Aka. Rusty Cock. An unforeseen floorboard upturned tempts the toe of my shoe. I foresee it. It sneers at me. I spit on it and kick it. It hurts my toe because it is a floorboard and I am a human bean. I just haven’t been boiled. Hard boy.
Man at the counter is a mustache. He has a grease stain below his belt to the right. The belt’s too tight and it squeezes the blood to his balloon top like a tomato paste tube. I can’t smell his ash tray breath across the counter because two actual ash trays come up to meet my clogged nostrils from next to the cash register, flanking a gilded wavy-cat. I finger the cat’s paw between thumb and index. Its small mechanism sputters epileptic in my small grip. Mustache hasn’t noticed me yet—he’s chewing a receipt and rubbing his lubber.
“I’ll take a Rusty Cock,” I say, loudly.
Mustache’s mustache slides down his pocked chin and moldy olive eyes meet mine.
“The fuck is that?” Says mustache.
“I’m at the Rusty Cock, I’d like a Rusty Cock.”
“You’re out your mind, we don’t have no such thing.”
“Make it up, you’re a smart man.”
He clearly wasn’t a smart man. His chin dripped something sticky and a rat’s tail riled in his apron pocket. I sat at a tiny table in the back. Really, sincerely tiny. My minuscule buttocks had not a chance. I keep mixing up my tenses, which is fine, because I have a porter in my stomach. And soon I’ll have a fantastical titular cocktail, whatever that may be.
I’m in the back on my microscopic chair when the door at the front of the establishment becomes disestablished. By that I mean the door just leaps up, rolls its eyes back, turns three shades of purple and disintegrates. A woman walks in, of course, and all 30-some somebitches in the Rusty Cock reel backwards to reveal her to themselves. She’s normal. More girl than woman, her eyelashes rustle like wheat and pupils dart around at the clientele like a doe’s in winter wind. She reaches for her pocket and then realizes she has none because she’s wearing a dress, then glides across the room to the WC for a nervous hand washing.
There’s a cool cold clammy closed up cloak next to me. It houses a snail. The snail is drunk of its mind and shares company with a fork and a muskrat. That sly fork. It catches me glancing at it and attempts to furrow its brow though it doesn’t have one because it is a fork. The woman emerges from the WC with a face illuminated by candlelight. The candles shy away and her face burrows into shadow.
It’s a tough scene. I’m not sure what will happen, really, and I couldn’t give a hoof. The pistols at one end are at the ends of their liquor and the harlots across them nearing bottom of their tea. Mr. Windles takes the stage. I hadn’t even seen the stage before now. In fact it’s hardly a stage—in fact it isn’t. It’s a table. Mr. Windles took a table as his stage, knocking smooth, silken, salty stocking knees together as he did so. His gills grew wide then wise then soft and supple. Then wide then wise and soft and supple. Wide wise soft supple. It sounded like a sequin in the sunshine pointing some sun glare at a blind man, which is to say no sound at all but the faint recognition of something there.
“A turtle in a turtle neck… is he just in a neck? Is he a neck?” Windles nippered.
Silence from the crowd.
“A neck, a neck, a neck,” he said, flopping a flipper at his lack of head-shoulders connector.
“Fuck you, Windy!” Travelled from the dark.
Windy didn’t fuck off, but flipped off, flipping his floppers off of the table and shuffling his stockings to an empty seat next to no one.
I was bored. Where was my Rusty Cock.
Suddenly, and it had to be suddenly as what else would rile the plot so, a sea cucumber rolled into the room. It was inanimate. Across the room, what felt like 500 meters away, a bomb went off. But wasn’t a bomb. Was Mustache. His footstep. He’d moved after seven weeks of sullen tummy-rubbin’. The man-boy slammed his foot on the ground once again. Everyone swiveled their eye-sockets. Snail sucked into the folds of his coat.
Mustache moved a severed hand across the counter, touching its corroded tips to a control pad. Some switch turned. Music started. The word “Anne” whispered lyrically across the floor, wafting into eardrums. I was so giddy, it was great.
The woman moved to the center as if there were one. She produced a herring from her handbag, which offended Mr. Windles, and proceeded to wave it in the air as an anarchal instrument. I was done with the chair that was now lodged into my anus, plucking it out and discarding it to the side. I joined our mysterious miss at the center that wasn’t the center. The woman. Her name?
“What’s your name, I must know,” I inquired.
“You mustn’t,” she said, staunchly.
At that moment, the man from the counter appeared with my Rusty Cock. Thank fuck. I drank it except for one dram at the bottom. It was decent.
“I’m shwizkdlzljfkls…” said the woman, gargling words into the fuzz of the night.
“That’s gorgeous,” I said sarcastically. I hadn’t heard what she said. I then dipped her herring in my Rusty Cock by way of raising the Rusty Cock to her herring, thereby wetting it. She wasn’t so started as amused.
“Thanks, boy,” she said across the room. Across the room?
I was at the exit. I twirled out. Mustache was waving my credit card the same way he’d waved a fan at his mother dying of horse-crab heat stroke. I faded into the doorway as he tossed the card into the bin and steadfastly resumed rubbing his continental tummy.
I checked my watch. Except I didn’t have a watch. It was whatever o’clock. The night was young. I couldn’t feel my tongue. The Rusty Rooster sign sighed above. Piano fucked me. It felt fine. I waddled down the street to my flat. Some songbirds flicked cigarette butts at my face as I smiled into the cracked mirror moonlight. The night nodded and nodded.
Some green seats need to know how it feels to be felt. When yours regales a fish dressed in fishnets, forget how many men it took to forge a forest fire. Finesse the taste of porter on your tongue. Reignite.
I have written this in hell itself (Somewhere, Poland), please excuse me. Have a wicked night.