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34

There were no dreams in the blue mist, no roads to traverse nor paths to follow. All was silent in it, still, dark, no matter how hard his mind blared. It was as if he was at the top of a hill, looking down into the ashes of what he had wrought, hidden by that thick, expansive blanket of azure fog.

Mel was very much conscious about his own unconsciousness, lucid in this nondream, but what did he really want to do at that moment except wait for it to fade? He couldn’t exactly rush that... nor would he want to, considering the consequences. Besides, it was a very lovely shade of blue. Not too bold, but it didn’t fade into the sky or sea. It was unique, its own thing, and would not conform to the Man. However, that didn’t mean it wanted to be a freak show, either. It still had some respect for itself. All it wanted was the respect that shades of brown, green, and, of course, yellow got. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it?

Time stretched on in that rebellious-but-respectable world. Mel didn’t know if he had been in here five minutes, five hours, five days, five weeks, five months, years, decades, centuries, millennia, or just five seconds. Maybe his body was repurposed, or moved on without him. In all fairness, it really didn’t need him. In fact, it might even do better without him. Good on his body if it did; it really did deserve a good life, one that he would never truly give it.

What was his body doing at this moment, in fact? Was it raising a family? Did it get a cushy job as a teacher’s aid? Breeding bull? What about all those harpies that were sloughed off onto New Jersey? In truth, Mel was surprised the black-feathered harpy didn’t return. She saw him, knew that it wasn’t him... Did... did harpies believe they all looked alike? Were they speciest? Or, was it far simpler: were they bird brains? They had some retention, but so do chickens.

Dammit. He had to go down this road, didn’t he? Mel wasn’t only content with wondering what his body was doing but those around said body –like Daisy- wait, did the bastard go on a date without him? That fucking, no-good, son of a biscuit eating bulldog cunt! He was anticipating that card match and the pizza that came with it! He swore. He swore that, if his body left without him, he was going to kick his... That. Clever. Bastard.

So his body went on a date without him, huh? The ole streaming device and doggy while laughing at Adam Sandler? How about Saliim? Had she become the alcohol, too broken to be a succubus after a simple mortal woman was able to do what she couldn’t in a month and make him roar in pleasure? Question, though, was what kind of alcohol. She was hitting the whiskey hard, but, considering her disposition, she would make a nice wine, as well, or a porter. Bahama Mama was far too easy, as was Sex on the Beach and Jungle Juice, so what about beer- nah. She wasn’t a beer type of gal. Not even shandies.

His date went on a body, where he had Daisy with sex. How did it go from there? More frequent visits? More card games? Do they move in together in six months or five, and then what would happen to Saliim? The baby by then would be nice and plump in her belly and she’d be needier than ever. There would be no living with her... Mel was spit-balling here, but what if... they dug a hole and stuck her in there? Not a dirty, unkempt abomination, no. That’d be inhumane –then again, she wasn’t human- this wasn’t the time to argue semantics! Why not? There’s plenty of time. The hole would be like one of the denizens from a famous author’s work where most of it took place on the fantastical world of New Zealand- so you’re just ignoring me, huh? Yes. Now shut it. Why should I? I have just as much say as you- because you are adding nothing to this thought process- this train of thought went off the rails a long time ago- wait... WE’RE GOING OFF THE RAILS ON THIS CRAZY TR- NO! NO!!! That’s copyrighted. Fair use, though. Besides, this is taking place in Mel’s head- Is it? Aren’t we just his internal monologue now. No idea. The lines have skewed so much in this blue mist that there’s no real way of knowing- WE ARE NOT QUOTING OLE WILLY NOW. Why not? The best thing to come out of the reboot was the fact there were true promo chocolate bars- true enough. They were delicious- I never had the pleasure... Wait. How is that possible? You are me as I am you as we are Mel as he is us. He’s had the chocolate bar... far too many. Addiction didn’t cover how he sucked them down. If his mother didn’t help pay for them, he’d suck off thirty guys in a row just to get them- you just couldn’t help yourself, could you? You had to include another reference- it wasn’t the same number! It’s still the same idea! I’M THE GUY IN THE BACKGROUND SCREAMING BECAUSE SOMEBODY STOLE MY ROOT BEER LACED WITH ROOFIES- who the hell is that? That’s not you? I WAS GOING TO DRINK THAT LATER AT A STRIP CLUB AND FILE A LAWSUIT THAT THE STRIPPERS CAME ON TO ME. Whoever it is, they aren’t that smart. Yeah, there are far better ways to sue strippers. Why would you sue strippers? They are stripping... for your pleasure. No, they aren’t. They are stripping for my money. Which is for your p-

The blue mist faded (thank gods), and Mel snapped awake. His body lurched, sitting upright, heart hammering in his chest. He threw aside the cover, his main worry taking priority... settled as his old friend and his two cohorts were there, spic und span. Klan was even kind enough to add his foreskin back; he wasn’t sure when that bad boy and his compatriots were going to be tested, but it was definitely going to be some point later that night. For now, he retrieved his robes from the chest at the bottom of the bed, slung them on... then checked the time.

