Friday, July 26, 2019

#FridayFlash - The Anthropophagists Club

"Tonight is gonna be lit!" Dean's voice echoed down the street. A few people turned to stare at our group, but most pedestrians were on their way to the same club we were. Almost all men. A few of them dressed like they were going to some nerd convention.

"How did I let you guys talk me into going to a strip club?" I slowed my pace, hoping it wasn't too late to get out of this ridiculous night out.

"Actually, it's a host club," Johnny said, pushing his glasses up his nose. "The girls don't take their clothes off, and they don't dance. They're popular in Japan, and I'm super excited to finally be going to one!"

"So, if they don't dance, what do they do?" Why hadn't I asked more questions before I let them hijack me? Probably because I really needed to get out of the house and not stress about my potential promotion.

Dean elbowed me, rubbing his hands vigorously together. "They sit with you and serve you drinks and talk to you. It's great."

I frowned. "We're going to pay girls to have a date with us?"

Johnny shook his head. "Once again, Garrett, you over-simplify things."

"Yeah, dude. These are hot girls talking to us. Hotter than any girl you'll ever get." Dean laughed, elbowing me again.

We walked in silence for a few yards before I asked my other questions. "What's with the weird name? And the guys in top hats and goggles?"

Johnny fiddled with his glasses again. "It has a steampunk theme. It means a person who eats the flesh of humans."

Dean laughed, grabbing my shoulders and giving me a shake. "Because they're man-eaters. Get it? Hot women, man-eaters."

It was definitely too late to get out of this excursion; we were there.

The facade was the only one lit up in this warehouse district. It was lit by gaslamps, a hand-painted sign over the large wooden doors. Burly bouncers flanked the building, dressed in something like a cross between Victorian and Western clothing, merely nodding at us. We pulled open the doors and stepped into a different world.

More lamps, and exposed pipes and gears. Fabric wallpaper and oil paintings. It was intimate and classy and garish and antique. Music played, filling the gaps between many conversations, and fragrant smoke danced in the air.

Dean and Johnny were beside themselves with joy. They were far bigger nerds than I'd ever been, far more into these make-believe worlds, but even I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. "This is so cool," Dean whispered, and I reluctantly agreed.

We stood in a large foyer with several other groups, girls in corsets and hiked-up skirts mingling. Dean swooped toward a brunette, Johnny stood stiffly beside me, and I just drank it all in.

Slim arms wrapped around my left arm. I looked down into the largest pair of hazel eyes I'd ever seen. "Wanna buy me a drink?" She batted her lashes and licked her lower lip.

I suddenly wanted nothing more than to do so. Warmth washed over me, pushing aside any misgivings. The smell of her perfume pulled at my heart, made my blood stir and my head spin. I breathed her in, became lost in her lovely gaze.

All I could do was nod. She smiled, squeezed her breasts against my arm, and lead me to a booth near the back. I stared and followed along, utterly intoxicated.

We settled into a leather and velvet banquette, a lamp burning overhead, tealights on the tables. Intimate and cozy, and exactly where I wanted to be.

She pressed herself tighter against me as a waitress came by. "What would you like?" I asked my girl, voice dreamy and far away.

"Well..." She batted her lashes, tracing the design on my shirt with one manicured finger. "I think your friend with the glasses should be done pretty soon. I'm just craving longpork tartare."

A tiny part of me remembered what Dean called them. Man-eaters. He apparently wasn't far from the mark. "Whatever you want, baby. Anything that makes you happy."

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