Based on this Flash Fiction Challenge.
“My mortality and I am closely acquainted.” Prompt by http://52lettersinthealphabet.wordpress.com/.
My mortality and I are closely related. We weren’t, of course. I was like a lot of young people – I was immortal. I had such energy, and everyone else around me was just so old. Nothing ever hurt me, really. I had never broken a bone, nor had any long-term medical treatment. I was a healthy, happy utter moron. I’d like to say that all that changed when I died, but the truth is that the ability to talk in the past tense about your own death, makes it kind of hard to take seriously.
Jamie and Carl really wanted to go to this club we’d heard about around fresher’s week. It was the “awesomest club that ever awesomed!” according to some tank-topped bint outside the Union. I hung back, smoked my cheap cigarette and feigned indifference while trying to work out whether she was wearing a bra or not. She wasn’t.
“She was so hot!” said Carl.
“Not bad, not bad.”
I stayed silent. I was an introvert even when I was alive. Well, you know. Alive-alive.
Anyway, long story short, we went. I wore a black shirt and the black jeans I thought made me look sexy, but actually just accentuated how fat didn’t really stick to my bones. Jamie and Carl dressed like the hipster twins – all vintage and bright colours and hair that was just vaguely ‘up’.
We got in easily enough. No ID checking during the first couple of weeks of term. You’ve gotta get the kiddies hooked. That’s the real fucking trick. Then they up the prices and squeezed the young ones. We climbed down these dark chipboard stairs and into the club proper.
Inside, the place looked like an aircraft hanger with too few lights and too much black paint. There was a stage in the dim distance with a hairy band fiddling with cables and instruments and shit. Between them and us was an army of hipsters, rockers and goth wannabes. Basically a load of kids like us – more money and less supervision than they’d ever had before. I went for a piss. One bearded fat kid was puking in a stall. There was an inch of water that kind of sold me on DMs as club wear. It was barely nine o’clock. I had an echoing thought in my head that I’d gone to the pussiest university in Britain.
The night went as these nights often do. Early on the hipster twins locked on to a pair of brand-wearing horny chicks who were a couple of drinks ahead of us. They weren’t bad looking, but they had the wide-eyed conviction that always preempted a certain amount of drama. When one of the chicks flashed her tattoo of ‘birds flying away to symbolise freedom’ on her shoulder blade, I was out. I’d be hearing one or the other of the guys bitching about this silly cow for months. I had no intention to listen to the prologue live. I’d wait for the whiney Cliff Notes.
I think I was on my third of fourth beer and sixth or seventh brightly-coloured shot that a cowgirl had been peddling around the damn place. The band had started up, and appeared to be a death metal band who exclusively covered Smash Mouth. The lead singer had something about him that told me he was a man who was nothing outside the fantasy he created for himself on stage. I figured he was doing some ball-achingly dull degree that his parents thought was a good idea. He also looked a bit desperate on his third rendition of ‘All Star’. I think another band cancelled.
Whatever, anyway, that was when she slinked up to me. ‘Slinked’ isn’t a word I’d ever used before, but it was the only one that seemed right for the way she moved. She was wearing jeans and a shiny red tank top. Nothing really spectacular about it except the woman who wore it. She moved like I imagine a mermaid would swim. She had black hair and light brown skin. She stared me straight in the eye and pinned me to the spot.
“Hello,” she said.
“Hey,” I said, straining for the indifference I’d flashed at Tank Top Girl that afternoon. I think my voice broke. It wasn’t my best performance.
“What are you looking at?”
She frowned at that as though she’d made a mistake.
“No, before me.”
I thought about it. Nothing really. Just people. I told her as much.
“And what do you see?”
“Kids. Student loans, sex and freedom.”
I wanted her to ask me what was so different about me. I didn’t know the answer, but I was desperate to have the chance to tell her. She licked her lips – a dark berry colour that made me think of sweet fruit or expensive ice cream.
“What’s your name?”
“Mason- I mean Jonathan. Joe.”
“Well, Mr. Mason. Is this your usual ‘scene’?” She said the word like it tasted bad in her mouth. I could empathise.
“Not really. It’s like a noisy safari park. All the animals are hunting each other to a third-rate soundtrack,” the band over-dramatically finished one song with an synthesized twang as though to punctuate my point. “Only it’s stupid. The prey want to be caught, and choose their predator with their outfits and fucking ‘come hither’ bullshit.”
She nodded, considering my words. I was quite proud of them at the time in the way that only an eighteen year old Humanities student could be. She licked her lips again. Should I have offered her a drink?
“Sorry, would you like something to drink?”
“No thank you, Jonathan. I was thinking of leaving. Would you like to join me?” There was a glimmer in her half-lidded eyes. The kind of look I’d labelled ‘come hither bullshit’ seconds before. I didn’t care.
She took me by the hand and led me through the crowd and into the street with her mermaid walk. She took me away from all the children. She took me away to die.
Commentary: It’s been a while since I’ve written every day, and this was a lot of fun. Almost cathartic, thinking back to those awful, sweaty nights in awful venues. I’d love to hear your comments, so please post below. 🙂