Haze drifted from the backseat as we shook hands and parted ways. I watched my acquaintance slide from the passenger seat and slam the door behind him, then vanish into the night. I settled in my seat and caught a flash of her gaze in the rearview. She pulled the blunt from her lips and tilted her head, matching my expression.
I opened her door and offered my arm, which she, in turn, accepted. With her arm hooked around mine, we approached the neon-clad entrance of the club. The bouncer didn’t bother; one glance in her direction and his meaty arm held the door open. I caught his side-eye as I followed her inside.
Low ceilings and smoke. Jazzy music drifted from the stage, vanishing somewhere in the depths of the fog. I followed her through the winding maze of grinding bodies, my gaze lost on her swaying hips. When I snapped back, we were sliding into a private booth, hiding high above the club, overlooking the ecstasy below.
The evening wore on. We sat, drinking, lounging, talking. I eyed her, head tilted as thoughts ran through my mind. From across the booth, she smiled curiously, reading my confusion with a kind smile. It was refreshing, being in the presence of someone like her, someone that just let me be. She took a sip of her drink, and I watched her lips as they moved, asking what was on my mind.
I flicked my eyes up, finding my expression mimicked. She placed her glass on the table and sauntered across the booth, stopping at my legs. She flicked the blunt between her fingers and slid it between my lips. As the smoke filled my lungs and clouded my mind, I leaned my head against the seat and allowed her to do what she willed. Finally, I had found someone that I could drop my guard around.
I came to with a pressure dissipating from my lap, and her sliding back to her side of the booth. Her hair was a mess and her makeup smeared, but she only winked and threw her hair up in a ponytail. I wanted to match her content expression, but the tingling in my fingers and the half-empty drink I hadn’t seen before prevented me. A strange smell was on my breath, and only after I lost movement in my arms did I realize I had been drugged.
I was a helpless observer as she opened the door to our booth, leaving me with warped music and wobbling neon lights. I sat, quietly resigned, as she stepped into view once more. My acquaintance, a knife, and the cartoon hallucinations floating in front of my eyes. I gritted my teeth as they lifted my valuables.
Finally, they left, having taken all they wanted. As the club lights dimmed and the din of the crowd disappeared, my fingers twitched. Slowly I regained control of my body, and when I could move my arms, I dug my phone out of my back pocket—the only thing that had stuck around longer than a few months.
With the flashlight on, I pointed it towards the ceiling, granting just enough light for me to see. I leaned back, propping my numb feet on the table and knocking aside a few drinks. I reached for her glass, still fringed with her lipstick, and took a sip. I was confident it wasn’t drugged—and if it was, so what?
I drank quietly and allowed the music of my mind to occupy my thoughts, unphased by the robbery. They were all fake friends, anyway. Nothing new.
released December 4, 2020
Music by DEVD MVNE
Design by KEVLARESTUDIO
Literature by SAMANTHA TATE
Published by VILL4IN
February 6, 2021