Rumor and Hearsay

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One Last Time

"I'm surprised to hear from you, really." a voice from a long forgotten past, a sweetness clouded in hesitation, reverberated in his mind a they sat across from each other in nearly a decade of separation. Goose bumps raised on the back of his neck as he calmed himself, at least trying to. An attack on nerves he hadn't felt since his self-imposed exile. Her dress was simple enough, black heals, which he noticed as he approached their now shared table, long legs covered by a black pencil skirt which clung tightly evolving into a white blouse that fit her torso perfectly.

Inhale. Exhale.

The accent of the white against her perfectly tanned skin, just enough shown cleavage to entice, yet maintain a professional demeanor. Her neckline led the way to a face he hadn't seen in person since the before times, ice blue eyes framed by soft curls of blonde hair, an expression that begs one to reach out and touch her.

Inhale. Exhale.

Get it together, wake up.

He clears his throat and puts on a smile, "Yeah, I know, it's been... a really long time." he says, attempting to hide those nerves that had been so long, untouched. "I found myself in town on business, and, wanted to see how you had been, you're the only person I know here anymore and figured we might be able to catch up."
He might as well have looked like a waiter in the restaurant, black patent leather shoes at the end of black slacks. The shirt was white, unbuttoned towards his throat, the assembly cloaked in a grey vest, the sleeves rolled halfway through his forearms, a pilot's watch latched on his left wrist. Stubble, roughly five-o-clock, shadowed his jaw, eyes of a deep brown only expressed slight weariness, his black hair in a modern cut which fit his features well enough, likewise, a quite professional look.
"I never thought you'd come back to Texas, especially after so long," she quips," I figured you were gone just like those cowboys that ride off into the sunset in all those western stories." "Well you know I have that strange tendency to revisit old places, I don't vanish too easily anymore." he retorts with a smile. Their waiter stops at the table and bows for an order, "Dalmore 28, yes neat, double, thank you." escapes his lips in confidence. She indicates to the waiter that it's time for another. "You were always kind of a cowboy though, I think you rather enjoy that lonely sort of life." She raises her glass for a drink, he fixates on her lips.

Images assault his mind like lightning.
Against a wall.
Her, him.
The taste.

He struggles to push the thoughts away.

Wake up.

"I've always been more of a knight, especially to you, venturing off to war..." his voice trails, "eventually I have to come back from the crusades, right?" She giggles, setting her glass down, "Yes always off to save some damsel in distress, a brave knight, always, off to save the world." The waiter stoops low, "Seven and Seven" he whispers in her ear as he places a glass down. "Dalmore, for the gentleman". She rests her chin in her hand, head lightly cocked to one side, their eyes locked.
A comfortable silence.
"At least nowadays you seem to help people more often that hurt them..." she finishes. "Well sometimes you have to hurt people in order to save them." he darkly responds. "Well," she sighs, "you always found a way to save me." "Exactly..."

Her nails digging into his back.
Her gasps in his ear.
"I want you to hurt me" a whisper of passion.

He fights the images.

Wake up.

"Well, we were a bit sadistic with each other weren't we? Back then." he sips the single malt, savoring the burn. "Or masochistic..." she replies with a smile on her face. He feels her foot graze his leg as she shifts in her seat. Ten years, a first touch.

Sadism: experiencing sexual pleasure from inflicting pain or humiliation.
Masochism: experiencing sexual pleasure from one's pain or humiliation.
See also: ball gag, bit gag, discipline, submission.
She grunts as he pushes her against the wall.
He sees the blood collected from his back on her hands.

You can't...Stop.

Wake up.

The waiter drops off a fresh round of beverages.

"You know, I've always been curious about 'Hollywood Land' as you call it," She hold her drink close to her lips, those lips, "does it still always rain there?" "All the time, at least somewhere, it can be a big place." "It's a shame about the weather...I bet it could really be a beautiful place if you let it be. A slow sip, eyes locked, is that a flirty smile? "You know...I've often found myself looking at a map, wondering where it is, that place, my fingers sometimes in the creases of distant, dark places." "That's exactly where it is," he replies, "off in the whispers." They share a smile, and drink.
"Speaking of you and your crusades, what brings you to Houston? Business right?" A smile creeps over his face as he finishes the former drink. "Business, always, it's far too muggy and humid here for me to find any pleasure in it, the city is large enough to hide in I guess, so there is a redeeming quality." "And that business is?" she playfully finishes. "Well, I fly powerful people around and try not to ask too many questions." "So after all this time you're a taxi driver?" "You could say that." "For powerful people and you don't ask questions? What are you really some kind of spy?" she chuckles as her question ends. "Well shit, you got me!" his arms rise in the air in a joking manner "yeah I'm a..." She cuts him off hurriedly, demanding, "What the fuck did you do to yourself?!" A deep scar graces his forearm, hidden earlier in the night by his positioning. He swallows hard. "Occupational hazard?" he playfully states. "Tyler..." "Lacy..." they share a moment of silence outside of his racing heart. "Contracts?" "Yes." Lacy sighs, shaking her head, the newest drink in front of her is aggressively gulped down, her eyes never leaving his.

