And Beaver Was Her Name.
Hi all. Hope you cultists would check out this short story of mine, and perhaps give it a crit or two. Thanks in advance.
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If you were to ask me today, I wouldn't be able to give you an answer. I don't know why I stepped in there, really. I just did. The place was deserted, without a single car in sight. From the outside, it looked like it had been closed for years. Still, I went ahead. I was on my way to a meeting halfway across the country, and wasn't looking forward to it anyway.
The first thing that hit me when I opened the door was the smell. Not exactly one that I would call unpleasant, though. It was like a mixture of cigarette smoke and dried flowers and sweat and cum. I would describe it as the smell of memories. The smell of life's stories, both happy and sad.
Anyway, I stepped in there, and I was greeted by this woman. She looked about 25, 30. She was'nt the most good looking woman I had ever seen, but she wasn't ugly either. Her lipstick was tar-black, and her eyes were a shade of grey that reminded me of corpses. She was wearing a pair of tight leather pants held up by a yellowing belt that had holes punched way too shallow for her waist, and had a tattoo, or rather a bunch of tattoos, for a shirt. I felt bad for staring, but I could'nt help looking at the sketches of dinosaurs holding up laser swords and huge-ass guns over a landscape of fire and water swirling up to cover her breasts, complete with barbell studs on her nipples.
It would be polite to say hello first, she said, taking a long drag off her cigarette. I managed to choke out an apology, and properly introduced myself, extending a hand which she ignored. The rivers and white fires ran all the way up to the side of her face, forming little patterns around the multiple piercings on her lips and eye brows. Nice tattoos, I said, still looking a little more than surprised.
Come in, it's freezing out there.
The place was full of scruffy rednecks in denim jackets with cut sleeves and heavy boots that shone under the yellow light of the pub. Tall pitchers of beer and well-worn hands of cards on the table. Black and white photographs of Elvis and Frank Zappa hanging off rusty nails on the wall. A small stage with an old Gibson and a dusty mike. A woman with a bunch of tattoos for a shirt and like half a million piercings on her face.
She led me to a lonely table by the side of the counter, just in front of another occupied by a middle aged guy and this girl dressed in a playboy outfit screaming fake screams of pleasure as they had sex right there and then.
Let me get you a beer, she said.
The place reminded me of old love. It looked like it was going to collapse at any moment, held up by a few bare pillars painted black by cigarette smoke. Yet, it was a place well loved and appreciated. It was a crumbling relic of history, a slice of one's past, a time capsule where one's fondest memories are appreciated and never forgotten.
Memories aren't worth much where I live. No one gets rich and famous living in the past. Our memories can't feed us. They can't clothe us, they can't buy us iPods and Nokia phones. That's what matters, right? Who needs memories when you have DSLR cameras to do all the capturing for you? No one needs to appreciate a beautiful sunset by the river or red and yellow trees during fall when you have the magic that is Google Images. We pay others to depict our lives in books. We pay others to capture our moments in photo albums. We pay others to run our lives, too.
I took a deep gulp of beer. It sucked. Typical cheap house pour. Of course, I din't say that out loud, but the look on my face must have given me away.
Don't ask me why, she said as she refilled my glass. I don't know where they get that stuff from. I don't drink it myself.
I laughed and asked if she'd like to sit down a talk a little. I could'nt help staring at her bare boobs as she took a seat opposite to where I was.
You got a name?
She lit a cigarette and watched it glow a brilliant orange as she pulled hard.
She took another pull, twice as long as her first one. I saw her stone grey eyes dilate as her lungs filled with smoke.
That's what they tell me. And will you stop staring.
I felt my face flush as I looked away, pretending to turn around and check the place out.
God, I pray for a nice big hole, so that I can jump in and never show my face again.
Sorry. Those are pretty interesting tattoos you have.
Yea, she said. Dinosaurs and laser guns. The past and the future. And here we are, right smack in the middle.
And I suppose the flames and rivers represent the clash of the elements?
No, I just thought they looked pretty together, she said, laughing with an intensity that reminded me of a small child.
You own this place?
It's the only fucking thing I have left. By the way, you flirt really badly.
God, put me in a hole NOW, or give me a shovel.
I was'nt trying to. I'm just going to finish my beer and head out as soon as the weather clears.
Yea, that's what they all do.
This is who we are, she says. We are the pit-stops of society. Guys like you come in, tired from hours in front of a steering wheel, and that's when we come in. That's what we're here for. Re-fuel.
No I din't mean it that way.
You don't have to do explain yourself to anyone, really. She laughs. This time, it's fake.
No, I'm not here for that reason. Believe me, I'm not.
Okay, suit yourself.
We talked for the next hour and a half. We talked about our hopes and dreams. We talked about our past. We talked about the future. We talked about everything we wanted to do, given all the money and resources in the world.
When God created the universe, he created one that was free. He created one that was big enough to accomodate all of us, also one that was big enough for our dreams. When God raised us from the dust of the earth, he also gave us the potential to reach beyond what we belived we were capable of achieving. When God created free will, he created minds strong enough to accomplish every dream that we have the capacity to imagine. He created visions that we are well within reach of. He created a destiny that we are able to reach.
Wow, that was some speech. It's almost as if you're God's messenger or something, I joked.
Please don't think that was lame, please.
Yea, I'm pretty sure God's messengers are named Beaver. I think about shit like that from time to time, she said. Sometimes, life fucks us in the ass, but it's up to us to call it rape or passionate love-making.
Just at our most brilliant moment together, my cellphone went off, just like in all cliched movie scenes. This time, it was no movie scene. It really was a message from my boss, reminding me of the work that was due, and the meeting that I was on my way to attend.
Hey, Beaver. Boss called. Gotta be on my way now. My stepping stone to the future, right?
She winked and stuck her tongue out, exposing the shiny stud.
I payed for the beer and started to head out. The rednecks were still screwing around with the playboy bunnies, and people were still chugging shitty house pours. Between my time before and after, nothing in here had changed. Something in my life had, though.
I turned back to say goodbye to Beaver, and I noticed the yellow light falling on her, reflecting off her deep black hair, almost like a gentle halo that sat right on her head. As she was walking back into the crowd, I could'nt help but stare at the pair of white wings tattooed across her back.