The Iron Writer Challenge #68
2014 Summer Solstice Challenge #4
The best/worst pick up line ever
A wooden club
On the Prowl
Cassie Ray Clark
The first thing I notice about the Cro Magnon is it’s harsh, rustic exterior. Rough logs with a long front porch. Replica caveman clubs holding up the awning. No neon lights, beer signs or typical tacky bar atmosphere. As I try to maneuver the gravel lot in my red stilletoes I’m giddy with anticipation of what the night will bring. Slinking across the porch, I reach for the door handle as my stomach rumbles from hunger pains. Surely I’ll find a satisfying meal inside. Inside is typical macho man decor. The only difference being the imitation cave walls. Which wouldn’t be so bad if not for the crude chauvinistic etchings on the lame cave walls. But whatever, the man-cave decor is not why I’m here. It’s smokey, the smell of stale beer, popcorn, testosterone and sweat thick in the air. Most women might feel intimidated being this outnumbered by men. Not me, I’m practically purring with excitement. Approaching the stools in front of the bar I notice it’s gotten quiet, all eyes on me in my slinky red dress. The burly, bearded bartender looks me up & down like I’m a t-bone & he hasn’t eaten in a week. He actually looks me in the eye & gives a cat call. Game on. I reach across the bar & pet his big meaty forearm, licking my lips, asking for a double whiskey. Obviously not the reaction he expected, by his drooping jaw. He reaches behind him, fumbling for a highball. After what I can only describe as a fumbled attempt at my drink he slides it across the bar top, muttering “he-he-here ya go”. Looking him dead in the eye I give him a wink, giggle and say “what’s wrong, honey, cat got your tongue?”. Trash talk & laughter quickly resume in the bar as I eye my prey. Another drink down, I spot the bartender heading to the back and think this is my shot. Following him through the heavy metal door in the back my feline senses kick in, a low purring sounding in my chest. Creeping up behind him I see his attention on the inventory sheet in front of him. I can smell his sweat, can hear the thick blood pumping through his veins as my change begins. The muscles in my back, arms & thighs begin elongating & reforming. The velvety fur begins pushing it’s way through my skin as my teeth grow into weapons fit to rip & tear flesh. He slowly turns, fear obvious in his wide opened eyes and the smell of his fear is more intoxicating than the whiskey. But there is no time for him to scream. As he drops his list and opens his mouth, I growl deeply and pounce. And finally, I know the hunger will soon be replaced by ecstasy as I take the first juicy bite.
“That’s weird. I’ve never hit the wrong person like that before…” Cupid removed her worn nylon mask and set it on the designated hook at the door. She’d been chosen to be a Matcher at birth, and spent 10 years training to watch people, to pair them up perfectly, to find soulmates and bring them together. Not many people in the world were given that responsibility, and she was proud of it, but it was tough at times. She was the only Matcher in the city of Eire, and was also responsible for the surrounding cities too.
“Maybe you’re just having a bad day?” queried Sól. “It happens to the best of us!”
“It’s okay for you to make a mistake, you work with 5000 other people who can easily fix any mistake you make!” Cupid replied, pushing dark curls away from her face. “But me? My mistakes affect people for the rest of their lives. I shot the wrong person, how can that be fixed? They’ll be in love forever, regardless of how incompatible they are for each other!”
She slumped onto a chair, head pounding. It felt like she’d been forcefully hit with a wooden club. Maybe tomorrow would be better… Well, she could hope.
Everyone expected their life to be like those depicted in the ancient cave paintings – find love, stay together – but unfortunately it wasn’t always that simple. People got drunk, slurred overused lines like “Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?”, and then almost suddenly they were sharing a bed. That ruined everything. Once two people had slept together, they were bound by an unbreakable bond. Even if they weren’t compatible. But it was a problem Cupid had long since gotten used to. The other one, however…
Cupid knew exactly why she had hit the wrong person. The boy she was supposed to shoot, Caleb she thought his name was, had taken her breath away from the moment she saw him. Tall, dark, handsome – typically perfect in every way. Her heart jolted just thinking about him…She knew what she had to do. Pulling on her fur coat, wrapping it closer around her as she ventured into the cold night air, she tried to pinpoint Caleb’s location. Something inside of her mind, the unknown force that always led her to the person she needed to find, whispered that he was at the fountain. She needed no further encouragement.
