|Cliche- Jack Daniels|
By Delvin Howell (February 2009)
Adolescence is always a harsh experience for most people; you know with the tedious homework schedules, the dreary school setting, the obnoxious teachers who try to restrict you with responsibility, the cliques you try so hard to fit in and especially your overbearing parents that just don’t want you to grow up. Sure it’s a long list and some of you probably have more gripes to add, but there’s still one good thing to look forward to as a teenager.
Seriously, we young boys were excited as fuck when our balls first dropped. When the few little facial hairs sprouted under our chin, we used to let it grow out like it was the most prestigious beard in the world. And don’t even mention when our voices start to crack; because it wasn’t until then that we considered ourselves men. Indeed puberty (acne aside) was a teenage boy’s greatest highlight; and this fact was never truer than it was for me- Jack Daniels. I mean yea I had a few strands of facial hair (even though I still had the voice of a ten year old) but that wasn’t the reason why I looked forward to adulthood. No- the real reason I appreciated puberty was due to more abnormal changes that were occurring in my body…
I can’t even begin to explain how or why it happened, but I can tell you when it first began. I was fourteen at the time, and I was having a bad-face day; breakouts were popping up everywhere and it just wasn’t improving my already ‘bad’ looks. Normally this wouldn’t bother me so much; but as I was hanging out with my first crush I wanted to look my best that day. I mean with the looming possibility of getting your first kiss, you would want to look as attractive as you can right? So in a panic I sacrificed my early morning and breakfast to get rid of the offending breakout. Praying that somehow it would get better I washed my face consecutively for like an hour; I used blue soap, store-bought cream, lotions and even the home remedies I could muster without my parent’s knowledge. However I didn’t get any results. Desperate and fretful I concentrated my hardest on skin without acne and that was when a miracle happened. My face instantly became silky smooth- every bump receding from the mirrored image before me...
Okay, Okay that’s not very impressive- the second sign was much better. It happened during an inter-house swimming meet I was dragged into a couple weeks after the acne incident. I really wasn’t the best swimmer and everyone expected me to placed last- but when I got inside the water I had this great urge to win- to prove them wrong. I pushed myself through the jeering spectators and the seemingly dense water, but my muscles just weren’t strong enough to facilitate victory. At the moment I got desperate once again, wishing I could move just a second faster. Sure enough my body responded, bypassing my opponents like I was a dolphin among turtles. I had no idea why, I just knew that my wish had been answered and I was about to silence the crowd by this upset race. Then when I glanced back I realized what had happened.... My ankles and toes were both replaced by a large, grey, scaly caudal fin. Luckily no one else noticed I’ve been transformed into a merman; and when I slipped back into third place I somehow regained my two scrawny legs…
Of course being the most obvious sign I spent the next couple months freaking out. What was happening to me? How did I get like this? Were all questions that surfaced from my fear and self- loathing. Yet when I began to grasp my ability; to change any part of my body at will, I started to believe that this was friggin AWESOME!! It truly was the best welcome adulthood could ever give me.
It gave me more confidence than I ever had before. Hell before I got this power I earnestly thought I would lose my virginity in my forties as opposed to meager age of fifteen. From then on everything went my way. With the power to alter my physique I was able to secure the best dates, the best jobs- so at my present age of twenty two I have lead the perfect lifestyle.
One which I will be so kind to share with you now...
It was Thursday night and I just didn’t feel like staying home. Not that it was a bad looking place- in fact when people stopped by they couldn’t believe I liked leaving it so often. But alas I did, and as I strutted out the shower I couldn’t help but feel guilty as I admired my abode. It was a stylish little apartment with scarlet-painted walls, walnut-stained floors and an assortment of black-coated furniture to compliment the two. But visuals aside these living quarters catered more to my comforts; with satin pillows scattered across the sofa, a thirty-inch flat screen TV posted on the wall and some dimmed lighting to keep my guests entertained. Though seeing as they were mostly women- they never got to appreciate much past my bedroom.
