The world was fresh then. New and bright and full of promise we were immortal and had not yet faced the things that life would serve us. We had cried many tears already and had no idea how many more we were to cry. We thought we had already suffered more than the world needs any human being to suffer but we had no idea what suffering really was. We were epic. We were so certain of every part of Life.
They called us ‘The Bush People’ and we were that. We were an odd little group of people knit together by some strange diplomacy that allowed a mix of extremes that would not, normally, be allowed. We had a minor reputation.
It began on an Ivy League college campus 1000 years ago just yesterday. That day a man I knew only as ‘Jaffary’ had invited me to coffee in the hostel across from the campus and what was supposed to be a social meeting quickly turned into a fencing match. While we sipped up a whole pot of caffeine spiked coffee this man, wearing an expensive three-piece suit, tried to convince me to go up to his room with him.
“Why should I? We can talk down here just fine.”
It was the end of the days of the Oil Boom. I was 24 years old. I thought I was ancient.
“You can make ALOT of money if you come with me!”
“If you mean the kind of money women make for sex I have been there and done that. I am not interested.” I sipped my third cup of coffee actually enjoying the verbal fencing with this guy but also feeling a chorus of danger singing in the back of my head. This made the whole situation even more piquant. I should have long gone of course but I had to stay to see the snake charmer in action…
…being an Ophiuchus.
“You are beautiful…” he went on praising me and I almost blew hot coffee through my nose trying not to laugh. “…we need models to show off cars and clothes for our company and you would be perfect.”
I smiled at him, “You are lying but this is interesting. I told you I have been there and done that and you are trying to sell me this idea so you can sell me?”
His face changed then. I went to the bathroom and came back and he poured me some more coffee with a smirk on his face and then smiled and said, “Have one more cup for the road and I will leave you alone.” Something told me that would be a bad idea and I turned him down, politely, and left. He stalked me on campus for a little while and that is how I met, and became, one of the ‘Bush People.’
I crossed the road back to the campus and went to English Class and the teacher there instantly disliked me. The feeling was mutual. I was a ‘back bencher’ at the time and he was sitting two rows ahead of me. Just before she called the roll, on the first day of class, I called out in front of the whole class, “Hey you with the long hair!” There was only one of him with long hair. He knew this although he did not turn around to look right away. “You have beautiful hair!”
He laughed. That was the perfect laugh: angelically evil. “Thank you!” he said while the teacher gave us a dirty look and called roll. (The teacher loved handsome guys, it turns out, and ended up liking him and hating me because I got to hang out with him.)
After class he came up to me and smiled.
He had vampire teeth and I loved that. Real ones not fake caps. I was talking to a real life vampire that ‘sparkled’ before that sort of thing ever existed. We went to the student union and I let him eat all my pizza. As we walked out we found out we also had psychology class together and I saw Jaffary, with a briefcase, following us. I looked at my new friend and had to tell him what had happened before class.
“He is following us he is right back there…look…”
I pointed but Jaffary was gone.
He grinned like a happy devil. “If you see him again don’t point or act like you saw him. Just tell me and I will kill him for you.”
I was in love.
We would never be lovers but, in all the years, he would become among those I never forgot.