“4:45,” he mumbled, and jumped a little as he heard somebody snort. Did those assholes follow him? Oh, hell no! He conjured his shotgun, aiming it under his chin; he wasn’t going to go through that a-

“What are you doing?” Saliim exclaimed... right. She was here, too. Back in one piece, as well... Mel gave some serious thought about whether he should dispel the gun, but ultimately thought it was for the best –for now... for now. He dispersed the shotgun, wiping his hands together as she stood, corset and panties back in place. She crossed her arms, giving him a wary, concerned glare. “Are you feeling all right?”

“Yep. Perfectly... fine... Well, time to head to D-”

“Remember our deal?” Professor Klan said behind him, making him almost jump out of his skin.

“I remember. Oh, I remember.”

“Good. Now, your legs are still healing, so I would recommend taking slow und steady stri-”

Mel took her advice and promptly threw it in the dust left behind. Saliim exclaimed, giving chase, screaming that he should listen to her, that he should be more careful. Who cared that the back of his legs were exposed? Who cares that the muscles were loosening with each thump and dipping down towards the ground? He had a date with some cards... oh, and Daisy, but CARDS and potentially PIZZA.

His legs fully gave out as he came to a slide in front of the angel. She was listening to music again, dancing to it, lost to her little world that she didn’t notice him slam right into her ass. She yowled and spun around, fiery sword in hand, but then saw that it was Mel... and the muscles and bone that were strewn behind in his launch. They glowed green, hissing, slowly pulling themselves together and back towards Mel, but he was in no shape to stand.

“There he is after all this time,” she said. “Falling to pieces without your favorite angel, huh? Couldn’t wait another moment to get this booty?”

“You know it,” he said, though muffled by something else now. The canvas was nice, but he wondered how the long ribbon of her dress would feel. Was it satin? Silk? He pulled his head away from that ribbon and crawled back on his hands, aiding his legs in catching up. “Is Daisy in?”

“Nah, not yet. She had another date. Them’s the breaks, cracka. You can’t expect a girl to simply wait for you. We’re emotional creatures. We have needs, desires that can only be bottled up so m-”

“Oh shut it, Lorraine,” Daisy grumbled as she came up the steps –hey! It still works. Mel ended up flopping over because sudden kickstand is sudden, but at least his legs were “fixed” again. Daisy lumbered over to the painting, leering at the succubus that passed her along the way, turned to a dour glower as she met eyes with the angel. “He’s just not that into you.”

“If you were here a moment sooner, you’d see different. He had his face all up in my crack. Both sides.”

“I fell,” Mel said. Saliim had grabbed his arm, helping him stand though he tried to mostly do it on his own lest she decided to be karma’s fist. Plus, he had to be a bit hunched over, not only for his buddy but to hide the light emanating from his legs. “Rough day?”

“The usual anymore... I miss when everyone thought I was a lesbian.” She tittered, pushing back her hair, and managed to give him one of her smiles. “Thankfully, with you let out, they’ll back off.”

“I doubt it.”

“Then we’ll have to find some way to make them know I am taken, won’t we?” She giggled, but the angel scoffed, rolling her eyes, robbing her of her smile. “Will you hurry up and open?”

“You didn’t say the magic word.”

“Ice cream bukakke bus,” Mel blurted... Nothing happened, but nothing was suppose to happen.

“Wrong magic words, but keep that in mind. Sounds like a fun time,” Daisy said, giggling once more, and gave her password to the angel. She grabbed Mel’s arm, wrenched it out of Saliim’s grasp pulling him inside with such ferocity, with such need that his legs threatened to unravel again. They held to the table, where she sat with him a moment. Saliim just slipped through the doors, walking over to them, glaring at Daisy as she held him still, nuzzling his arm, humming a little. “I missed you.”

“Me too. That’s why I put the shotgun right under my chin the last time.”

She tapped the top of his head. “No! You’re not allowed to kill yourself.”

“It would have been doing the public a favor. You don’t know the terrors that lurk up there.”

“Maybe, but then I wouldn’t have you. I can see the argument of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but there’s a slight problem with that.”

“And? What’s that?”

“Fuck the many.”

“Good point! Fuck ’em. So where’s the roofied root beer?”

“How did you know? It’s currently on ice. Right beside the aphrodisiac-laced hot dogs and weak paralysis ketchup.”

“No sleeping pill buns? Also, that ketchup better be name-brand. I can handle a lot of generic items, but ketchup, salad dressing, and peanut butter are where I draw the line.”

“Of course it’s name-brand, and I wholeheartedly agree with you on the peanut butter. It has to be-”

Skippy/Jiff,” … Mel tried to say at the same time as her. Mel recoiled, freeing his arm as Daisy did the same, both looking at the other as if they had said something incredibly offensive. Mel cleared his throat, chortling, and shook his head. “Skippy isn’t too bad –I guess. At least, if you like the crunchy.”