"This is why I worry about you, shit like's not enough that you already destroyed yourself back in those days, now you've found a way to get paid to do this? How long do you think you're going to be able to live like that? And here I thought you were looking fantastic considering the life you used to live, but no! you're still fighting other peoples wars for them." "It could be worse," he begins, "I could be doing the grunt work, after climbing the ladder you get a choice in assignments, luckily I've gotten to the point where I don't have to get my hands dirty much, like a high-end babysitter...that flies planes and helicopters..." "Wait." they say in unison. "Go." Tyler insists. "You chose to come here?" Lacy cautiously asks, "why?". "You worry about me? still?" he responds. "You first," she whispers. The Dalmore quickly escapes it's glass into his mouth as the waiter returns, bearing gifts. "I wanted to see if you'd meet with me, at least one last time..." their eyes lock again during the pause, "I wanted to see if after all these years you were okay, that maybe you didn't need me anymore, so I could rest easy again." Lacy slowly reaches out towards Tyler's arm, her touch caressing the scar tissue. Memories of her soft skin again his rocket through Tyler's mind, a touch she'd lay on him after he has been beaten and bruised, a touch that allowed him peace. "Tyler, of course I worry about you, I always have, and always will." she hesitates as she reaches her other hand to his, "And, I think I'll always need you," she pauses again, "even when I'm not supposed to."

Heart stops.

This, was dangerous, the two of them, here, now, like this...Both sense the return of the waiter, Tyler requests the check.Eyes, locked. Lacy speaks, "I want to take you somewhere special to me...I think You'll like it. "Okay." is the instantaneous answer.

The cab ride is quiet, hesitant even. The door is inconspicuous enough, no signage, she knocks, a slot opens and closes. The door opens. The two are shown to what could only be described as "her" table, a chair added, facing to watch the small stage. "You run away to Hollywood Land, I hide here, life can't touch me in these walls." A waitress brings martinis. "You're still a classy gent, but warm scotch is making you a little hot, cool off." Lacy playfully quips, they sip. "How'd you find this place? he asks, A jazz trio taking the stage. "I thought of you actually, how when we were young you always wanted a speakeasy, so I started to think like you, one day I noticed the slit while driving by and, here we are..." "Good job", another sip, silence. "And you," she pries, "why or how pray tell did you get to where you are today?" "Helping the right people, finding the wrong ones, occasionally hunting the worst ones...his voice trails..."I could have been really good at this" gesturing to the dim room surrounding them, "I could hide in my little speak, retired from the rest..." Lacy cuts him off, "Why don't you?" eyes meet again. "Casablanca." She raises an eyebrow. "In all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world..." Lacy finishes, "She walks into mine..." 
The next several minutes, silence, silent sips, gentle jazz, these stories two reunited not a couple, but as a Queen and her loyal, prodigal Knight. In a way he had become her contractor, The dirty work, his payment? Only the two of them would know.

His nerves calm, both at ease, talk resumes as slowly they re all that remains, listening to the music. Tyler reaches over, touching her hand. "It's been a lovely evening, Lacy, thank you...I should probably head out.

Inhale. Exhale.

"Yeah, it's getting late I suppose," she seems let down. Her escape from the chaos of reality is, heart-breakingly over. They walk outside, Tyler lighting a smoke, a slight drizzle announces an impending downpour. "Always raining in Hollywood Land." he mutters as he leans against the speakeasy wall.
In the haze, she finally saw it, a stare, a gaze, the 1,000 yard stare of an endangered, bloodied, tired man. "Tyler, you didn't come here for business, did you?" "It's always business hon." is his chosen response. Lacy hesitates, "And you didn't come here for me, did you?"