Speaking of which, mine was in a total mess. The divan wasn’t made up since this morning, as massive amounts of cluttered work papers were on it, along with the outfit I chose to wear this evening. “[ Er…Maybe I should clean it up…]” I thought- considering that I most certainly will bring home somebody tonight. Ten minutes later I started getting ready- a usual task like most except for the few extra changes I tend to make. I have this habit of altering my appearance every time I go out- makes it harder for me to get in trouble. Staring back at me from the man-sized mirror in the corner of the room was my true physical form.
I didn’t like it very much. Not that I was ugly or anything; (at most I was probably just below a seven) it’s just that there were things about my body that I wish were natural. Like I wish I had a larger chest, or more chiseled abs, or larger biceps (hell biceps at all would be good). True I should probably hit the gym to get what I want, but that’s so inconvenient- and ordinary.
And as you’ve noticed- I’m far from ordinary.
After my body was in order I concentrated on my face. It was clean and smooth as usual with a dark brown hue coming off my cheeks and boyish profile that had grown to annoy. I usually spent every evening changing it so it’d look like some GQ model, yet today for some unknown reason I decided to keep my original face.
“Hm…not bad…” I said while admiring my altered self- I would’ve stood there for hours admiring my body but that would be taking away hours from my gallivanting spree. Donning my evening wear; a fitted grey Sean John polo shirt, with a pair of faded denim jeans and some argyle slip-on shoes, I made my way out of the house.
“Ah shit almost forgot the essentials…” My cell-phone, house keys, cigarette lighter (for accessorial purposes) and a box of Durex were all laid out on my dressing table, yet they still almost slipped my mind. I glanced at my Kenneth Cole bracelet-watch and saw that it was minutes past eleven; “Ah boy right on schedule.”
Though I had no reason to hurry; there was still the notion of wasted liming hours to consider. It’s a good thing I’ve forsaken public transport upon reaching eighteen, otherwise I would risk ruffling up my outfit before even reaching my destination. Thus it was with great satisfaction that I unlocked my red 2007 Toyota GT Starlet; and watched with pride as the headlights blinked in welcome. Sure it was a simple car, but I took great effort to modify it to my liking (bearing in mind I did it the old fashion way). Everything about the vehicle had an elegant flair to it; from the seductive purr of the engine when I turned on the ignition to the black and scarlet bucket seats that pampered me when I drive. Hell even the florescent blue lights I customized on the dashboard seemed to entice me for a couple minutes before I pushed down on the gas pedal.
NOW SHE GOT HIGH HOPES, JUST TO SAY HI TO US
SHE WANT THE HIGH LIFE , SHE LIKE THEM HIGHER UPS
SHE KNOW WE HIGH ROLLING, SHE KNOW ITS HIGH STAKES
THAT’S WHY SHE HIGH-SPEEDING OUT THAT HIGHWAY
The sultry lyrics of Lupe Fiasco mixed with the citrus scent of DKNY’s ‘Be delicious’ which permeated throughout the vehicle. Indeed the atmosphere was too addictive to resist once my guest ventured inside. (That is if I actually get to the place before all the good fish leave.)
Fortunately the roads were fairly empty at this time of the night, as only those who had the same motives as me were driving. The few luminescent streams that passed by minutes at a time were the only bits of company I had. But I didn’t mind; company was the last thing I needed on the road especially when I was in a hurry. Above the erotic engine and rhythmic lyrics I could hear the music seeping from the doors of other clubs which were posted along the route. I shouldn’t be surprised though- it was the standard for the South Coast to be lively, and I could only guess that this sound was a certain sign of things to come.
An attractive display of neon lights, palm trees and charming architecture adorned the streets, with plenty hotels, guest houses, and inns to accommodate the various tourists who were on vacation. But as beautiful as the setting was it didn’t hold my interest for long- I mean we bajans have seen this all before- unless you live in a cave in St. Lucy (no offense). Besides something else diverted my attention from the road and the buildings; a flock of beautiful young women (of Mediterranean descent it looked like) were strolling outside a cluster of houses.
Now I’m not that much a hound-dog as to stop for women at the side of the street, but something in my head just screamed “Park the car man, Park-the Car!”
So I did (hey who am I do go against my conscience right?) Plus this was around my destination anyway, so my plans weren’t changed in the least. The car-park (if you could call it that) was packed to the brim but there still had one space left for my Starlet to fit.
