#1639

Tell me, my fickle gods of ink and steel, are you satisfied with this offering? Have I bled enough to please you, wavered on the edge of unconsciousness long enough to appease you? Are you honored by the brands, unalterable and permanent, that mark me as yours? Tears are precious, and plenty have I shed for you, but blood is the stuff of life. You know blood. You respect blood. That’s your language, after all. See? I can learn to speak it, too. I will become your Rosetta Stone written in red and black.

#1634

The scene opens on a dim yet inviting bar. There are several other patrons and parties, though they keep to themselves in booths or tables on the periphery. No one yet sits at the bar counter, behind which a handsome young man polishes glasses in between taking drink orders. The shared single gender of the clientele reveals the theme of the bar, though nothing else about the tasteful yet understated room betrays their common preference.

Tanim enters and makes his way straight to the bar, slumping down on a stool with his chin propped on one hand. With a self-deprecating eye roll, he grumbles, “If there’s a prize for rotten judgement, I guess I’ve already won that. No man is worth the aggravation; that’s ancient history, been there, done that.”

The bartender sets a glass of whiskey down in front of Tanim with a disbelieving raise of his eyebrows. He’s heard this from Tanim before, for weeks in fact; the man’s a broken record. “Who do you think you’re kidding?” he replies with a hand to his hip for emphasis. “He’s the earth and heaven to you. Try to keep it hidden? Honey, I can see right through you! You can’t conceal it. I know how you feel and who you’re thinking of.”

Tanim grabs his drink and turns on the stool to avoid the bartender’s knowing smile. “No chance, no way, I won’t say it, no.” He sips the drink with a grimace and stubbornly avoids the others eyes. The bartender shrugs and goes back to polishing glasses, pretending not to notice Tanim’s brooding. Over the polishing cloth he prods, “You swoon, you sigh, why deny it?”

“It’s too cliche! I won’t say I’m in love,” Tanim sighs and stares down into his glass. “I thought my heart had learned its lesson. It feels so good when you start out. My head is screaming ‘get a grip, man, unless you’re dying to cry your heart out!’” He slams the glass onto the counter, causing amber liquid to slosh up the sides.

“You keep on denying who you are and how you’re feeling – baby, I’m not buying,” The bartender leans over the counter, ostensibly to wipe up the spilled drops, but instead keeps pestering Tanim with a grin. “I saw you hit the ceiling. Face it like a grown-up; when are you going to own up that you’ve got it bad?”

“No chance, no way,” Tanim throws up his hand to block the bartender’s obnoxious smile. “I won’t say it.”

“Give up, give in, check the grin,” the other man pulls Tanim’s arm down, “you’re in love.” Tanim yanks his arm free with a scowl, growling, “This scene won’t play.” He swallows down the remains of his drink and shakes his head vehemently. “I won’t say I’m in love.”

“You’re doing flips. Read my lips,” the bartender cups his hands around his mouth like a megaphone, “you’re in love!”

“You’re way off base, I won’t say it,” Seeing the bartender start to open his mouth to reply, Tanim snaps, “Get off my case, I won’t say it!” The bartender chuckles and holds up his hands in mock defeat. They both shut up and glance over as the door opens on a slender man dressed all in black, his white hair sparkling with raindrops. Tanim pales, then blushes profusely and turns away before the man can catch him staring. “Don’t be proud, it’s okay,” the bartender stage-whispers as he pours Tanim another drink, “you’re in love.”

“Oh…” Tanim heaves a weary sigh as he accepts the drink and gives in with the smallest of smiles. He tries his best not to look around for the other man. “At least out loud, I won’t say I’m in… love.”

[ Remember the time I wrote a Tanim/Daren scene using lyrics from a Muppet Treasure Island song? Yeah, had to do another since I’ve been listening to the Hercules soundtrack so much… ]

#1623

Ace of Pentacles – material goals/ good fortune will come your way/ use it to create

Two of Pentacles – with the means to work/ now is the time to take risks/ so make things happen

Three of Pentacles – teamwork earns success/ be patient, cooperate/ two will achieve more

Four of Pentacles – miserly spirit/ afraid to lose anything/ embrace loss, be free

Five of Pentacles – trouble, depression/ neglecting the heart and soul/ seek the ray of light

Six of Pentacles – generous spirit/ as you give, so will you get/ faith will be restored

Seven of Pentacles – time to make a choice/ reap what you have sown, or wait?/ consider outcomes

Eight of Pentacles – become the novice/ embrace practice and learning/ nurture a new skill

Nine of Pentacles – acknowledge your strengths/ confidence is rightly earned/ strong sense of self-worth

Ten of Pentacles – lasting achievement/ financial security/ time of peace and joy

Page of Pentacles – energy to build/ as long as you are willing/ opportunity

Knight of Pentacles – humble, steadfast, true/ be down-to-earth, reliable/ old ways are proved good

Queen of Pentacles – sensual and strong/ a self-sufficient spirit/ always generous

King of Pentacles – a richness of life/ everything touched turns to gold/ wise father figure

#1622

Ace of Swords – mental energy/ a new world view emerging/ conflict begets change

Two of Swords – denial of truth/ conflict is at an impasse/ open eyes and heart

Three of Swords – heartache, isolation/ let yourself break down and weep/ this wound must be cleansed

Four of Swords – seek enlightenment/ withdraw inside yourself, rest/ tap your inner strength

Five of Swords – admit your limits/ you have taken on too much/ swallow pride and fear

Six of Swords – conflict has drained you/ now you have a chance to rest/ the storm is passing

Seven of Swords – life may require wit/ deception, diplomacy/ don’t let it blind you

Eight of Swords – indecisiveness/ situation seems hopeless/ always a way out

Nine of Swords – fear of the future/ look inside to find its source/ cast aside your doubts

Ten of Swords – uncontrollable/ yes, the fall will be painful/ ride it out and heal

Page of Swords – mental powers grow/ logic over emotion/ new ways of thinking

Knight of Swords – mind’s fierce energy/ one is driven to their goal/ don’t be too hasty

Queen of Swords – noble ideals, yes/ but don’t demand perfection/ you are still human

King of Swords – smart and capable/ embody the great leader/ confident and wise