He was sat on the edge of the fountain, gazing up at a full moon. He never even saw the arrow fly towards his chest. His face went pale, blank. If she didn’t do something soon, his soul would ebb out of his body and move on alone… But Cupid would have done anything for him. He would not, could not be alone for eternity. She loved him, it was all she needed to know, and he was her last thought as her final arrow pierced her own heart…
“Do I honestly have to wear this?” Will took a few steps over to look in the full length mirror. “Wow, it’s like Fred Flintstone and that insurance caveman had a really ugly baby.” “ I think you look great…really”, Candace said fighting back her laughter. “Like I look any better, I look like I am wearing a dead animal and I swear this smells like road kill!” “I mean really, who comes up with these things? I do like this specialty bracelet your sister had made for me, she said it is a cave etching of a tree, it is by far the only thing I will ever be able to wear again”. Candace turns to face Will and holds out a dinosaur bone necklace. “Honey, will you put on my fine diamonds please.” Will smiles as he latches the necklace in place. “I mean honestly, Will, what was your sister thinking”? “A caveman themed wedding….its distasteful” Will chuckled, “Are you forgetting that they met at a Caveman Convention”? “I don’t care if they met at some stupid Caveman Convention or not”. “What do you want to bet when the wedding is over, instead of kissing the bride, he just clubs her in the head and drags her off to wedded bliss by her hair”. “Really she deserves nothing less….making us wear these dreaded outfits”. “I think I am starting to get a rash from all this fur!!” “Good thing we bought the economy sized bottle of hydrocortisone cream,” Will chuckled as he began searching for the wooden club that would hold the rings during the ceremony. “Hardy har har William”. “Have you finished your best man speech yet?” “Mostly…I plan to go through the normal, I love my sister bit, followed by the welcome to the family line, then I am really wanting to tell the story about how they first met”. I was thinking of saying something like this…. “My sister was too busy staring at my future brother in law, that she failed to notice the How to Start a Fire with Sticks presentation that was going on right in front of her, and she tripped, landed flat on her face, and was too mortified to move.” “That’s when it happened…my future brother in law walked over to her, knelt down and said “Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?”, and that was it, she was hooked, he was hooked, and here we all are 2 years later, dressed like morons.” Candace smiled, “you might consider leaving out the moron part, tends to dampen the spirits of all the happy wedding goers”. Will grinned back at Candace, “Ok how about I end it like this….All I can hope for my sister and new brother in law is an amazing life together, and if they are lucky enough to have a marriage as amazing as mine, I know that they will be eternally happy”.
As Candace wiped away a tear, Will took her hand in his and together they walked out the door.
Trevor picked up his pith helmet and dusted it off. Dessert work was never a clean. He gathered his brushes and shovels and walked back to his sand stained tent. After six months in Arizona, Trevor was ready to go back to New York. There was no comparison between the desolation he worked in and the non-stop world he grew up in.
“Trev! Come give me a hand with the mess tent. The wind is picking up again!”
He gathered up the last of his energy to get up to help his co-excavator, Hannah, with the mess tent. This was a daily battle. Camping where there was little to shelter them, the elements often tossed their base camp. But it was close enough to the caves that they did not have to go far. The Paiutes in the area had arranged for the New York University to do some excavation and collect records of the caves for the People.
Hannah pulled the corner of the tempest tossed tent and drove the stake back into the ground with the mallet from their kit. She was a beauty, considering what the work was. Her bright auburn hair just accented her emerald eyes. All the time in the sun had turned her into a bronze goddess that Trevor tried not to think about.
“Thanks, Trevor. Is it your night to cook, or mine? I don’t even want to think about what is left in the supplies right now.”
“Yeah, I think it is my turn. What do you say we take some time away from this cave and go into town for some good, home style burgers and fries? I think I saw a shop that advertised ‘hand dipped milkshakes’.”
Hannah nodded in agreement. It had been too long since they left. She had just finished logging her latest find, a rough hewn club. There was quite a bit that was interesting about it. She would need to take it to the tribe historian to find out more. It appeared to have once had a stone inserted into one end, looking more like an axe or a hammer than just a club.
Trevor felt that the dig would be called off soon, so he needed to express to Hannah what he thought every day. They were two similar people who were very well compatable. He was ready to ask her the most important question he could think of. He went back to his tent, and changed into non-khaki clothes.
Hannah was waiting for him by the forest green truck. She had changed into a stunning pair of white capris that showed her perfect calves, and a black lace camisole that showed her bronze skin. She was holding a tan jacket that had a fur trimmed collar. She was a stunning example of God’s work. Would he be so lucky?
As Trevor and Hannah pulled away, they did not notice the hunters coming into the back of the camp. The did not know where their night would lead, or the disaster that awaited.