Holding on to some fragment of the past she quips, "As your queen, please, tell me." Her heart feels frozen, she doesn't breathe.

Inhale. Exhale.

"Just felt you might need something, figured I'd check in on you." Both know he's lying.

In the distance, thunder. 

"Tyler", she walks slowly towards the wounded knight, both hearts racing. "You've saved me so many times, always you come riding in to rescue me, always so bottled up...You're tired, hurting, let me save you...for once." 

Inhale. Exhale.

Darkly, " Lacy, darling, that's not how this works." She grabs the cigarette from him, taking a long drag, never letting her eyes off of him, and flicks the remnants into the street. Pushing her hips into him and wrapping her arms around his neck, she leans into one ear, "Then, perhaps you can save last time." she retreats, eyes lock, lips close.

Heart stops.

Lips Lock.

A rapturous voice screams as everything turns white, painfully blinding.

He awakes in a hotel room, a look into the mirror reveals a torn and bloodied suit, not what he had been wearing, Bow Tie. A black eye? The room is windy the sound of waves, pounding rocks draws him out of the bathroom. The room, is wrecked, patio door is open, and we walks towards it. Lacy, is outside, shes sobbing. She turns to him, meeting his eyes, makeup following trails of tears. Is that a bridesmaid dress? Her, even like this, that dress, is beautiful. 

Between sobs: 

"Every. fu...fucking time... we..we come here...we can't have will never fucking....fucking let us..." Tyler grabs her hand, pulling her into him, holding herclose, strongly, staring out to a storm at sea.

As she calms, she refuses to look him in the eyes. "Tyler, knowing hoe everything, how this ends, and it only ends like this.." a fearful pause, "would you do it all over again?" "In a heartbeat", signs, sweetly it seems. Anything for you. Lacy runs a finger over his chest, over his heart, "Can you, feel this?" "I feel nothing" is an exhausted response. She adds pressure, cutting into his chest, "Does it sting?" Tyler writhes in pain, but refuses to let go as she pulls a black heart out of his chest, and kisses it lightly, a slight beat returns. 

~J.S. Havok

Green Flashes

Another hot day on  the southside... Caleb, recently clocked out, heads towards the beach, a backpack he carries is occupied by beer and booze.

It is going to be a fun day.

Kam Beach was packed as he coolly strolled up, now joined by Eddie, one of the other servers he worked with at The Beach House. "Caleb, its fucking crazy hot today, we need to hit the water for sure." Smirking, Caleb retorts ,"Depends on how bad you wanna show off that beer belly, bruh."

A couple hours pass, beer reloaded, a fresh pack of smokes, however, no shot glasses, so the Captain remained untouched. Neighbors to the right had developed, two girls, Caleb and Eddie discussed among themselves if they were local, or just passing through.  A couple of eye-catches later, Eddie pushes Caleb two beers and calls to the girls, "Hey ladies, wanna beer? come on over!" He can feel Caleb's disdain for him, but, it's all for the greater good. As they approached, Eddie continued, "Hi, well, I'm Eddie and this shy young-blood is Caleb...and you are...?" "We're just here for the beer, one of the girls jokes, don't make it weird by asking names hon." The group shares a laugh as the beers are passed. and opened. "I guess we'll just call you, pointing to the blonde, #1 and you," turning towards the brunette he stops, cut by piercing green eyes, gathering himself, he continues, "#2".  Fantastic body, brilliant smile, she seemed wild, not in the bad wild/crazy way, but as is she belonged in nature, like a huntress stalking prey through the woods and forests. It was sexy, everything about her, just, fit.

Inhale. Exhale. Smile.

A few hours pass, both girls now eating ice cream out of emptied lemon halves, Caleb and Eddie casually chat up a couple from Los Angeles, Travis and Claire, Caleb thinks, something like that. He turns to the girls as they are finishing the empty peels and like a freak wave, an idea hits him. "Hey, #2, give me those peels..." "Why?" she responds playfully. "Smiling as he reached into his bag, finally revels a bottle of Captain Morgan, "Now we have shot glasses!" She returns the smile, #1 joins the tea, as Eddie realizes what's happening around him. "Oh shit." he sighs ,"Well I guess it's time to party!"

