“One a day, two a day, smoke a whole pack. Don’t make a fuss or your lungs’ll turn black.”
Dimitry quietly sang the song to himself as he flicked the butt of a cigarette onto the ground.
The bar was dusty and had no air conditioner-naturally the best time to smoke a cigarette in the dead heat of August. It’s sketchy location (on an obscure side street near 3rd avenue) and lack of any kind of promotion save for the word “BAR” in neon red letters added to its abandoned quality.
He pulled out another cigarette (his fourth) and brought it to his mouth. He reached down into his pocket for his lighter and glanced at the empty street in front of him.
Is that a glow in the dark mannequin? Don’t see that everyday.
He shrugged his shoulders and lit the Marlboro with his bic before going around the counter and serving himself a Sazerac.
A moment later, the door swung open and a 22 year old girl walked in. She was tall and wore a tattered ‘two sizes too large’ sweatshirt fit for a hobo but on her looked like the latest fashion trend.
“Karina Babic. The Lu Boti`n runway show.”
“You’re in the wrong kind of bar lady.”
“I’ve been banned from all. You have great lights inside.”
“I’d be sleeping if I turned em off. What do you mean?”
“Oh the nightclubs in fashion district. They are too dark for me. You see I was cursed by make up artist Melanie L’Fuarch.”
“I was cursed by my uncle for giving me this bar.”
“So you also change the physical state without light.”
“Give me double whiskey.”
Dimitry took out another glass, poured the remainder of the cognac and slid it across the counter.
She took a sip and coughed. “Sorry I never drank much – even in Serbia.”
“Ok I’m a little concerned because I’m not sure what you meant by that.”
“It is country in East portion of Europe.”
“No the other thing-did she do a bad job with your hair or something? Because it looks great to me.”
“No…no. Hmmm it’s so hot in here.” She removed the sweatshirt to reveal a slender torso and white semi sheer bra.
Dimitry straightened up and took a slightly larger sip from his drink. “Classy girl for a classy bar.”
“I have curse for 6 months but I miss the men. They see me and they want nothing to do with me.”
“Hard to believe – You’re beautiful.”
“Would you have anything to do with me?”
“What do you think I just said?”
“Can you show me?”
A few moments the two were up against the back wall in the office necking with her hands running through his hair. He shifted and found her lips and kissed her but immediately recoiled.
“You taste strange.”
“Alcohol has a strange reaction in my mouth.”
He shrugged and went back in but before he made contact again he paused.
“Wait.” He turned from her and walked towards the light switch.
He flipped the switch off and turned back around to face the vacant stare of a glowing blue mannequin with great dark shadows in place of the eyes.
“That’s not normal.”
Like a reanimated corpse, the mannequin moved its mouth and slowly reached for him with dull plastic arms.
“Love me.” It moaned in a desperate and demonic screech.
“What the fuck?”
The shadows were the eyes should have been grew into large painted blotches as the mannequin removed a mail opener from its back pocket.
“Like the others I will kill you then I will use your body to derive my sensual pleasure.”
“You were cuter when you didn’t want to go all necro on me.”
In the speed it took a camera to flash, the mannequin was two inches away from Dimitry with the nail cutter raised high above and glinting in the moonlight.
Dimitry pulled out the bic and lit the mannequins face. He grabbed the Sazerac from the desk and splashed the face where a ball of flames erupted before he dashed out of the backdoor and sprinted one block towards the nearest subway station.
He jumped the turn styles and slid right into the train as it was in the middle of closing its doors.
He sat down in an empty seat and found himself heaving.
Haven’t had water all day and it’s hot as shit. I must have hallucinated that.
He lowered his head and closed his eyes, feeling the natural shake of the train as it moved along.
Suddenly the train stopped and all the lights went out.
Dimitry looked up and saw the dim outline of a pair of legs and a torso wearing a tattered sweatshirt in front of him. He looked up even further and saw Karina holding up his lighter to her face.
“You forgot this.”
“Ha Ha. Where’d you put the mask?”
She blew out the lighter and Dimitry found himself staring at the severely melted remains of a glowing wax face.