“Must be pretty burst…” I told myself, though there were at most six vehicles parked in the lot.
The venue wasn’t that big either; from first glance it looked slightly larger than my apartment with cream- painted walls and four old-fashioned windows that were supported by a stick. I suppose the pseudo-chattel house design was to give the place a more charming feel, though if there was any doubt the mahogany platter with the words “Surfer’s café” only seemed to confirm this. I hesitated a bit before going through the door. Perhaps it was because the place was new or because I was actually going in using my true face? Whatever my reservations were, they didn’t last long as the sweet coffee aroma that wafted through the entrance made this venue even more appealing than my Starlet!
“Could as well go in……” I slinked into the restaurant under the cover of Bob Marley- the greatest voice of reggae in my opinion. The rustic charm on the exterior had spread even more as I looked around inside; a dark chocolate color was pasted throughout the entire café from the marble floors and the concrete walls, to the cushions and furniture. The only deviation from this color scheme was the dimmed gold that radiated from the frosted lights posted on the walls, and the long, narrow candle- shades that protruded from the centre of every table. Indeed it was a perfect date spot; secluded enough to facilitate private conversation yet spacious enough to dance if you ever felt the need.
“[Hmm…I best note this place down.]” I told myself while finding a seat on a nearby bar-stool. A bar was a single man’s stomping grounds not only because it gives one close access to the drinks, but also because it looks less pathetic than sitting at an empty table all alone.
“Hi can I help you with anything this evening?” An amicable voice greeted me before I could turn to face him. It belonged to an average built Caucasian man with frazzle brown hair and a countenance that looked like he was born for the service industry.
“Yea um- could you sort me out with the drinks menu?” I responded.
“Sure hold on a sec….” The bartender went to the end of the shelf for a minute and returned with a tall, cardboard booklet. As expected from a café menu it had a list full of caffeinated beverages- both hot and cold, with a section of alcoholic cocktails for those who wanted something with a kick (like me).
I scanned through for a bit and saw my most preferred vodka sour or martini, but as I was in a different place I could as well try something new. Glancing over the bartender’s shoulder I saw a variety of potions all arranged in bottles of every shape, size and texture. Among the labels were local favorites such as Mount Gay and E.S.A. Field rums, Cockspur Old Gold and the like. Yet in spite of this large collection, only one beverage stood-out from the bunch; a rough, cuboid bottle of whiskey by the name of Jack Daniels.
Yea I know my parents had to have a weird sense of humor to name their son after a bottle of whiskey.
And ironically I never even tasted the brew so it was decided, I gestured at the bartender and asked;
“You is a boss on the drink mixing right?”
“Uh yea I’m pretty good..” He replied modestly.
“Great- you see that whiskey over there?” I pointed at the black and white label with my name on it. “Mix up anything you want, but make sure some of that in it.
“Sure thing,” He said with the mischievous grin a bartender had with free time and no specific order. I swore he was going to poison me now, and sure enough the concoction he prepared nearly did just that. A swirling dark brown mass of God-knows-what was flowing down the highball glass arched on my lips. “It’s good right?”
“Y-Yes it is,” Even though I didn’t sound like it through the coughing I really did enjoy the drink. It had a sweet flavor with enough pep at the end to make sure you were awake. I ordered another halfway through my first and while the barkeep went to prepare I continued surveying the venue.
Amazing that I didn’t notice them until now; four polished surfboards hung above my head amongst dried palm leaves to match the chocolate veneer of the place. To the left of the bar-counter was a little outlet for internet access, with a neat catalogue of business cards for further perusal. Obviously these were for those who hung out during the day but at this time of night the outlet remained bare.
Momentary bursts of banter could be heard from the right side of the counter as several tables seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the evening. One table in particular was packed with the same Mediterranean women that tempted me here in the first place. It was kind of difficult to single out which one to talk too; they were all that beautiful.
“[Sigh…wish I didn’t use my own face ]” I thought while considering the daunting task of charming five ladies at once- it would’ve been so much easier if I was the GQ version….
…Or would it?
