Chapter Two, Coitus Interruptus
Issabella sat at the counter of the 24-hour smoothie bar, bathed in neon and nursing her wounds from earlier. Raskal the bar-keep kept a secret flame for her, but alas, he wasn’t really her type, and she probably wasn’t his. But, like two ships never meeting in the night, never intending to meet, or for that matter ever being in the same harbor… here they were, at 2 am. A friendly bonding of odd pairs… him, with a blender, her with a thirst. They say you can tell the depth of a person’s love for you by the taste of the food they cook. She sighed… his drinks were fucking good. Raskal was a large French baboon of a man, with a shaggy beard and long hair.
“You want the usual Izzy?” He called while polishing a glass.
“I’ll take a Moonfrost.”
“Excellent choice, the hyacinth seeds are in season.”
“Raskal,” She placed her chin on her hands, supported by her elbows on the counter. “What have you been up to?”
“Making smoothies and practicing teleportation.”
“What?? Really?” She smiled in disbelief.
“Yes and I think I’ve almost got it.” His finger punctuated the end of his sentence.
“How does it work?”
“Well, I stand really still, like when a person is talking to me—”
“I stand incredibly still and I wait, and then when they look away for a moment, I move a few feet. Kinda quietly freaks people out.”
Issabella laughed. “I thought you were serious.”
Issabella had spotted a new fish tank in the corner of the room on the way in.
“That’s Gunther, my new fish. He’s a Squirley Oscar.”
She turned to view the tank. It was decked out like a mini-version of the bar. It had tiny fluorescent lighting, little pieces of checked tile amongst the gravel and a make-shift countertop. Gunther floated motionless, staring back, its face caricatured boredom.
She watched a bubble come from the fish’s mouth as if belching. “Ha, I think Gunther burped.” She turned back around to Raskal, who had noticeably moved two feet to the right.
“Teleportation….” in a knowing nod as he set her drink down on the counter.
Each person in their own way was a genius, at least to themselves.
All of a sudden, a bang noise from the entrance as the glass door crashed back against a nearby booth. Issabella and Raskal jumped, startled, they jerked their heads around to catch a large demon bursting into the smoothie bar.
“Oh shit…” She murmured under her breath.
He was out for blood, another low-level Satanyik and he was enraged. His big hand slammed down on the bar, jolting a cup of wooden stir-sticks on the other end.
“You have our brother!” He demanded.
“Where did you come from!?” She questioned.
“From hell! Now give us our brother back!”
“I can’t do that.”
“Well, me and the boys want him now!” He roared and slammed his fist down on the table again, it jarred straight down onto a loose floorboard that propelled the opposite side up with a powerful force. It smacked hard against the underside of fish-tank.
The tank jumped and Gunther became air born, sailing toward heaven.
Issabella was pissed. This was her time, her quality time. Furthermore, this was her friend’s smoothie bar, and that was his new, albeit weird, fish. “Look, I pencil you guys in, you don’t come find me.”
“You don’t make the rules Huntress, because there are no rules for us.”
In a split second his other heavy fist steam-powered to her face. There was no time for tricks, no time for clever verbiage, no time for stripping and no opportunity or juice to throw another Abeyance sign… there was only a moment to dodge. She did so.
The checkered floor was hard, as the sound it made against a body was unpleasant in terms of noises. This was totally uncalled for, and her shoulder ached in the opposite way it should; say if, a comfy bed had been involved. The demon crouched, drooling, and howling wildly with mouth open in some type of demon victory stance.
“You’re a damn ugly one!” She called up to him and watched as he removed a long club from his belt. She had to think quick. “If you touch my smoothie, you will die!”
He stopped. “Ha! As I said girl, you don’t make the rules!” He turned and studied her drink on the counter.
This one was definitely more vindictive than the earlier one.
“First your drink, and then you!”
The demon brought his arms back and raised the club like a baseball bat. He made eye contact with the target, and smiled maliciously, preparing to uncoil. He felt the moment and tightened his grip, then raised his foot, ready to strike. And just as he was leaning into the swing, Gunther came down on the checkered floor and slid right under the demons foot. When hoof met fish, the demon crumbled, awkwardly, his feet spasmed like a cartoon, wrangling to catch terra firma. He lurched forward. He slipped backward. Finally his elbows crashed down on the bar behind him. Coincidentally, Raskal happened to be standing behind the counter and neatly brought a frying pan down, hard, on his head.
