Cocktails with Satan's SonbyNigel Debonnaire©
This a sequel to my earlier story, Lunch with Satan.
It was a dark evening in the club, waiting for its prophet to perform. Several couples sat at tables, drinking and talking, flirting and teasing, looking and being watched. A skinny, young looking waitress in a short, dark uniform glided from table to table, her dark hair done in spit curls with a rose perched over her right ear. Her skin was deep brown, her face long and sturdy, but it broke into a broad smile easily at a witty remark and returned jests deftly as a tennis champion.
A lone woman sat at a table, waiting for her date. She was slightly less than medium height, slightly plump: her dark hair cascaded down her back, her long fingers played with a frosty, empty glass before her, and her dark eyes were lost in thought. A pair of blue earrings dangled from her ears, the only jewelry she wore, and her simple dark dress was relatively low cut, allowing a generous portion of her white skin to almost glow in the dim light. Anyone looking at her would see an elegant woman in her early 40s.
The door opened and closed. A very thin young man with curly red hair, wearing a red sweatsuit, Air Jordans, with a black bandanna around his neck and carrying a backpack, hustled in the door. His eyes were blue and his skin freckled, his arms deceptively fragile, his legs were on the very of springing, dancing back and forth as he searched the room. The lone woman waved and at him: he smiled and went over to greet her. "Mimi, great to see you again."
"How are you, Ace?"
He blushed and scowled. "That's what Mom calls me. I wish you wouldn't do that."
"Your mother talks to me fairly frequently, even now."
"Fine, but you don't have to call me that."
"All right, all right." There was a pause as he sat next to her at their small table, and the waitress came over to take his drink order, smiling broadly. "How is the old bird doing?"
"The same as usual. Still worried about her son."
"Nice. I guess I should visit her more often."
"I didn't say that."
He glared at her briefly, his eyes smoking, and then gave up as she gave him a serene smile. Looking at the waitress, he said: "I'll have a Harvey Wallbanger."
"Yes, sir, and the same, Miryam?"
"You know me," Mimi replied.
Ace rolled his eyes. "Sometimes you work a little too hard at your reputation. Do you ever order anything other than a Virgin Mary?"
"Yes, of course I do. Just not while you're around."
"Stuck in a rut, always stuck in a rut," he teased.
Mimi reached and touched Ace's shoulder. "Ace, I can have anything I want, and this is what I want right now. Have you ever tried my son's wine?"
"No, not into that kind of thing."
"I thought not. You don't know what you're missing." She turned back to the waitress: "That's all for now, Aggie. We'll order dinner a little later."
"Anything you say, Miryam," she smiled as she turned to go.
"Wait a minute, what's your name, lady?"
"Aggie," the waitress replied, looking back over her shoulder. Mimi looked away at his lack of attention.
"Where you from?"
"The Balkans, but I spent a lot of time in India."
"I could see that. You can go now."
Aggie left the table and Mimi shook her head. "There's no reason to be nasty to her, Ace. She's just doing her job and trying to be friendly."
"Mimi, she's a got a prune face and skinny as a broom. Why should I be nice to her?"
"She's bringing your dinner and drinks for the evening. I imagine you'd like prompt service."
"That's pretty cold, Mimi, and surprisingly logical. I thought you were going to trot out that 'compassion for all God's creatures' shit again."
"I can tell you've had a tough day. Drink your drink when it comes and order another. We'll have a nice evening listening to Charlie while you eat your steak, and by the time it's over, your mood will be better."
He shrugged his shoulders. "I guess you're right, Mimi. Thanks. Tough day today."
"I know. How's your Dad doing?"
"Stupid as usual. You know him, always posing and acting like he knows how everything should happen. Read me the riot act when I called him a loser."
"That's a great way to influence people, Ace."
"And made fun of me because I wouldn't tell him all the details of my plan. Threatened to blow me into bits."
"Where did you have lunch?"
"Freddie's. Know it?"
"Yes. I'd never eat there."
A piano, bass and guitar took the stand and started playing some soft jazz. A man with a mustache got up and escorted his female companion out to the dance floor. He was a thin man in a brown suit with a small mustache under his nose, she was tall and lithe wearing a demure blue dress. They drew close and whispered to each other as they moved with the music, smiling
as they talked.
A short man with a gray mustache, frazzled hair, and a briefcase wandered in the door. There was a murmured conversation with the doorman, and the older man walked out again. "Albert's still trying to figure out where he is," Mimi said softly.
"Yeah," Ace replied. "He's been working on it how long?"
"You know time means nothing here."
"Right. Probably still stuck on that from his life's work."
"Probably. Probably still thinks he's in his own universe."
Ace laughed and smiled. "You're the witty one, Mimi. You're right, we're not in Einstein's universe are we? Wonder what he was looking for?"
"There's a Mozart concert down the street. Bet he was trying to find that."
"No bet. You're right far too often."
She leaned over and brushed his cheek. "I'm always right, Ace."
The set concluded and a saxophone player walked on stage. He was a Black man of average build, and his instrument looked like a student model. After counting off the tempo, the group settled into an upbeat tune, the sax wailing, dipping and soaring like a graceful seagull over the waves. Several other couples got up, but Ace refused Mimi's invitation to dance. The drinks arrived and Ace gulped his down, holding his glass out for another. Mimi sipped her red beverage and nodded in time to the music.
"What's that tune he's playing?" Ace asked after a while.
