March 23, 2014

Demons Ascension - No Name Liquors

[Posted by Ted H]

The part of the story where Blake wastes valuable time on a pointless expedition to the liquor store...also where I continue my well defined trend of not wanting to name anything.

...I also make no claim to knowledge of the Russian translate

Blog Housekeeping note: I've added some select one-shot stories and poems to the sidebar just so newcomers don't immediately think this site is all about one or two novels. Also I've edited the "Popular Posts" to only show the last 30 days, not all time. That way new stuff has a shot to make it on there...


[Demons Ascension - No Name Liquors]

            The next day had a pleasant change in temperature. James actually considered leaving his coat behind as he stepped out. He tried again to call his contact, this time getting an answer. James had explained that he had some questions and he could only do this in person. He was told to stop by in the evening. This gave James the entire day "off" he figured as he decided now was a good a time as any to restock some alcohol, and food if he had any cash left over.
            He set aside enough cash to gas John's car back to Chicago, then set off. It was a little after noon and James decided to hit up his usual liquor store guy who would always sell to him no matter what time of day or county law prohibited. As he walked down the street, he heard a familiar engine rev as a red SUV with tinted windows pulled alongside him and the passenger side window rolled down.
            "Blake," a black man with a toothpick in his mouth said.
            "Ty," James said without looking over as he kept walking, the car crept up with him.
            "Sal's been wondering when you'd get back in town."
            "Short stay," James said "I'll be gone before you know it. Best ignore that you saw me."
            "Nigga, please," Ty said with a wide grin "It wasn't me who saw you. You think I ain't got better things to do than watch the streets for your creepy ass?"
            "Yeah, my neighborhood isn't for people like you. Way too upscale. Too far from the nearest crack house."
            "Usually your smart ass mouth entertains me, Blake, but you best shut it and listen."
            "I'm not staying. I will literally be gone by tomorrow, so whatever Sal wants can wait."
            "Oh you best make time for Sal before me makes time for you."
            "Do you even listen to yourself when you talk, Ty?"
            "Whatever, bitch. And my neighborhood is fucking immaculate compared to this shithole you live in."
            "You're right. The hookers a block away from your den really brings the whole street together in an aesthetically pleasing way."
            Ty turned to the man driving the car he was in and asked "Can you understand what this mother fucker is saying." The driver smiled as he shook his head.
            "Always the intelligent conversations with you, Ty," James said as he began to walk faster, absent mindedly thinking he could out power walk a motor vehicle "My bad, I forgot to keep all words to three syllables or less with you."
            "Shut the fuck up," Ty said as he snapped his hand at James as he began to talk loud and slow at him "Sal. Be there. We're not asking."
            With that he rolled his window up and the SUV sped up down the road, leaving James. As he turned the corner, he stopped momentarily at the sight of Stan waiting for him, arms crossed and casually leaning against a fence. James was both surprised at the sight and at the same time felt like he should have expected as much. "We should talk," Stan said as James kept walking and passed right by. "You're gonna have to get in line," James said without looking back "Scarier people are demanding my attention, and I'm in no rush to see them either."
            "Scarier, eh?" Stan asked but made no effort to actually follow James "You're wasting days you don't have, Blake." James waited until he was a good length away before checking behind him. Unsurprisingly again, when he looked, Stan was nowhere to be found. "I gotta learn that trick," he said as he approached the liquor store.
            The liquor store was one of those old style setups with the huge bars over the windows and some tacky neon signs over the door that made it seem like it would rather be a bar. Inside was a mess of disorganization that would make any OCD patient cripple in horror. The border along the top of the walls was lined with liquor types from rum and whiskey to vodka, yet the set up below was anything but. The whiskey was displayed on the opposite end of the store from where the border said it would be, the vodka was actually scattered into various areas. For a first timer, finding what you needed would be a disorienting journey. For a regular like James, it was a system you were used to. Oddly enough, there was no name above the store, but that was intentional.
            "Blake!" A pudgy man from behind the front counter said as he put down the porno magazine he was reading "Someone said you skipped town."
            "Nah, just a family emergency, Ed" James said.
            "You don't have a family," Ed said with a sideways look.
            "Extended family?"
            "Not buying it."
            "Someone did die, I assure you."
            "Awe, that's sad. Anyone I would know?"
            "From Chicago?"
            "So, no."
            "Friend of a friend."
            "You don't have friends either."
            "Anyone tell you that you missed your calling as a comedian?"
            "I assume whatever you're doing has the potential for a few bucks?"
            "You know me so well."
            "So what brings Mr. James Blake to No Name Liquors?"
            "Some of the usual," James said as he made his way towards the back corner "Got anything new in?"
            "Do I?" Ed said with excitement that suggested he'd been waiting all day for someone to ask him. He rummaged behind the counter while James picked out a tall bottle of Jagermeister and walked it to the counter. As he placed the bottle down, Ed sprang up with a skull shaped bottle of something clear and placed it next to the bottle.
            "And just what am I looking at?" James asked.
            "Pure, powerful, Russian Vodka. Strong as hell."
            "180 proof?"
            "If I didn't know better, I'd say it was 300 proof."
            "Riiiight. So it's gasoline in a skull bottle."
            "That's how it's packaged. The box calls it something funny. "Smeptibuh" or something."
            "It says "
смерть" you dolt. It's Russian for "death". Are you even suppose to have this?"
            "Probably a mix up, but we haven't been called about it. Tell you what. I'll sell it to you for cheap. Call it a loyal customer discount."
            James looked at the bottle for a moment. "What's its usual price?" he asked.
            "A wise man once said if you have to ask, then you sure as hell can't afford it."
            "Does my "loyal customer apply to my Jager as well?"
            Ed smiled as he help back a laugh. "Sure," he said.
            As Ed punched some numbers into his register, James picked up the skull glass and peered into it. The way to open it was a knob on the base, virtually unseen when the skull was placed down upright, allowing an unobstructed view through the rest of the skull. James wasn't even sure there was anything inside since the liquid inside was so crystal clear. The weight of the skull and the tiniest of air bubbles are what suggested to the fact that there was something inside.
            "$61.66," Ed said as he reached for a brown bag.
            "Jeeze," James said as he pulled out his cash.
            "Whoops, forgot to ring up the Jager too."
            "I don't even wanna know," James said as he peeled off several twenty dollar bills and placed them on the counter.
            "I suggest you give up smoking before you drink this. The way you go, you'll blow up the whole damn street."
            "Right. How many of those do you even have back there?"
            "Just the one," Ed said as he took the money "I like to think that somewhere in Russia, someone is getting a case of Ketel One that was supposed to come here."
            Well, it's their loss," James said as he took his goods and stepped for the exit "Tell Roger and Maggie I said hi."
            "Come back real soon and spend all your money."
            "You think with all the money I give you guys, you'd at least be able to put a sign over this place."
            "That would defeat the whole purpose."
            "Yeah, who'd want people to actually know what this building was, right?"
            "We get by."
            "Right. By the way, you wouldn't happen to have the time, would you?"
            "Almost three. Feels like it's five though, damn daylight savings malarkey."
            "Thanks. See ya."
            "Have a good one, Blake."

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