Just then a solitary star shone from the corner of the room. A young lady with the air of a priestess, the body of a porn star and the face of angel- (Ok I know that sounds like an overstatement but seriously she was close enough). It was probably the first time in a while I got jitters before talking to a girl; or maybe that was because I had to rely on most of my natural looks. I sat there glancing at her for a good couple minutes- sipping my drink so I didn’t appear like a complete stalker. Eventually my second glass was coming to an end when luck smiled upon me, and ushered her towards the bar.
As it was pretty well-lit by the counter, I had the perfect opportunity to analyze her features as she took a seat next to me. Her skin looked like it was mixed with coffee creamer, as it went perfectly with her pouting lips and lush cheeks. She wasn’t as voluptuous as I thought at first sight, but she was shaped pretty well for her small frame. The roof-lights revealed the curves printing through her white chiffon cap-sleeved top, and brought out the burgundy highlights on her short, straightened hair.
“Hey can I see your drink menu again please?” Her voice had a raspy cuteness to it, which reverberated in my ears like a chime. It was only when I heard it that I clearly decided; she will be the one I carry home tonight. The only question now was how….?
“Here ya go.” The bartender handed her the cardboard booklet and I gestured my need for another drink. “Hehe- you really like those doncha?”
“What can I say? This might be my new trademark brew.” I replied; lowering my tone a few decibels.
As we chuckled I caught her staring quizzically at us (most likely wondering what we were talking about). This was a good sign; because it usually meant that I had her attention. Pretty soon she would ask me about it and pave the way for some friendly conversation…or so I thought.
Nearly ten minutes passed and she still didn’t say anything, of course I could’ve reverted to plan B and talked to her first but for some reason my confidence was malfunctioning the more I looked at her. The bartender rested my third glass of God-knows-what on the counter, then turned to the woman and asked;
“Decide what you’re having miss?”
“Um… “She scanned her menu again. I had to find some-way to get her attention and use this interruption to my advantage. But how? What could I possibly do? These questions plagued my mind before I remembered that certain powers were at my disposal. “How about this?…the Blue Streak- that sounds nice.” She licked her lips in anticipation and it was then an idea came to me.
I needed to alter my body; nothing too drastic mind you, just something that would freak her out to enough to spark an interest. I mulled it over until the barkeep returned with her cocktail, which like its name suggests was a beverage with an aquamarine blue tint. “[That’s it! I could change my eye color!]”
My timing had to be perfect for this to work the way I wanted to; “[One….Two….Three]”
And so my iris turned blue just as she reached for the glass. For a split-second our eyes met and I can tell by the slackness of her mouth that it worked. I mean a black man with blue eyes, you’d have to ask a question right?
“So how is it?”
“Huh?” She turned towards the accommodating barkeep, while I used the distraction to turn my eyes back to normal.
“Your drink…how is it?” He asked again.
“Oh uh… its fine thanks.” The girl gave a tender smile before focusing on me again- I could tell she was disappointed (or relieved) to see that my eyes were their natural color.
“[Hehe- its working]” I waited till she took a couple more sips and changed my iris again- this time to emerald. Her eyebrows rose as she peeked above her glass- surely she wasn’t seeing right?
“Excuse me….” She said tentatively (by now I was innocently swigging my God-knows-what and my eyes had reverted back to normal).
“Um this may sound random but…what color are your eyes?” Her voice was seasoned with the curiosity I’ve come to expect.
“Er… brown or black…I think…?”
“Really….?” She saw that they were a rich ruby now. “That’s odd….why do they look red?”
“Uh…..I have no clue….” I giggled blamelessly, my confidence rising through the roof. “What did he put inside that Blue Streak anyway? Could be a bit too strong for you yuh know?”
She checked her half- empty glass then peered into my eyes which had gone dark-brown again. “I’m not drunk if that’s what you’re suggesting.”
“Well I dunno….alcohol does make you see some strange shit sometimes…”
“I’m not drunk!” She pouted; an alluring flush pouring over her caramel cheeks.
“Okay Okay. If you say so…but that would mean that I am somehow changing the color of my eyes just to tease you…” (Who would’ve thought being honest could be so rewarding?)
“Yea that sounds more like it….” She tried to convince herself but I had to burst her bubble.
