The bar smells like a mixture of menthol and alcohol. This doesn’t bother him. It’s the way bars ought to smell. What does bother him is the woman sitting next to him. She wandered into the bar just short of an hour ago, leaving a trail and sex appeal and glossy red lipstick all the way to counter where she ordered a martini. A martini. So overdressed and sipping from the alcoholic equivalent of a goblet she’s been facing out into the open room, the smell of her perfume slowly oversaturating the smoke trails and even the beer in front of him.
He watches her, the way her low-cut dress rises and falls with each breath. Her lips purse as she scans the room before cautiously bringing the drink to her lips. Women like her are scattered all across the city, on billboards and vinyl posters. Commercial lures to get the average and unfulfilled to believe that happiness and sexual satisfaction is only one credit charge away from being real. She’s lovely, supposed to be anyway. Made up and ready for the bright lights and glamor of the upper districts, but this is plebe country. Still, another five, ten, fifteen shots he might–
“If you’re going to stare, the least you can do is buy me a drink.”
Her voice startles him, his eyes drifting from her chest up to her face. She’s still staring out into the crowd. He wonders what the hell she could be looking for before realizing he’s got to say something back to her.
“Huh?” It’s not what he wants to say, not even what he meant to say, but it’s the first sound the comes out of his mouth.
She turns to face him, setting the dainty martini glass onto the counter beside his trail of empty beer mugs.
“I said if you are going to stare at my tits all night, the least you can do is pay me for your pleasure.”
She’s one of those. Something in him twitches at the realization. Some high class call girl, either tired of the esoteric sexual fantasies of the rich or because the requests just aren’t coming the way they used to, decides to go slumming in the Media district.
“We paying to window shop, now?” he clears his throat, the phlegm of a decade and a half of cigarette ash clapping like thunder in the back of his throat, “Not going to be long until I’m paying just to keep my eyes open.”
He wants her to hate him, to take her fruity fucking beverage and fuck back off to whatever senator’s den she came from, but she doesn’t. She takes the seat beside him and sets her porcelain elbow and the counter, and lays her head in her hand, rustling her perfectly ordered hair.
“You’re a real charmer aren’t you?” something like a smile pries its way free and onto the corner of her lips.
“I’m used to paying for a lot of things. Women aren’t one of them.”
“So I’m a whore?” she grabs and sips from her martini.
“Primmed up like that? Seems a safe bet.”
“A girl can’t dress to impress?”
“Not here, no.”
“And why’s that?”
“No man here worth dressing up for.”
She laughs lightly, sitting herself up straight. Her breasts bounce with the swivel of her barstool.
“It seem to me, you men think much too much of yourselves.”
“Is that so?”
“You think women get dressed up, spend three hours putting their hair in place because of you?”
He doesn’t respond, and she doesn’t expect to him.
“We dress up because we want to. Because it gets us off to know that we can reduce half of the population to a bunch of slobbering wolves ready to gut and kill each other in order to grab even a chance of us letting them follow us home. We dress up because it gives us power. And you, oh simple and stupid creatures, are the ones who give it to us,” she downs the rest of her martini in a single graceful motion, “So let me rephrase this for you: what drink are you buying me?”
He looks at her for a moment before turning to the bar tender behind her and waving her over.
The man sneers, “I don’t do martinis.”
“Oh honey,” she sets the empty glass back onto the bar, “by the time I’m done with you, you’ll do anything I ask you.”