Does anyone remember wodonlinenews.net circa June 2009? I do.
This nightclub bar was the creation of one named Titus. He made manifest the characters of Dustin and Katie, and mentioned the six private rooms in back. This was opening night, the music of Muse filled the air, and Katie was Dustin's very first customer. Katie, attractive, flaxen-haired, half-English (the other half wasn't specified), reluctant misfit, had already ordered a Newcastle Brown Ale on the house, taken a sip, and was gathering her purse to leave while Dustin was headed to the back rooms before I added to Titus's story.
His invitation to add on was open to anyone,"...so long as no one trashes my bar." he wrote.
The flash of missed opportunity jolts Katie’s ingenuous, honey-colored eyes. “Wait…” she chirps as Dustin pivots with the preternatural grace of a professional dancer to meet her gaze once more. At this, Katie smiles with the adulation of disadvantage. “…Would you be hiring?” she asks. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I am.” he quickly rattles. Katie fires back with a flurry of noise, “Great! If you need a bartender, then I’m it. I know like 213 drinks by heart and I have quick reflexes. My only weakness is that I never went to school for it. All my training came from my lush-of-a-mother. God rest her soul…” she raises her glass of ale in the air and flicking her eyes to the ceiling she takes a sip, “…my favorite drinks is/are snakebites and I’m not against showing skin. The hollers get the dollars!…” Seeing Dustin’s open-mouthed, nuanced grin she shifts gears, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I’m a product of my environment. That colloquial caterwaul took the place of please and thank you while I was growing up. My own rectitude, for the most part, has endured the hereditary ravages of rampant stupidity, I assure you.”
Dustin chuckles, “Wow…way to flex those vernacular muscles. I don’t need another bartender, but I could use some ornaments. Especially one like you. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now what that massive rig hanging above the dance floor is for?”
“It looks like the setup from America’s Next Top Model with the water and the plastic sheet, except that you’ll have it lit from above as well as below by the lights in the floor.” she says.
“Very good, and knowing that you don’t mind showin’ skin, can you guess what I would want from you?” he asks. Katie playfully squints her eyes, “Bristols and no bits?” she puts Dustin on the spot and he raises his eyebrows, “The full monty.” She opens her mouth to speak and he cuts her off, “From dusk ‘til two at 900 a week plus tips.”
Katie’s instincts kick in and she knows this offer is too good to be true, but there is something so inexplicably magnetic about Dustin’s presence that she forsakes herself long enough to trust him and entertain the possibility of a better life. “I’m only 22 and with that kind of money I could move into a better apartment in a better neighborhood, pay off my school loans, have a sexy little car, buy a new computer, get a Shih-Tzu, and never again have to suffer those gotdamn’ Ramen Noodles!” she thinks to herself.
“About the Happy Endings?” she asks gingerly. “Never. It’s just pure, ham-fisted, irony.” he says and he breaths in deeply through his nose with a satisfied smile. (Like dogs and epileptic seizures, he can smell her changing her mind.) His response doesn’t make sense to her and she pauses for a moment, “Ah, what the hell, I’m in.” “Excellent!…” Dustin chimes as he bends down to unlock a cabinet beneath the register, “…I see you’re no stranger to the needle.” Katie’s eyes go wide and he flicks his gaze to the tattoo on her neck. “Oh-h-h-ho that…” she sighs. “That’s a good thing…” he says as he stands up, and then plops down a stack of hundred dollar bills on the bar and begins to thumb through them, “…I want my employees to be decorated, but only with henna. I especially enjoy the red-colored henna and I only use a pigment that I make myself.”
Dustin finishes counting his money. “Not a bad grab. 7,800 dollars if I’m not mistaken?” he asks. “You are correct sir.” Katie says as she takes another sip of her glass of ale while secretly wondering how much of this money is hers. “Here Katie, take it. Go get that tattoo of yours removed as best you can and come back three months from now at the same time of day to be properly decorated.” he says. Katie feels strangely impelled to take the money at his word. She reaches out to take the money and suddenly recoils, “Forgive me sir, but propriety demands that I become privy to your name before we proceed.” she says in a semi-facetious tone. “Smith. Dustin Aloysius Smith.” he says with a forced smile. “And I’m Katherine Wynn Peszynski. Now that we’ve been properly introduced I will wholeheartedly accept your charge and return as you have commanded, but not before I finish my beer.” She slams the last bit.
