Chapter 24 Drunk Girls and Bar Fights

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Dahl —Sunday, 8:46 PM

The Legion's fully upgraded to its club version. It's hoppin' with college-aged locals. The hens cock their heads towards my rooster strut. Benny's retreated to a smaller table, and he's scavenged a tallboy for me. I slide along the wall onto the bench next to him.

"This some prime real estate with a scenic view."

"Yeah, they wanted to move our table, John. I ordered you a beer."

"I'd promote you if I could, Benny."

All the university kids are back in Bent River, shakin' their asses on the dance floor. Pretty clear that the daily dinner special is not the main money maker here.

"Lotsa cuties on the floor, Benny. Go show 'em your moves."

"I think the walk of shame might be too awkward when she meets my entire family in the hotel lobby, John."

"True dat. Well, at least you got a dance with our secretary, you're still on top of the game."

"True. She spent the whole time peeking at you and Mercedes, though."

"Word?"

"I was trying to figure out if she likes you or hates Mercedes, her expression was changing as you guys would spin."

"Lawl. Oh well. Mondays are for the boys anyway!"

We clank our bottles. The first girl to discover I don't dance tonight approaches. Her amused expression waits for me to make her. I know her.

"Hey..." I can't place her, the makeup's crashing my facial recognition.

"Hi John," Her hands ball on her hips. "Remember me?"

My memory morphs her straight hair into a ponytail, puts her in sweats, shrinks her painted eyes. I've almost made her.

"Turn left a sec, girl."

She indulges me. My eyes trace the purple larkspur tattoo along her arm. 'It's her birth month flower.' I spin the wheel—it's 'Anime-Eyes', least that's my mental nickname for her.

"Venessa, 'Plant Propagations 2200'?"

"Bingo. I was also your neighbor at the dorm. My roommate Jenn would force me to invite you over for parties. You were always playing video games with your off-campus buddy. Or that scary blonde chick would be bringing you stuff. We always wondered if she was your girl."

"Nah. She works for the same corporation that funded my education. She'd hook me up with whatever I needed and collect my marked assignments and reports. The guy was my buddy Gomez. They were here earlier. We're working in town."

She takes it in like she's solving a mystery. I get how I must seem outta place.

"I see your vangirl2002 e-mail on that professor's mailing list we all joined, where he talks about hallucinogenic plants, poison ivy, all that. By the way, this is Benny."

"Nice to meet you." He reaches his hand.

She nods, "I just got hired too, for a job in Clarkland. These guys have no idea what they're doing. It'll be my 'experience job' to get a 'better job'. So, whatever."

"I hear you."

She turns towards Benny, then leans back closer, "We're sitting on the other side." She lifts her shoulder back to where three girls watch us.

"We might go say 'hi' later. I'm on a mission to get drunk."

"Us too."

She returns to her friends and I turn to Benny.

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