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Cocktail Origins (part two)

by psudiname


Raleigh sat casually at the bar and waited until the bartender noticed her.

"I don't know how you got in, but I'm going to need to see some ID," he said, scowling at her while he poured beer for some other customers. Raleigh turned around as if surprised.

"Oh I'm not here to buy alcohol, I just wanted to talk. A cute guy like you probably has a girlfriend, so I'm sure you know how to talk to the ladies."

The man, who was about thirty, seemed surprised at first but all at once his demeanor seemed to change. He started to relax, and a slight smile began to form on his face. I began to notice that all of this time she had not broken eye contact from her target, and was now looking at him as if stargazing. Her girlish frame was held upright with the elegant intensity of a lioness and her legs were crossed in such a way that gave her a gentle air of sexuality.

"Yeah, if you can call her a lady."

Raleigh laughed and smiled sweetly. She read his facial expression and pressed her advantage.

"This girl sounds like a real bitch. She probably doesn't deserve you."

After only a few sentences of conversation, the man was hooked. He stopped taking peoples orders consciously and had to be interrupted several times to do so. For the next couple minutes, his eyes never left Raleigh's and his back and shoulders shrugged off their tension, taking on a relaxed pose as he leaned against the bar.

"A strong man like you needs a girl he can really love... a girl he can love... intimately."

Gradually, she began speaking softer and softer. Entranced, he instinctively leaned in to hear her, and she did likewise. Eventually, her voice dropped to a level that I couldn't hear, and she began whispering sweetly in his ear as her fingers wove through his hair. Raleigh finished beautifully with a sensual kiss, before rapidly changing tactics.

"I'm so sorry," she said, looking shamefully at the ground and leaning away.

"What? What is it?" the bartender asked worriedly

"I'm just... I'm so into you it didn't even occur to me that you'll get in trouble if you get caught with me while you're supposed to be working."

"Well, I mean, not really. I could-" he stammered frantically.

"No," Raleigh interrupted, putting a finger to his lips, "It's selfish of me to do this. I'm not going to have you lose your job because of me. Tell you what, last call is in three or four hours, I'll hang around until then, and we can meet in a back room somewhere."

The man let out a breath he had been holding and calmed down. "Ok, that sounds good. I can't wait."

"In the meantime," she added slyly, "could you do me a huge favor?"

Raleigh walked back to me, triumphantly holding two full beer mugs.

"Idealistic my ass," she said as she handed me one, "that man would have abandoned any ideals I asked him to, and all it took was a minute or two of batting my eyelashes. Idiot."

I took a sip and decided that free beer was infinitely better than anything money could buy. "Alright, I'll admit, you're pretty good," I said, savoring the taste of Raleigh's victory.

"Damn right I am. I'm a pro at this game."

"Where did you learn to do this?" I asked, carefully studying her face. She sat up and looked startled, and then immediately collected herself.

"I- I mean, it's not something you learn, it's something you're born with."

I narrowed my eyes. "Come on, we both know that's a lie."

She bit her lip and looked away.

"Where did you come from Raleigh? How does someone come to be able to do what you just did?"

Raleigh took a long drink of beer, presumably to hide her expression. She put the mug down on the table and stared pensively into space for a moment before answering. "If you grow up in the right place... with the right people... you have to be able to do this."

I didn't respond. She looked lost, and hadn't looked me in the eyes the entire time she spoke. I wondered as I examined her blank confused countenance, if I was seeing the real Raleigh. Finally, after almost thirty seconds of listening to the ambient noise of the bar, I spoke up.

"Who are you really? Under all of these disguises and lies you put up, who are you?"

She pulled a lock of dark blonde hair out of her eyes and stared into mine, before grinning.

"I'm a real bitch."

~~~

When the night ended, I felt relaxed and free, and the corners of my mouth hurt from laughing. On my request, Raleigh had succeeding in getting away with more stunts than most college kids pull off in their entire lives. Several phone batteries mysteriously left their owner's phones, and more still found themselves in other people's pockets, causing two brief fights and one minor scuffle. The bartender was persuaded to give everyone a free round of drinks, and several other men actually gave Raleigh the entire contents of their wallets in order to pay for her dying brother's spleen surgery. Time after time, I gave her a challenge, and she would pull off a feat I had previously deemed impossible. I had never been tremendously fond of being drunk, but the high of getting away with crimes and other assorted mischief was breathtaking.

Raleigh and I laughed and joked with each other as we left the bar we had just carved a swath of destruction through. The frigid air brought me back to reality and gradually sobered me. Raleigh sighed contentedly as we stopped reveling in our victory and listened to the gentle sounds of cars and busses passing by on the adjacent road. As we reached the bus stop, she looked at me and broke the silence, her breath dancing visibly from her mouth as she spoke.

"This was really fun. I can't say I expected to meet anyone while pick pocketing, but I'm glad I did."

I laughed softly, and stopped walking. Her eyes seemed to glow in the moonlight, my dark copper hair reflecting clearly against crystalline irises.

"Well getting robbed isn't usually how I make friends, but yeah, this was fun."

She looked at the ground and thought for a couple seconds, before pulling out a piece of paper and a pen.

"This is my cell number," she said as she wrote, "we should do this again sometime."

I entered her number into my contacts and immediately called it. She looked surprised and little bit offended as it rang, but laughed anyway. "You don't trust me?"

"Should I?"

She laughed again as her bus pulled up.

"No."

