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- a Short Halloween Nap -
by Davide Mana
In this line of business nobody wants to feel responsible.
And who am I to go against type?
So, looking for someone to take responsibility in my place, I think it's Pete Townshend who's to blame - for turning a reasonably straight girl into a rocker to begin with, and for infecting me with this thing about the kids being all right most of all.
It's still with me, after all these years.
Locating the place was not hard.
You can't miss the Place.
There's one in every city of Slumberland, invariably.
I stepped inside smartly, trading the darkness outside for the amber-tinged D&D ambience of the interior: sawdust strewn on the floor, the various but equally unpleasant smells of stale beer, recent vomit and cat piss mixing in the atmsphere, overlying the tang of the oil lamps, the host probably burning rat grease to save on illumination.
The guys eyed me as I came up to the bar, ignoring their glances and trying to keep my gorge down at the smell.
I'm pretty positive not even the oldest charnel houses smell as bad as The Place on Halloween night.
There was a number of them, celebrating.
My target was in plain sight, the huge stretch of his back covered with cheap velveteen - black, obviously - and his left hand resting on the pommel of a large, crude sword of some kind.
He had a tang of red hair and a small pair of horns to which tapers had been affixed, and lighted.
A carnelian-haired wench squeezed in a tight-fitting corset was trying to rub herself under his shirt, her slim-fingered, crimson-taloned hand all the while frigging with ill-disguised libido his money pouch.
I came up to him, picked my skirt out of the way and gently cleared my throat.
He turned and his eyes almost poped out from under his ridge-like brow.
Now do not get me wrong.
While my Slumberland persona does have what can be called a pair of strong assets (and I'm sure my partner would tongue-in-cheekely describe them that way), it's usually the green brocade dress and the jewelry that does it in places like these.
These losers can have a woman for free with the minimum of fuss.
But the money.
The sheer quality of the material - the best you can dream.
And so I'm standing there with this brute of an ogre - I guess he qualified as an ogre, even if I'm not the taxonomist of the team - this critter, anyway, there ogling my set-up and the guys in the tavern like, really liking what's coming.
He grinned, a mouthful of sharp teeth flashing in my face at the accompainment of a symphony of alithosis. The whore still masturbating his wallet, happy for the distraction.
Not the 'get out of the way' routine you see in movies for her.
He stretched out a hand, a finger as thick as my wrist coming right under my chin, stroking my exposed skin with a sharp nail rimmed in solid black.
I turned my eyes up to his face, pressed my hands together, under my breasts.
His grin widened.
He probabluy expected me to courtsy and ask him for the next dance.
What I did instead was to jacknife my hands, palm against palm, rotating, clockwise-counterclockwise, fast, sharp, twisting the harmonics to get some more punch as
It's like being on stage, like writing a song fueled by teenage frustration.
Time slows down.
The crackling event horizon spreads, scrubbing the floor clean, causing the lamps to flare citrine green, turning tables and stools into matchsticks, and living buffoons into maimed beggars.
Slow as a tai chi exercise my right hand grabs the extended finger, turns, breaks the short falanx bone that hurts like hell as my left slams into his sternum cracking it lengthwise.
I twist my wrist and his shoulder pops.
He's umbalanced, topples over. The earlier breath of his scream is bursting through his black lips as my right knee conects squarely with his crotch with a wet, satisfying crunch.
It took about five seconds.
Groans and whimpers came from the wreckage.
The whore was bleeding from all her exposed orifices, intelligence shocked out of her stare.
It's not every day you stand close to a Phillips class letting rip.
The light of recognition - or a rough approssimation thereof - was dwindling fast from my bogeyman's eyes.
I bent down.
"This is for Helena," I said, "And her friends."
And then I kicked him in the ribs.
Because I'm no lady.
The oven timer woke me up.
I stretched and stod, checking the big Cheshire-cat clock on my wall.
The doorbell rang as I was checking my make-up.
My partner, standing on the doorstep, a bottle with an orange ribbon in his hand.
He said something, but the kids getting out from the kindergarten across the road caught my attention, drowning his words.
A small pale girl with ponytails running to her mother, laughing.
Eager to tell her about the dream she had this afternoon.
"Val, you OK?"
We looked at each other.
"You OK?" he repeated, that awkward apprehension creeping in his face.
"Yes," I nodded. "I was napping when you ringed, that's all."
He looked at me strangely, then nodded and came in.
A bite, a bottle, then some old files to review.
I closed the door on the kids rushing out.
On little Helena chattering like a machine-gun; no more bogeys for her, for a while.
Let the kids be all right, I thought.
(C) Davide Mana