Rachel

“Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” Prov 7:27

When a girl says, “I got dibs on that guy”, it usually means she wants to take him home to meet her parents. But when a guy says he has dibs on a girl, it almost always means he wants to get inside. Make her his bitch for the night. That’s how it was the night Leah and I decided to go out for drinks in Old Town. Not sure why I let it happen, but we were out celebrating Leah’s promotion to a senior position at the think tank where she worked — which is almost impossible nowadays. Everyone’s trying to hold onto their careers because it won’t be long before a new wave of bicameral-curious poli-sci power junkies hit the market. And I, well… You could say that I don’t have much room to talk. I’m still in wonder of the American Dream.

I’ve been fortunate to find work whoring myself around to different companies through a master pimp called a temp agency. I still can’t afford to pay Uncle Sam back for all that money he lent me to study Shakespeare. Not that I’m having second thoughts. After all, I could be a barista serving coffee to local narcissists. Progress. At least that’s what I tell my family back in Texas.

“My English degree will pay off soon.” I assured my mother who insisted that my father cut me off. She was careful not to upset me, though.

It just means that I have to work ten times harder and delay buying a house and getting married and a million other things until I receive notice to stop sending checks. That my debt is paid in full. Until then, the dude that was staring at me from across the club was only interested in one thing. So, I let him have it.

The Metro dropped us off on King Street where the blue line passed. Night fell as we walked the same path that George Washington once traversed to the waterfront where a cacophony could be heard. A street DJ, confident he’ll make it big one day if he keeps mixing obnoxious beats. When we arrived, crowds were gathered around a magician in awe of his tricks. Leah and I weren’t impressed. We came across several storefronts and decided to stop at Killer ESP to order coffee before heading to the club. It was often how we found ourselves pre-gaming whenever we were out painting the town red. That’s when Leah had this cunning idea. I couldn’t stop thinking about it after we made our way to The Lockhart. “We should burn this shit down.” She amused herself. “Light this motherfucker on fire!” Her coffee had been laced with bourbon, which we hid in a water bottle and passed off as Lipton Iced Tea.

When I first caught, Kevin staring at me, I knew it would be on. I didn’t tell Leah what I was going to do — even though it was her idea. I just did it. I predicted how the night was going to play out. In the same way that some men leave you feeling when they get their fix. Their high. No lie, sometimes it feels good. Other times, perhaps most times, I’m just satisfying a need. Keepin’ the world turnin’. Doing my part to make America feel great again. Not this time, though. This time was different. I stared back at him only to lure him in. He took the bait and walked right into my trap. How easy he made it for me. What a nice guy, really. He was. You have no idea. But let me finish while Trump’s still in office.

“My name’s Kevin.” He said in that baritone voice that would make any girl go crazy. Leah and I were laughing about bullshit pick-up lines we encountered from past flings. His eyes were burning a hole in my face.

“Hello Kevin.” Leah responded as I continued to sip my Jack and Coke.

“And what’s your name?” Kevin asked, averting his attention to watch Leah.

“Leah. Put it there, pal.”

“Good to meet you, Leah.” He laughed, stretching out his arm to shake her hand.

“Does your friend have a name?”

“She’s mute.” Leah joked.

“Is she now?” He was purposeful.

I kept twirling the straw in my drink with my tongue, knowing he’d get a hard on. He must have because I saw his hands in his pockets move. You could tell he was watching my body language for a clue. How funny what they say about an evil and adulterous generation seeking a sign. I wasn’t going to give it to him. Not yet anyway. I made sure my toes were pointed away from him too.

Kevin’s eyes were the color of honey. He had dimples that looked like craters on the moon when he smiled. One on each side of his face. I smiled back to give him another false positive. He had been trying to make conversation with me, but I chose to remain on the sidelines while he and Leah had it out for what seemed like hours. Then, out of left field, euphoria swept over me. I slammed my glass on the table and rose to my feet. The DJ started playing my song as I cat walked towards the dance floor, signaling him to follow by brushing my hand on his arm.

“Hey! The boy is mine.” Leah shouted.

“Find your own.” I pulled Kevin by the wrist.

He was behind me now on the dance floor. Our bodies swayed in unison to the music as he placed his grimy fingers on my waist.

“Are you going to tell me your name?” He whispered, turning me around and pulling me back into his stronghold. His breath smelled of Blue Moon.

I closed my eyes, pretending not to hear him. I wasn’t ready to reveal my cards — although I sensed he knew something was coming. He raised his beer to his friends sure he hit a home run. Leah ran up to us moments later, hanging onto some dude’s shoulder. She really did find her own. He was tall, lanky, and weird looking.

“Hey, girl. Ya’ll have fun; I’m going to run. I think I found what I came here for.” She whispered, giving me a goodbye kiss and rushing off.

“It looks like it’s just us now.” Kevin said.

I half-smiled, wrapping my arms around his neck.

We danced well into the early morning. The club was still hoping. I showed no signs of stopping. Kevin grew weary. But I kept him under my spell.

“I… I… don’t understand.” He whined. “I can’t stop dancing.”

“I know.” I responded.

He looked at me in surprise. It was the first thing I said to him all night. He took that as a license to force himself on me and grabbed my ass. Not sure what he was thinking. But you give a man an inch, and he’ll take a mile.

“What the hell you doing?” I shoved him away.

“I thought this is what you wanted?”

“Stupid boy.” I huffed.

Wrong move. His feet sparked with fire and smoke began to fill the room. He howled in pain as I chanted: “ignis coruscare.” Burn him to hell.

Club goers scattered in fear. Their screams fueled my compounding rage. The Lockhart’s foundation began to shake. Kevin was aflame. I approached him to render a would-be kiss and plucked the keys from his belt loop.

“My name is Rachel.” I hissed into his ear.

I pushed him aside and made my way out the door. Emergency vehicles wrapped around the building. I swung my coat over my shoulder, put on my shades, and vanished into the sunrise on his CRF250.