Now alleviated from the bars chemical hypnosis, I follow Ruse to his office. His height allows him an almost dreamlike ability to make way through the horde of drunks. As if a shadow dancing around light.
As I follow him a radiance of confidence seems to spill from Ruse’s presence. In a strange an unexpected way I find myself soaking in it. I can feel what he presents among the crowd, an almost idol like status. Without a tell, the crowd separates from him with each step.
No eyes seem to lock to him, as if they know he is making way. As we walk through the bar I stare momentarily at the back of Ruse’s head, contemplating what might be his intentions. Being in the slight inebriated state, a modest fear of dreadful consequence washing over me.
As I begin to look away, Ruse, still walking, turns his head just in an adequate shift, he looks at me from the corner of his eyes saying, “I hope you are not bringing second thoughts into this Cal, it’d be a disappointment to see you abandon such uncertainty based off the fallacy of assumption.”
His left brow raised in a mocking fashion, he begins to look away as we reach a set of steps. I reply with a flat tone trying not to play as if I am too interested. I’d rather not be a victim to a sleazy salesmen, if that is what he be, “Nope, I’ve walked this far, might as well step into to the pit and hope there are no snakes at the bottom.”
Ruse gives no response, he steps up on the first step and as he does, the wooden heel of his shoe clicks upon the marble step. As he does, lights along the sides of the steps light up.
The color of crimson fades upon the stairs as we climb them. I am quite pleased by what I am seeing, I draw my eyes with simple fascination of the lighting.
I keep my thoughts of the atmosphere set before us to myself. We reach the top of the stairs and at the top is a black door with a white lock. I stand looking about the bar as I look down upon the crowd below.
I feel a strange sense of power as I wait for Ruse to unlock the door. I hear him place a key into the lock and turn it. A heavy metallic clank resonates. I turn back and Ruse has the door open and is presenting me to enter first.
I look at him and then make my way past the door. As I do I can feel Ruse’s ambiguous presence almost haunt me, yet attract me with curiosity. Like being in a dark room with an unfamiliar voice. There is fear yet the intrigue to know who is in the room with you.
I pass the door and enter into a long hallway. A meter or so in and I hear the door shut. I look back and Ruse, (locking the door behind us.) “Please, to the door at the end of the hall on the left.”
I look down the hall and begin to walk. As we walk down the hall we pass four other doors before reaching the last door on the left. I reach the door and wait for further instruction.
Ruse, looking at me like a fool, “Well, open the door…or are you second guessing my animus?”
Looking at Ruse, “No, figured it was locked.”
Ruse smiles, “nothing is locked beyond that door, only a man wishing death would steal something within these walls.”
Hearing his response, I turn the white handle to the door, which is as black as the main. It turns smoothly with no resistance. As the door opens the scent of candy perfume is exhaled from the room, followed by a slight tinge of wooded musk.
I push the door open with no hesitation and step in. As I do, there, in the middle the room are two women sitting on a tinted round glass table held up by a stone lions head.
I gaze at the women as I enter and stand off to the side. Ruse enters behind me moves past me and sits down at a desk to my right.
I look over at Ruse now sitting in a black chair lined with red stitches and he says, while opening a box of cigars. “Have a seat, no need to be shy, these are merely friends of mind. I have told them about you. I guess you could say, they know what I cannot.”
I look at Ruse as he is lighting a cigar and back at the women then make my way over to single black leather seat on the left side of the room. I sit down, lean out placing my elbows on my knee. Giving the sense I am here for business and nothing foolish and think, “What am I doing? What does he want and these women, I ain’t sleeping with any hookers if that’s what he thinks.”
Still leaning in I say, “Well, here we are, you asking me to pay for these? (looking at the women with distasteful smile.)” I then lean back in my chair arms resting upon either side of the seat.
Ruse chuckles as he lets out a ring of smoke, “No, I want you to decide what happens next. This is your moment Cal, your world, I am but a part yet to be seen among this moment as I truly am, as you truly are.”
Looking at Ruse with a bit of frustration, “Okay, first you introduce yourself to sell me drugs…(Ruse interjects.) “Not drugs…existence…”
“Okay, drugs, existence, whatever you want to call it. Now you present two women, gorgeous women I might add. That apparently know what you do not nor or can’t know? This is all becoming a bit much.”
