Nichole Beard ~ The Satyr and the Traveler

Mr. Adams had never been to San Francisco, but he’d always longed to walk among the vibrantly painted ladies. After the tech conference, he walked back to his hotel. He’d never been good at hailing cabs anyway. Just as well, he’d have the evening to admire all the color.

Mr. Adams loosened his tie and turned down a steep street he thought he remembered. But after a few moments, his calves began to ache. Had he made a wrong turn? He stopped, turned, and scratched his head. He slipped his Blackberry from his pocket to pull up a map. Lost in an unfamiliar city was the last thing he wanted, no matter how beautiful the city was.

“Looks like you’re lost.” A voice came from behind him.

A creature—a man stood near him. Small gold horns twisted up through brown curls. Greenish-silver glitter traced a C over his high cheekbones. The glitter was sprayed across the man’s chest, down to his bellybutton, and disappearing into the furry trousers.

“I–” Mr. Adams’s wedding ring became tight.

The creature-man grinned and lit a cigarette. “Sorry, costume night at the club. You need some help?”
This man could fit among the finest of Davids he’d seen in museums and general education college Art History classes – Michelangelo, Donatello, Bernini. This creature, this man, possessed such a form that Mr. Adams could not breathe.

“Helloooo?” The creature-man waved a sweet smelling hand in front of Mr. Adams’ face.

“My hotel! I’m looking for my hotel.”

“And what’s it called?” The creature-man answered a text before popping the iPhone back into the folds of his fur. How Mr. Adams wished to get his hands stuck there.

“The Powell.”

The creature-man whistled. “That’s some fine shit. Here, follow me, it’s on my way.”

Mr. Adams tried to laugh as he kept his fingertips from outlining that glitter trail.

His monochromatic life was becoming primary, perhaps even tertiary. And all his whims and dreams and wishes bled through the gears of his mind. When would the firm send him on another business trip? Who would know what he did when he wasn’t at the conference? It’s not like he had friends in the colleagues he’d traveled from Minneapolis with. The opportunity he’d pushed deep down his entire life now presented itself in glorious golden horns, Grecian muscle tone, and luscious curls on top and bottom.

Mr. Adams wiped a handkerchief over his slick forehead as he followed the creature-man. His back was slightly hunched as he clicked away at another text. “Just telling my friends I might be a bit late.”

Did ‘a bit late’ mean something else?

The curve of the buildings seemed familiar. The hotel couldn’t be that far. What did this creature-man intend to do?

A few moments later, the sign for The Powell hung above their heads.

“Here you are,” said the creature-man.

Mr. Adams fiddled with the pens in his pocket.
This was it. He couldn’t deny himself now—not now, when he’d never get an opportunity like this again.
“Do you…want to come up?” Mr. Adams mumbled. His eyes slid from side to side to ensure the valets had not heard him.

The creature-man stopped mid-text, eyes wide. “Excuse me?”

Mr. Adams licked his lips and took a step forward. “Come on, you know you want to.” He pulled his mouth into a charming grin, the kind soap stars always did to woo a love interest.

The creature-man burst into laughter. The valets turned their heads. “Oh! Oh-no.” The creature-man stifled his amusement and lowered his voice. “Suits aren’t really my type.”

“But, why did you…” Mr. Adams swallowed his craving.

The creature-man rolled his eyes. “I was just trying to be nice.” He strode off, furry hips swaying.

That’s what he got for over-stepping his aptitudes. That’s why he was a technology man—all hard, cold code. Primary and tertiary and glitter rewound back out of his synapses and cogs. Back to monochrome where he could think rationally.

Mr. Adams picked a yellow tulip from the patch just outside the hotel. He ignored the stares of the valets and set off after the creature-man.

Around the corner, the creature-man trotted and texted.

“Excuse me!” Mr. Adams called.

The creature-man turned and opened his mouth, but stopped when Mr. Adams thrust the tulip toward him.
“I’’m sorry.” Mr. Adams said.

“Dude, it’s fine. Whatever.” Creature-man looked down, his glitter catching in the rising moonlight.

“Please, take it. I was not myself.”

Slowly, creature-man took the tulip. It hung limply at his side. Creature-man sighed and shook his head, grinning. “Look, do you want to come to the club?”

Mr. Adams settled the muddled colors in his head. “I’d like that very much.”

 

Nichole Beard holds an MFA from Rosemont College. She has had work published on yesteryearfiction.com,flashfiction.net, and in Penn State’s Alternative Journal. She is currently querying agents about her historical fiction novel set in post WWII-Japan.
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