While I had been screaming those last sentences I had been so absorbed, or intoxicated, or both, that I had failed to notice that the music had stopped in the bar. Several people in our close vicinity were looking at me, their expressions ranging from perplexed to sympathetic. Among them was a tall blond girl with very big hair, who was wearing a racy red dress.
'Oh you poor thing!' she cried, 'What I picked up from that story of yours, sure was most heartbreaking. My friend and I would like to offer you guys a beer. And then you can tell us how it ended.'
The friend she had referred to was standing next to her. It was a brown skinned east Asian woman in her thirties, about five foot five, with very long black hair and a remarkably friendly face. She nodded to express her approval and together the women went to the bar.
'Women buying us beer? Fancy that!' Tom laughed. 'Now,' he continued, 'I guess you are going to tell me that you lost your left eye, and that the one that's sort of not staring at me, is a fake.'
I shook my head. 'The eye is real,' I said, 'it's just not functioning, or well, it still works about 1%.'
'You are a one percenter!' Tom laughed.
'That's cruel!' the big hair girl cried. She was approaching us with four beers in her hands. 'I would like to know what happened to that girl,' she added as she put the beers on our table.
'Ada was a fucking mess,' I said.
'Did she make it?'
'Yes, she did, but she might as well not have.'
'Why do you say that?'
'Well, her whole body was completely and utterly wrecked. She had to be put into an induced coma for several days. The injuries on her right arm and right leg were horrendous... eventually the doctors had no choice but to amputate her left fore-arm and her right foot.'
The big haired girl shrieked and the Asian girl put her hand over her mouth.
'That's so awful!' the blonde cried.
'It was indeed,' I sighed.
'This might sound a bit cold, or technical,' Tom spoke, 'yet I can't help thinking about the financial state you both were in. The medical bill must have been out of this world. How did you manage that?'
'That's a good question,' I said, 'we didn't.'
'You didn't manage it?'
'No, we couldn't. We had no money. Ada did recover miraculously fast after her surgery. And when the day approached that she was going to be released from hospital we began to panic about our financial situation. I said that I would try to take a loan somewhere, but Ada refused.
I don't know who came up with the concept, yet at some point we began to talk about smuggling Ada out of the country, without paying a god damned dime. The same night I placed Ada in a wheelchair and rolled her to the parking lot, where my cousin Jimmy was waiting in his Buick Verano. Jimmy had agreed to help us with our crazy plan.'
'Which was?' Tom asked, nodding his head.
'To take her to Cuba.'
'How the fuck? No way...'
'Yeah man. We drove straight to Jimmy's yacht club, where we helped Ada on board his speed boat. The night was nearly over and as we sat out the first lights of day began to illuminate the ocean.'
'You mean, that broad, you and your cousin?'
'No, Jimmy had done enough already. It was just us, Ada and I. We managed to make it to Cuba and we found her a flight home. Needless to say, our farewell was painful and tense. We had no idea what to say to each other anymore. With a lump the size of a golf ball in my throat I watched a stewardess wheel Ada into the gate and out of my life.'
'Oh no!' the big hair girl said. Tears formed in her large brown eyes. She wiped some blurred mascara from her face and said: 'I'm sorry, I'm standing here slobbering and blubbering like a little girl and I haven't even introduced myself.'
'It's okay,' I said, 'so, introduce yourself.'
'I'm Mary,' she said, 'and this is my friend Alice.'
We told our names and all of us shook hands. Tom said: 'remember a couple of years ago, when we weren't allowed to shake hands?'
'Ridiculous!' I shouted and we all laughed.
At that moment the DJ began to play classical Detroit techno.
'Maybe I can cheer you guys up with some MDMA,' Mary said.
'Now listen up, John,' Tom spoke 'this is the moment. This, right here, is the moment; you've been fucked over by life like a two bit whore, but the buck stops here. Let's munch Mary's mandy and have a blast!'
Mandy sprinkled some crushed MDMA powder on the back of our hands beneath the table and we all nonchalantly wiped our lips with the crystals. A small dance floor crowd had formed. The girls decided to join in. After a couple of minutes Tom and I followed them.
Alice looked very sexy in her beige dress. I had become somewhat shy towards women, having spent too much time on my own in recent years, yet suddenly I felt an invisible force that grabbed me and pushed me right towards her. The force did not relent and within seconds Alice's face was only inches away. I looked straight into her eyes and put my arms around her waist.
'You have to kiss her, now!' the force boomed in my head. This suggestion was obviously not up for debate. And so I did what I was told.
Initially she moved back her head, then she laughed and proceeded to reciprocate the kiss. After a few seconds she burst out laughing.
'What's so funny?' I said.
'You kiss!' she cried.
'you kiss, it's so funny... you kiss just like that.'
I realized that she was completely right: these were the first words she had ever spoken to me and there I was kissing her out of the blue.
'Is it a problem?' I asked timidly.
'No, no problem. It's just funny.'
'You like it?'
'Yes, I do!'
'I'm glad to hear that.'
Now we kissed long and intense, the tips of our tongues exploring the insides of each others lips. For a flash second I saw Mary smiling and Tom laughing, waving two thumbs up. Alice wriggled her body up to me while I held her tight... we flowed into the music.
Her body was the rhythm. My heart was the rhythm. It was all in sync. For a moment I felt embarrassed when I could not suppress a massive erection that pressed through my jeans into her belly. Alice mitigated my unease by turning around and rubbing her firm round ass on my dick.
I heard strange laughter in the distance and the laughter rolled towards me like a wave on a pebble beach. Tom's face appeared out of the laser lights.
'Are you sure about this?' he laughed.
'Yes, why would I not be sure?'
What was he getting at. What should I be sure about? For a moment I felt tense and confused.
'She's, you know – you have to pay for a happy end to this story.'
Since other scenarios had already began to crowd my mind, this explanation came as a relief. Alice had turned around and was facing us. 'Your friend is right,' she said, 'I'm sorry, I hope you don't mind. You just kissed, it was very funny! I would like to continue, but to spend the night with me will be 500 dollar.'
Before I could fall victim to vicious disappointment, Tom cried: 'done deal! This is one's on me, John! This is your night! I told you the buck stops here. Take the night and chew it up! It's all yours.'
To be continued
Floris is a Dutch illustrator, storyboard and comic artist based in Amsterdam.
Follow him on Instagram @florispieterse