type. You know, the type that doesn’t exist?” The snake-bitch says, feeling the need to continue being a bitch. I just turn to her.
“I’m sorry, your name is?”
“Mark? Sorry. I didn’t catch it.”
“Oh, it’s dumb underage bitch. Gotcha.” I say, shaking my head. I get my share of assholes on the phone berating me. It’s nice to be on the other end for once. The lamia is huffing and puffing. Fuming, really.
“Fuck off.” Is all she can manage to squeak out. I turn back to my drink.
“Yeah, figured. Anyways, you were saying….?”
“You can call me Veri.”
“Right. My type. Yeah. I have a thing for dullahans. They’re pretty interesting.” I explain, trying my best to ignore the quivering what seemed like teenager by me.
“You’re seriously gonna keep letting this guy talk to me like that, Veri?!? Get Nick to bounce this asshole!” She gasps out, pointing at me.
“Monkeys point.” I quip. Can’t help it at this point, its so easy.
“Asshole!” she snarls
“Meryl, you were just telling me you wanted someone like this. Someone who isn’t pushed around! This is exactly the type you talk about.” The manticore is practically doubled over from laughter
“This guy is just an asshole though! I want someone kind and smart! Not some ditch-digger like this.” She pleads to Veri.
“I actually have a degree in computer science. You know what that is, right? You know, a computer?” I tease.
“You two just stop. I’m going to die of laughter if you keep this up.” Veri gets out, choking through breaths.
I shake my head and kill the drink I’m having. I set the bottle down and slide it forward. These cock-of-the-walk types are the type to not know what to do when someone actually stands up for themselves. But from the look of it, she’s a queen bee with a bunch of yes-men around her. I remember high school very well. Thank God I got through okay.
“I’m going home. Put it on my tab. Goodnight.” the snake says with a huff, and promptly slithers off. I shake my head.
“What the fuck is her problem?” I ask
“Oh, just high school. She got my husbands little brother to take her to prom. She was in here celebrating.”
“I feel so, so very sorry for him.” I say, half jokingly.
“She hopes he’ll turn out like my husband. But in the current state, he’s a bit…How do I put this delicately, flimsy?” She says, getting another bottle from below the bar, and snapping off the lid with a satisfying snap-sizzle sound bottles are known to make when opened.
“On the house.” She says with a smile, sliding me the drink.
“Thanks I guess. Don’t drink much. Friend dragged me here to test some birdbrain ‘hypothesis’. In all actuality, he just wanted to get fucked.” I say, turning around to check and see if Todd is still around. I see him and the dragon laughing. Guess his idea worked. Still haven’t found a chance to test mine. Not that I really want to.
“Isn’t that the whole reason people go to bars? Especially this one. It’s one of those special matchmaking types.”
“Oh goody, this is grand to know now.” The taste of the beer is not so bad now. Has a slight taste of berry.
“Well, luckily for you, I know just the dullahan. She’s even lonely! Let me get her for you!” She giddily exclaims, leaving through the swinging door behind the bar. I guess there’s no going back now.
Time passes, and songs pass. Dance beat, four to the floor. Then something really grindy. Why can’t they play like, Motley Crue or something? On second thought, that would probably be a bad idea. That would get juices flowing, for sure. And probably not in the PG-13 way. What could possibly be taking so long?
And speak of the devil, the door swings back open, and a pale, short girl is being pushed out by the manticore. Her protests being hushed by the furry paw of Veri. She scoots her out from behind the bar, and sits her directly by me. This is awkward already. Awesome.
“Here she is! She talks about meeting someone ALL THE TIME! My little bar-back can finally get what she wants! Everyone wins! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find my husband. Something has come up, and I need him. Ta-taa!” And with that, she disappeared back behind the swinging door, and the two of us began to just sit in silence.
“Your boss seems pushy.” I decide I’ll take lead and break the ice. She sure isn’t.
“So, bar-back. What is that exactly?” I’m gonna crack this nut, I swear.
“I just help, Veri really. Prepare garnishes, restock coolers, bring bottles out.”
“Fascinating. Do you deal with the patrons much?”
“Occasionally. But only fleeting contact.” she sheepishly remarks, pulling a strand of her long hair out of her face, and to behind her ear.
