Chiz parked his bike, double checked that his saddlebags were locked tight and took himself inside to get a drink. He hitched onto a stool at the bar. He needed to take the weight off his leg, but he wanted the solitude of a stool, not the companionship of a table. He ordered a Jameson. He wanted something smooth that he could enjoy slowly. Chiz scanned the clientele in the room, picking out the hustlers and the degenerates. It was a meager and miserable crowd, but, of course, it was Christmas night. Most people were at home with their families. He was beyond relieved that they were playing something with a guitar heavy riff and absolutely no lyrics about snow, stables or saviors.
He sat up a little straighter when a woman walked in and came straight up to the counter, right next to him. She had truly black hair that hung several inches below her shoulders, and average brown eyes. There was nothing particularly strikingly beautiful about her face, her mouth was full, and even at rest was twisted almost into a sardonic expression, but still he felt a pull. Perhaps it was the fact that she, too, ordered Jameson, straight, and took the empty stool by his side without even once glancing his way. He turned his eyes to the room, but kept his attention on her.
Half an hour later, she was still on her own. If she was waiting for a date, he wasn’t showing up. If she’d been stood up, she wasn’t leaving. She wasn’t really dressed for a date; jeans, a top that hid everything interesting, low heeled boots. Chiz guessed that she was probably single, and he decided that drinking alone on Christmas Day was as good as an invitation as any to strike up conversation.
Chiz signaled for another drink for himself, and one for her. She looked at him when the bartender put the drink down in front of her. He could see that she was assessing him. He was wearing dark blue jeans and black button-down shirt under his broken-in leather jacket. Even unzipped, the weight of the jacket hid the gun under his arm. He knew he did not look at all out of the ordinary, but he knew that his muscular physique was obvious despite his outfit. He worked hard for his body, and he liked that the musculature was obvious. He knew, as well, that his expression tended towards stern unless he was smiling. The club girls had told him often enough that he could be a scary motherfucker when he wasn’t happy. Overall, though, he was happy with the package he presented.
Chiz saluted her with his glass. “Merry Christmas.”
She froze with her glass almost to her lips, but dropped it fractionally to speak. “And a happy fucking new year.” Chiz thought maybe he saw the merest hint of the beginnings of a smile.
“I’m Chiz,” he offered, before taking a sip of his drink.
“That’s your name? Really?”
Chiz simply nodded.
“Well, in that case, you better call me Elmo.”
She had a sense of humor, score one. “Y’know, I always wanted to diddle Elmo. There’s just something about all that cuddly red fur.” Chiz grinned and shook himself a little, enjoying the vibe that was building, since she hadn’t told him to go to hell as soon as he’d opened his mouth.
“The freak show let you out for the holidays, huh?” When she smiled Chiz knew he was in.
“So, you on your own tonight?”
“No, I’m with my imaginary friend Bert. He’s in the john at the moment, but he’ll be back soon,” Elmo deadpanned.
“Do you and Bert have plans for tonight?”
Chiz felt a tingle shiver over his skin at her answer. If she wanted him gone, that had been her chance to cut him dead.
“How about you ditch Bert and we find somewhere more private where we can get to know each other better, and,” Chiz leaned back from the bar so he could run his eyes appreciatively over Elmo’s form, “I wanna see where you’re hidin’ that fur.” Given the opportunity to look at her figure without being accused of perving, he could see that the long sleeve, high neck top she was wearing played down a fantastic rack.
“You think you’re more… proficient than Bert?” Elmo cocked an eyebrow at him.
“I think I could show Bert a thing or two.”
“You have a hard-on for a Muppet. I’m sure you could.”
Chiz couldn’t help laughing. “You from ‘round here?”
The pull was undeniable, and from the way she was talking, and the fact she was still talking to him at all, she could be as crazy as him. This could be interesting.
“No. I’m not local.” That was all the personal information he felt like giving her tonight.
“You don’t have anywhere else you have to be?” Elmo looked a little skeptical.
“No.” Chiz shook his head. “You?”
“Nope.” Elmo looked at her drink for a long moment before taking a large swallow and looking him directly in the eye. “Okay, I’ll take you up on that offer, but I think we should set up a couple of rules on this. No photos or videos, and I’m not taking you back to my place.”
Chiz feigned disappointment – well, kind of. “That’s a shame I would love to take some reminders.”
“No.” She shook her head firmly. “I am not ending up all over your fucking Instagram or Facebook.”
“Spoilsport.” Chiz pouted. “They’d be for… personal use.”
“I did not come down with the last shower. I don’t want you passing your phone ‘round to your friends either. Develop a good memory, fast!”
Chiz considered the restrictions. “Okay, I can live with those rules.”
Elmo downed her drink and stood. “Come on. I know a place.”
“That’s what they all say, doll.” Chiz smirked.
“Then you are hanging out with some seriously suspect company. Let’s get going.” Elmo nodded her head towards the door of the bar.
The place she knew was the same place he knew, the motel across the road from the bar, so he paused to hit up his saddlebags first for his rucksack. His response to Elmo’s quizzically raised eyebrow was a shrug.
Chiz appreciated the kitschy name; the No-Tell Motel. And true to the establishment’s name, the manager didn’t ask any questions, but it wasn’t a shitty flea pit like most places that rented by the hour. Elmo raised an eyebrow when Chiz rented the room, stating his intention to stay for a few days. “Christmas vacation,” he said as he paid. She shrugged, and let it go.
Once they were inside the room, Chiz dropped his bag by the side of the bed, retrieving some of the condoms that he’d packed as he did so, while Elmo investigated the contents of the mini-bar. He shucked his jacket off, wrangled his shoulder holster off, and unclipped the knife in its sheath from his belt. He folded the knife, gun and holster in his jacket on top of the bag. When he stood again she’d extracted a miniature of Jack, and one of Wild Turkey, and had poured them into the two glasses that had been waiting by the empty ice bucket. The room was dated, all wood-paneled veneer, and chintzy, like nearly every other motel that Chiz had ever stayed in, but at least this one seemed clean, and roach free.
Chiz took the glass that Elmo offered him, and took a sip without speaking. She’d given him the Wild Turkey, the rougher of the two. She smirked, that sardonic twist of her lips growing even more so as it became a half-smile. She’d kept the smoother drink for herself deliberately. Cocky bitch.