“Aw , shit,” I said to Jenn as I sat down at the table. We had been waiting for a table for about fifteen minutes and most of the small talk was out of the way. I had been looking forward to talking to another writer for a while, especially someone who was a little farther along in the process than I was.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, noticing my nervous glance slightly to her right.
“Steve’s here,” I replied.
Jenn cast her own nervous glance in the direction I had indicated with mine. “I don’t see him.”
“Well, do you believe in Demons?”
“Umm, not really,” she shook her head.
Steve tisked and shook his own head, the light above our table reflecting off of his onyx-like horns.
I shushed him, hoping I did not look too crazy to the restaurant’s other patrons.
“Well, what’s he doing?” Jenn asked me, looking to her right once again.
“No,” I shuddered, “at me.”
Jenn smiled across the table, “Well, at least that’s something.”
“I like her,” said Steve.
“Of course you do, she’s a writer too.”
“Um, do I need to give you two a moment?” Jenn interjected, giving me a funny look.
I watched Steve’s tail snake across the table and in a true moment of insight I realized what his intentions were, catching the water glass before any water spilled out, watching the demon’s whiplike tail dart away before I grabbed it too.
“You know the book The Stand? Well, it doesn’t matter if you believe in Steve either, he believes in you.”
“Wait, so you are saying Steve knocked over my water?”
“Yep,” I had a smug look on my face, I was not going to concede that Steve was a hallucination, besides, my wife and kids saw him. Jenn laughed and a brief moment of doubt crossed my face. Was my family humoring me too?
“Whatever, so, what are you going to have?”
I gave the menu one last look over and settled. “The tofu pad thai sounds good. You ever had it?”
“Well, not with tofu, but yeah, I was thinking of getting it myself.”
Searching for a new topic to keep the conversation flowing, I found one. “I have one question, is it Bamf as in Canada, or is it a Nightcrawler reference?”
“Actually, that’s Banff, with an N and two F’s.”
“Oh,” I said sheepishly, not sure of how to recover.
Luckily, the waitress showed up, long enough for Steve to switch his leering from me to her. She took our orders and walked away. Steve’s tail matching the rhythm of her swaying hips. I shook my head.
“What’s he doing now?”
“Suffice it to say, you don’t want to know,” I said as I observed Steve making obscene gestures with the rest of his body.
His head snapped back to me after our waitress rounded a corner. “So, what did I miss?”
I ignored him. Until he got in my face, blocking the view of my companion.
“Um, Jonathan, what’s going on?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you’re kind of shimmering? Or I guess it’s more like static.”
“Steve is standing in front of me.” I reached up and grabbed him, thanking the restaurant for bolting down the table. I stood up and strong-armed the demon into the seat next to me, trying to avoid making a scene and failing miserably. Finally sitting back down, my gaze turned to Jenn, who was sitting across the table, her mouth hanging open.
Before I could answer, our waitress approached, offering us a refresh on our drinks, and asking if everything “was okay?”
I nodded sheepishly and ordered another rum and coke, Steve was going to make this a long night.
Once she was gone, I turned back to Jenn and tried to answer her question, but I was interrupted.
“Yep, 140 pounds of nothing but demon…” Steve responded, reaching up and polishing the tip of one of his horns with his fingers.
“So how is your editing going?” I asked, trying to regain control of the conversation, and the night.
I lost it immediately as Jenn began digging through her bag, pulling out her iPad and beginning to pound away.
“Is this how he works?” she said as she showed me the note she had just created. It read ‘Join the Steampunk Telepathic Roller Derby League today!’