Saint Lucy - Part 1

By Rachel E. Pollock/'Lady Bathory'

Lucien swirled through the doors of the club, head cocked to the side, lip curling in derision. He surveyed the throbby, snobby kids twisting around each other on the dance floor and let his gaze slide down the length of the bar. His eyes never met those of the pathetically flashy wallflowers seated there - he was careful to keep his actual sightline about six inches above their heads among the wisps of dry-ice fog and curlicue cigarette smoke. His usual chair at the end was empty - of course - and he admired himself in the mirror backing the array of liquor opposite as he approached.

He'd pulled off another coup with the makeup this evening. "Ooo, diva," Nicky would say to him later, or maybe "Girl, too faboo!" Nicky's everyday speech was practically a caricature of super-queen slang. Lucien liked talking to him: Siamese-catty and always good for an ego boost. Lucien's thoughts segued back to his makeup-as-art evaluation.

His efforts just hadn't paid off covering up the rather nasty scuff-mark left over from the previous weekend's collision in the dark. He'd slathered the inch-wide Ohio-shaped bruise with fifty-two-dollar mint colored Chanel base topped by several applications of clown white powder, hoping to achieve an inviting porcelain stretch of throat. He'd failed; it looked like someone had pegged him in the Adam's apple with the tag-end of a cigar butt.

'Melodramatic bastard,' he thought, in reference to Last Week's Lay. He winced as the boy's crumpled, grunted visage came to him unbidden. Lucien had seen the boy writhing and shuddering rhythmically on one of the raised platforms at the front of the dance floor and knew immediately: fucking the kid was a must.

Lucien wasn't strictly gay - he fell somewhere on the straighter side of bi, truth be told - but the boy's stickly, silverwhite hair and planar androgynous features marked him right off. 'Coveted Ones,' Lucien called them...those freakishly attractive, vapid boys and girls in their late teens. They pop up and out of nowhere and the club's abuzz.

"Who's that?"

"Where'd she come from?"

"Have you met him?"

Lucien prided himself on his ability to collect them. Then in his mind at least, they became 'Chosen Ones,' owing him for their metaphorical leg-up on the rungs of the social ladder.

Too bad, though. The boy'd turned out to be rather a dud. He'd been huffing ethyl, so his speech was somewhat fuzzy and his breath stank coldly. He'd actually been silly enough to introduce himself as Lord Something-or-Other, though he probably wasn't a day over seventeen and, judging from his accent, was Knoxville born-n-bred. Lucien mused wryly that the boy was one of those his granny would refer to as "a dim bulb." Besides, he'd made this ludicrous face when he came. Since the encounter, Lucien had tried to brush the kid off a couple times, but he just didn't seem to get a clue unless Colonel Mustard hit him with a frigging candlestick.

Lucien shook his head to rid himself of the image and extracted what he only half-jokingly referred to as a pretentious cigarette - a clove - from his equally pretentious silvertone case. He watched himself closely in the mirror as he tamped it and placed it between his carefully pencilled lips.

On cue, Lord Whatsisface appeared beside him in the reflection, proffering an open Zippo atop which a blue butaney-smelly flame leapt and licked. Lucien felt the crystalline ice of cruelty creep around his ribs, up his spine, into his eyes, out across his sholder blades.

"Need a light?"

Lucien did not turn but merely shifted his gaze in the mirror from his own reflection to that of the boy. A couple of seconds passed silently. The boy twitched and dropped his gaze. He giggled nervously, like a trill played on an oboe whose reed was cracked. "You know, um, when you light your own cigarette, you lose twenty percent of your sex appeal..." He looked back at Lucien and smiled shyly. He held the still burning lighter like a white flag, or maybe a shield.

"Oh?" Lucien pinched a pack of matches from the bowl on the bar, struck one. While he sucked deeply on the clove's filter, the boy put away his Zippo and began plucking at the frayed fishnet stocking he had ingeniously transformed into an opera-length glove.

"Well, I was thinking, maybe we could grab a table on the balcony...or go dance or something." Lucien shook his head slowly and flicked his eyes back to his own reflection while the boy continued desperately, "Maybe we could go outside and just sit in the square. Talk."

"I don't dance. I don't sit anywhere besides right here in my seat. I certainly don't pass my evenings in the square with a bunch of gutterpunks who can't cough up the cover charge talking with a whiny pathetic baby like yourself."

If Lucien had looked at him, he'd have seen the tear that marred the white scapula of the boy's cheek with its salty eyeliner trail before the boy slapped it away and whispered, "Whatever." He turned; Lucien saw him make for the exit in the mirror. His face remained composed, but he smiled mentally as the boy stubbed his toe on the threshold in his attempt to stalk angrily out the double doors. Then the smile actually crept out onto his face as Lord So-and-So's exit precluded an even more delicious entrance.

