Another speak-easy, another rainy night. A wisp of clove smoke rose gracefully from a table in the far corner, accented by a dim, low slung light. The bar was basically empty, maybe five people occupied it's old frame, including the bartender, who was polishing glasses with closed eyes, maybe contemplating life, or keeping the smoky haze out of his eyes. His target was the source of the clove smoke, in that far corner, she sat by herself, with her back towards the only door in the place.
"Gin and tonic, please", James requested of the barkeep, "double." The keep moved gracefully through the motions required to serve the simple, yet iconic combination. James never took his gaze off the woman in the corner, a blonde, who was wearing what looked to be a pencil skirt, grey in color, with black high heeled shoes and a white blouse. Her hair was down her back as she looked straight ahead into nothing.
James took his completed beverage, leaving a twenty dollar bill on the bar top, and began walking towards the woman. Low jazz music gave a soundtrack for the sound of his boots as they impacted the old, wood floor of the bar. No one paid the young man any mind, he dressed simple enough, boots, a nice pair of blue jeans, and a black, banded-collared shirt. His black hair was short enough, parted on the left and accented by low auburn, evidence of salt water and sunlight having assaulting it.
He set the drink down next to her with care as he turned and took the seat across the small table. James took out a silver Zippo and lit a cigarette in silence. The two sat there in silence for an eternity of a breath as both slowly puffed away, under that dim, low-slung light.
"Well I certainly didn't expect to ever see you again", she said in a way that could only be interpreted as snide, "I thought by now you would have left everything behind, again." her emerald eyes met his for the first time in years as he continued to sit in silence. "I should have", he finally says to her, "but, sometimes in order to leave it all behind you have to close some chapters, or even destroy the entire book." "So you're here to what? kill me?" she asks with a smile, "Or are you here to erase me? it's kind of difficult to edit someone out of reality you know..." She puts her cigarette out on the table, her eyes now blue-grey.
James finally takes a drink, and sighs, this is the first time that they have been together in nearly five years, again, in a smoky bar. "You know, maybe I am here to kill you,", he says jokingly, "because that would help my situation so, so, much." He drops his cigarette to the floor, stepping on it to eliminate it's ember. "You need me," she bites, "you fucking need me, and you know it...so admit it." "I don't need you!" he snaps back, "Everything would be better if it weren't for you, do you realize all the shit I've dealt with? Everything comes back to you." She smiles as she turns away, then back to him. Her hair is brunette now, big, brown eyes, intoxicating gaze, blue halter top. "You mean it comes back to us, James, it wasn't just me." "You don't understand what you did to me, how that changed me, you bitch." he retorts. "WHAT I DID TO YOU?! HOW THAT CHANGED YOU?!" she screams at him, her voice sounding as if there was multiple voices screaming the same line in a movie. Her eyes, now dark, seem to be wishing to set him ablaze as they sit there together. "You need me, you selfish fuck, I'm the only reason you have accomplished what you have so far, because OF US!", again, her voice is a chorus.
James breathes deep and closes his eyes, once they are opened again he takes a drink. Her hair is blonde again, eyes grey, black t-shirt, her glasses give her a certain secretarial look, a look he always loved. She lifts her martini and takes a sip while looking into his eyes, "You can't do what you do without us.". Thunder shakes the old watering hole, he had forgotten it was raining. "It was raining that day too.." he starts, but she cuts him off, "It was always raining on those days for you, martyr." she sounds like five different people now. "SO tell me, how are you going to burn at the stake this time? How are you going to spin all of this in a vain attempt to make yourself feel better for a month or two?" she bites at him, "Because so far all you have done is find ways to put yourself in situation to get hurt, or to hurt, and try to spin it like a fucking politician, but everything is stacking up against you again and you need an out...right?"
He lights another cigarette and put the lighter into his pocket. Tilting his head back to look to the ceiling.
"I do put myself in holes, just to see how deep it can get before I can't dig myself out anymore." he finally answers. "You taught me very well how to leave shit behind, you were so very fucking good at it." His head lowers to look at her again. Her eyes are brown again, a honey brown, her hair back dark, grey tube-top, smugness radiating from her expression. "Well you didn't expect me to carry a torch for you forever did you? Or did you expect me to hold on and join you in your self pity and misery?" three voices. James tries to keep a calm demeanor, but the comment did sting, like a hot poker pressed to his flesh, but on scar tissue and he had seen it coming, he knew it would happen."I can erase you" he whispers in a low tone, "I can erase everything, I don't need you.." "What's your endgame James? Hm? how is this going to play out?" Six voices. "Because you don't have it in you, you like your torches..." Blonde hair covers one of her blue eyes as she leans into him, "You love being miserable." she seductively whispers to him, "You couldn't erase me, even if you wanted to. You came looking for me, like Gatsby reaching for that green light." Still six voices. "Never, ever, again will you hold our past because you don't deserve to."
They stare at each other for a minute, James' jaw clinched, his cigarette long burned out.
"Get out of my fucking head." He finally whispers. The chorus of her voice laughs loudly, echoing through the bar as again her eyes and hair change. He finally snaps. James jumps up from his seat and reaches behind his back, his hand returning, brandishing a Beretta pistol. "Shut up! he desperately screams as her gaze mocks him, her laughing stops but she continues to smile. She looks amused, "Sit down, you're causing a scene." she demands sternly, "You are only making the situation worse on your end, stupid boy." One voice. "If you want to know how this is going to work you have to talk to the right person," she jeers, "You can put that gun away now," she continues, while her piercing blue eyes meet his with an icy resolve, "You brought this world upon yourself, so lets talk." Three voices.
James sits back down, placing the gun on the table. Thunder rolls again through the cold night air, as he notices the bar is now completely empty save for them. Breathing deeply he closes his eyes and bows his head down. She finally speaks again, "What is your endgame? You can't find the peace you're looking through me" Four voices. "You need to get the right person, and that certainly isn't me, you're wasting your time." "Then who the fuck do I need to find? hm?" he asks, "Where does it all end?" He can hear the six voices again sigh in unison. "It ends with the person who made it begin in the first place." "And who the fuck is that exactly?" he demands in a loud voice.
"Answer me, dammit!" opening his eyes he reaches for the pistol and lifts his head.
Everything stops in that instant
A young man sits across from him, in a black, banded-collared shirt. His black hair was short enough,
parted on the left and accented by low auburn, evidence of salt water
and sunlight having assaulting it.
The Trickster, Maui