“Or maybe you’ve been using my eyes as an excuse just to start conversation….” And here was when I posed in the most confident way possible; even going so far as to flicker my irises gold so she could be further enticed by them. However she responded;
“Humph! I hear you. “
“….” Everything went silent between us for the next couple minutes; she finished up the rest of her Blue Streak, while I meekly gulped down my God-knows-what. Perhaps I fucked up- must be too forward for my own good. The surrounding banter was broken when the Happy Birthday chorus was being sung by everyone but us two. Apparently one of the Mediterranean ladies was having birthday celebrations tonight, as a chocolate cake was escorted to their tables with fireworks instead of candles posted on top. The girl next to me smiled; as the golden light glossed over her lush lips in the most attractive way possible. I was so determined to get through that I opened my mouth to speak- but before anything could come out she said;
“So what’s your name?”
“Jack Daniels.” I replied truthfully, but she glanced over at the adjacent wall of bottles and then at me.
“As in the whiskey? Seriously?”
“Yea I know, must’ve been a riot when I got named,” I grinned but her expression had the same skepticism as when I told her my eyes were dark-brown. I guess honesty was no longer rewarding for me.
“So what’s your name then?” I inquired, shifting the accusatory momentum of the conversation.
The woman blatantly scoured the shelf and then with a sly smirk she said; “Alize.”
“Yup!” She stuck out her tongue, and then motioned to the bartender that she wanted a glass of her namesake. If it was ever possible for the girl to get any sexier; she succeeded in doing it then. My desire to bed her had moved straight from a goal to a vow at that point, and I exceeded my efforts to doing so.
“So…you mind going somewhere private so we could talk...?”
Alize observed me for a moment; obviously what I said was very suggestive and had many hidden meanings behind it. Yet as if she was taking the offer at face value she replied;
“Sure- there’s a table free over there.”
Her finger pointed to the corner of the café; it wasn’t quite what I had in mind but it was still much better that her leaving me high and dry. So I grinned in agreement and followed her across the café; her large hoop earrings dangling enough to distract me from her apple bottom. A couple girls caught a glimpse of my eye which I had left golden by mistake; still I didn’t care, they were doing their job for now. We walked past them and some other tables only to find that the one she’d chosen was actually right outside the venue.
“[Now this is more like it!]” I initially thought as I came upon the small row of umbrella-canopied seats with a clear view of the rear entrance to the beach. Surely this area could be used to my advantage.
“So…Mr. Jack Daniels what do you do?” Alize inquired with her now adorable slur.
“I’m a managerial accountant.” I responded while my eyes reverted to dark-brown; she seemed a bit surprised by my answer though since her brow took flight once more.
“Respectable?” She gave a guilty giggle when I said the word.
“Kinda- I wouldn’t think that someone name after whiskey had a desk job.”
“Yea I know pretty boring huh? Though you shouldn’t count me out just yet; I have a habit of shaking up things when I ready.” I didn’t need to alter my iris for this one, as I could tell the declaration had a desirable effect on her. She surveyed me for a second and then asked,
However I remained resolute; in these times you have to show a woman that you’re not just talking a pile of bullshit otherwise you’d lose the interest that you worked so hard to create. “Yup...so what do you do?”
“Me?... Well I’m a student.”
“Seriously?” It was my turn to examine her; lest I get charged for conspiring statutory rape. “But you don’t look like one…”
“Hehe- I’m doing my masters degree so technically I’m still a student.” (Oh! Good! – My plans weren’t being derailed).
“Ah...I see. So what are you studying?” I asked with relief.
“Gender Psychology.” The irony of this was too much to mention. “Just some boring stuff about how boys and girls get along.”
“Hmm… sounds pretty intriguing though- do you enjoy it?”
“I guess,” She said shortly, as if she was eager to hide her true self like me. I felt the urge to press on further, but there was a certainty that any more information she gave would be a bunch of lies. So what should I do from here you wonder? Well the obvious answer would be to break the silence; switch my eye color again or maybe something flashier like my finger. Although that would definitely freak her out I was totally prepared to do it, but before I got the chance an eruption of laughter intervened.
