Chapter 23 Mercy vs Belle...Dance!

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Dahl —Sunday, 7:59 PM

We notice the lights dim.

"The Dj's starting soon." Mercy explains as the serving staff slides vacant tables against the wall, "this is the only bar in town and all the college kids are back from down south. I wonder if I remember how to dance."

"Dahl! Smoke time, bro!" Gomez slides back and stands.

"Yeah, bro." I follow him out. He checks left and right in the alley.

"Why so tense, Dollll? You and Belle beefing still?"

"I'm mostly tryin' to wrap my head around, Mercy."

"Dahl, you slut."

"Nah, bro, I mean, what she was saying about her ex. Gives her more dimension. I've just been eyeing her like a treat. I feel shallow."

"Dahl, I love you bro," I hear the sweet and brace for the sour, "but you only chase one dimensional chicks."

"That right, Doctor Gomez?"

"You avoid making things deep, you're trying to figure out who you are, and blame yourself for Peter and Richard. You're head's still not right, bro,"

I lean on the brick building, "I know. But I have a plan now, at least."

His exasperation trails out in a long puff of smoke, "Dahl. Brother. Is your plan to get triggered by Belle and take advantage of the nice lady we're exploiting?"

I feel him.

"Oof. She'll get compensated, right?" I breathe out.

"You've got a good head on your shoulders, bro. You're just reacting to the pressure. Play it cool, bro. The whole crew believes in you, man."

His hand on my shoulder is like fingers turning a faucet, and I can feel what I'm carrying trying to pour out. I shut it down.

"S'all good, bro. You're right."

"Cool man. I'm not trying to bring you down, Dahl. You just need to relax; this is the end game."

"Alright. Let's head in. At least I can enjoy some beers."

"Attaboy! One more thing. I gotta bounce soon. I need to face-call Carla, she's not a night owl like us."

"S'all good, Gogo."

He wipes his head, "Alright, I can't take this heat a second longer, let's go back."

Breakbeat techno bass pounds inside. The Dj must be starting his set. Inside it's louder, like a different place with spinning lights and a younger crowd thickening along the dance floor walls. The server distributes another round.

"Guys, I ordered you another beer!" Ti Guy's voice booms over the club tunes.

The waitress brings Belle the bill.

"Anyone want dessert?"

All 'no's.

She taps her phone on the debit machine, scans the receipt's barcode then crumples it into her clutch. Our eyes meet for a moment, refreshing the foolishness I feel from my convo with Gomez.

Mercy's hand pulls on mine. "Let's dance!"

"I can't, I'll only crush you."

She pulls out the full pouty pleading look. It's not effective, I shake my head but smile. Undeterred, she turns to Belle, points at the floor, puts her hands up and sways back and forth.

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