“Well...” Daisy began, but looked shocked as Mel bolted to his feet, storming towards the door. “W-wait! It’s because of the texture. I don’t like to have chunks when I eat a pb-and-j.”

“Even fruit chunks?”

“Not a big fan of preserves. I much prefer a jam or jelly. It’s in the name, after all.” She gave chase, whining, and wrapped herself around his arm again. “Wait! Please. We can work this out.”

“I don’t think we can. This is far too much to take.”

“Would it help if I said fuck Peter Pan?”

Mel huffed... but turned around. “Well you have some taste... Fine. I guess we’ll just keep two separate jars.”

She giggled, jumping, hugging his arm even harder. “Yup! A jar for each of us. No big deal. Now, let’s go get settled on the bed and enjoy a m-”

“Cards. I want to finish our game.”

“I’m not really feeling it yet... I just want to relax, unwind, and enjoy being in the arms of a man I have been wanting to s-”

“We were one turn away from finishing it. It’s been bugging the hell out of me.”

She huffed, but winked at him, tittering as she let him go and returned to the table.

“Fine,” she drawled, and sat on the opposite side, dipping under it. She brought up the cube, opening it towards the table as Mel sat, and a digital screen appeared before her. She pressed something on it, opaque from Mel’s side, and their cards appeared on the table, just as they left them. “Okay. You were about to draw.”

Mel did... and got the biggest smile on his face.

“I guess I’ll have that pizza,” he said, and played his Hail Mary. Rather, his angel, his only white creature in the entire deck. “Gives me hexproof and will survive whatever you draw. Next turn, I’m taking your l-” She destroyed the creature. Not only destroyed it but sent it into exile... Thankfully, it seemed she ran into two lands after and passed the turn once more to Mel... whimpering. The look on her face gave her question without her smug smirk ever being disturbed. He drew... and got his second Hail Mary. “Ah-hah! Behold my giant wurm!”

She blinked... and looked under the table.

“That is big. I wouldn’t say giant, but will definitely rock my w-” She sat upright again, giggling as she saw the wurm he was actually talking about. “Oh. THAT wurm.”

“Which gives me seven life, as well.”

“Putting you up to ten... nah. That’s too much.” From the top of the deck she pulled not one but three shocks, reducing him to 4. On her turn, she sacrificed the oversized coffee-maker then played a rather demanding dragon: either pay five life or sacrifice a creature. Obviously Mel sacrificed the creature, which gave him seven cards, but she still had two other cards in her hand.

The turn passed to Mel. His brow thrummed, looking over his hand. He had another wurm, but it would cost him all his mana to use it and that dragon could simply fly over and take five off and let whatever was left in her hand finish him off. He had a plummet, which would take care of that nuisance, but none of his other cards would allow him to do much else. She’d have an answer to each one; not a single one had health above four. It would all come down to what he drew...

“Hello, nut draw,” he said, and slapped down the enchant on his land. Not only did it make it count for two mana, but it gave him three more life. He used it to plummet the dragon and then summoned two measly elves. Cannon fodder. The turn passed, and, as expected, she had an answer. Not only did she take the three health he just gained, but also both elves with one card. Then she zapped him in the face for three more, dropping him to one life, and passed the turn with a single card in her hand. He drew, played his second wurm, passed the turn at eight life... and she started to scoop. “W-what are you doing?”

“You won,” she said, cheeks already flushed. “There’s nothing I can do to stop your big, strong worm from working me over... or stopping your creature from taking my life.”

“Really... May I see your hand?”

“No reason. You already w-”

“Then there’s no problem with letting me see, right?”

“Oops! Already shuffled back in.” The rest of the cards disappeared into the cube and she stood, bouncing with her giggles, loosening her robes as she hurried over to the bed. She flung herself in it, her robes floating off elsewhere, and he could see the twinkle in her eye from where he stood –and he didn’t mean the ones on her face. “Come on, Mel. Let’s chill.”

Mel sighed, and lumbered over. She took full pity on him, but who cared? Giant, fucking pizza. He climbed into bed with her, which she raised for him to settle beside and wrap his arm around her, feeling her soft chest after so long. There was a TV built into the ceiling, controlled by a magical, red display currently pulsing under her right hand, searching through the countless movies streaming by with each keypress.

“What are you in the mood for?” She said, rubbing, trying to press harder against him.

“What are you?”

“Not movies, but we still need something on for afterward.”

“I’m still in here, you know!” Saliim said.

“Oh. Thanks for reminding me.” She hit something on the magical display that made it flash white, and thick, heavy curtains closed around them, no seam nor line to be seen. She put on a fantasy piece then turned around and pounced on Mel with a playful growl, kissing him. “I’m a woman of my word. Take me, you brute of a man... my hubby.”

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