“Hey, Griff! How’s it going?” I greeted my old friend as I walked into his bar.
Griffin Martin was a green man. He was also an expath but he only influenced people to prevent bar fights and other trouble inside his domain.
“Pretty good, man. How have you been?”
“Can’t complain.” I draped my jean jacket over the stool next to him.
“You expecting company?” The green man nodded at my jacket.
“Oh, yeah, Sam’s meeting me here.”
“Really? Haven’t seen her in a while. How has she been?”
“Pretty good.” I looked at the time on my cellphone and frowned, “She should be here soon.”
“Can I get you something while you wait?”
“Nah, that’s okay. I’ll wait. I will take change for this fiver, please. I want to play a couple songs on the jukebox.” I handed Griffin a five dollar bill and received my change, then I walked over to the old Wurlitzer and dropped all the quarters in. I started picking out songs from the surprisingly decent lineup that Griff kindly changed out often.
AC/DC’s ‘Big Gun’ blared out over the speakers and a grin spread over my decomposing face as I strode to the dance floor and began jumping around and singing along.
Griffin chuckled at me, shook his head, and picked up a clipboard to continue the inventory he’d been doing when I walked in.
I proudly sang along as I danced and soon I was head bobbing and pointing my finger disco-style, as you’re wont to do while dancing with abandon. The other patrons watched me with smiles on their faces. Every time I pointed my finger their way they ducked a little.
See, I was well known in Martin’s Bar. Folks here knew that parts of me have a habit of disengaging from the others. People have actually started to come to the bar just to watch it happen.
As Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Fortunate Son’ replaced AC/DC, my dancing slowed. I did my best to continue making the patrons smile as I did the sprinkler to the CCR hit. I love to dance.
Griffin chuckled again, one eye on me and one on the liquor as he continued his inventory while stopping occasionally to watch one bad ass zombie get down –that’d be me, by the way. It was during a particularly aggressive disco point to the door that my hand flew off and toward the entrance.
A lithe woman with olive skin and dark hair caught the hand midair and smiled, “Damn, Bob, you could’ve given me a hug instead of a flying high five.”
“Hey, Sam! You know me, I love lending a hand.” I shrugged.
I’d begun to get over being embarrassed about losing a part or two. It happened far too often these days. Though I was still having the occasional bout of abashment here and there.
“Catch,” Sam hollered as she tossed my hand back to me.
I caught it and walked calmly to the bar, pulling my trusty yellow stapler from the pocket of my jean jacket. As I stapled my hand back on I pretended not to notice the winces of the other customers or Griff’s immediate dash to the kitchen.
Getting used to me losing a limb was one thing, getting used to me stapling it back on with a loud ka-chunk was something else entirely –and not for the squeamish.
As Sam came over to me I opened my arms to hug her. It’d been awhile since I had seen her last and I read about her latest exploit in the papers. She’d caught a vicious serial killer and made the streets of Birmingham safe for good honest monsters like me and my horde.
I pulled the jacket from the stool, upsetting it in the process, and it banged into my shin, hard.
“Oh, crap, crap, crap, ow, crap!” I hissed through clenched teeth while hopping on one foot and clutching my injured shin with both hands.
“You okay?” Sam tried to hide her smile at the typically me-like maneuver.
“Yeah, it just smarts a little.” I lowered my leg and motioned to the stool that’d just assaulted me before continuing, “I saved you a seat.”
“Thanks, sweetie.” Sam slid onto the stool smoothly.
I have always envied those who could move all stealthily and gracefully. I am not one of them, as you have probably noticed.
“How have you been?”
“Good. Things have been…weird, I guess.”
“I heard about the serial killer you stopped.”
“Yeah, that was a rough one. I didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it was.”
“Well, he was a shifter himself, so the fact he was preying on other shifters made it hard to swallow. He really bought into the Hollywood facts and thought we were all evil and in need of a good killing.”
“To say the least,” Sam looked haunted and shook her head as if to try and shake off the bad memories.
“So, tell me about this new guy in your life. The papers called him your boyfriend.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Sam growled.
She actually, and quite literally, growled. Shifters often brought their animal side front and center without realizing it, usually when emotions ran high.
“Whoa! You really like this guy!”
“He’s my maker, Bob,” she said quietly.
“You’re dating God?” I blinked in mock surprise.
“No, goofball, he’s the guy who made me a werejaguar.”
“Wow, heavy. How are you dealing with all that?”
“As best I can. We are still trying to work out the whole thing. Which reminds me, have you ever heard of a sire bond?” Sam asked.
Jaime Johnesee lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. She spent fourteen years as a zookeeper before shifting her focus to writing full time. Widely known for her bestselling horror comedy series, Bob the Zombie, she is currently coauthoring the paranormal horror series, Revelations, for Devil Dog Press as well as working on her Shifters series. You can find out more about Jaime Johnesee at her website:https://www.JaimeJohnesee.com