As my lips form the last syllable, one of the women stands up, her skin is the complexion of a roasted coffee bean. It glistens against the dim lighting with such sultry attraction against the gentle blue that envelops the room.
Her blue eyes lock on mine and walks over to me. Placing one hand on my right knee she leans in and says, “I know what you want darling, don’t sit idle on such desires.”
Her breath upon my ear sends a tingle down my spine. She stands up and there in my lap, is the bottle Ruse had shown me earlier. “How’d she get it? Or does she have more?”
I look up at her in a gentle trance and grasping the bottle from my lap and examine it. “ I don’t personally know any of you. Why would I take something with strangers, how do I know this isn’t some weird game you all play together?”
Again, as I complete the last syllable the other women stands up, her skin, glistens like the moon upon a starry night. It’s soft complexion of pale cream embraces the blue lighting.
She comes over and leans in, placing a hand on my left knee and whispers in my ear. “This, is only a choice for those who know what is they are truly looking for. Be careful, even the best have a vice they must fight.”
Her breath clings to my spine as she stands back up. Both women now stand in front of me. Looking up at them I hear the door close, I look over at the door, and see a fading cloud of smoke.
I look over at Ruse, but he’s not there. His chair is empty and the box of cigars is closed.
My heart begins to pound a bit quick. I look up at the ladies and say as I try and hold back my now nervous heart. “What now ladies?…(then I think to myself.) Damnit, probably sound all timid to them now.”
The two women standing over me with presence of seduction, and the one on the right says, “Well, lets start with names, my name is Nebri, and this is, Nowell.”
They look at each other and smile then back at me.
I settle myself into my seat and adjust my posture to bear more prowess, “Well, Nebri and Nowell, I’m Cal. No offense, you’re both beautiful but something about this does not feel right.”
Nebri and Nowell look down at me with seduction. Nebri then reaches into my hand and takes the small bottle from my hand. She pops the cork and takes a sip and hands it to Nowell.
Nowell takes a sip licks her lips and hands it to me. I grab the bottle but do not take a drink. Nebri then sits on my lap as Nowell goes behind Nebri and rests herself over Nebri’s shoulders with her head gently on top of Nebri’s.
Nebri, looking at me with persuasion says, “You can be what ever you like here, it is your domain, we are merely what sits before you. Choose and we will follow.”
Nowell then says, “Yes Cal, we are but what you know is to be true but only by the choice of which you choose.”
Strangely as they talk, I start to ease into the moment. Nebri then clasps my hand with the bottle in and says, while here blue eyes gaze into mine, “This is your decision but are we not all also the decision we do not make?”
Nowell remains silent.
I begin to feel myself swell in thought of what could unravel in this moment. “The amount of satisfaction that could instill itself. This could be a story to last a life time. But what would the story be? A joy only to roll into regret or oddly form something greater? I can’t love two but one, I could love one, but which one and how? Crap, what am I thinking…I should leave.”
But I don’t, I remain in the seat and ask a question, “Exactly who are you guys, are you strippers or something?”
They both look at me with a smirk, “No, far from that, we do not ask for money or anything in return, we only ask you make the choice.”
I begin to feel a bead of sweat form above my left brow. Clasping the bottle in my hand, I try to figure out what to do, but it is too difficult. So I decide to hand it off, not the bottle but the choice.
“K, Nowell, you make the choice, do I drink this or leave? I give you the reins.”
Nebri slowly stands up and looks to Nowell as she gets on her knees beside me and replies, “Oh Cal, when will you learn?”
Next thing I know, Nebri is kissing me on the lips and I begin to feel a rush of liquid enter my mouth. A taste of a bitter fruit, like a sour grape, laps about my tongue.
Nebri continues to kiss me as I ingest the liquid. She then pulls away from me holding my jaw smiling. “You are so unsure, yet exude what could be formidable to the world.”
Looking at Nebri as I swallow I lift my hand that is holding the bottle and it is empty. Looking at the bottle I feel worried yet am suddenly taken over by a tinge of ecstasy.
My body begins to tingle and strong urge to smile takes me over. I close my eyes for moment and when I open them, Ruse is standing between Nebri and Nowell, both leaning on each shoulder of Ruse.
As I look up with dazed vision Ruse says, “In a few minutes, things will be clear yet will be seductively perplexing. I neither seek your loss or win, I am here for the show.”
To be continued 03/08/21…..