Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
Today's words: banter, duty, element
Based on a true story. The names and locations have been changed to protect the
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Tales of Woe
“Oh my god, Elan! What happened?”
Elan Fischer shrugs, mumbles an incoherent response into his glass of beer. He had expected this response, he just didn’t want to talk about it. As his friends arrive for the annual summer barbeque, the greeting from each is the same—or some variation of it.
He manages to put off John and Trevor when they ask him what happened. He even avoids Rick’s queries when he corners him by the fire pit. He finally relents when Sandra and Emily tag-team him. He always did have a weakness for women.
“Alright.” Elan throws up his hands in defeat. “I’ll tell you what happened.”
To give himself time to gather his thoughts, Elan walks over to the cooler and pulls out a beer, takes his time drying it off. When he pops off the top, he turns and faces the group, flicks his heavy braid of hair over his shoulder.
At six-two and a very fit two hundred and eighty pounds, Elan is intimidating. A result of his mother’s Cree blood and father’s Irish heritage, he has smooth Mocha skin and blue-black hair that falls in waves past his shoulders. He has the seductive, wild look of an era long past.
Women want him. Men fear him.
Elan leans back against the picnic table, his beer in one hand. “I was at Charlie’s last night.”
There are smug nods at this disclosure. It is no secret that Elan likes a drink. Before the inevitable banter can start, he gestures with his bottle. “It wasn’t like that. I met my brother for a drink. Then we decided to stay for a bite. You know Charlie’s has the best wings in town.”
There is a low hum of agreement.
“So Delsin and I are eating wings and drinking beer. We’re minding our own business. Shut up, we were,” he says at the snorts he gets from that. “Do you want to hear what happened or not?”
Sandra and Emily hiss at the others. “We want to hear what happened,” says Sandra. She slaps at John when he sniggers.
Elan takes a pull from his beer and waits. When the group is quiet, he continues.
“So, like I said, we’re minding our own business, when Del points out the girl sitting alone two tables away from us. She’s sipping her drink and she looks like she’s crying.” Elan hitches up his worn jeans. “I figure it’s my duty to go comfort her.” He ignores the laughter from the guys, the snorts from the girls. “But before I can get up, this guy comes out of the bathroom and sits down at her table. She clearly doesn’t want him there but he’s not leaving. She gets up to leave and the guy grabs her arm.”
At this point, the girls gasp. John, Rick and Trevor are silent.
“I can’t just let that go,” says Elan, “so I walk over and say to the guy ‘hey buddy, the lady doesn’t want you to stay.’ He says ‘Oh yeah?’ and stands up.” Elan steps away from the table and pulls himself to his full height. “The fucker’s bigger than me, if you can believe it.”
“No!” Emily clamps her hand over her mouth.
Elan nods, a grim look on his face. “I turn to the girl and tell her to leave while I talk to her boyfriend. Then he sucker-punched me.” Elan points at his left eye that has swelled and discoloured to an angry puce.
He shrugs. “I took him down after that.” He leans back against the table as though he’d just recounted an uneventful drive to work and not a bar brawl.
Everyone talks at once; the guys congratulate him and the girls are instantly up from their lawn chairs. Sandra runs her cool fingers beneath his eye and croons. “Poor baby. Why don’t you have a seat and we’ll take care of preparing the food. Do you want another beer?”
Elan flicks his sad eyes over to her. “Sure.”
Emily gives him a quick kiss on the lips and walks away with Sandra, their heads together, no doubt dissecting the events from last night.
When the girls are inside and out of ear shot, Trevor looks over at Elan.
“That was a good story, El.”
“Had the girls sitting on the edge of their seats,” John agrees. “But there are several elements in your little fairy tale that just don’t add up.”
Elan says nothing.
Rick taps his bottle against Elan’s. “What really happened.”
Elan grins, glances at the patio doors. “Don’t tell the girls.” The men rumble their consent. Of course not. What kind of friends would we be? We have your back, bro.
“I did go out for drinks with Del last night. But I’d had a few, so I took a cab home. Of course, I had the munchies when I got back and I was rummaging through the cupboards looking for something good—I was thinking cashews—and I lost my balance and caught the corner of the cupboard door.” Elan winces as he rubs his swollen eye.
To their credit, his friends remain stone-faced.
Trevor lifts his bottle in salutation. “The damsel in distress story is much better.”
“Definitely,” John agrees. He glances over at the house. “It might even get you laid.”
Rick shrugs. “Can’t hurt.”