The Tiki Room
A bald man with a mustache sweats buckets under the hot blaze of Summer. His straw hat and Guayabera shirt facing a losing battle against the orange sky. A sky on fire.
A middle-aged woman stands nearby fanning herself, her teased-out cascade of dark waves tumbling onto bare shoulders marred by the occasional liver spot. The personal pocket of air she struggles to maintain with that cheap sandalwood fan is her only means of triumphing against the heavy haze of the day. Her mustard-colored halter top, a remnant of disco days long-gone, clashes with her sun-tainted skin.
Under the thatched roof of this tiki bar in the middle of nowhere…no, in the middle of somewhere, somewhere very real, strangers gather and drink and wait.
A large woman in a brightly colored, bush-like bathing cap and a navy blue bathing suit with white polka dots sips a Mai Tai that’s more fruit than fluid. Atop her plump face rests a pair of rhinestone-studded, tinted cat eye sunglasses. She lets out a muffled belch before addressing her fellow bar mates.
“I sure do wish there were a pool in these parts. Such a nice day for a dip in the pool, don’t ya think? Name’s Laura Lee, by the way. Laura Lee Fitzgerald.”
The woman spoke with a thick, guttural voice in a decidedly Midwestern accent. Upon seeing that none of the other denizens of the bar was acknowledging her, she resumed drinking her Mai Tai, through lips painted redder than a fire engine.
“A Bloody Mary, please,” said the halter-top with the fan.
“Coming up,” answered the androgynous bartender dressed in a full tuxedo with a short, fringed bob cut as blunt as their conversation.
Within seconds, a blood-red drink slides down the counter and the halter top looks longingly through the liquid at days she knew full well she would never see again.
“My hair used to be red like that. It was red…but bright! So bright. Just like this…drink,” she said as she continued to beat her fan against the stale air.
“Everything changes,” said the man in the Guayabera shirt in a thick Spanish accent.
“Boy, ain’t that the truth!” exclaimed the large woman in the bathing suit, henceforth known as Laura Lee Fitzgerald.
And again, they ignored her.
She sipped noisily, now that she’d reached the bottom of her drink. Disappointed, she pulled her lips from a straw whose tip was stained a sloppy scarlet.
Through the searing air, a pool of green-blue came into view. Laura Lee Fitzgerald brightened up at once and abandoned the remnants of her last drink there on the table.
“I knew there had to be a pool, I’m goin’ swimmin’!”
The woman ran through the thatched door, cutting her way through palm trees and bushes that seemed more rubbery than shrubbery.
Back in the bar, the halter-top who used to be a redhead, but no longer was, drank her Bloody Mary and looked out the door at the green hell that surrounded them. She hated the outdoors.
“Hey, she didn’t pay…that woman!” she commented as she fanned.
“She’ll pay,” the bartender said confidently, without looking up from the counter.
Outside, Laura Lee Fitzgerald dipped a chubby toe into the lily-pad laden, cyan waters. They were crisp, cool and chlorinated. Her kind of scene. It was a tad murky though, what with all the plant life, but still something was better than nothing.
“Nice and cool. Well…only one thing to do. Cannonball!”
The large woman pinched her greasy nose with a set of pudgy little fingers that seemed almost sausage-like. Then she launched herself like a great navy blue, polka-dotted rocket, ripping through the air in a moment of sheer rapture before hitting the seemingly bottomless depths below.
From the bar they saw it, the gigantic green maw gaping wide open and then clamping shut on a pair of bloody, flailing, fat legs.
It’s teeth were big enough to spot from miles away and vines dripped from it like an external nervous system. Satisfied, it sank back down beneath the lily-pads and poolside reeds.
The halter top downed her Bloody Mary in one fell gulp.
The man in the Guayabera lit a cigar…as Cuban as he was…he could remember.
The bartender mopped up the counter with a dirty rag, that seeped a rust-red liquid with every squeeze.
“So…what’s your poison?” in the same indifferent tone as before.
The Cuban laughed a dark cacophony as rich and loaded as the coffee he used to drink.
Posted on July 26, 2012, in Stories and tagged david lynch, fantasy, fiction, flash fiction, horror, lynchian, mystery, odd, outer limits, retro, short story, surreal, surrealism, tiki, twilight zone, weird, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.