Cyanide

The moment I laid eyes on the girl, I couldn’t tell what adjective fit her best: deadly, or just dead.  Across the crowded bar, her pale face shone in the dim light.  What hooked me, though, were her eyes; they were a pale, icy blue.  They were doll’s eyes, flat and emotionless.

I turned back to the barkeep.  His name was Jimmy, as it always seems to be.  I’ve been drunk in a lot of bars, and one of the eternal constants is the presence of a bartender named Jimmy.  Makes things convenient, at least.  “Jimmy,” I said.  “What’s the story on that girl, over there?”

Jimmy glanced over at me.  “She’s called Cyanide,” he replied.  “Don’t know much else.  I’d warn you not to tangle with her, though.  She’s into the hard stuff.”

As I watched Jimmy pour out shots of pure grain alcohol, I wondered what he considered “hard stuff.”  But I was taking his advice and staying out of it.  At least, that’s what I thought.

I took a pull of my own drink, glanced down, and found that my legs had betrayed me.  They were walking over towards the girl, Cyanide, all of their own volition.  I was stunned.  Usually, it’s my mouth that gets me into trouble.

Cyanide was sprawled across a long couch, sipping something frothy and opaque from a tumbler.  She glanced up at me as I approached, her expression never changing.  “Yes?” she asked, her voice as uninterested as her face.

I had no idea what to say.  “I’m Randall,” I replied.  “I don’t think I’ve seen you in this club before.”  Technically true.

“That’s because you’ve never been in this club before,” she shot back, seeing through my mask of words.  She straightened slightly, sighing as if merely sitting up required a massive effort.  She gestured with the tips of her fingers on one hand at a nearby ottoman.  I grabbed it and pulled it closer, took a seat, took a sip of my drink.

“So,” Cyanide spoke, after spending several minutes gazing at me with her flat eyes.  “What’s your poison?”

The ice in my tumbler rattled slightly as I held it aloft.  “Whiskey,” I announced.  I took a sip to demonstrate.

I could feel the disdain from my new drinking companion.  “Slow poison,” she derided.

“Oh?  What’s yours?”

For the first time, an expression appeared on Cyanide’s face; the corners of her mouth perked up in a small smile.  “My namesake,” she replied, tilting back her glass.

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