Black Petals Issue #95 Spring, 2021

Two Martinis In
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The Muscus-Fiction by Alice Stone
The Wrong Place-Fiction by Ante Caleta
Things That Happen-Fiction by Guido Eekhaut
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Two Martinis In-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
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Occupational Hazard-Flash Fiction by Doug Hawley
The Definition of Crash-Poems by Paul David Adkins
Ghost: A Working Definition-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Vampiric Threnody-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Leelanau Lake Monster-Poems by Richard Stevenson
Ballast-2 Poems by Angelo Letizia
Pit Bull-3 Poems by Pete Mladinic
Shadow of Sleep-Poem by Teresa Ann Frazee
Microcosmus-3 Poems by Daniel Snethen
The Higher Dimensions-Poem by David C. Kopaska- Merkel

95_bp_twomartinis_cfawcett.jpg
Art by Cynthia Fawcett © 2021

Two Martinis In

 

Hillary Lyon

 

 

. . . and this guy is still no more attractive or witty or interesting than when we first met at the bar. I was perched in my regular Friday night spot, watching the human flow, when I see him push and squirm his way to the front of the crowd lined up three-deep against the illuminated glass-brick bar. The rude guy then waves a handful of bills at the barkeep, but his money fan catches my attention instead.

I grab his wrist to halt the incessant waving of the money flag. I get the message, we all get the message: He’s loaded. And looking for company.

“Hey—” he theatrically whines, but gets sidetracked immediately by my indisputable good-looks. He leans in close to inspect me. He sniffs my hair. “Well, hello pretty thing!” His voice gets greasy. Unfortunately, the house band is on break and the jukebox is broken, so I can hear all the oily nuances leaking out of his words. “My, oh my, aren’t you a sight to behold.” He gives me that open-mouth, predator smile. In the dim light of the bar, his teeth are unnaturally white. “Was your daddy a pilot? Because you must have dropped from—”

I cut him off; I’m so tired of cliched pick-up banter. “My daddy is dead, and I did not drop down from anywhere; in fact, I struggled up from—”

“Aw, princess,” he interrupts; obviously, he doesn’t want to hear any personal details. Might humanize me. He puts a paw on my shoulder, begins to massage my trapezius. I shrug off his wiggly fingers. His hand slides down my back, like a thick, warm gelatinous goo. It comes to a stop at the small of my back, where my shirt is tucked into my too-tight jeans. It’s going to be a long night.

I catch the bartender’s eye, point to my empty glass. Toby nods and gets to work on my third dirty martini. As he brings it over, he looks sideways at my companion, and his eyebrows scrunch up; his way of asking if this mook is bothering me. I smile and give him a tiny shake of my well-coiffed head. “I’ll put this on your tab, then,” Toby says loudly, looking directly at my new acquaintance. I suppose Toby expects the guy would say something gentlemanly like, No! I’ll pay for the lady’s drink. But the guy just sits there with his veiny hand on me, grinning like an ape. Toby turns back to the teeming crowd clamoring for his attention. I notice Mr. Creeper—that’s how I think of him—doesn’t order anything from Toby. Not even a club soda with lime.

I take a deep sip from my almost-overflowing drink. Just salty enough, perfectly cold, and drowning three blue-cheese-stuffed olives—Toby is a master in the art of martinis. Well, he knows what I like, anyway.

I slide my free hand behind me, and push Mr. Creeper’s hand away from my back. “Hey,” I sing in my most flirty voice, “You’re new here, aren’t cha?” I indulge in another long sip. “Haven’t seen you here in Toby Mac’s before.” In reply, Mr. Creeper opens his mouth a bit wider and licks—licks!—the bottom of his canines, like he’s testing how sharp they are. I giggle my most girlish giggle, the one I save for bastards, and flip my luxurious raven-colored locks.

“I’m in town on important international business,” he replies, broadcasting the news so everyone within earshot can hear. “Makin’ deals, signing big contracts, outsourcing industry! Super lu-cra-tive investments for me and mine! Heh, lots, and I do mean LOTS, of money gonna be comin’ my way.” He straightens up, smooths his thin white hair. Well, Mr. Big Bucks Creeper, I want to say, why don’t you invest in some decent hair plugs? Or a toupee?

He leans in close to me, again. His breath reeks of moist soil. “How about you accompany me back to my hotel room?” I don’t answer straight away; all I can think of is, he stinks of graveyard dirt. “I have a suite at the Bosquet Bohème. Three stars, according to Michelin.” He slowly snakes his wrinkled hand up under my hair, places it on the back of my neck. He gives me a squeeze. “Marble Jacuzzi tub, Eglip—Egerp—Egyptian cotton sheets, best roomb service menu inna midwerst.”