"Zippin Down Concourse B," Mimi replied.
"Where is that in Bird's catalog?"
"What catalog? That tune came from the mid 2030's."
"You can pick up anything here, remember?"
Ace shrugged and sipped his refilled drink. "Except you." Mimi smiled broadly at him.
Sweat started to form on his forehead after a few moments. "Is it me, or it is hot in here?"
"It's you," she replied. "I think the temperature's perfect in here."
"Well, I can see Charlie sweating up front. Can't they get the air going in here?"
"I doubt we can get it cool enough for you, but we'll give it a try." Looking across the room, she caught the bartender's eye. He was a tall man, in excellent shape, with brown eyes, long hair and a beard. After a couple of gestures, he nodded and went to adjust the thermostat. "It's going to happen. You should feel the cold air soon. Although I'd probably think you're just waiting to see my nipples harder through my dress."
"Whatever would make you say that?" The reply came with a smirk. "Look at Adolf go to town." The man in the brown suit was still dancing with the woman in blue, his hand moving gently across her back and settling below her waist. "Who's that he's dancing with?"
"Cathy. She's Italian. From Siena."
"Sharp looking lady. Know her?"
"Oh yes. She's smart and funny."
"Adolf just got his hand smacked again."
"He deserves it. That's the fourth time he's put his hand on her ass."
"Didn't know you were keeping score. Does he have a chance?"
"What do you think?" came the reply, her dark eyes dancing in amusement.
He shook his head in negation and she smiled coyly. "Well, I think it's time I ordered that steak. I'm famished, those damn banquets make me so hungry."
"It's your own fault, Ace."
"You've never taught me the trick with the salad tongs."
"You know I can't. You've got to figure that out on your own."
"So is the steak any good here?"
"Tom Aquinas is the best chef around. Never trust a skinny cook."
"Dammit, that's one of mine. No fair, you can't use that one."
"Who says?" she replied with another coy smile. "I can use any saying I want, say anything I want."
"Can he do a steak big and bloody? That's the important thing."
"Of course. He usually prefers doing them medium, but he'll it big and bloody for you." She beckoned the waitress and said: "Aggie, Ace wants a steak, big and bloody, with all the fixings. Can Tommy get to that right away?"
"It'll be here before you know it," Aggie replied.
"Thanks, Mimi. I'm famished."
"And what did you have for lunch?"
"It's the only thing Nietzsche does well."
"Like you weren't able to eat a real meal somewhere else."
"Dad picked the restaurant."
She looked down. "All right, this one time it's not your fault." Aggie emerged from the kitchen with a huge steak on a platter, with a baked potato, butter, cream, fresh roll, and asparagus on the side. "Bon appetit."
"Hey, I didn't order this asparagus."
"Your mother wants you to eat more vegetables."
"Who made you her agent?"
"Can't do that, too big a theological issue."
"Cop out." He applied his knife and fork, devouring his meal with gusto. Adolf danced with Cathy, oozing charm and seduction, and Aggie waiting on other customers. Miryam sipped her drink and people watched as Charlie worked his magic.
Ace finished his meal and put down his fork, belching loudly. Miryam smiled: "I bet you thought I'd be offended. In many places, a loud belch is a sign the diner is satisfied with their meal. My father belched like that every night."
"I wish you could be more easily offended. I'd do anything to offend you, see your self-righteousness on display, condemning me for something beneath you.
She smirked at him. "Try again, Ace honey."
"I could tell you a dirty joke. . ."
"I've heard them all. So what?"
"How about a little public nudity?"
"I know what you have in your pants. It's not my perceptions that are skewed here in the afterlife, it's yours. You think you're in Hell, or at least, just outside it. You think you have everything figured out, you know how to bend humanity to your way of thinking. . ."
"I know I do, and Richard's going to prove you wrong. I hope he gets Benedict when he come to England, and religion will be tried and found wanting."
"Rather than found difficult and left untried? They can try Benedict and even convict him if they can. What difference does it make? Taking out the messenger doesn't kill the message. Didn't you figure that out a couple thousand years ago?"
"Ancient history to me, remember? Before my time."
"That would explain a lot of things. Still. . ."
Ace sat back and gave her a direct look full of passion. "Did you ever just want to have a good time, to get what you want out of life? To enjoy a little pleasure, let your hair down, spread your legs?"
"And feel like a real woman? I can read your mind, Ace: you think if you jam your dick down my throat while your lower penis fucks my breasts pushed together, and I feel the rush of your semen as it explodes all over and inside me, I will feel like a real woman. No thanks, I feel like a real woman already. I have everything I need and want as well as eternal happiness. My self image is fine."
Ace gulped down his drink. "Well, if you're not going to give me a chance. . ."
"But I gave you a chance, Ace. I gave you a chance to have an excellent steak and great company who you don't have to pretend with, a night off. You made yourself miserable, as you do every day of your existence."
"Shit, Miri. You really don't see, do you?" He slammed down his empty glass, picked up his backpack and stormed out the door.
Miryam sat back, listened to the Bird's magic melodies, and watched as Adolf Hitler put his moves on Catherine of Siena. Mother Theresa of Calcutta, aka Aggie, picked up the dirty dishes and took them back to the kitchen. JC sent his mother a bottle of wine, which she uncorked, poured into a glass, and sipped delicately. "Ace, you've never gotten it," she murmured to herself. "Heaven and Hell aren't places you think you are. It's what you see."