~~~

The next few days moved slowly and quietly as if I had exceeded my allotted time for excitement. I spent my weekend studying, watching television, or hanging out with friends as I usually did, broken from my routine only be a text from Roderick. True to his word, he had managed to crack the password of my ex girlfriend's Gmail account with a program he wrote himself, and could now send any email he wanted from it. I spent several hours, giddy with excitement, contemplating what to write, before I finally decided on the following message, addressed to one of her friends:

Do you know any cute single guys who I might like? I've been dating that idiot Eric Johnson because he pays for my dinners, but he's about as attractive as a pug and he's terrible in bed. I've only managed to get any satisfaction by cheating on him with that guy from our statistics class, but even that is getting kind of boring. Thanks,

-Kristen

I stretched out on my couch and sent a copy to Roderick, instructing him to make it look like she accidentally hit reply all, and unwittingly sent Eric a copy. I later confirmed from Eric that my E-mail had in fact been delivered, and had done its job splendidly. When I casually mentioning Kristen's name in conversation, Eric proceeded to call her "a cheating bitch". He further explained they had broken up after she had accidentally sent him an insulting E-mail, and didn't even have the courtesy to own it, claiming that her E-mail account had been hacked. I could barely contain my laughter.

Several days later, my glorious illusion of victory was abruptly shattered. Returning to my apartment one night after a causal party, I made a horrifying revelation. I first began to notice something was off as I entered the hallway outside of my room. The unmistakable smell of skunk spray wafted faintly around the corridor, infecting the air. I didn't have time to finish wondering how a skunk could have gotten on to the fourth floor of the building before I arrived at my door. That is, what was left of it. Someone had taken some sort of blade or saw to the wood around the doorknob, removing it entirely and leaving it on the floor in a pile of shredded wood. With no doorknob keeping it closed the door hung slightly ajar, and as I opened it further the ambient skunk stench increased tenfold. I doubled over momentarily, my eyes watering. When I righted myself, the scene I saw was a nightmarish wasteland. Almost nothing I owned was intact.

"Oh no. Oh God no, this isn't happening!" I shouted in frustration, gripping locks of my chestnut colored hair in anguish. I forced myself to examine the spectacle again, hoping fervently that the damage was not as bad as it looked. Unfortunately, it was worse. My two and a half thousand dollar macbook pro had been obliterated, its pieces scattered in disorderly piles on the floor. They were almost indistinguishable from the shattered pieces of my iPod, which I recognized only by the cut up headphones still partially attached to its frame.

"God damn it!" I screamed, dropping to my knees. The carpet felt unusually damp, and a new wave of horror washed over me as I realized that the carpet had been soaked in skunk spray. The damage seemed to be hitting me from all angles. My mind raced frantically in fear and confusion as I rushed around the room trying to find one thing that was still usable. I was only met with further dismay as I explored new sections of my room. My clothes were shredded, my two thousand dollars of spare cash was gone, and all the books I needed for that semester of grad school were destroyed. Even my mattress was cut up leaving only the twisted heap of metal springs and wood that used to make up my bed. Whoever did this was thorough.

The misery of the loss shot through me as deeply as the skunk stench did, and I began to cry. Bitter furious tears ran down my blood red face, and the whole ruined room became blurry in my eyes. Everything began to spin, and I tripped on my way to the door, staining my only intact clothing with skunk scent. As I got up I noticed a post it note on the wall. It read: She knows. Now it's personal. Ω0Ψ.

Omega Omicron Psi. The local fraternity. I bit my lip until the taste of blood became stronger than the smell of skunk spray. The ball's in my court, I thought, it's time for revenge.


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Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:14 pm
Inkswirl wrote a review...



Hello, I'm finally here :) Comments in bold.