 Creeper’s had nothing to drink, and he’s slurring his words like he’s three sheets to the wind. Moreover, his hand is cold. Like wintry. Any warmth he possessed earlier this evening has dissipated. It feels as if his hand on my neck is sucking up my warmth, like a sponge soaks up a pool of blood spatter. Mr. Creeper appears to be winding down; his metaphorical battery is quickly losing power. I need to move fast.

“Sounds good, Mr. . . .?” I take his corpse-cold hand from my neck and hold it like he’s a lost little boy. He sways back and forth, and leans in. Again. His breath smells even more musty now; I picture black mold spreading across his body’s interior walls like an invading army across a war-room map.

“Yew cans carl meh, ah, Geeeorj,” He leans back giggling, looking very satisfied with himself. I don’t get the reference, or the joke. Suppose it means something to him.

He pulls his hands away from me and holds them up in the air, his fingers twitching spasmodically. “I da  pupplet marstder!”

“Of course you are, sugar,” I take his frail, chilled hand in mine. “Let’s go back to your high-priced hotel and—”

“Feeed meh!” Mr. Creeper shouts with all his strength, which isn’t much. He pulls away and impotently slams his fists down on his skinny legs and begins to cry. I’ve seen toddlers who behaved better in public.

I hop off my perch and take his arm. “C’mon, man,” I croon, “Let’s get outta here.” I flutter my thick charcoal-colored eyelashes at him. He grins and drools, unable to keep himself from staring at the vein in my neck. Navy-blue vein under almost translucent pale skin. Works every time.

I catch Toby’s eye. “I’ll take care of this one,” I holler over the din. Toby nods his approval. “See you later, alligator,” he calls back as he wipes out a glass. The second bartender has arrived, affording Toby some down time.

Mr. Creeper and I step out onto the street. It’s been raining, but cleared up, so the pavement is wet and glistening under the streetlights. It’s beautiful. “C’mon, big guy, we don’t have far to go.” I’m practically dragging him along, now. His steps are unsteady, slow. He stops to claw impotently at my neck; good thing his fingernails are short and flimsy. He makes squinty eye contact and wiggles his eyebrows, like that’s going to hypnotize me. It’s all I can do to keep from laughing. “Not now!” I object, pushing his infirm hands away. If he was in his prime, I’d be in real trouble. “Wait until we’re some place private.”  His head droops and his shoulders sag. What a baby.

“Okay, look, I know a good spot.” I take him by the hand again and less than five minutes later lead him into the little park located between the bar and the hotel Bosquet Bohème. Even with ever-increasingly high taxes, the city cut the parks and rec budget, so the place is overgrown, weedy—and ill-lit. Which for once is a plus. I shove him into some voluptuous, unkempt bushes. He falls heavily to the muddy ground, moaning and feebly thrashing.

“Oh shut up, you blood-sucking parasite” I mutter. “It’s your kind that got us in the mess we’re in today.” I was losing patience—mostly with myself; how could I leave Toby Mac’s without a weapon in hand? I look around the immediate vicinity, for something—anything—that would be of service. I was so caught up in thinking about my predicament, I didn’t hear the footsteps coming up behind me.

“Here, use this,” a familiar masculine voice intoned, just over my shoulder. Toby placed a polished wooden stake, with a deliciously sharp silver tip, in my hand. His family heirloom.

“Oh, Toby, I couldn’t!” Damn, I was actually blushing. Toby was always so thoughtful, and so—handsome.

“You do the honors, m’lady,” Toby boyishly grinned. “I’ve got to get back to the bar. There’ll be a fresh dirty martini waiting for you at your usual spot, when you’re done.” Then like a dream, he disappeared into the shadows. “What a guy!” I whisper to myself, my smitten heart beating wildly in my ears. Mr. Creeper must hear it, too. He mewls in famished anticipation.

Now, with bolstered confidence, I part the bushes, flinging raindrops aside like tiny, forsaken tears. Stake firmly in hand, I loom over Mr. Creeper, like the avenger of lost souls looking not for weak-sauce justice, but righteous revenge. Like a death’s head reaper in designer jeans and stacked heels. Which is, after all, what I am.





Hillary Lyon is an SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, whose poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She founded and served as senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. Hillary also writes short stories, and when she’s not writing, she creates illustrations for horror and pulp fiction publications. Having lived in Brazil, France, Canada, and several states in the US, she chose to settle in Tucson, Arizona.




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