“Don’t get too comfortable.”
The words were spoken silkily, with an oily smile that pushed his cheeks upward into two lumps just below his glittering eyes. His head was bald, shiny and red, and a black ‘mutton chops’ beard paired very suitably with a curled-up moustache. He looked rather weird in the noisy and neon-lit pub; the bartenders were enormously muscled and scantily clad, the music blared loudly, disco balls flashed from the ceiling and gorgeous, naked women gyrated sensuously around poles.
Bizarrely clad in nothing else but a loincloth, he was red toned – one would say that it might have been the effect of the lights, but it really wasn’t – because when the women and their glistening bodies turned green or purple under the onslaught of the illuminated discotheque, he still remained red.
The batch of newcomers, young and old that had entered the pub wondered.
“Enjoy the services here,” he continued with his slippery smile. “It’s…” and he nodded once and sideways, and his bald pate gleamed like the disco balls, “complimentary.”
The newcomers whooped loudly. This was not going to be bad after all.
“Like I said, don’t get too comfortable.” He grinned again. “This is what I call the ‘Honeymoon Period.’ With an aslant nod again, he pulled out a gadget from within his loincloth and peered into it, scrolling his fingers across the screen, giggling all the while.
“My!” he exclaimed. “Scandalous. You folk are truly something.” He winked at them, turned brusquely and disappeared behind an elaborate door, slapping the ample bottom of a dancer as he did so.
And while his new batch of arrivals caroused gaily under the lights, the red man’s slimy smile suddenly vanished; he now glowered pitilessly over an endless furnace, where a million souls groaned in eternal agony.
(c) Cindy Pereira