This story, right, makes me sound crazy,' he said. 'I get that, so don’t ... don't worry.’
I looked at him. ‘I’m not worried,’ I said. I sipped my drink. The barman had called it a Blushing Sunshine with a Twist, as if that classed it up. Hey, that’s not a problem with me. Vodka is vodka. I’m not an idiot.
‘Not saying you were,’ said the man, tapping the table with a finger. He was drunk – on beer, by the smell of it. Nice. Oh, a girl can dream.
He’d just sat down – half collapsed, honestly – and asked if I minded. What did I care? Having him here made things easier. No one likes a bar where a woman sits alone.
‘I’m not crazy,’ he said. He swayed. Very drunk, then. He won’t even remember me tomorrow.
‘So?’ I said, arching an eyebrow. Impress me, bozo. Let’s see what you've got.
He nodded, once, twice. He coughed. ‘I was just walking home,’ he said. ‘From work. Normal, honest work. I’m an accountant. I … I account.’
Drunken chuckle. Very sexy.
‘There was this girl,’ he said. ‘No. Not a girl. Woman. Wo-man. Let me tell you. Face like a … like a doll. Legs you wouldn't believe. Man.’
I took another sip. So. A woman. It normally was.
‘Well, I talked to her. Not, not creepy, like. I mean in a nice way. In a friendly way. Asked her what her name was.’
‘Practically gallant,’ I said. Urgh. Men. Why were they always so clueless?
‘She was nice.’
‘You mean hot?’
‘I mean nice!’ he said, his voice getting louder. A couple at the bar looked over. I smiled at them. Nothing to see here. I got this.
‘Her name was Lana,’ he said. ‘The woman. She was a model. She took me home.’
I cocked my head. Well, this story went downhill fast.
‘No,’ said the man. ‘No, not like that. No! She wanted to show me something. We’d been walking for a while. She had something to show me.’
‘And what was that?’
‘Wait,’ he said. ‘No. Let me finish.’
‘We went back to her house. But it was weird. Wrong. That house. I … I don’t know, if felt wrong. Even when I first saw it. You know the bank on Fletcher Lane? Next to the Donut Dive?’
‘It was there. I mean between them.’
I looked at him for a second. ‘There isn't anything between them,’ I said. ‘The bank and the Donut Dive share a wall. They’re bang next to each other.’
The man practically started crying.
‘I know,’ he said. He dragged that last word out, like it was all he had to hold on to. He looked terrible, like some sad, lost puppy.
Oh, grief. Was that my mothering instinct? If this was a pick up line, it was the greatest play in history.
Well, the history of this bar, perhaps.
‘That house was bad, man. Like, evil,’ he said. ‘That’s all I know. I didn't want to go in. I told her. She just smiled. Come in with me, she said. I said, no, I was going home. Come on, she says. She pulled me. Her hands were like ice. She clawed at me. She scratched my arms!’
He rolled up his sleeve to the elbow. Nothing there. Big surprise.
‘No, no,’ he groaned. ‘She scratched. There was blood! But I said, no. I pulled away. That house was wrong, it was all wrong. And I guess … she slipped. She slipped on the kerb. And she fell. And she … and I saw …’
‘She shattered! Like ice, but worse. Like glass. Like the safety glass in your car. Tiny, tiny pieces. Millions of them, spread out in the road like water.’
He laughed without smiling. I finished my drink, ‘And?’
He swore and reached into his coat. He dropped something on the table. Pebbles, maybe, but jagged, like diamonds. They were white, red, black, and some pink, the colour of skin. Lana, eh? The man was shaking.
‘I didn't push her,’ he said. I reached over and took his hand.
‘Hey,’ I said. ‘Hey.’
Didn't even ask how I knew his name.Wow. Seriously.
‘I believe you.’
He managed to focus on me. ‘Thank you,’ he whispered. Men. Hold their hands and what won’t they do?
‘Daniel, come back to my place,’ I said. ‘I have something to show you.’
He looked at me, straight on, for perhaps the first time. The bar was empty. I smiled, reached forward to stroke his cheek – so warm, by the way – and brushed the glass from the table.
Other writers in the chain:
dolores haze: http://dianedooley.wordpress.com
Linda Adams: http://garridon.wordpress.com
Orion mk3: http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com
Damina Rucci: http://thegraypen.wordpress.com
Lady Cat: http://carolsrandomness.blogspot.ca