Sunday, October 21, 2007

Needs

They walked in, both clad in black leather. The taller of the two, Lethane was wearing only a belt harness on his heavily muscled chest, the strap across his pecs framing his ripped upper body nicely. Blue skin moved beneath night black leather, oiled by a sheen of sweat from the warm weather of the night outside.

Behind him, dressed in a thin, torn white shirt and a silver-zipper lined black jacket and an identical set of motorcyclist's pants to the massive elf, Ravyn walked in slowly, standing in Leth's shadow in a pair of metal-plated biker boots and fingerless riding gloves.

Every head in the room turned, mostly because Armistice was not exactly the kind of bar that catered to men dressed this way. That bar was a little further down the street. Brothers, as the bar in question was called, was usually packed and would not have blinked an artfully-made up eye at their clothes.

The crowd in Armistice, being mostly white-collar types and the occasional supervillain willing to mind his or her manners, most definitely did.

One customer, a bit deep in his cups, opened his mouth to say as much as immediately closed it again. There was just something about Lethane's sudden look down at him that instilled a sudden caution, even in the most inebriated of people. Likely, it was the intense glee in Leth's glowing eyes. The look that just screamed, "Please! Please say something! I haven't killed a bitch in hours! Please oh please!"

They wanted up to the bar amid a dozen stares, a couple of which were open hunger from the establishment's female regulars. The waitress on staff, a lovely woman with a shirt two sizes too small and a smile at least one size too big at the sight of Leth's muscular chest, nearly dropped her tray and had to scramble to keep from pouring gin and tonics on her customers.

"So, what'll you have, mates?"

Lethane leaned against the bar, giving the waitress a good show as his back and shoulders rippled. "My usual and a Shirley Temple for the little lady."

Ravyn looked at Leth and sighed then back to the bartender with a shake of his head. "I need something painful. Something toxic enough that if I spilled it, I'd have to fill out an Environmental Impact Form."

Mic, the man on duty behind the bar tonight, laughed and nodded. "I know just the poison. No worries there." He went to work immediately, pulling out several bottles of opaque glass and setting them on the counter top. For Leth's drink, he just uncorked one of them, filled a glass and slid it to the big man's blue hand.

Leth picked it up, tipped it Mic's direction in silent thanks and downed it. The liquid in the double shot glass, for all of the three seconds it lasted, was lavender and steamed slightly on contact with the air.

Ravyn's drink was considerably more complex. Mic poured out several layers, one atop another, in a champagne flute. While Lethane obvious wanted to say something about the 'sissy' nature of the glass, the effort of the red-haired barkeep was holding his attention too much to do so. One by one, the layers floated over each other, a spectrum of dark and light.

"Here you go, sir. Just what you asked for."

Ravyn picked up the flute carefully, not wanting to disturb the drink. "Is it a shooter?"

Mic chuckled. "I'd recommend that, yeah. It's called a Purgatory. I really think you'll like it." Even as he spoke, the efficient Irishman was refilling Leth's glass.

"Interesting name," Ravyn told him, still obviously regarding the drink with some trepidation.

"Indeed it is. It's a little bit of Heaven, a little bit of Hell." Mic gave Leth a third round as he started setting up his bottles for another pass and wiped down the counter. "I tell you what. You down that and if you're still vertical in one minute, the next one's on the house."

"After last night, I almost hope I lose that bet." Ravyn closed his eyes, brought the glass to his lips and threw his head back in a long, quick draught. The flute emptied past his lips, each layer mingling with the others into a caustic looking black morass before hitting his tongue. From the sudden look of gastronomic terror on Ravyn's face, it must have tasted like one too.

He opened his eyes, the good one disfocused for a moment, and set the glass carefully back on its small coaster. "That..."

"Words can't describe it, eh?"

Leth looked between Ravyn and Mic, curious now. "Well, how was it? Was it good? Was it bad? Are you gonna die?"

In response, all Mic did was hold up a stop watch and press its button. Seconds began to tick past.

00:05

Ravyn turned his head to regard Lethane, his mouth still apparently chewing the taste. "It was like a car crash in my throat." He shuddered. "I can't really describe the flavor. There wasn't just one. It was like... licking a candy store after a four-alarm fire."

Mic laughed. "Good description. Best one I've heard all month."

00:16

Growling, Leth picked up the empty flute and unabashedly tried to sample what little was left at the bottom. The sight of his long violet tongue snaking down the tall glass was enough to make the waitress nearby groan and walk headlong into someone coming out of the restroom.

"It... tastes like nothing. Nothing at all." Lethane's thick eyebrows furrowed. "It's like black water in here."

The barkeep nodded and took the glass back, smiling knowingly. "The drink has a half life. A few seconds after it mixes, it breaks down."

00:29

Ravyn sighed deeply. "Well, I got the taste all right but that's about it. It felt like alcohol going down but now..." He shrugged. "There's no burn at all." He rapped his fingers once on the bar top, looking down at his hands as his eye eased back into full focus. "It was heady for a second but that's about it."

00:42

"Line us up some tequila shots, Mic." Lethane grinned. "Some bottled Mexican anger might do where your uber-drink failed. No offense, but some things are just classics for a reason."

Ravyn nodded as Mic turned his back to grab a bottle of good 15 year old agave tequila from the top shelf over Armistice's wall-length mirror. "I agree. I am just not feeling it. I suppose my body's not remotely human any more..." He trailed off, remembering what happened to him in that alley. With Fortress. And all the blood.

Lethane grinned and rubbed his hands at the sight of six small glasses, lined up in a row on the bar with golden liquor goodness pouring into each one. "Don't take it personal, Mic. He's just a freak. But I'll take his freebie if you don't mind."

Mic held up the stop watch and punched its button again, turning it around to show Lethane the dial.

00:58

"Bah!" The blue elf scoffed. "Don't go cheap on me now, man. Ravyn's fine, see?" He turned to face an empty bar stool. "Ummm... Rave?"

Looking down, he saw his drinking partner on the floor of the bar, dead to the world unconscious with a look of half bliss, half horror on his slack face. The occasional twitch shook through him, a thin line of drool running past his parted lips and down his cheek.

"Oh, that's attractive."

Mic nodded, that Gaelic grin of his getting wider. "He'll be out for a bit, mate. Perhaps we should get him upstairs to a bed for a while, aye?"

Leth sighed, looking down at Sleeping Scary. "Yeah, I guess..."

"After my tequila." He reached out, scooped the passing waitress up into his lap with only a tiny gasp of protest, and stuck the first shot glass in her ample cleavage before going face first after it.

"Ole'!"

1 comment:

Lethane said...

*smirks*

Very nice thud there, I think.