“BWAAHAHAHAHAHA, THAT WAS A SICK ACT OL MAN!!!” The cackle came from a group of individuals who couldn’t be more out of place in this cozy, seaside café. From what I could see the members were diverse in build and attitude. There was a short hyper one, a large loudmouth, a lanky brooding one and finally a pudgy shy one; all of who had sauntered into the seating area. No one seemed to mind too much aside from the few glances at the door which they came. Yet for some reason their presence bothered me...
“Hey…” Alize called out to me for the third time (I think). “What’s wrong? You look out of it…”
“Oh nah sorry about that,” I was dropping the ball there for an instant. “Look your glass is empty maybe you need another drink?”
“Why? So you could show me more eye colors?” She smiled mischievously. “…or perhaps you just want to make sure I’m drunk.”
This was the perfect flirting chance; pity I was too distracted to exploit it. “Nah Nah…so do you want me to get you anything?”
“Hmm…get me another Blue Streak then.” In retrospect this was the probably the most vulnerable she’d been for the evening. I mean if I was bit more fiendish I would’ve spiked her drink to make things easier, but alas I’m not that sleazy.
“Be right back then.” Leaving rather casually, I skulked passed the noisy newcomers in hopes that I didn’t get noticed. (Although…they shouldn’t be any reason why I should…)
I really couldn’t understand why they seemed so familiar. Upon clearing their line of vision I skimmed over their faces, but I still didn’t recognize them. It pissed me off because this nagging feeling was seriously interrupting my game; if I don’t be careful I’d be going home alone tonight. (Pfft okay no I wouldn’t… but I wouldn’t be going home with Alize.)
The birthday table was calmer now, with the Mediterranean ladies engaged in a deep discussion. One girl glared at me to see whether my eyes were still gold, but was sadly mistaken when she saw the dark-brown. The bar was more occupied too, with several newcomers keeping the barkeep engaged. Still when he saw me he hailed and asked;
“You want the usual again right?”
“Yea, and a Blue Streak for the young lady.”
“Man you must be the luckiest first time customer,” He giggled; I guess from his point of view it would be pretty inspiring- after-all it isn’t often first timers meet girls like Alize. Regardless of his already full list of orders he sorted me out in matter of minutes. Handing me a glass of God-knows-what and a Blue Streak above the cluster of impatient heads he said;
“This one pon d house man.” (Shame I forgot to tip him later on.)
Indeed I was having a pretty lucky night; though ever since that group arrived I haven’t been feeling that way. A wary sensation invaded my psyche like a cancer; bitter yet proverbial. I’ve certainly felt it at least once before, but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly when or where. Well… not until I passed the birthday table of Mediterranean ladies and reentered the rear seating area. There I stared, with two freshly mixed beverages in hand, at the table where I was sitting with Alize just minutes before. Except now it wasn’t me she was talking with; the boisterous crowd of guys from earlier had now gathered around her like rain-flies to a lone light-bulb. It was understandable considering how good she looked, yet the scene had stunned me enough to spill some of the drinks on the tiled floor.
Immediately the origin of that guarded feeling became apparent to me. More than nine years ago, before my ability had clearly revealed itself I was the subject of ceaseless ridicule. I belonged in the lowest part of the matriculated food chain; right among the geeks, the freaks and the slandered. Nothing was expected of me, and I didn’t mind since it allowed me to stay in the comfort of being under the radar. Yet there was always that one group in every school who made your life a living hell just for entertainment- and this was especially true for an outcast like me. Of course at the time I had no striking flaws for them to plunder, but that didn’t stop them from mocking me. In fact they made it their duty to personally remind me that I am a nobody and I will remain a nobody for the rest of my life. It was pretty sad really; on one side the best insult they could come up with was that I will remain unnoticed for all eternity, and on the other and sadder side I had believed them…
Yes, this belief had crafted the self-conscious sensation I’ve known throughout my junior high school days. In retrospect it was probably the worst period in my life to date; my back was sore from picking up books that had been constantly knocked over, my ears buzzed from the sniping sneers from passing students, and my core was carved away by the reality of them being right…
Ah well, all of that changed since that day in the swimming pool and I never looked back until now. It was like that same group from back then was making another attempt to ridicule me by stealing my night’s prize. The sound of crashing waves from the beach behind joined the rage that was swelling in my heart. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t freak out- it wasn’t very attractive, though I wasn’t planning on letting them add injury to this insult either. So suppressing my anger I strode towards the crowded table without the slightest troubled expression on my unaltered face.