Raleigh sat casually at the bar and waited until the bartender noticed her.

"I don't know how you got in, but I'm going to need to see some ID," he said, scowling at her while he poured beer for some other customers. Raleigh turned around as if surprised.

"Oh I'm not here to buy alcohol, I just wanted to talk. A cute guy like you probably has a girlfriend, so I'm sure you know how to talk to the ladies."

The man, who was about thirty, seemed surprised at first but all at once his demeanor seemed to change. He started to relax, and a slight smile began to form on his face. I began to notice that all of this time she had not broken eye contact from Should be "with", not from her target, and was now looking at him as if stargazing. Her girlish frame was held upright with the elegant intensity of a lioness and her legs were crossed in such a way that gave her a gentle air of sexuality.

"Yeah, if you can call her a lady."
Raleigh laughed and smiled sweetly. She read his facial expression and pressed her advantage.

"This girl sounds like a real bitch. She probably doesn't deserve you."

After only a few sentences of conversation, the man was hooked. He stopped taking peoples orders consciously and had to be interrupted several times to do so. For the next couple minutes, his eyes never left Raleigh's and his back and shoulders shrugged off their tension, taking on a relaxed pose as he leaned against the bar.

"A strong man like you needs a girl he can really love... a girl he can love... intimately."
Gradually, she began speaking softer and softer. Entranced, he instinctively leaned in to hear her, and she did likewise. Eventually, her voice dropped to a level that I couldn't hear, and she began whispering sweetly in his ear as her fingers wove through his hair. Raleigh finished beautifully with a sensual kiss, before rapidly changing tactics.

"I'm so sorry," she said, looking shamefully at the ground and leaning away.

"What? What is it?" the bartender asked worriedly

"I'm just... I'm so into you it didn't even occur to me that you'll get in trouble if you get caught with me while you're supposed to be working."

"Well, I mean, not really. I could-" he stammered frantically.

"No," Raleigh interrupted, putting a finger to his lips, "It's selfish of me to do this. I'm not going to have you lose your job because of me. Tell you what, last call is in three or four hours, I'll hang around until then, and we can meet in a back room somewhere."

The man let out a breath he had been holding and calmed down. "Ok, that sounds good. I can't wait."

"In the meantime," she added slyly, "could you do me a huge favor?"
Raleigh walked back to me, triumphantly holding two full beer mugs.

"Idealistic my ass," she said as she handed me one, "that man would have abandoned any ideals I asked him to, and all it took was a minute or two of batting my eyelashes. Idiot."

I took a sip and decided that free beer was infinitely better than anything money could buy. "Alright, I'll admit, you're pretty good," I said, savoring the taste of Raleigh's victory.

"Damn right I am. I'm a pro at this game."
"Where did you learn to do this?" I asked, carefully studying her face. She sat up and looked startled, and then immediately collected herself. If she's such a pro, she shouldn't be startled by such a simple question, the narrator probably isn't the first one who asked it. As Twit observed. Or maybe he is? Maybe you could do a it more characterisation of the narrator here - in terms of what he thinks of Raleigh, how she learned all this, al his thoughts he gets from observing her.

"I- I mean, it's not something you learn, it's something you're born with."

I narrowed my eyes. "Come on, we both know that's a lie."

She bit her lip and looked away.

"Where did you come from Raleigh? How does someone come to be able to do what you just did?" Rephrase this, manipulation is a skill many women have, I'm sure he'd have encountered it before, and this makes it sound like a rarity.
Raleigh took a long drink of beer, presumably to hide her expression. She put the mug down on the table and stared pensively into space for a moment before answering. "If you grow up in the right place... with the right people... you have to be able to do this." The right place and people, or the wrong ones? Maybe just make it certain place/people or something, she makes it sound like a good thing, but then her reactions says the opposite, try to avoid mixed signals like that, it will make your character seem less believable

I didn't respond. She looked lost, and hadn't looked me in the eyes the entire time she spoke. I wondered as I examined her blank confused Blank or confused? Can't really be both now can it? :P countenance, if I was seeing the real Raleigh What does he mean by that? What's different about her now? Make it clear, elaborate on his thoughts and suspicions more. Finally, after almost thirty seconds of listening to the ambient noise of the bar, I spoke up.

"Who are you really? Under all of these disguises and lies you put up, who are you?"

She pulled a lock of dark blonde hair out of her eyes and stared into mine, before grinning.

