I am back in the Argos Bar and Grill, sitting across from Anita and Bull, who are getting shit-faced. They are pawing on each other like drunken pandas. Their passion makes them bump against the table, and when this happens empty wine bottles roll together and clink. Never a slave to alcohol, I've ordered iced tea.

Bull is looking at me suspiciously. He wants to know how much something is worth. I don't quite catch what he says. Slurring aside, Bull's accent is as heavy as Anita's tits. So I politely but firmly ask him to repeat himself. The waitress arrives with another bottle of retsina. She refills our glasses and Bull gulps his down immediately. Anita, panting like an old leopard, says to me, "How much is the information worth to you, Benjamin? That's what he wants to know."

"What?" I am outraged. "If those marmosets are in any danger..." I can feel the veins on my forehead popping. Bull belches and wags a cautionary finger at me.

Anita stands and walks a few paces. She turns, briskly; grabs a handful of skirt, flicks it at me. Music floats across the room.

"Sell it?" I'm still blustering. "You told me you'd give me the information. For free! You never said anything about me paying!" I'm on my feet beside her.

Anita Kokinapus arches a bare shoulder.

She moves in a circle, slowly, sizing up her prey. "Do you think there are things in this life for free, Benjamin?" Her hands are on my waste. My body is rigid. "Yes, many things," I decide to take the high road. "Art, Truth, Beauty."

Anita pounces, crushing me like Raggedy Andy against her ample bosom. "Nothing is ever free," she growls. Then she whispers. "Not you. Not me. Not even ... The Bull." Her lipstick is sticking to my eyelashes.

. . .The Bull

I glance nervously at our table. Bull's face is in the feta cheese. His shoulders have collapsed. The waitress comes over and begins sopping up spilt wine. The sound of mandolins seems to hypnotize her.

Behind the counter, the bartendar starts to clap his hands, softly, in time with the music. An ancient cook appears at his side and, swaying, joins the line. The waitress lifts Bull's sticky head for a quick swipe, on the downbeat. Her hips gently take up the rhythm; she dips and drops, again and again. And then Anita, with overwhelming grandeur and not a little muscle, drags me to the dance floor.

It is weird.


Max City