“Ah I see you had company while I was gone?”
“Jack!” Alize said, as if she was relieved to see me. (At least this proves she wasn’t a slut).
“Who’s this guy? The boyfriend?” The large one grunted, by the sniggers from his friends I guessed he was the leader of the bunch.
“Yes … I am.” I lied. Perhaps I was feeling more defiant now since I didn’t have my fill of retribution during my school days.
“Funny you dain say you had any man…” The loudmouth shot at Alize who felt at fault for not lying earlier. Then turning to me he said; “It looking like you bout to get horn though.”
“Doubt it.” I casually dismissed him while maneuvering closer to the table. “Here I got them pretty quickly Alize-“
“Alize??!” The large guy chortled while his minions followed suit. “That’s what you calling yourself Denise? Wuh sorta boyfriend you got and he ain even know you real name?!”
Alize flushed with embarrassment, as the piercing gaze of curious onlookers began to increase by the second. Even the music was lowered to see what all of this commotion was about. However I wasn’t surprised by this declaration; after-all she only called herself that because I was named after a bottle of whiskey. Of course these hooligans wouldn’t know this, nor did I feel inclined to explain, I simply responded;
“The kind that plans to carry her home when I leave here.”
The short hyper one guffawed at the remark much to his leader’s displeasure. “Oooooh that one was nasty.”
“Shut it Chris!” He hissed and then continued to me, “Oh? Sound like big words for a rebounder…”I caught sight of Alize holding her head down in her manicured palm, while the rest of the crowd tittered with excitement. The tall brooding one however had gotten bored and went back to his seat, before the loudmouth sought to explain. “Look doan get cocky with this girl hear? Denise gine end up burning you too, believe it-“
“Thanks for the advice,” I dismissed him again while edging closer to my seat. “But I like playing with fire…”
“Greg..just go home ok…?” Alize pleaded sincerely; the rasp in her voice was richer now (they were probably close in the past.) “I told you before it’s over…”
He didn’t reply immediately; maybe the final statement was too much for him to bear. Despite my rage I kind of pitied the overgrown coot- I mean the role of disgruntled ex-boyfriend isn’t exactly very pleasant. “Okay Denise…”
It wasn’t ‘Okay’ by any means, as when I ventured between the group a sudden shove toppled me over and caused me to spill my drinks. A mixture of blue and beige landed on the table and splattered on both my grey polo shirt and her white chiffon cap-sleeved top. At that moment every ounce of sympathy that I had seconds ago, was evaporated by the fires of fury which ignited in my core.
He had crossed the line and must be punished accordingly.
Slowly I rose to my feet, which were trembling from the abstract rage flowing through me, and as I rose various violent and gruesome scenarios were displayed in my mind. However they all went blank when I caught sight of Alize’s disgusted face.
“Geez Greg what are you twelve!?”
“Sorry my hand slipped,” He answered frivolously; I could sense the malicious gleam forming in his eye. “It’s not my fault de man so fragile.”
The faction detonated in a riotous laughter which even reached the outskirts of the café (I was sure I heard a few giggles from the birthday table too). Before I realized it, the same situation from my high school life had reared its ugly head. Once again I was the center of a derisive spotlight, and I didn’t like it in the least. My anger was surpassing all personal bounds, but in spite of that I suppressed it. “[Gotta keep cool…]” I couldn’t stoop to his already low level otherwise my quest would be ruined, and the loudmouth would be satisfied with that…
“It’s okay… your Blue Streak’s gone though…”
“Don’t worry about it…” Alize said, it felt like we regained the privacy of thirty minutes ago. “I wasn’t very thirsty anyway, let’s just go…”
The perfect suggestion under less than perfect circumstances, I nodded in compliance and everything seemed fine. Until Greg decided to open his loudmouth for one more crack at yours truly;
“Good luck with that one, I hope you don’t catch nuttin…”
As they say ‘that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.’ I could stomach any comments made at me; after-all my skin was thick (if I wanted it to be), however I could not tolerate any scoffs thrown in Alize’s direction. She was just an innocent bystander; there shouldn’t be any reason why she should suffer like this. And as I glanced at the scandalized expression on her face, there was nothing I could possibly do to control my venting anger anymore.