Caleb and #2 share the first round through their makeshift party-ware, powering down the warm party fuel. Eddie and #1 follow suit, by this time, the park had calmed down, families, mostly tourists, lining up to to catch the infamous green flash, which famously accompanied Maui's sunset. Caleb and #2 share a glance as she raises the bottle in a toast, pulls, and hands the bottle over. They both giggle as he follows suit, lemon peels long abandoned when the sun returned to it's slumber.  "You're coming to a party with me tomorrow night by the way." she says this in a ay that is more of an instruction than an invitation, "I wanna show you something." Caleb agrees as #1 and Eddie seem to be hitting it off and go for a walk. They sat in that comfortable silence for a while, then walked towards the water, ill lit ships bobbing with the waves. They sleep on the beach, gently embraced in the light, rhythmic crushing of a mighty, but gentle ocean.

The next day, Caleb gets out of work late, goes home to shower, then leaves to pick up his new acquaintance at Kam Beach, now he refers to her as the huntress. Her shining eyes shown in the setting sun as she climbs into his jeep. "How was work today? Nothing serious I hope, at least nothing you can't handle...' She playfully jabs at him. "Nah, it was pretty much cake, just hot, Eddie wasn't even on the struggle bus today, that was surprising." "Well that's good", she laughs, "do you know what today is?" her gaze catches his, intensely.

Was he supposed to know something?
What was today?
Is this about the party?

She leans in close to his face, eyes locked, playfully?

Inhale. Exhale.

"Um, a party is today..." he guesses, still confused, but his heart beating out of his chest.

"It's a full moon tonight silly," she winks, "we are going to Little Beach, duh"

Again, more of a statement than a request.

"They spoke at length during the car ride out of Kihei, both talking about interests, loves, failures, fear, hopes and dreams. All the way to Makena. Both probably thinking, "Why am I telling them all of this?!" Leaving the Jeep, they start a hike over an outcropping pointing to, or reaching out to some unseen place or goal.  Coming over the outcropping, Little Beach is truly a site, hundreds of bodies in varying levels of dress, most closer to nude than the opposite. Bonfires were being built throughout the beach area, for after the sun's retreat over the horizon. The pounding of drums fills the air, as well as a wisp of marijuana smoke.

She guides him down to a small cove where they set up camp. Volley balls and Frisbees zip between groups, everyone friendly, everyone loving life. Caleb made quick friends with a nudist couple from West Virginia who were visiting friends on the Big Island, he promises, to visit sometime. Finally, he takes the plunge, hitting the water as a green flash waved to the spectators on the beach, it would take a minute for him to return, she had joined him in the water as they traded glances of flirtation and challenge. Heading back to shore she sheds her top and bottoms, wringing them out in the process, this stops Caleb dead in his tracks. She turns around to face him and mockingly asks is he's ever seen a woman before, the fading light cast such beautiful shadows onto her, "how old are you anyway, Caleb?" "20, why?" he smiles "Oh geeze, you're a baby! she proclaims as she turns around, heading to the spot."

She towels off, waiting for Caleb, a wet slap of board shorts is heard nearby as the fires are lit. Caleb silhouetted by the flames behind him ,"Well, you sure do know how to make an entrance don't you?" her voice trails. As he sits, "I dunno what it is about you, but," he pauses ," I just feel comfortable even if we ended up out here on the run from something..." He hands her a beer, they open the bottles, toast, and drink.

 "You know," she starts while staring off into the bonfires, fire dancers, and hula hoopers. "I guess you're alright too"

"Oh yeah?" he playfully responds

"Ya." her voice sounds hopeful and kind.

She turns to him piercing him with those eyes again, lit by a full moon and fire.

"Willow", she says, allowing herself to smile slightly.

"What?" Caleb mindlessly says.

"My name is Willow."

"Are you weeping on the inside?"

Another smile.

Inhale. Exhale.

Willow rests her head on Caleb's shoulder, "You're some 20 year old..." Both giggle, blissfully unaware of how extremely important and needed they would end up being for each other.

For now, drums, smoke, fire, peace.


~The Trickster, Maui.


'I don't work for you anymore." Were the first words to escape his mouth as a middle aged man in slacks and white button-up shirt sat down across from him in that smokey speakeasy. The who hadn't seen each other is some time, in some distant place. "Tyler," the voice responds, let's not talk about business, we have enough history together since Tuscon to wipe away formalities..." The two sat there, in a silent agreement as a waitress drops off two glasses of a single malt. "I do have to ask you, for one last rodeo though, as a favor, Ty..." "What do you want, Travis?" Tyler takes a sip from the glistening vessel in front of him. "How do you feel about Houston?"