“Good work Raskal! Now we need to trap him!” She grabbed her purse, then stopped. “Shit I already have one in there.” She searched hastily till spotting the jukebox in the corner. “There, the jukebox.”
“I just got that refurbished!”
“We’re only going to trap him inside it, I can pick him up later! Now help me.”
Issabella popped the glass lid open and parked it on the rod. “Now the guts.” She fidgeted, searching for the latch inside to open the body. Click. “Found it.” The front cabinet swung open. “K, we need the power source… next to the amp… there! — You still have those jumper cables?”
“I can’t believe what you are doing to my Schwerliztzer!” Raskal protested.
“It will still work! Now get me some jumper cables!”
Raskal disappeared into the deep storage closet behind the counter and emerged a moment later, dragging the cables as if playing tug o’ war with something inside.
“Good, give them.”
He handed her the cords and she expertly clamped it to some posts by a coil. “Good now haul his ass in the circle before he wakes up.”
Raskal pulled the demon toward the machine as she closed the cab, feeding the thick wires through the bottom and pushing the glass hatch down.
“Ok, pick a number.” She smiled.
Good choice. Her finger hit the button and an old 45 rolled forward.
“Et Oblinito Daemonium!” She hollered as the song “Dancing with myself” started up.
The power cables jittered and electricity shimmied and formed a lightening web around the demon. His body glowed and pulsed, and physics were altered. It pulled at him, tugging him, whereupon a small implosion sucked him up inside the jukebox.
Raskal and Issabella eyed each other with a sigh of relief.
“I like you Izzy, but you always bring trouble.” He knelt to retrieve Gunther.
“I make your life exciting. If you don’t mind I will take the corner booth.”
“Yes, dear.” He plopped the fish back in the tank who still seemed bored with the world in general.
The corner booth meant solace, and Raskal knew that. It meant “me” time for her. Just her, her thoughts, her smoothie, and reflection. It was a time to drink to her ancestry and toast another entry in her journal. She held the tall frosty glass in her hands and pondered. She emptied her mind and poured her anxieties out onto the linoleum table.
“Well, at least there was no fucking involved this time.” She thought. She was tired and the demon stank, unpleasantly. Not to mention, she still had the first monster in her purse. “Was he really related to Hunsynunkle? Talk about baggage… what a life I lead…” She set her glass down on the empty blue table. “I am an island. Alone. Pretty, on the outside, but full of snakes in the bushes.”
The bar-keep approached as she made a rash decision.
“Raskal, I have a secret.”
“You didn’t like my smoothie?” He questioned.
“No, it was yummy. I… I’m not exactly an exorcist, but.. um.. I’m also a sexorcist.”
His mouth dropped, part flabbergasted, and part aroused.
“Don’t look at me like that!”
“I… I…” He stuttered.
“Come on! Demons have a lot of tricks and I do what it takes to send them back!”
“Well… I… it’s OK. What does Raskal care? How you catch the demons.”
“You’re referring to yourself in the third person.”
“Raskal is not.”
“You just did!” She could tell he was trying to come to terms with things. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me.”
“You are having sex with demons?”
“Yes, sometimes… OK, most of times. But, how do you think I tame them? Offer them a candy bar?”
“I never thought about—”
“I just can’t friend them on Fiendbook.”
“Send them a meme?”
“You are being silly. Besides, it’s not like I have a boyfriend or something!” Her words echoed through the bar.
“No need to yell.”
“Sorry, Raskal. I’ve kept this hidden for a long time, and I needed to tell somebody. I trust you.”
“Raskal will not say a word.”
She bit her lip, wondering if this had been a good choice. “I’m young and practice safely.”
“Well, you are pretty hot.”
Issabella blushed. “Why thank you Raskal.”
“Alright, your secret is safe with me. I will not tell a soul.”
“Oh… Oh…” He grabbed the table dramatically. “I suddenly feel like I am turning into a demon or something.”
Issabella laughed. “No.”
“Ok… I tried.” He smiled and walked away, then stopped to turn back. “If you decide you need some help sometime, hunting the wild ones, let me know.”