I think that everyone has their list of who they would like to invite to their "celebrity luncheon," and while I don't think I would invite either of these gentlemen, I thought it was a cool "encounter" and was laughing when I wrote it.
Tom rushed down the street in the bitter cold of the evening, headed towards the pub that was just around the corner. The light from the front window could be seen spilling over the snow-covered road with the word, “Sammy’s,” reflected in a gloomy grey. When Tom arrived, he pulled the door open and while dusting off his boots, muttered to his companion, “Hurry up Nagini, it’s freezing.”
Music drifted from an old jukebox in the back corner and all the tables were filled. There was one seat at the bar, and Tom headed purposefully towards it, ignoring the curious glances that came his way. He supposed he was going to have to get used to being looked at oddly, his appearance wasn’t exactly customary for this town with his black pants, shirt, and cape that hung loosely around his narrow shoulders. Not to mention his companion, the only one who really knew him and never left his side, wasn’t the most handsome in the world.
Grabbing the remaining stool, Tom signaled the bartender and sat gingerly down. He was a little sore from his hike this morning and a little upset that he hadn’t found what he was looking for yet.
“Guinness,” he told the bartender. “As dark as you can make it.”
“Where do you come from, friend?” asked a greasy man to his left. Greasy was the first thought that came to Tom’s mind, after he got over his surprise that this stranger would dare talk to him. Perhaps it was his surprise that prompted him to answer.
“Obviously not from here.” Tom replied snidely.
“I guess I figured that out for myself.” The man returned, smiling as he turned his pint in his hand.
Tom glanced down at his friend, as if asking for his help. Nagini couldn’t be bothered. After this morning’s excursions he was close to falling asleep on the pub’s floor.
“I’m not from around here either. Name’s Greg.” The stranger reached out a hand to Tom.
Reaching for his Guinness that had just been placed in front of him, Tom eyed the man’s dirty hands disdainfully. Since it didn’t appear he was going to get away from basic conversation he turned slightly towards the stranger and said, “Tom,” keeping his hands wrapped around his own glass.
“Had a bad day, Tom?”
“You could say that.”
“Had a bad one myself,” Greg said. “Had to leave my home because someone was spreading horrible rumors about me.”
Curious despite himself, Tom couldn’t help but ask, “Really?”
“Oh yeah. I was a close friend with this important lady in our town because I am considered something of a magic healer and I was able to help her son who was ill. People thought because we spent so much time together that I was sleeping with her and influencing her in my favor.”
“See she made all the important decisions while her husband was away, so it was speculated that because we were so close, that I persuaded her for my own power.”
“Was it true?”
With a slight smile, Greg turned and said, “Depends on who you ask.”
Taking a drink from his Guinness, Tom considered the stranger. His shoulder-length brown hair had turned wiry looking, probably from his obvious lack of personal hygiene. Normally this would have put Tom off, but for some reason he felt empathy for the stranger.
“I know a little something of power and influence.” Tom murmured.
“You look like someone who might.”
“Sure. You don’t dress the way you do and travel with your companion to blend in.”
Instead of angering Tom, he was surprised by how much he wanted to laugh. He returned, “Appearances can be deceiving, my friend. Hopefully yours is.”
Obviously confused, Greg glanced down at himself. “I had to rush out of town. I suppose I could try to clean up a little.”
Leaving this alone, Tom finished off his Guinness and stood. “How far away is your town?”
“Lucky for you, I have quick ways to travel. Come with me. I will see you home and we shall discuss more your methods of influence.”
After a moment’s hesitation, Greg turned and placed money on the bar and stood up to follow Tom outside.
“Do you believe in magic, Tom?” Greg asked.
Tom just smiled as he gestured Greg ahead of him out the door, while Nagini slithered along the floor after them.