The girl walked in the door with a fresh-faced assurance rare among the plasticky drugs-n-hugs clubculture of Knoxville. Lucien felt his dick get hard; tonight's Coveted One. She was obviously doing the gothic thing, but with a campy glitterglam twist. A short black satin dress edged in mulberry maribou, backseamed fishnets and (Where the hell did she get them?) some of those 1930's moviestar bedroom slippers to match the dress. Coweyed lashes, a swingy burgundy angle-bob, long acrylic nails (black, of course). Lucien groped for an excuse to approach her.

As it turned out, he didn't have to. She pranced right over to him, plunked her funny little evening purse on the bar, and said, "So you really want to buy me a drink, huh? Well, maybe just this once." She fluttered the big lashes like a cartoon coquette and started fixing her immaculate hair in the bar mirror.

Lucien considered cutting her off midsentence for her bubbly presumption, but there was something so genuinely appealing about her attitude (Or practical lack thereof?). He lifted one long forefinger to the bartender. The girl leaned over the bar, one eye closed, the other squinted at the spirit collection.

"Reeeeeeally bad eyesight," she explained, shrugged, then said to the bartender, "Macallan 25 and H-two-oh, on the rocks, no twist. If ya please."

Lucien's brow rumpled. "Scotch drinker?"

"Oh yes. Especially single malt."

'Really fucking expensive single malt,' thought Lucien. He's only had to shell out three bucks on Lord Joe Blow's screwdriver the week previous. Oh well. For all intents and purposes she proved to be worth it.

"So what do you call yourself?"

"I call myself what everyone else calls me." Threw as a slightly stern edge to her voice. "Lulu."

"Lulu." He smiled and rolled the name around on his tongue like a bonbon. He took her hand, kissed it lightly. "Lucien."

She burst into peals of laughter. Lucien was disturbed. No one laughs at him, in 'his' club espeically. He was about to blast her with the deep-freeze when she spoke.

"Don't tell me you don't think that's funny! You put both our names together and you get 'lululucien.'" He actually cracked a halfsmile and she began to sing: "Lu-lu-Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Lucien in the sky...with diamonds." She blinked her coweyes. "It's be ever so nice if you were."

"If I were what?"

"Lucien, this guy with diamonds."

Lucien laughed, something he never did in public anymore. "Clever."

"Yeah, my brother and I, we play little word games like that all the time. We'd do the Doroth Parker ones, you know: 'At lunch the waiter tossed my salad, but Tess tossed her own.' Testosterone? Get it?" Lucien blinked, laughed again. Sharp as a tack. "I did one for 'estrogen.' Light on the tonic, but extra gin."

"Or extra Scotch?" Lucien was pleased that this time she laughed, a pentachord struck on a dulcimer. "So, how old are you?"

She grew serious. "Why do you ask?"

"I just bought you a drink. I'd like to know if I'm risking incarceration in the name of chivalry." She didn't laugh at that one. "Come on, we'll trade. I'm twenty-four."

"Twenty-two." Suddenly, she snatched her drink from the bar and wiggled off through the crowd, leaving the funny throaty gigglenotes drifting in her wake. Lucien grabbed his gin and tonic, spun round, and stalked off after her through the blacklit gloom; he'd be damned if he'd let this one slip through his newly-manicured fingers.

He spotted her on the frings of the dance floor over near the wall. She was holding her drink while dancing, but for some reason she didn't look gauche doing so. Her style of movement was unique. She moved her drink-unencumbered arm with the jerky angular grace of a Thai dancer. Her fingers outsplayed. She spun slowly, lifting her feet occasionally. Her eyes were closed, but she never ran into any of the other patrons crowding the dancefloor. She moved stiffly, never bending her torso from its upright position. Lucien assumed she had on one of those Rigilene-boned bra-corset thingies, especially taking into account her high, full bustline coupled with the spaghetti straps of the odd little slipdress. She looked so consumably naive. A freakish kinderwhore Lolita. Lulu, definitely. Maybe Salome.

He set his drink down on the nearest table and crept up behind her. Her eyes were closed, the inch-and-a-half false lashes quivering lightly against her flawless skin. He imagined them taking flight like moths. She'd shriek so prettily crushed by his stronglong fingers. He planned on scooping her up, arms round her waist, and carrying her off to the manager's office for a little "test run." Just as he was getting ready to tighten his grip, she whirled to face him and her eyes flew open.

"Sneak up on me, will you? Just for that, you've got to dance the next song with me." She pressed his hand on her hip (yep, a corset, unmistakably...felt like steel bones even!), grabbed the other one a tad too firmly in hers, and began a slow ballroomesque step. He was taken aback, but quickly recovered and noticed he followed her moves with an easy synchronicity. He was about to cut the little fling short - recall that he did not dance - when he caught a glimpse of Lulu and himself in the huge studio mirror by the dancefloor. They looked unbelievably good together. "Too faboo," even. Everyone was gawping. Lucien decided to dance the song through with this girl...hmm...Lulu.