Dancing: Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?
For the third time, the kid put a quarter in the jukebox and requested “Beat It,”and Gorlov let out a pained groan. Seven times now. The kid kept a sort of vigil by the machine, always putting another quarter in around the third verse, and requesting the same damn song. Then he’d down another beer, bouncing in his seat to the tune and dancing like… well, a kid.
“They told him don’t you ever come around here…”
There was nothing for it though. Fritz was the boss, and his orders were to wait, so that meant Gorlov was stuck babysitting the annoying little turd. Gorlov shrugged. It wasn’t his place to ask Fritz for his reasons, but he still couldn’t help but wonder.
“You want to be tough, better do what you can…”
Gorlov knew that the kid was related to Fritz in some way, but Gorlov wasn’t really clear on how, or even exactly how old the kid was. Why did he need an escort? Not that it mattered. What was most important was that Gorlov couldn’t pistol-whip him, no matter how annoying his Michael Jackson obsession was.
“They’re out to get you, better leave while you can…”
“Aw, crap.” Gorlov muttered. “Third verse.”
Right on cue, the kid staggers up from his stool toward the jukebox, and digs into his pocket for the next quarter. Something shifts toward the left of Gorlov’s vision though.
A large bearded man, covered in tatoos and piercings, and wearing a leather vest and jeans suddenly appeared in front of the jukebox.
“Think it’s time for someone else to take a turn, boy.”
“You’re playin’ with your life, this ain’t no truth or dare…”
Gorlov couldn’t see the kid’s face from where he sat, but he could imagine the arrogant, spoiled-brat smirk he’d seen a hundred times appearing on his face now.
“Get outta my way old man, you ain’t the boss of me,” he exclaimed, standing straighter now.
Gorlov rolled his eyes. He imagined the kid practicing that line in front of the mirror, maybe imagining he was talking to Fritz, and thinking it was badass.
If the biker had seemed big before, somehow he became huge, and he quickly went from mildly annoyed to more than a little pissed.
“Go take a walk, kid, before you get yourself hurt,” he rumbled.
The barback dropped a pan or something in the kitchen, so Gorlov didn’t hear the kid’s retort, but it must have involved the biker’s mother in some way because not only had his face contorted with anger, but several of his friends were now standing.
“Shouldn’t have said that, boy,” the biker growled, “now you’ve gotta answer for it.”
Gorlov knew he should probably step in at this point. The kid was digging himself into a hole and no one else in the bar would stop the fight that was clearly about to happen. Still, he hesitated. Let the little pissant learn a lesson for a change, he thought. Might do him some good.
“Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it…”
The biker grabbed the kid by the front of the vest, and that’s where things got hazy for Gorlov. The kid was there one moment, and just vanished, ending up on the other side of the bar. Now Gorlov could see his smirk, but he was too busy picking his jaw off the floor to notice.
“No one’s that fast!” he gasped.
The biker drew a knife from his vest and others followed suit.
“Whatever kind of freak you are, no one talks to me like that!”
They converged on him all at once, and Gorlov finally did get to his feet, but he couldn’t even see the kid for a few seconds. As the first roughneck got to him, a chair flew, and then another. The sounds of breaking beer bottles followed, and there was suddenly a spray of blood, then another.
“Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated…”
Gorlov felt himself grow cold instantly, beads of sweat running down his body. The kid got himself into this mess, but what’ll happen to me if Fritz finds out about this?
He staggered over broken wood and glass to get the kid out of harms way, and found himself stepping over the bodies of leather-clad thugs. Three, then four bodies, until finally he made it to the kid.
“Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight…”
The kid was holding the lead biker in the air with one hand, and a broken beer bottle in the other. His clothes were soaked in gore, but that wasn’t what Gorlov focused on. It was his face, contorted from the boyish (if annoying) features he was used to into a sort of fox-like, demonic grin. It reminded Gorlov much more of “Thriller” than “Beat It,” right down to the yellow eyes.
“It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right…”
As Gorlov watched, the kid’s head turned slowly toward him and rasped,
“Put a quarter in. My song’s about to end.”
Gorlov did as he was told, and wondered to himself, Was I babysitting to keep the kid safe, or to keep the rest of them safe from him?
“Just beat it, beat it
Beat it, beat it, beat it…”
As the kid swung the biker around in a macabre dance of death, Gorlov sat by the payphone and waited for Fritz’s call, or for his turn to put the next quarter in. Whichever came first.