Don’t Shoot The Messenger
Fri, 4/29: The Bar
Our money comes in on Fridays every other week. It’s not actually a lot, and in hindsight I probably could have used that as an excuse to not go drinking. I don’t have to pay for the room or utilities or anything, but I need to buy my own food and cover any other materials I might need. Guess this means I’m going to be saving for a while if I plan on updating my rig anytime soon.
Anyway, after we were all sufficiently funded, Caper showed up at my door at around 7 PM with Poe and a man I didn’t recognize. “Messy, this is Helios. Helios, Messy.”
“The Messenger,” I said, correcting Caper.
We shook hands. “Nice to meet you,” he said. He seemed like a pleasant and charming guy. He had that “vaguely brown” skin tone that’s made it hard to peg down his ethnicity. He grinned as he shook my hand and it struck me just how white his teeth were. He was completely clean-shaven as well. Unlike Caper, who was dressed in extremely casual clothes, or Poe, who was in another lacy black dress, Helios actually looked like a mature adult dressed to go to a bar. He wore dark jeans with a belt, a white dress shirt with the sleeves neatly rolled halfway up his arms, a sports jacket slung over a shoulder, and a flat cap over slicked-back black hair. “Immaculately groomed” is probably the best phrase to describe how he looked. I had decided to at least put on a nice overshirt for going out in public, but I suddenly felt under dressed. Then again, Poe looked like she was dressed for some sort of gothic tea party and Caper looked like he had dressed for…well, he didn’t look like he had dressed for anything, so I figured I was fine.
The bar we went to was actually only a few blocks away, so we just walked. The place was called “The Chaser.” I’m not entirely sure I like the implications of that name, but I’m also not sure I’m ever going back anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter.
The other three seem to be regulars at the place. They referred to the bartender—some woman named Rachael—by name. I was hoping I’d be able to catch their real names, but she referred to them as Caper, Poe, and Helios. I let them introduce me as The Messenger, but wondered what sort of bar is okay with customers using fake names. I mean, we have fake IDs for purposes like this anyway, but she didn’t even bother carding four people who obviously weren’t using their real names.
Caper kicked the night off by ordering me something called a Dead Nazi. I thought he made the term up but apparently it’s a real drink. Strongest one I’ve ever had, too. Stuck mostly to rum and coke after that and ordered an overpriced greasy burger just to get something in my stomach.
Caper really seemed to be in his element. He started up a conversation with some other people in the bar, bought them a few drinks, and it wasn’t long before they had put Miley Cyrus on the jukebox and were singing along (terribly) at the top of their lungs. Poe stood behind the group, uninvolved, leaning against the wall. She hadn’t had more than one or two drinks, and she didn’t seem to be having much fun.
I turned to Helios, who had stayed with me in the booth. “What’s up with that girl?” I asked him as Caper and his new friends loudly informed the patrons that all they wanted was to break our walls.
“Poe?” He shrugged and took a swig of his beer. “Who knows, really? She doesn’t talk about herself much.”
“Yeah, but is she always following Caper around like that?”
“Oh, yeah, all the time. Haven’t seen them apart since they became partners.”
“So are they, y’know, together or something?”
“Hmm. Now that you mention it, I don’t actually know. I’ve always assumed they were just partners because they don’t act much like a couple, but really, who can tell with a bunch of people like us?”
“…Yeah. Like us.”
“Right, I forgot, you’re still new to all this,” he laughed. “Don’t worry, you’ll fit in eventually.” I wasn’t sure whether or not it was supposed to be a joke.
“You seem normal enough, though.”
He smiled. “Thank you.”
“So what do you do?”
“Well, you know how Caper and Poe find people? Track them down?”
“I kill them.”
He said it so casually. Like he was saying “I fill out TPS reports.” As simply as that. “Hi, I’m Helios. I kill people for a living. Nice to meet you.”
“Oh. Um. That’s, uh…that’s nice.” I slipped my hands beneath the table into my lap, wondering if increasing my blood alcohol concentration a bit would keep them from shaking uncontrollably.
He gave me a funny look. I don’t imagine he gets that particular response too often. “Why are you interested, anyway? You know, about them? About me?”
“I’m…not really sure. My, uh, roommate died, I guess.”
“Oh, yeah. Hyde, right?”
“Yeah. He was…I didn’t know anything about him. I didn’t know who he was or why he was here. I guess I’m just…curious.”
He thought for a moment. “You’re a strange guy, Messy.”
“We tend to sort of keep to ourselves. Though really, it might be nice to have someone cataloguing more than just our deaths. Give us little biographies, maybe. A way for history to remember us.”
“Maybe, I guess. You think others would want that? It gives me something to do with my spare time, if nothing else.”
Before he could answer, Poe came over to the table. “We should go,” she said. “Caper needs to be taken home before he makes a fool of himself.”
Helios peered around her. Caper and a heavyset blonde man were taking turns using a beer bottle as a microphone, singing “Let it Be” in atrocious British accents. “I think it’s a bit late for that,” he said.
“Hey, Poe,” I asked, “do you think you or Caper would be interested in an interview at some point?”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to ask,” she said.
“So he wouldn’t accept?”
“No, he would definitely accept.”
“Then why not? Just ask him for me, would you?”
She closed her eyes and exhaled in perhaps the most uptight, collective sigh I’ve ever seen. “If you insist, but please remember that I warned you.”
So I’ve used up some of my money on a digital voice recorder so that I can transcribe these interviews more accurately. Hopefully, I’ll still be fine on food. If not, well, I’ve been through college. I can eat ramen.