"I'm a real bitch."
~~~

When the night ended, I felt relaxed and free, and the corners of my mouth hurt from laughing. On my request, Raleigh had succeeding in getting away with more stunts than most college kids pull off in their entire lives. Several phone batteries mysteriously left their owner's phones, and more still found themselves in other people's pockets, causing two brief fights and one minor scuffle. The bartender was persuaded to give everyone a free round of drinks, and several other men actually gave Raleigh the entire contents of their wallets in order to pay for her dying brother's spleen surgery. Time after time, I gave her a challenge, and she would pull off a feat I had previously deemed impossible. I had never been tremendously fond of being drunk, but the high of getting away with crimes and other assorted mischief was breathtaking.

Raleigh and I laughed and joked with each other as we left the bar we had just carved a swath of destruction through. The frigid air brought me back to reality and gradually sobered me. Raleigh sighed contentedly as we stopped reveling in our victory and listened to the gentle sounds of cars and busses passing by on the adjacent road. As we reached the bus stop, she looked at me and broke the silence, her breath dancing visibly from her mouth as she spoke.

"This was really fun. I can't say I expected to meet anyone while pick pocketing, but I'm glad I did."
I laughed softly, and stopped walking. Her eyes seemed to glow in the moonlight, my dark copper hair reflecting clearly against crystalline irises.

"Well comma getting robbed isn't usually how I make friends, but yeah, this was fun."
She looked at the ground and thought for a couple seconds, before pulling out a piece of paper and a pen.

"This is my cell number," she said as she wrote, "we should do this again sometime."
I entered her number into my contacts and immediately called it. She looked surprised and little bit offended as it rang, but laughed anyway. "You don't trust me?"
"Should I?"
She laughed again as her bus pulled up.
"No." All good, I really like this so far. but more characterisation, more of his thoughts on her, just more detail. Dialogue's great though
~~~
The next few days moved slowly and quietly comma as if I had exceeded my allotted time for excitement. I spent my weekend studying, watching television, or hanging out with friends as I usually did, broken from my routine only be spelling a text from Roderick. True to his word, he had managed to crack the password of my ex girlfriend's Gmail account with a program he wrote himself, and could now send any email he wanted from it. I spent several hours, giddy with excitement, contemplating what to write, before I finally decided on the following message, addressed to one of her friends:

Do you know any cute single guys who I might like? I've been dating that idiot Eric Johnson because he pays for my dinners, but he's about as attractive as a pug and he's terrible in bed. I've only managed to get any satisfaction by cheating on him with that guy from our statistics class, but even that is getting kind of boring. Thanks,
-Kristen

Rewrite that. Seriously, what girl sends that kind of message? Firstly, she'd only ask a close friend to set her up, you don't ask favours like that of mere acquaintances. Therefore, if it's a close friend, they would probably know who she's dating, and if she was cheating. Girl tell each other pretty much everything, after all. And get rid of the thanks at the end, it seems very out of place. Maybe go into more detail about how Eric has been annoying her - a specific situation which finally led to the breakup, for instance. Or the break-up itself. And something about how the cheating was a thrill at the start but it's become the norm now, and besides, it's not like she has a boyfriend to cheat on, so the excitement would all be gone. Have her moan a bit about how she needs a change, something new, brilliant, how she;s desperate for help and would love her friend to help her, or something like that.

I stretched out on my couch and sent a copy to Roderick, instructing him to make it look like she accidentally hit reply all, and unwittingly sent Eric a copy. I later confirmed from Eric that my E-mail had in fact been delivered, and had done its job splendidly. When I casually mentioning Kristen's name in conversation, Eric proceeded to call her "a cheating bitch". He further explained they had broken up after she had accidentally sent him an insulting E-mail, and didn't even have the courtesy to own it, claiming that her E-mail account had been hacked. I could barely contain my laughter.

Hang on... Eric is the guy she cheated on the narrator with, right? Maybe draw out the meeting between the two guys, to get the narrator's full sense of satisfaction at getting his revenge. More on him, his feelings.

Several days later, my glorious illusion of victory was abruptly shattered. Returning to my apartment one night after a causal party, I made a horrifying revelation. I first began to notice something was off as I entered the hallway outside of my room. The unmistakable smell of skunk spray wafted faintly around the corridor, infecting the air. I didn't have time to finish wondering how a skunk could have gotten on to the fourth floor of the building before I arrived at my door. That is, what was left of it. Someone had taken some sort of blade or saw to the wood around the doorknob, removing it entirely and leaving it on the floor in a pile of shredded wood. With no doorknob keeping it closed the door hung slightly ajar, and as I opened it further the ambient skunk stench increased tenfold. I doubled over momentarily, my eyes watering. When I righted myself, the scene I saw was a nightmarish wasteland. Almost nothing I owned was intact.

