Party at Zeno’s

Jazz beats hop and eyes wink as you enter, around you hats and waiters tipped cheekily as the ensemble swing, the boys and girls pair off to dance whilst the older folks enjoy a drink at the bar, though you’re lost for the time being in the sparkling eyes of the singer, whose croons are wordless in the mess of the scene. You poise at the bar, tap a foot to the beat whilst waiting for the bartender to bring you something sweet to fit the mood – no beer & whiskey blues for you tonight – and as you do, you notice a woman with chandelier earrings and a man in a white suit beside her, and they both dazzle you with their smiles.

You smile back, all affection for now, but you don’t know these glittering beasts; it’s after ten and you didn’t come here to make friends. They approach you directly, making a beeline, passing straight through the people who flutter around the place as though they were fog. It’s too late to look away, they’re here and they introduce themselves as Mr. and Mrs. Dead and you smile and nod your head. You tell them your name, highly conscious of how gorgeous they appear compared to your comparatively mortal looks. They begin to talk.

“You’re new here, aren’t you?” the man says, swilling something clear and precious in his glass.

You admit that you are.

“We own the place,” the woman says, her smile telling nothing.

You begin to wonder about this pale pair. The band have just finished their song and you incline your head slightly to view – past the evening-bare shoulder of Mrs. Dead – the singer, who picks up a tambourine ready for the next song. You tighten your jaw and return focus to your new friends the Deads, who, it seems, saw your gaze ramble.

“Good, aren’t they?” says the man. His eyes are shark grey. You feel as if your vision is milking over.

It’s getting late, you mention, and you’ve just about finished your drink. They do not reply.

The woman’s eyes have the hue of a summer cloud. And you stand there, waiters and dancers all gone to you now, all sound stopped, the motion of bodies around you only a dispassionate rush composed of faces and limbs, the floor, walls and ceiling now truly gruesome, the four eyes of the pair in front of you empty, the glass tumbler cold in your absent hand, the speakers soundless, the singer voiceless and the lights illuminating nothing, all alcohol frozen in the blood, all conversations silent, human beings just a fresco about you. And you stand there.


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