“So wait, what are you saying?”
“I’m saying that we need to be a little more careful, Dima.”
The bar is loud and dim, and we seem to scream over the Top 40 echoing from the dance floor. An occasional laser light stabs into my eyes, made all the brighter by the vodka building up in my veins.
“I got that, but what do you mean by careful?”
Dmitriy seems as thick as ever, so I try to be a little more blunt: “We can’t go leaving passed out whores in alleyways.”
“Then where else are we gonna leave ‘em?”
He’s obviously worse off than me, though he’s been getting doubles all night. I’d lost count after the Cape Cod, but I can’t even taste the cranberry on my breath anymore. It was a while back, I guess.
The conversation is pointless: I cannot argue and Dmitriy cannot listen. Maybe it would be best to just do what we came here to do.
My question is answered by a lady in body-hugging red, an irony in the Krasnaya.
“Hey boys,” she coos, somehow softly amid the pounding of bass and bodies. “Not here to dance?”
Dmitriy shakes his head drunkenly, his eyes fixed on her chest. For all he cares right now, she’s a nice rack on nicer legs.
It’s up to me to redeem ourselves. “Not quite. We’re making an attempt to try every drink special the bartender can throw at us.” I smile, though I’m sure it is just as drunken as Dmitriy’s own.
A grin curls at the edges of her rose red lips, glimmering for a moment but sustained in her eyes.
Dmitriy took this as his chance to make an introduction, a slurry smile spreading across his own face.
“Dmitriy, but Dima is much easier to moan.”
Always the gentleman.
A quick laugh, and she moves to sit beside him, removing the man already on the stool with a look.
I lean over the counter past Dmitriy, eager to introduce myself. “Kostya, and you would be?”
“Kioko,” she says simply. Her lips pull apart to reveal her teeth, incisors flashing briefly. Our eyes meet for a second before she hails the bartender. “The usual.”
He returns a few moments later with two shot glasses, both full of a clear liquid. She extends two fingers in the air in his direction and he nods, turning once more to his taps. Again he brings two shot glasses, full of the same liquid, this time setting them before Dmitriy. Two more are put down in front of me, and we both turn to Kioko, puzzled.
Aren’t we supposed to be buying drinks for her?
She picks up the left glass, and beckons for us to do the same. The three of us raise the clear liquid to our lips, then throw back our heads and let it pout down our throats.
“So Kioko,” I ask. “I’ve never met anyone with that name before.”
“Just wait,” she answers, the second glass balanced between two fingers. She lifts it to her lips and we follow suit, draining the clear contents.
It burns on the way down, but not in the same way the Russian vodka did.
Dima gasps, unable to control his reflexes in his current state.
“Sake,” Kioko states. “Does that answer your question?”
I laugh a little, really an attempt to clear my throat after the potent Japanese alcohol. “Yes, I think it does.” I bare my own incisors, mimicking her earlier gesture of trust.
Her eyes shift once more to the bartender, who nods and walks off. When he returns he is once more bearing drinks, though this time he has only two. They’re in cocktail classes, and a dull red.
“Drink up, boys,” Kioko says, smiling. Her teeth are shown plainly, though the drunken people about us pay no notice.
I take a sip, expecting a drink similar to the Cap Cod I had enjoyed earlier. Instead I find it coppery and slightly thick. I put the glass down and turn to Dmitriy, who is guzzling it greedily. He finishes, tongue lashing across his lips to get the last drops, but a small dribble crawls down his chin. Smiling, he turns to look at me, his eyes giving away everything he’s wanting to say.
He’s had his fix, he’s had his blood.
Kioko also smiles beside him, her own drink in hand, a match to mine. “Not thirsty anymore, Kostya?”
“Always thirsty, Kioko,” I reply. “Just taking my time to enjoy it.”
We share a laugh before finishing our drinks, fresh blood rushing through out bodies along with the alcohol.