Drinking Problem

by Spencer Koelle

Melissa was self-conscious, as any surviving gorgon would be. Media portrayals showed a supermodel-perfect figure with snake-hair and glowing eyes. By contrast, the original Medusa turned living victims to stone by sheer force of ugliness. Eye contact caused the supernatural petrifaction, but Melissa’s scale rot and congenital ichthyosis certainly supported the mythic imagery.

Melissa huddled in a far corner nursing her lukewarm beer. She tightened her hissing veil and adjusted her sunglasses anxiously. The bad pop music and strobe lights hammered on her skull. She plucked dead mosquitoes from her shoulder. For this, she had missed a night of sculpting, prime-time TV, and plump white mice.

Vanessa had dragged her along, and once again she was chatting up some panty-moistening cutie. He ignored her superior mammalian attributes and flashed a toothy smile at Melissa.

“By Poseidon’s salty cock,” the gorgon breathed. The cutie with classy clothes, alabaster skin, and a squeezable butt caught her staring. He winked theatrically.

Melissa shifted on her barstool and held back the instinct to do a hair-flip. She settled for a finger-wave and a smile back instead.

She regretted the gesture. He had full red lips and long white teeth. She had jagged yellow teeth and no lips at all. Her bronze talons made a sharp contrast to his finely manicured pale fingers. Mellissa stifled the urge to slink away.

Pale hot boy turned to order a drink. Vanessa jerked her head at the cute pale boy, whistled, and gave her friend a thumbs-up. Melissa moved to return the gesture, but her friend was now eyeing some boy in a “Herpetologists Make Better Lovers” T-shirt.

Melissa moistened her mouth and sidled towards the cutie. She summoned every ounce of charisma to deliver some impressive insight or witty double entendre.

“You’re a boy,” came out of her mouth, just as the nearby conversations dropped.

Background chatter filled the pause. The cute guy raised an eyebrow, then laughed heartily at the clever remark she hadn’t made. “And you are a very intriguing woman.” He lowered his voice and leaned in. “May I buy you a drink?”

It was the first time a hot guy had bought her a drink. After the third time a hot guy had bought her a drink, she decided the night wasn’t wasted. When he suggested they go to his place for the night, she pinched herself. The biting pain, sizzling blood, and peeling skin confirmed waking reality.

They passed into the cool night air holding hands. She drank in the tall dark stranger behind her sunglasses. The sharp orange streetlight was as favorable to his features as it was unforgiving to hers. Melissa saw the lone misshapen shadow behind them and became fully aware of his cold grip against her reptilian skin.

“So, you’re a vampire then?” she guessed, keeping accusation out of her voice.

“How observant of you,” he sneered.

Mellissa recognized the irony under his praise and the fear under her excitement, belatedly. His fangs lengthened. “May you buy me a drink?”

She strained against his death grip. He had her arms pinned, her body pressed against the wall. Her veil writhed. Just one snake could dislodge her shades.

“You’ve bitten off more than you can chew,” she hissed.

The vampire lifted her sunglasses and looked Melissa square in the eye. “I sincerely doubt that.”

Plastic crunched underfoot. One manicured hand pinned her to the cold brick wall with demonic strength. He kissed her hand satirically, then twisted it. “Vampires can read ‘fantasy’ novels too. You’ve got bronze talons, a nest of vipers for hair, and a gaze that petrifies *living flesh*.” He chomped her flabby arm hard, four fangs all-but meeting in> the artery.

The vampire sucked harder and closed his eyes. Dark tears dribbled from them. He jerked and shuddered. The tears smoked, and the same sizzling foam dripped out of his ears and nose. Her bronze talons sank into his bloodless neck and pinned his mouth to her mottled flesh. The vampire struggled to escape. The gorgon tightened her embrace.

Minutes later, Melissa released her constricting grip. She wiped her eyes. The young woman addressed the smoldering bones.

“Unlike contemporary adaptations, the original myth mentions that gorgons have caustic blood.”