What a prick!
I’d heard he wasn’t the most punctual of people, but a second past fifteen minutes is the beginning of unforgivable tardiness. Teetering on the edge of giving up hope I suddenly saw something above. A shadow in my peripheral attracting my attention to a building nearby. Latching onto the lampost above me a thin line; he swung down landing soft as a kitten from a foot drop.
“You took your time!” I said, tapping at the face of my watch for emphasis. As if the saviour of the city would fail to comprehend words alone.
“I apologise. Bad stomach. Something the butler made. Chef’s on holiday.” He clutched a gloved hand at his midriff.
“Well, you are human after all.” I flicked a half smoked cigarillo into the drain nearby. A disappointing light rain began it’s descent, the clear blood of dark skies. “Looks like you brought the rain with you.” Again I gesticulated, as if a man of his intellect was unable to grasp the effects of gravity. Pointy eared he looked skyward, an expression on his face like he might take off into it, leaving nothing but breath behind.
“Right, let us proceed.” Gotham Blues Bar it was. About as far away as possible from the city centre. The owner didn’t even bat an eyelid as we walked in. It was on account of him being a snake hybrid, a genetic experiment gone wrong. The skin of a snake, the eyes of a snake. Somehow he’d managed to get some arms out of the misfortune, disproportionate like the claws on a T-Rex. Needless to say he had a lisp and avoided the letter ‘S’ like the plague.
“Good evening gentlemen. Drink?” he said surprisingly normally, omitting the s.
“Not for me,” said my stomach cramped friend. “Got any milk?”
“I’ll have three fingers of the worst scotch, cos’ I know that’s all you’ll have!”
Obligingly he began slithering to the backroom to get the milk. I helped myself to a bottle behind the bar and rinsed out a dirty glass, failing to remove the grime and somehow making it worse. From the bottle it is then. With a deep swig…
I spat out the contents. Vile! “Jesus!”
Of course he happened to be sitting in the corner in a dingy booth. “Yeah?”
“No, never mind!” I waved. The oily taste was repulsive. I’d need something stronger than absinthe to purge the putrid remains from my mouth. The proprietor slithered back in with a milky glass contrasting against his brown scales. Seeing the bottle on the bar he stopped.
“That’s my oil! That’s my oil for my skin you stupid fool!” The lisp returned when angry. “Do you have any idea the cost? I’m going to have to charge you for it,” he said defiantly slithering closer.
“Ha! A snake oil salesman too!” Revelling in my quip and momentarily forgetting I wished for nothing more than a vat of Listerine, I heard a chuckle. Fucking hell! Even Jesus was laughing. The saddest most lonesome sort of a laugh, but I’d take it, especially from him.
“Are you going to pay for it?”
“Yeah, yeah.” Several large notes flew on to the bar from my money clip acting only to absorb the left behind alcohol that slicked the wooden surface. “And I’ll have a bottle of scotch too. With a clean glass,” I emphasised, laughing inwardly at my ability to say glass without embarrassment.
My compadre was still hunched over, gingerly hanging on to the glass of milk, while a white moustache had evaded being wiped away.
“And get him something too would you?” I nodded, in Jesus’ direction.
Finally we managed to grab a seat, a cracked leather booth. Hell, we had the pick of the joint. Sipping periodically was a depressed looking hero, eyes fixed on the milky white. It was half empty by the look in his eyes. Just as I was repairing the damage done earlier to the insides of my mouth with a quarter bottle of scotch in she walked. It was like Casablanca – only more neon and less piano. Of all the bars..
“Jesus Christ!” muttered Batman, cocking his head slightly as if he might have overheard. Picking the tumbler up he drained the contents slamming it down as if it contained alcohol. A backhand wiped away the residue.
There she was. Tail up and eyes glaring. She turned, leaning against the bar in her leather clad outfit which was at least two cows worth, grinning like a mad woman with a barely audible purr emanating from her. Of course to Batman it was like a bloody crescendo.
“I thought you might be here!” she said, seductively flicking her tail almost knocking over the pricey skin care range.
Strangely I found the whole thing quite arousing but she wouldn’t even give me a digit were I to ask.
Batman sat there staring into the middle of the table as if he’d detected the chewing gum stuck underneath and it’s mintless masticated form had shot his parents. A rage was forming behind those eyes. Still clasping the glass he continued to look upset unil eventually the glass shattered in his palm.
“For fucks sake Catwoman! I’m not interested!!!”