Her features were honestly stunning. Long, white hair that flowed down to what seemed her waist. I’ve never seen hair this long. It seems troubling, really. She wore a normal black t-shirt, with skin tight denim jeans. Around her neck was a little black ribbon. Absolutely cliched, really. I’ve read those old kids stories where if you take the ribbon off, the head falls off. But it works, I suppose.
The color of the room had went from a hazy red-pink to a deep rich blue, and her porcelain skin made it seem like she was lightly colored blue. Her eyes were the norm for undead it seemed like. Yellow on black, deep and almost disturbing. But she gave off an innocent, almost too innocent, vibe. If this actually worked, I am going to feel like such an asshole.
“Enjoy what you see?” She suddenly asked. Shit. She caught me.
“Oh just taking the looks in. You know. Just what every guy does to pretty girls at bars. You’ll have to excuse me about that.” I pulled that from somewhere, and I am willing to bet it was from my ass.
But it works. She looks away, and mocks covering her face. Cute. The high school atmosphere lingers, even since that bitchsnake left. But to be fair, I’ve always felt that bars are just grown up high school lunchrooms. With more bathroom sex. Well, honestly that depends where you came from. But, coming from a little town in a flyover state, I wouldn’t know.
“Come on, tell me something about you. I know you’re not boring.” I finally chirp up. Still trying to think of a way to get this coin out inconspicuously.
“I have a large collection of plushies.”
“I-I guess that’s something?” That caught me off guard.
“Was that a question? Want to see them? I live in the basement.” She says, perking up. I take a glance over my shoulder to see if I’m on my own, and based on the vacant table Todd was at, it seems I am.
“Uh, sure. Just lemme pay the tab…” Perfect.
“Oh, I’ll get it for you. Cash or credit.”
“This.” I say, as i bring the gold out. I’m sure Todd won’t mind me spending a whole penny of gold.
The dullahan looks at the gold, then at me, then back to the gold. She then takes it and puts it under the counter. I guess that’s that. How anti-climactic. But, that proves that. She then beckons me to come behind the counter. I oblige, and cautiously follow behind.
The double doors swing open, revealing what seems to be a basic stockroom. Bottles line the shelves, The freezer door is open as I pass, revealing the various brands of alcoholic beverages’ hiding spot. The girl turns a corner, and I do as well. I stand before a stairwell leading down to a single door. But it was one of those bead-doors. The type where I always get caught in them. The annoying type. I pass through unmolested luckily.
And that’s when I’m greeted by the most macarbe room I have ever laid my eyes upon. The room was jet black, with the only illumination being blacklights on one wall. Skulls adorned the bookcase like some twisted form of busts. What I can only make out as human spines hang on the walls like tapestries. A chime that appears to be made of bone sways lazily, animated by the lone electric fan blowing directly on it.
“It’s over here!” she exclaims, waving me over. We’re standing in front of a door. On the door is a silver happy face sticker. Stark contrast to what I would best describe as “the Living Room of Death” if someone were to interview me. The door creaks open.
“Holy shit.” Is all I can muster.
A room, a bright room, with normal lights and everything. A bed covered in various teddy bears, a vanity absolutely covered in plushies of all kinds. The stark contrast has caused my senses to be overloaded, and I can only imagine that I look like a fish out of water. I step forward towards the bed, continuing my sweep. A little ol’ tube tv sits on a stand right in front of the bed. A little monkey thing hangs from the antenna.
I turn around, and see the dullahan has magically lost her shirt, and has locked me in the room with her. Oh shit, this is not good. Or is it? Probably not.
“It’s a nice room. I like your bears. I’ll just be going no–” I can’t finish my thought
“Shh, shh, shh. You’re here now. And you won’t be leaving here for quite a while. You think you can just flash gold at me and I not get the hint? Silly…” She coos, pushing me back from the door, and towards the bed.
“What? I thought you were scared of gold. That’s what I was told!”
“No, sweetie,” she continues, walking up and leaning onto my chest “it’s a dullahan marriage proposal. I can’t believe you actually did something like that. It’s sweet though.”
“Hold on, hold on. This isn’t what I was meaning.”
“Well it’s too late, sweetie. The door’s locked, and only I can unlock it. Perhaps you should have done more research before doing such a thing! Don’t worry… I’ll convince you i’m the best. You won’t leave until you agree!~”