Stinger strolled through the dark streets of the town, ignoring the crowds of people that passed him. Usually he would have commented on a ladies fine attire, or even saw if he could sneak a peak at some cleavage. Well, not tonight. See, tonight wasn't the kind of night he liked. It was sort of like the red-headed stepchild.
You see, tonight he had almost been killed by his own boss.
Well... technically it had been by accident. Stinger was never supposed to even see that net breaking, let alone be the man it broke on. He rubbed his shoulder and winced at the pain that radiated from it. If he had landed just a little wrong.... Stinger shivered. He hadn't thought that Admiral Wiseacre had been such a man. He wanted to doubt Camille and the others, but... Merriweather's act had been plenty proof.
Stinger shook his head. He could get over this. This was nothing. Not compared to before the Tent Circus... Yeah! Stinger gave a passing beauty with a low neckline a wink and stared openly at her cleavage. Instead of the usual slap or glare, he got a seductive come-and-get-it stare. Stinger just smiled and passed on by.
He felt good that he got such a reaction, but the true fun was just the flirting, not the actual dating or one night stands he had had in the past. Ever since he was little, Stinger wanted the attention he had never had. The Admiral had came along and shown his the way, but Stinger always wanted more. If he could impress the world...
Stinger sighed. "Like that will ever happen, Stinger ol' boy," he told himself. To his right was a bar. It was named Ralph's Place, but Stinger knew the stench of alcohol anywhere. Well, the Admiral's circus was nearby, so there was no way he would get suspicion. Plus, the girls had already gone their way hours ago and were probably fast asleep. No way to tie him to them. "Might as well have a drink."
The bar turned out to have a very lively bunch, some of which Stinger realized as the Admiral's men. Not his workers, but some of the actual men who served as his messengers and body guards. Luckily, there were only two. Fred, a large man with no hair whatsoever and skin that was unnaturally shiny, and Hank, another large man with spiked hair and a serious expression. He never smiled, really, but Fred made up for it.
Stinger walked over and sat beside them. "Fred! Hank! How has it been?"
Fred smiled and grabbed Stinger in a headlock, as usual when the man was drunk off his ass. "Stinger, ya kid 'hic' Where 'ave you been, huh? Boss was lookin' fer ya earlier." Hank simply stared at Stinger and observed. So creepy.
Stinger freed himself and ordered a drink from a passing maid. She was pretty enough, with a plump frame and red locks, so Stinger gave her a wink and one of his smiles. She returned it with a smile, but sadly it was all faked. He knew the difference. Oh well.
"Been good, just strolling around town trying to find a new girl to talk to, Fred," Stinger told the large man, who was gulping down another mug of beer.
"You still upset ov'r th't Nichole chick, man?" Fred asked, bringing a bit of a sting to Stinger's heart. Oh, the irony.
Stinger grabbed his own mug as it was placed and took a large gulp before answering. "Ya know why I broke up with her, ya idiot, so stop bringing it up!"
Fred laughed loudly as the two started rambling on about girls lost and others found. Apparently Fred was working on a waitress at a restaurant down the street named Emily. Stinger told the man he currently had no interest, which was true, and managed to avoid any more hits about Nichole. Painful memories, there. But, oh well. The beer was good tonight and Stinger was happy.
Fred bumped into Hank, earning him a glare and making him laugh nervously. "Stinger here is nice, Hank, why can't you be? Such a party pooper, ya dig?" Stinger laughed at the man's words. He had only barely understood them in the first place, but Fred was always a comedian when he was drunk. Sober, of course, he was all work and no play.
Hank cursed and stood up, taking one last swig of his drink before sitting it to rest on the table. "You two finish up soon and get back. We have a night show tomorrow and some work after that." Stinger wasn't quite drunk yet, despite somehow being on his second drink, so he caught Hank's brief exchange of glances with Fred.
After Hank left, the bar quietened down a little. Stinger didn't pay attention, though. "Say, Fred," Stinger said, trying to sound serious but failing miserably. Boy, if the girls could see him now, they would laugh. "Do you know anything about lions?"
Fred laughed for a long time, as if Stinger had told a hilarious joke. "Funny you should mention that, Stinger," he said, his speech barely audible through the slurring, "We sold two kitty's the other day and made some altered ones. The Admiral thinks he is smart, but he really just traded in the things... I woulda killed 'em, ya dig?"
Stinger laughed nervously. Fred really would have killed them. Wait.. what did he mean by altered ones? And where were Nyx's lions? "Who would buy lions, though?" Stinger said jokingly, "They are so noisy and annoying to take care of. It's like marrying a woman, man."
Fred laughed loudly at that, slamming his fist on the table and nearly cracking the poor wooden thing. "That's the funny thing, man," he said through the giggles, "We gave em to some animal rights group who return lions to Africa, ya dig? Then, the Admiral goes and makes some altered ones in his freaky past-time and gives 'em to that lion taming broad. Honestly, that chick is just good for looks. The crowd is really just lookin' at her, ya dig?"
Stinger laughed at that. "She is a mighty fine broad, Fred," he said, then jerked upright and stood, his third beer in his hand. The room shook, but Stinger managed to keep his standing. He never had been much of a drinker... "You know what, man? Imma go ask her out!"
Fred cheered, as well as a few other guys. They probably didn't know who he meant, but they still cheered. What nice fellows. He would have to buy them drinks sometime. But right now it was time to mess with Nyx.
Stinger made his way back to the circus grounds, almost losing his stomach twice, and managed to find Nyx's sleeping wagon easily enough. The lions usually growled whenever someone approached her wagon. Stinger knew this because he and Nichole used to use the area for... well... enough about Nichole! Stupid brain! Stinger walked up to the door and knocked very loudly, nearly falling down when it opened.
"Stinger?" Nyx asked, wearing her pajamas and a surprised look that turned immediately to disgust. "What the- Are you drunk!?"
Stinger started laughing and fell back on the grass. "Yeah, I had a drink with your lions and found out Fred is in Africa." Wait, that wasn't right. Stinger was about to correct himself, but his world seemed to be fading. Oh dear, just when he confessed his love for... who was it? That blonde chick? No, had to be a brunette. 'Oh dear,' Stinger thought right before falling to sleep, 'I AM drunk."
And then sleep happened.