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Mephisto at the Mandarin Oriental

A deal with a demon

Mephisto clacked his long, lacquered claws on the marble bar top to drown out Taylor Swift's ‘Blank Space’ piping through the recessed speaker system. He didn’t loathe the catchy song, yet the beat and lyrics spotlit his natural, reckless tendencies he was doing his best to deviate from.

His crimson gel manicure matched his silk blouse, but he didn't feel put together at all.

“Another, please.” Mephisto's voice swirled in the air like his long finger did to indicate another round.

It'd be dawn in a few hours, and Mephisto considered throwing himself into the sunrise, just to feel the burn.

“No offense, but you don't look like a Mai Tai kind of....” The bartender with gelled back hair and clean fingernails paused.

“Demon. And I'm not, they're for someone else. Thank you, Frank.” Mephisto shoved his lip to the side to reveal a lengthened fang and put up his curly hair into a messy bun to reveal pointed ears.

The tall bartender nodded while pouring the lime juice. When his neck raised just enough over his collar, it showed off a glimpse of a promising black and white tattoo.

It was then he decided to shove his hand in his wallet, and take out a crisp Benjamin and put it in the tip jar.

Though he wasn’t in America, the US dollar swung in the bartender’s favor.

“No, thank you,” The bartender eyed the tip. “But your telepathy is off. My name isn't Frank.” The bartender smirked, and if Mephisto was in a sporting mood, he would've considered flirting back. He was just this shade of his type, put together, direct, funny, not too talkative, and he even liked his douchey facial hair.

He wondered if the bartender knew that no one has really liked goatees since the early 17th century, even if they were well oiled.

“No telepathy, you're just ‘Frank’ tonight.” Mephisto didn't dismiss 'current Frank' outright. He turned on his heavy, stable bar stool towards him, showing interest with his body language.

Mephisto's talents didn't lie in reading minds, honestly where was the fun in that? What made him tick, what drove him like a Ferrari 458 gliding down I85, what stopped him from throwing himself into the rising sun each morning to return to the underworld was simple: making deals.

“Ha, whatever gets your motor goin'.” Frank answered with an automotive metaphor that only made Mephisto picture the real Frank driving his onyx black Ferrari that he long ago wrapped around a magnolia tree with both of them in it.

The Demon still couldn’t go back down to Georgia, oh the musical irony.

‘Current Frank’ furrowed his blond eyebrows for a moment. He turned and dug through a jar to select a cherry red paper parasol to properly garnish his Mai Tai.

He could've chosen any color parasol, yet he deliberately chose one that matched his manicure.

“I’m Mephisto. How would you like to make a deal?” Mephisto uncrossed his legs, his black leather pants squeaking on the green leather barstool.

He took a sip of the sweet, orangey cocktail, and decided that the red parasol was the best part about it. He plucked it from the drink and twirled it between his fingers before shoving it into his dark curly hair.

“Tell me why Frank's favorite drink is unfortunately the Mai Tai, and we can discuss it.” ‘Current Frank’ answered, smiling wide to showcase predictably perfect white teeth, but a surprise tongue ring.

Mephisto barked out a laugh.

“Oh and I’m Karl by the way.” ‘Current Frank’ added while sliding him his tab.

Mephisto rolled the name around in his head. He had a German name, which was a promising sign.

“Alright Karl,” Mephisto's tongue curled around the 'l' of his name.

He left the mostly untouched Mai Tai, glass now slick with condensation, but kept the parasol. With a flourish he scribbled down 666, his room number, to charge the Mai Tais to his room.

“You know where to find me.” Mephisto hoisted himself off the barstool and sauntered off in his alligator boots to the elevator.

Perhaps like the song suggested, instead of shunning what made him feel alive he’d celebrate it.

Power in Numbers







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