Sundays are always boring to me. Everyone is sleeping off their hangovers, doing their walks of shame or, for just a tiny bit of the demographic, going to church. My hangovers lasted all of 2 hours, I wasn't an advocate for casual sex and organized religion was silly to me. So here I sat, on Sunday morning wondering if anyone would be up for brunch or if it was even worth asking. I thought back to my former mentor, Annie, and sighed sadly. She would get more drunk than most people thought possible and yet she'd show up at my house at eleven on the spot with her announcement "put on your fat pants! Time to eat!"
Annie and her best friend Marc died last year. Found bloody at the bottom of a small canyon somewhere in South Carolina. It took me ages to get over it. I was upset that Annie ran away without telling me and but honestly, I was so angry at her for dying so early. We're dragons. Our life span is nearly 200 years. And there she was, packed away in a raggedy coffin at a mere 24.
"You new here?" the flaming red head asked me. She took a drag on a cigarette attached to a Parisian cigarette holder. This girl sat on a plush couch, surrounded by the skinniest people I'd ever seen. She tugged the bottom of her neon pink, leopard print mini skirt down. A woman with blue hair rested her head in the red heads lap.
"You could say that," I replied. I felt slightly out of place. Like my clothes covered too much, like I was a little too fat and that my hair wasn't the appropriate color.
"I can tell," she said, smiling slightly. "You look uncomfortable. Are you uncomfortable? Tell the truth."
I teetered side to side on my heels.
"I am, just a little." She shook her head.
"You're very uncomfortable. You've never been around people like us. Freaks. Every other person you've seen here is a drag queen and most of these girls ran away from home. What's your excuse?"
I was slightly taken aback. Maybe I just wanted to go clubbing.
"I just wanted to get out for the night and I've never been here."
She lifted the cigarette from her pink stained lips. She was taking drags on it, but it appeared she never inhaled.
"What's your name?" she asked.
"Chantale," I said.
"I can tell from your accent you're not from the area," she said, persuading the information from me.
"I'm from Haiti. Moved to America seven years ago," I said proudly.
"You have a lot to learn, Chantale," she softly pushed the blue haired girl away. "Come here, you've much to learn and I will teach you all of it."
I stood, hesitant to even come near her. I wondered if she was under the influence of a drug. I doubted she would remember this exchange in the morning. I gave her until 2 am to forget I was even a real person.
I sat next to her, back straight, tightly clutching my hand bag.
"I'm Annie, by the way," she took a drag on the cigarette. "You don't have to shake my hand. I'm sure you don't trust me yet."
She twisted a lock my hair around her finger. I tensed up.
"Your name is beautiful, but it won't work on the scene. I'm going to take a shot. Then I will call you the first thing that comes into my mind."
Annie stood up and sauntered gracefully to the bar. She became enveloped in the sea of people. The blue haired girl put her skinny arm around my shoulders.
I...am....tripping...SO HARD!" she screamed the last two words in my ear.
"Sahara," Annie appeared. "Get off of her. I told you to stop with the E pills. You just don't listen, idiot." She turned to me and looked at me for a long time.
"I had an epiphany on the way back from the bar. Roger fondled me a little, as usual," she nudged a woman with long blonde hair that was standing next to her. On closer inspection, it was actually a man in a dress. "From now on, dear Chantale, you will be known as Stritt."
"Stritt? I don't get it. That's not a name. That's not even a word." I stood up. "Do you just name everyone that comes in here?"
Annie threw her head back and laughed.
"They come to me. You're the only person I've chosen to join this scene." She furrowed her brow. "There's something about you that seems oddly familiar. Take a walk with me. And we must get my partner, Marc,"
Before I knew it, we where standing out in the chill of the mid November. She'd gotten on her phone and just a few short seconds later, a tall, built man with an unusually red skin tone had come out front.
It was at this point, I panicked just a little. What did she mean by oddly familiar? I tried to remember everywhere I'd been when I transformed. I wondered if she saw me transform. I been to feel uneasy.
"I feel something about you, darling," Annie started. "You're unusual too, aren't you? And you know what I mean when I say that."
"I'm just foreign. Is that what you meant?" I answered.
"No," the man, Marc, said. "You're a dragon, aren't you? You have the aura. We can tell."
I felt a jolt of sheer terror. They're going to kill me, I thought.
"Look at her face, Marc," Annie said with a slight chuckle. "Calm down! You're not alone here. We only ask because we're dragons too."
I stared at her in disbelief. Her eyes were both brown. I wondered if she was lying or if she did the same trick with the contact lenses.
"I-I-I don't know what you're talking about." I turned to run. I heard a loud, exasperated sigh and suddenly a guttural roar.
I turned to see a black dragon standing before me.
"What?!" I cried.
"Did you think we were lying?" Marc asked. "They might turn on us," he nodded to the club. "But we don't turn on each other."
Marc picked Annie's tiny dress off the ground and tossed it to her.
"She got the message, Annie," Marc called to her. He turned to me. "You're one of us now."
I sighed again and looked at the clock. 11:03. Where's my tradition? Where's my egg benedict? Where are my brethren?
The last question I asked myself, perked me up. Where are the other dragons in this community? Is it just a mere coincidence that the three of us found each other?
There was some sleuthing to be done. I can't be alone here. There's no way.