“Hey Alize….” I turned to her and smiled. “How do you feel about violence?”
“How do you feel about violence?” I repeated once more for clarification.
“Er…Its okay I guess…once it ain use on me.” This was as honest an answer as you could expect on the subject and I couldn’t be more pleased to hear it.
Now was the time for retaliation, and one couldn’t fathom what that entails for a person with my abilities. Staring at my palm I pictured it changing into an array of things; each one sharp, jagged and capable of causing a great amount of damage. But it would be stupid to kill him in front of all these witnesses (plus I wasn’t in the mood to be a fugitive at twenty-two.)
The crashing waves provided a great backdrop for the tension in the area. What would happen next? I was sure every spectator wondered, and none probably guessed that this overgrown hooligan was about to be bested by little ole me.
“Why do you ask?” Alize inquired, but I didn’t answer as my attention was focused on the concrete wall of the café.
“[This looks like the perfect material,]” Indeed it was, as it would inflict a lot of pain while sparing his life at the same time…
“Wait you sounding very bad now...” Greg seized my shoulder but that was like a lamb taunting a lion before it struck. I concentrated on the concrete wall, and in seconds my arm was no longer of flesh and bone. A dense concrete mass filled my veins, and my chocolate skin was forming into an ashy shade of grey. I’m sure one of the goons gasped in horror at the spectacle, but I didn’t care; by the time I was finished he’d be too terrified to say anything.
“[That should be hard enough,]” I altered my calves to become more agile, and before anyone could blink I plunged my transfigured hand into Greg’s stomach.
A satisfying crunch of six or seven ribs echoed through the setting, and from his hollow gasps I could tell I’ve hurt him a great deal. Our eyes met again, and though mine were still dark-brown he noticed the surge of homicidal energy flowing through them. “Like I said mate, I like playing with fire….”
And sure enough my arm blazed like a piece of coal and his face wrenched in unimaginable pain. (It’s a good thing I’m not very sadistic). His comrades motioned to attack, but the one called Chris shook his head and mouthed “No.”
Alize seemed dumbfounded and impressed at the same time, but with a casual smile I said, “We should probably get out of here… this place get too crowded.” She complied with a bit more reluctance than I hoped. Perhaps she saw exactly what I did back there… (nah …she couldn’t have…not from that angle….)
The café was brighter and calmer now; with all eyes planted securely on us both as we were leaving. The birthday tabled in particular hushed when I passed; and that one girl who looked at me curiously before, had an air of fear on her face now. I guess at times my ability could be fearsome, but that was probably the rarest occasion which I used it for violence….
Unfortunately, in spite of carrying Alize home, I didn’t get any action that night. She was probably too intimidated by the way I broke up her ex, and nonetheless I didn’t try to persuade her into doing it. That’s not to say I didn’t get through in the future; her number was still available for any late night rendezvous…
As for the café, I planned to return once in a while (under a different appearance of course), plus the God-knows-what was too good to pass up….
But that same night, unbeknownst to me, a phone-call was made where apparently I was the topic of discussion…
“Yes……Yes…I’m certain it was him………He came under the alias Jack Daniels….Yes and I’ve already referred to the database; that is indeed his real name…..Yes…..Uh-huh… He’s a confirmed Shapeshifter….Well Of course I have enough indications, the brat was flaunting them for the entire night!.....Yes…..I know careless right? It’s for reasons like this that these people must be kept under a tight leash….For real…..Is a good thing he wasn’t too obvious……Yes….. And he display a good set of judgment too.…except for one incident involving a group of troublemakers…. Well I apologize I just had to persuade them to take action….It was the only way I could confirm what he was…..Okay…Yes…I know what happens now….The appropriate people have been dispatched…. And the tracking device I placed inside him seems to be working well….Haha…Yea For Real…Who would’ve thought this part-time bartending gig would actually turn out to be productive………………………