« on: December 17, 2014, 02:02:54 pm »
Drinking with a dead guy...Not as uncommon as you'd think, in certain cities. In Tucson, for example, everyone is already dead, so by definition you're drinking with the dead even if you're drinking alone. But Tucson's dead are decently dead. They are corporeally present. Zombies, if you will, except that we aren't interested in your brains. Because lowlanders are dumb. You believe dumb things.
In Portland, however, I had been invited out for drinks at The Tugboat Brewery, on Alkeny Street, by Mr Language (Nigel's ex-BF). At the last moment, I invited NLDM along, because it was probably my only chance to see him when I wouldn't have to drive afterward.
After the nightmare of finding a place 4 blocks from my hotel (see previous rant), I found the joint off the main drag. The main drag is all strip clubs. To find a regular bar, you have to go down the shady back streets. Portland. I shook the wet off and ordered a drink from a 30-something bartender wearing a top hat. That should have looked hipster and awful, but it didn't. He was in a bit of a foul mood, because the owners were piping the music in, and jazz was involved. Fortunately, the dozen or so people playing Magic: The Gathering in the center of the room drowned out the RWHN-esque crap coming out of the speakers.
I settled in with my first beer and looked out the window at a ghost.
You have to understand, I'd only ever met Mr Language once before, back in August of 2010, when he and Nigel came to Tucson. He'd been stand-offish and had his hackles up. He seemed to view me as competition for Nigel, and spent the entire day being too cool to have fun, while Nigel, Freaky, and I laughed our asses off being the dorks we were at the time.
But not this time.
He walked into the bar, looking like a Mr Language-shaped hole someone had cut in the universe. When I looked directly at him, he was still doing the cool thing, without much success. He was wearing a sweater-vest over a shirt, and he had a scarf around his neck sans jacket. His teeth looked like chalk, and you could wrap your hand around his torso.
Strangely enough, he was REALLY REALLY happy to see me. Sort of weird happy, like a leper excited about his brand new hat. We made small talk, and before long it occurred to me that the reason he was being so engaging was that he somehow now saw me as a means or a conduit by which to get Nigel back. In fact, he spoke of this as being an inevitability. Now, I didn't get a psycho vibe off of him. I don't expect him to be peeking through windows or anything; he isn't actually a bad guy. No, what I got was this idea that his current GF is sitting in an ejector seat, and when the inevitable day that Nigel realizes she can't live without him, the poor girl will be fired through the roof under 33 gravities of accelleration.
NLDM showed up just as things were becoming uncomfortable, and the talk turned to kids, work, and drugs. You know, normal & polite adult conversation. Mr Language brought Nigel up a half a dozen times, including sort of angling for NLDM "remembering" him, presumably fostering another "in".
By now, even though Mr Language's behavior was actually fine, I was sick with horror. Not at him, mind you. No. I was looking at what happens to a guy who listens to the song of the bridges and survives, in a way. Because the bridges are not the only dangerous thing in Portland, are they?
No, there's also Nigel. The Lamia of the Pacific Northwest...and this poor bastard was just another Menippus. He looked in her eyes and that was that. I have looked in her eyes, but fortunately I was already dead (it isn't Cotard's Syndrome if you're actually dead, assholes), and all I saw was an invitation to, let's say, DRINK EVERYTHING IN THE BAR AND THEN GO SMACK A COP IN THE FACE. I had no soul to steal, so I came away from meeting her (in her natural environment) with nothing more than a haunting feeling that I had committed felonies and maybe crimes against nature while I wasn't looking.
Mr Language, though, was not so fortunate. He had been scooped out like a gourd. He didn't seem to want his soul back, either. He doesn't miss being alive. He just wanted more of his drug. What's really interesting is that Nigel is an 8 or a 9 in pictures, but in person her energy and her high voltage smile puts her in Lola Montez territory. And where does she GET that energy? Just look at poor old Mr Language. She ate him. NLDM is no fool, though. This is not his first rodeo. No. He is much taller than her, and looked over her head at all times.
Again, she is the Lamia, and she attracts her prey by being very obviously dangerous. This makes people our age think she will make them younger, and they go kinda nuts and do shit like asking if they can put her finger in her ear. Younger men just go all to pieces. Spinning off like a top, into traffic or off the side of a bridge, gibbering and hooting incomprehensibly until they are flattened by bad drivers or break every bone in their body when they hit the river, respectively.
I do not believe that Nigel is the cause of the weird shit in Portland, anymore than I believe that fish are the cause of water. No, it is merely the environment in which she hunts. She has an instinctive knowledge of the impossible and ever-changing layout of the streets, and posh restaurants leave the door locked while she's around. Animals in Portland always look nervous, like an animal that knows there is a predator around, just not a predator that has them on the menu. They know. THEY KNOW.