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Change of Venue

Cheeseburgers and hard pear cider were delivered to me for a small fee. Lirot can’t eat but he loves to experience food through my mouth.

The exhausted yard crew shoveled the last of the yard clippings into the back of their truck. The cleaning ladies gathered their supplies and walked them down the driveway to their cars. Everyone had given their all to my cause and the house was ready for the painters in the morning.

My promise to Lirot must be kept but I dread the conversation. I took the fear balled it up tightly, and boiled it into a great big pair of balls. He would not see me squirm today.

Once the last of the cars drove off Boo Boo walked into the kitchen motioning for me to follow. “You can’t talk to it alone ever again, you know how stupid that was this morning?”

“Lirot won’t kill me. I’m certain of it now.”

“He’s been killing you your whole life.” Boo Boo slammed his fist on the counter, the windows shook from the force.

“I need to get him off this property before I can sell the house. I’ve explained this to you.”

“The house is a burden I understand, but this lunacy I don’t. You need to think before you interact with that thing Car.”

“I’m bringing him a cheeseburger.” Boo Boo spun away from me, grabbed handfuls of his long blond hair, and rested his face in his hands. “And I’m going to talk to him about leaving this house.”

“You don’t plan to unbind him from the land?” He asked his eyes wide and firey.

“I don’t know yet.” Boo Boo extended his arm towards the door and plopped down in the middle of the kitchen on the floor.

“I will be here waiting.” I nodded my head in agreement, grabbed my bag of cheeseburgers and cider, and headed outside in the dark to the patch of dirt where I anchored my problem.

Lirot was kneeling down by a pile of old lawn furniture slated for tomorrow’s dump run. He was dressed like a big city banker in dark slacks, a crisp white shirt, shiny black leather shoes, and a huge gold watch on his wrist. He must have seen this look on the television or maybe a recent visit from a real estate agent gave him the visual material.

“Look at you, so fancy in your new suit. I brought some cheeseburgers. Thought you might like to experience one with me.”

“I’m making an attempt to be civilized and talk business with you like the men you are used to seeing in your life now. I don’t think they eat cheeseburgers.”

“What men? I don’t currently have anyone in my life. Least of all a man that would dress like that,” I explained.

“I’ve seen the men in your memory. So polished and clean cut. You have outgrown my simple image. This is why you keep me here in this place. I can change myself into anything you like.”

“That must be a nice perk immortal, and customizable. Besides, you have never shown your true image to me. Its always just darkness and fire when you want to scare me.”

“I’m neither mortal nor immortal, I simply am. If I wanted to scare you I could do it easily. Scaring you doesn’t suit our situation so I don’t bother.”

“Hmm, so yes or no on the burger. I want to drink this hard cider before it gets warm.” An old chair tumbled off the pile of yard garbage and fell upright next to my leg. Lirot showed himself leaning on the edge of a wooden boardroom table, his eyes glowing a piercing purple.

“Continue.” Lirot waved his arm and produced a shimmer of light that bounced off his imaginary gold wristwatch. All I could do was shake my head and smile.

“Purple is still my favorite color." I smiled and showed Lirot the edge of the burger with cheese and hot pickle slice peeking from the side then I bit that section of the burger and concentrated on each taste. The salt, the meat, the cheese, the tangy pickle, the dryness of the bun. His face contorted in pleasure at the anticipation of each new flavor.

Once I was done with the first burger I pushed my cider bottle towards him. The metal cap popped off by unseen hands and dropped to the ground. I took a large mouthful and swished the cider back and forth before swallowing it.

“That swill you have is not bad either but I think I prefer the wine you drink. Your lips on the bottle. Your yard man likes to watch your mouth too. He wants those pouty lips around his cock quite badly.”

“I’m sure he does. Most, no correction, all men want someone’s mouth around their cock. It’s just expected but they don’t say anything about it.”

“Why do they not just ask for what they want?”

“Try it, ask me for what you want,” I mused.

“Release me from this patch of mud Caroline.”

“No, I don’t want to.” Lirot stood up and put his hands on his hips. “See that’s why they don’t ask.”

“You were never cruel to me before,” he said.

“As I recall you made me this way.” I wiped my mouth on my sleeve and blew across the top of the cider bottle creating a low whistle in the quiet night air.

“That was not my intention. I have learned through painstaking trial and error how to deal with you over the millennia.”

“So you’re a slow learner,” I mumbled.

There was an exaggerated exhale from behind my neck, Lirot was nowhere to be seen. I could feel him under my legs as if he were my chair. “Eat,” he growled.

