Monday, May 23, 2011
Gypsy peered out at the smoky floor before the stage and decided her senses weren’t deceiving her after all. The Pleasure Club was packed, loud and stinky with liquor more so than normal, even for a Saturday night. Voices reached her over the music, boisterous and shrill, and not all of them sounded fully human.
Of course it was that silly rumor about the world ending tonight. She wondered why they listened, when so few of them were Christians. Any excuse to party, she supposed.
She danced for their entertainment, and her own fulfillment. Lamar had joined her tonight, for their slinky snake routine. She spotted Jamie down by the stage, alone at his table. Mary was dancing with her new partner, Porker, in a mutual silence that spoke more eloquently than words. Not even the world's demise could put an end to newborn love. Gypsy smiled as she danced.
Her smile faded when her gaze passed over that other table, where he sat. Sergei. He had chosen a table closer to the stage than was his wont. Perhaps his usual table had been taken. He watched her with his typical intensity, at least until the point in the dance when Lamar shifted to human. Then he busied himself with his stein of whatever it was he was drinking. Clearly he had no interest in watching a naked male, even though Lamar’s species kept their family jewels discretely tucked out of sight. Gypsy’s amusement returned.
The dance ended, and Gypsy and Lamar left the stage to the usual thunderous applause. Lamar barely took the time to snatch up his clothing. “Gotta run,” he told Gypsy. “My lobo rojo and I have plans tonight.”
She chuckled. “Celebrating the world's end?”
“I doubt if the world is going to end, but I’ll bet we can make the earth move.” He brushed a friendly kiss across her cheek. “That’s in case I’m wrong. See you in the afterlife, chica.”
By the time Gypsy changed out of her costume and returned to the floor, Lamar and Jamie had already gone. Sergei, however, remained at his table. Gypsy felt a twinge of something, she wasn’t quite sure what. Normally Sergei vanished as soon as she left the stage. Surely he hadn’t bought into that stupid end of the world nonsense?
She wafted up to his table. “Good evening,” she said. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re usually gone by now.”
He acknowledged her presence with a small, polite nod. Or did she imagine the warming of those cold blue eyes when he saw her? “The air holds a different taste tonight. A desperation, almost. Tonight is the night to break the mold, and do the unexpected.”
“I see you’ve heard, then. The world is coming to an end.”
He shrugged. “The world will end, or not,” he said, with patented Russian fatalism. “Tonight I choose to stay. I am glad you chose to dance.”
“I can’t think of a better way to go out.” On impulse, she pulled out a chair and seated herself. Sergei raised his snowy brows. “We’re doing things differently tonight,” she reminded him.
For a time they pretended to watch the band on stage. In actuality, Gypsy looked at Sergei from the corner of her eye, and knew he was studying her with equal subtlety. Normally she could have gauged his mood through her psychic sensitivity, but tonight he was closed to her. Another first. He looked at his stein, sighed, and shoved it to one side.
“What are you thinking?” she asked.
“I think of the world ending. I think of family I have not seen for too long. I wonder if I will face the Maker proudly, or in shame.” He glanced at the stein but didn’t touch it. “Perhaps I should simply drink more. It seems to work for these.” He nodded at the crowded dance floor. “What do you wish to be doing when the world ends tonight?”
“I want to be dancing. You?”
“I should enjoy watching you dance.”
“Why simply watch?” Taking his hands, she drew them both to their feet. “This is our last night on earth. Let’s greet the end together.”
He was surprised, but he didn’t resist. Taking her into his arms, he slid them into a waltz. The music was some kind of loud, hard-driving metal, all wrong for such a stately, graceful glide, but Gypsy didn’t mind. They melted together, white and red, ice and fire. They found a beat within their hearts, and danced to a music all their own.
Suddenly somebody yelled out, “Hey, we made it!” and the place erupted into cheers and howls. Gypsy started, as if coming out of a dream. “What’s going on?” she asked.
Sergei smiled. “Is midnight. The end has come and gone, and we are still here.” He bent his head to smile at her. “How does one celebrate survival?”
She grinned up at him. “How do you think?”
“A versatile activity, dancing.” He swung her about in a reel more in keeping with the driving music. Gypsy matched his moves, and his smile. She could read his mood now, and it mirrored her own, full of hopefulness, joy, and something more.
The world hadn’t ended. It had just begun.
Posted by Pat C.