" I first began to notice" change to "I first noticed". More dramatic. more fragmented sentences to get a feel of the horror of the situation, the discomfort at realizing how much of the narrator's privacy has been violated. Maybe describe some objects being broken in detail, something that meant a lot to him that's been ruined, it will all make him more three-dimensional. Also, get rid of the "horrifying revelation" part, again sort of ruins the tension that you could build up to make this scene more effective.

"Oh no. Oh God no, this isn't happening!" I shouted in frustration, gripping locks of my chestnut colored hair in anguish. I agree with Twit I forced myself to examine the spectacle again, hoping fervently that the damage was not as bad as it looked. Unfortunately, it was worse. My two and a half thousand dollar macbook pro had been obliterated, its pieces scattered in disorderly piles on the floor. They were almost indistinguishable from the shattered pieces of my iPod, which I recognized only by the cut up headphones still partially attached to its frame. Okay, good, some detail. Macbook and iPod - personal, but something more... real, you know, like a family thing he has a memory, a photo, a figurine... something like that. It's all in the details. You can get the sense that the entire place has been destroyed simply by describing fully certain objects that are ruined - the right ones, of course :P


"God damn it!" I screamed, dropping to my knees. The carpet felt unusually damp, and a new wave of horror washed over me as I realized that the carpet had been soaked in skunk spray. The damage seemed to be hitting me from all angles. My mind raced frantically in fear and confusion as I rushed around the room trying to find one thing that was still usable. I was only met with further dismay as I explored new sections of my room. My clothes were shredded, my two thousand dollars of spare cash was gone, and all the books I needed for that semester of grad school were destroyed. Even my mattress was cut up leaving only the twisted heap of metal springs and wood that used to make up my bed. Mattress and bed - two different things! Whoever did this was thorough.


The misery of the loss shot through me as deeply as the skunk stench did, and I began to cry. Bitter furious tears ran down my blood red face, and the whole ruined room became blurry in my eyes. Everything began to spin, and I tripped on my way to the door, staining my only intact clothing with skunk scent. As I got up I noticed a post it note on the wall. It read: She knows. Now it's personal. Ω0Ψ.
Omega Omicron Psi. The local fraternity. I bit my lip until the taste of blood became stronger than the smell of skunk spray. The ball's in my court, I thought, it's time for revenge.

[b]Oooh good ending. Make sure you explain all about the fraternity in the next section though :P


Much better. Still some fine-tuning needed and more characterisation, but I really enjoyed it. Let me know when you post up more I really want to find out what happens next :P

~Ink




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Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:51 pm
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Twit wrote a review...



Hi again!

I’m still not sure I find Raleigh believable. I mean, the bartender probably sees every trick in the book, so why does he fall for a simple seduction? That doesn’t really make Raleigh an amazing con; it makes her a slut. In a manner of speaking.

Also, to con someone, you have to be in charge of your emotions. You have to be able to act. You have to be in control. And yet when Matt asks Raleigh a simple question about her past, she gets really rattled. That doesn’t speak of a professional, really good con artist.


Also, don’t be offended, but this is terrible:

"Oh no. Oh God no, this isn't happening!" I shouted in frustration, gripping locks of my chestnut colored hair in anguish.


Dude. I don’t give a monkey’s butt-cheek about his hair. His room’s just been trashed, there’s skunk stink everywhere—why the heck do I want to know what colour his hair is at a time like this?


The trashing of his room is an interesting development. I can’t say I’m that outraged on Matt’s behalf; Sending that email was a stupid, mean, underhanded thing to do, and it doesn’t make me sympathise with the character at all. I can’t find the first chapter to refresh my memory of what happened, but didn’t his girlfriend leave him? If so, then the email was a massively over exaggerated childish reaction. Even if she was cheating on him with the other guy, it’s still stupid.

And the email—I can’t believe that the new boyfriend was taken in by it. Surely he can’t think that the girl would be so obvious about cheating on him. She might as well drive a festival float down the street with dancing Oompa Loompas and flying unicorns, screaming through a megaphone, “I’m cheating and I like it woop woopdewoop!” It would be far better to make the email more subtle. Have her mention the other guy, but in a sneaky way, like “you know how bad things are with Eric, and seeing Paul isn’t making this any easier.” Something like that. Remember, she’s meant to be talking to her friends about her relationship troubles, not making a public broadcast about her infidelity.

I hope this helped somewhat, and do PM or Wall me if you have any questions. ^_^ Keep writing!

-twit





I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.
— Flannery O'Connor