I let the wrapper fall to the ground as I unwrapped the second burger. The meat juice and sauce fell onto my chest as I nestled myself back into the increasingly more comfortable chair. A hot wind blew over my neck removing the liquid from my skin. I knew exactly what he wanted me to do.

My training had been extensive and I was rewarded with a quick jolt of energy that sent my brain the sensation of licking and pulsing. My prize for obedience was quick and effective and completely out of my control. The burger and I were finished at about the same time. I sat in my demon chair and drank my cider contemplating how to broach the subject of him leaving.

Lirot appeared at the end of his imaginary meeting table.“I have discussed this house with some of my colleagues. They believe the core issue is money. They explained the principals of commerce.

I think the premise is ludicrous, how can one own a piece of the earth. How far down does your ownership run? Could you drill all the way through to the other side of the globe? Who did you buy this piece of earth from and why do they have the right to sell it to you?”

“I can’t in good conscience sell this house to anyone with you still here. I need you to leave the land and I don’t know what to do with you after that," I explained my tone a bit more apologetic than I meant to convey.

“You realize you bound me to the dirt. You have to unbind me from it. I will not give up my connection to this plane.”

“Well, I don’t know how to unbind you, exactly.”

“So typical you meddle with things you don’t understand Caroline and then expect me to fix it for you.” Lirot spun around in the chair causing my stomach to roll.

“I need to sell this place. I don’t have the answers to your property questions and after listening to you I have some questions of my own. If I sell this place I will get a sizeable sum of money. I can’t just leave the property to rot.”

“I can ask that someone is sent to purchase this land from you. But I need you to unbind me willingly so I don’t lose my connection to this plane.”

“I can’t trust you. I love my life now. I don’t think I can trust you in it.” I whispered this truth to him knowing it was a mistake. It was my true heartfelt fear and he would use it against me. “How can someone from your plane buy a house from me here?”

“Do you remember the first day we met?” He asked.

“Yes, I begged to you for help from out of the shadows to avoid another schoolyard beating. It seemed so important to me then and so very unimportant now.”

“You were quite small. We met years before you called out to me in fear. You were surrounded by children in a large indoor pool. I could see your energy from far out in the chaos of my realm. It was just a bright red flash for an instant but I knew it was your fear.

It had been hundreds of your linear years since I felt you. Never do I find you so early in your life cycle. It was a gift from the universe and then I realized it was not. You dove into the deep end. Your tiny foot hit the diving board as you jumped off and you gasped while entering the water. Disoriented you swam further towards the bottom of the pool.

I made myself as small as could and shot into your realm. I went straight into the water grabbing you off the bottom of the pool and bringing to the hands of the one young instructor that bothered to notice you were missing. I found a shadow under the bleachers and I lay there in my darkest visage recovering from the longest journey I had ever undertaken before.

You coughed up water and cried. In all of your lifetimes with me, I had never seen your form so tiny. I am the only one you can rely upon. I bend to your every need. Never once have I shamed you for your questions or desires. Solid darkness or blinding light your intentions do not move me. I am beside you. I am behind you and I am below you. I will follow your rules but I will not simply leave.”

It can’t be love that he feels for me. This has to be a sick, dark lie. “I remember that day but not with any real detail. I don’t dive; I never learned how. I don’t put my face in the water when I swim either. I guess that’s why.”

“Our negotiations on this plane are at an end. I have options for you that I will discuss at length at my home, in my realm. You know the place. I have brought you to it many of your nights.”

“My body starves for oxygen when I follow you. I’ll need a breathing machine or something to help me stay alive.” The memories of waking up gasping for air in the middle of the night came rushing back to me and tears filled my eyes.

My grandmother would run into my room clutching her crucifix and wailing bible verses in Latin. I would hear her pain and reach out from someplace dark and still between life and death to grab the fear in her words. Boo Boo was there to pull me across the last of the veil and shove my focus back into my flesh. It was one of the many things my grandmother and I never discussed in the daylight.

Lirot was gone. The old chair frame was cold and its fabric sticky from years of decay and tree sap. He liked it this way, leaving behind empty space, leaving you to wonder if your memory was deceiving you and if he was ever there at all.

His venue request was a punishment. Since he sufficiently dangled everything I needed in front of me I assumed he felt I would accommodate him. One more thing to add to tomorrow’s list. I would need an oxygen concentrator or an old woman of great unwavering faith to cry me back from the dead.

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