Katie is startled as she opens the door to leave by the silhouette of a man in a drover coat. They exchange glances and move passed each other. Dustin’s dander is up at the scent of spilled Kindred blood wafting into his bar. He clinches his jaw and his pupils dilate wider than they should. “Can I help you?” Dustin asks in little less than a bark as he moves his right hand as slowly as possible to reach over-handed for the katana stashed just under the bar amidst various assault weapons. The man approaches with the crackling of cartilage about his body, his face in war form. “You look thirsty, friend. What’ll it be?” Dustin asks as he meticulously wraps his fingers around the handle of the sword trying not to make his skin squeak against it. The beast opens his mouth with a voice like a dying diesel engine, “Who’s the bratwurst with the mustard on top?” Dustin twitches a confused furrow into his brow and flicks his right arm.
Where once there was a beast, a man now stands before Dustin with a sword of his own resting against his own neck. “Yer gettin’ faster.” The man says with a patronizing smile. Dustin’s face melts, “Fisty, you sorry muthafucker!” Fisty wails, “H-ha ha ha ha! You shoulda seen the look on yer face, you were scared outta yer fuckin’ mind! See here, I bit my lip on purpose! You fall for this shit every time Dusty, I love it!” They both sheathe their swords as quickly as they drew them. Dustin gasps in broken laughter as Fisty dodges a puch to the chest, “Damn’ it Fisty, you asshole. I hate it when you do that! It’s not fair that you let your obfuscation seep out of the pores in your face. What the hell are you doing here?”
“It’s Euphistian, dickhead. Happy one hundred n’ fifty fifth little brother.” He says as he pulls out an ornate jewelry box from underneath his coat and puts it on the bar. “Thanks, one hundred fifty seventh. Whatever it is, it must be pretty special seeing as how it took you twenty years to show up with it.” Dustin says with a puckered smile. “Eh, what’s a generation? What makes you think I want to see your silly ass any more often anyway? It sure isn’t your get-up.” says Euphistian as he flicks his chin at Dustin’s clothes, “What happened? You look like Justin Timberlake took a shit.” Dustin responds in kind, “Ha-ha. What’s with that pony tail? Are you tryin’ to look like a hunter?” Dustin sniffs, “Sunnuvabitch Euphistian, did you just fart? I wanna know ‘cause I couldn’t hear it. Not only do you look like a hunter, but you must be working for them too, all bored-out the way you are.”
“Okay, fucker.” Euphistian says with a defeated sarcasm, “Are you gonna open your present or not?”
“Smells like food. Whaddya get me?”
“Open it and find out.”
Dustin opens the jewelry box to find a fresh, washed, horse-sized heart wrapped in plastic wrap and surrounded by dry ice pellets. Dustin’s eyes light up and he smiles at his brother like a kid on Christmas morning. “No way, no fuckin’ way. Ha-ha!” he says as he lifts the heart to his nose, “Mmmmmmm. Female. Only four days old?”
“Did you make the kill?”
“My God, this is perfect. Awe, I can make this go so far. Hee-hee-.” Euphistian interjects,“I wouldda saved you some of the meat, but I fed most of her to my dogs before I remembered your birthday. The irony.” With a blast from his nostrils, Dustin looks at his brother with a smile that only true love could produce. Dustin rounds his bar and gives Euphistian a hug, heart in hand.
Suddenly, Dustin and Euphistian whip their faces toward the front door of the bar. In a blur, Dustin hops over his bar and gathers his birthday present, stashes it in the cabinet under the register, and locks it away. Euphistian takes a seat at the bar directly in front of him. A cadre of Kindred enter in with a band of cacophonous, collegiate, cretins in tow. Dustin whips a cell phone out of his pocket and presses the direct connect button, “It’s time.” he says with an angelic gravitas born of an illimitable seduction. He puts his phone in his pocket as five, sylphlike, people emerge from the back room, each of them covered from neck to toe with intricate designs of red-colored henna on their skin. The lone man among them intercepts the approaching horde and greets them cordially. Two of the women walk upstairs and quickly prepare themselves for the plastic sheet hanging above the dance floor. One woman sets herself next to Dustin behind the bar and gives Euphistian an obligatory greeting before she pours him a shot of whiskey. The last woman moves to take the orders of the newly seated blood sausages and their respective gourmands et gourmandes.
"She's more of a kielbasa than a bratwurst. She resisted me." Dustin says through his teeth. Euphistian squints as he sips his wiskey and smiles, "I knew you had somethin' to do wit her 'cause she smelled like sweaty nuts. Can you still use her as the sixth?"