“You can’t fuck a mermaid,” Tobias said.
“So?” Conor asked. “You don’t even think about fucking when you’re nine.”
I looked up when the waitress came back with a third pitcher of beer.
Conor was the first to pour a new glass, his smile already widened by the eight drinks he’d poured already. “I used to look at the Ariel poster in my sister’s room,” he said. “I had no idea why it made my dick hard, but it felt good. I used to go into her room all the time.”
“For me it was Jasmine,” Tobias said. “She was the only princess who wore pants.”
“It was the way the waistline had that V-shape that pointed down to her crotch. She was a real tease.” Tobias sat back. “I also thought the feather duster from the Beauty and the Beast was hot.”
“Before or after the spell?” I asked.
“Well, after, but you get the gist that she was sexy before. They made her flirty and sassy, and they gave her one of those fake French accents. They got it right in that movie; I always watched it right to the end just so I could see her in human form.”
When I drank, I felt the rush creeping upwards, burning my cheeks.
Conor nodded at me. “What about you, Jonah?”
I finished my glass before reaching for the pitcher. With both of them staring, all I could do was shrug.
“Seriously, man,” Tobias said. “Don’t pretend to be all gentlemanly tonight.”
“I don’t have a sister,” I said.
I wiped the sweat off my forehead, straightened myself in my chair. “Alice,” I said.
“Really?” Tobias asked. “I always thought she was kind of plain.”
“I just found her annoying,” Conor said.
Neither of them said anything when I agreed. Their stares felt abrasive. When I swallowed, the taste of the alcohol was thick in my throat. “She annoyed the fuck out of me, mostly,” I said, leaning forward, taking a breath. “Okay, you know that unbirthday party scene? She just walked in as though nothing was out of place. She was never scared, even though the Mad Hatter was a fucking nutcase. The whole movie was like that; it just pissed me off.”
“How is that a turn-on?” Conor asked.
I shrugged again. “I used to think that if I were in the movie I’d jump out of the bushes and actually threaten her.”
“So you’d rape Alice in Wonderland?” Tobias asked.
Conor smiled, shaking his head. “You’re messed up, man.”
“I never said I’d rape her.”
“But the idea of scaring her got your dick hard when you were ten?” he asked.
“No, it’s just…it’s-” I put my hand down, taking a breath.
“Wouldn’t it make more sense to do Sleeping Beauty? I mean, she’d just be lying right there for you to do whatever the hell you wanted, right?”
I curled my fingers over the edge of the table. “The question wasn’t about how we’d have our way-”
“No, it wasn’t. But you’re saying you got your rocks off thinking about threatening Alice in Wonderland. What kind of a kid were you, man?” He was still smiling. His lips were pulled back, showing teeth. “What if you were at a Halloween party and you met a chick dressed like Alice? What would you do to her?”
“This doesn’t have to do with-”
“Seriously, man, what would you do? What if she actually talked all proper and civilized like the real Alice in Wonderland? Would you slap her? Would that turn you on, cutting her voice off mid-sentence?”
My grip tightened around my glass. I stared at the beer, watched as the carbonated bubbles sailed to the top before bursting, before disappearing into nothing. The ticking pressure in my chest was building. I could hear it beating in my skull.
“Would you shove her against a wall and call her a fucking bitch?”
I held my breath, exchanging glances with Tobias. He swallowed before he reached out and grasped Conor’s shoulder.
“Dude, just leave it,” Tobias said.
“I just – it makes sense, actually.” Conor’s smile widened. His eyes brightened. He shook himself out of Tobias’ grasp and stumbled against the table. He pointed at me. “At work, Tobias told me that the first chick you hooked up with was this blonde Bible-thumping Christian girl who’d pledged her virginity to God and everything. Apparently you had some bet-”
Tobias was biting his lip. He was standing, grabbing Conor’s shoulder.
“Apparently she wouldn’t talk to you afterwards. Seriously man, what’d you do to her?”
“Conor, I’m cutting you off,” Tobias said.
“You told him about that?” The fist I made felt tense, shaky.
Tobias shrugged. “He wanted to know about you, man. What’s the big deal?”
“I’ll bet you even called her ‘Alice’, right?” Conor’s voice was loud, sloppy. It caught itself when he lost his footing. He stumbled against the table. The other people in the bar started to notice, their turning heads and glaring stares making the sound of my heart reverberate in my ears.
The waitress came back, her bare thighs flashing from under the flared pleats of her short skirt. Her ponytail swung from side to side.
“Would you jump out of the bushes on her?” Conor asked.
“Look, if you guys could just quiet down a bit-”
Tobias held up his hand, using the other to support Conor. “Not a problem. I’m taking him out right now.”
“Yeah, he’s just…causing a bit of a scene-”
“Really, I’m sorry,” I said.
Conor nodded, reaching out to slap my arm. “Oh, nice one, man. Just charm her, lure her in, make her think you’re a nice guy when you’re really thinking of tying her up in your basement.”
The waitress stood there, her fingers fluttering over her notepad as Tobias pulled Conor out of the bar. When she looked at me, her painted pink lip slipped under her teeth.
“I’m sorry about that,” I said.
“No, it’s – it’s alright.” Her voice wavered. She cleared her throat, before she looked down, wiped at the sweat on her cleavage. Watching her made the burning in my cheeks start to subside. “You can stay…it was really just the other guy…”
I smiled and took a glance at her name tag. “Thanks, Cleo.”
“Just let me know if you need anything.”
“Of course,” I said.
I watched her skirt flipped against her thighs when she turned. My grip tightened around the glass, and I lifted it, tasting the beer. It was pale ale. The carbonation tickled down my throat, made me inhale deep.
Rebecca Jones-Howe dropped out of university in order to pursue her dream of writing dirty short stories that could still be considered ‘literary’. She lives in Kamloops, British Columbia and can be found online at: http://lifesgarbage.com