Oct 2010 08

by Brandon Perkins

This is the second installment of our futuristic fiction series, Please Use Rear Exit. To catch up with Brown BTWN bus, find Part One here.

Please Use Rear Exit: Chapter 2 – How to Buy Low

After swiping his card and traversing the turnstile, Mikhail casually crossed the #720’s brightly-lit corridor and walked into Low without having to show his ID. Once his eyes had adjusted to the damp dimness of the bar’s dingy interior, he was immediately struck by the sharp shift in the bar’s demographics since his last visit. The beer-belly boisterousness of the blue collar set had miraculously transformed into an invasion of fashion-challenged bro’s and vodka-slamming sorority sluts. It was only a few months prior, one of those rare times that Katya had let him meet his friends for a night out, that Mikhail observed the usual Budweiser-sipping factory rats as he quickly drank a Jameson on the rocks. Back then, nothing had changed — it was exactly as he knew it, for every pre-Katya Friday night over a three-year-span, when he’d stop in Low for a quick fidolo drink to start his evening.

Easily the closest bar to the Brown BTWN’s transfer, its clientele used to be a reflection of the neglected line’s forgotten passengers. Low was by-passed by the Party Kids — who were too scared to drink with the sometimes scary but mostly tired underbelly of society — in favor of glitzier establishments that were just around either corner. They passed Low no more, now mobbing the bartenders in the back and lining up for karaoke off to the side. Mikhail felt like he had left his childhood apartment in the Triangle and returned a few months later to find an amusement park in his bedroom. He didn’t know whether to be terrified or a kid in the candy store. He just knew that he’d need a drink to fully figure out how that roller-coaster fit inside his old closet.

Low looked the same. Like they did on all the routes, advertisements cluttered every free inch of real estate. The flashing images beckoned men to The PPP or looped commentary on people with dirty mouths, and the ads hadn’t changed since Mikhail first stepped foot in the place years ago. The patrons just got swapped, and brought along a better soundtrack with them. But it was all a blur once he made his way to the bar.

[Diean in Electric Bar]
And with how beautiful the bartenders were, Mikhail quickly stopped caring how the drastic change had happened and started believing that Low’s transformation was a sign, a sign that screamed how right he was to break up with Katya. She’d been blowing up his cell phone all night; he felt the blinking red light in his pocket practically burn a hole in his jeans. They both knew that this was his first Friday night out as a single man and she hated the idea of it. But all of the negative energy, building up in his phone as wounded text messages and missed calls, was a choice now and it was pitted up against a surprising surplus of positively beautiful young women. The Choice Is Yours (Rmx). Gone were the pock-marked bartenders of yore, replaced by three ladies of liquored lore. Mikhail kept with the momentum and moved onto the new. Without taking out his phone, he hit a button on its side that changed the blinking red light he knew existed, into a slower, more muted green blast.

The new girls non-chalantly moved from station to station, bottle to bottle, and finally, bottle to glass, answering the calls of the thirsty Party Kids that surrounded Mikhail. The first shawty was blonde and covered in tattoos, her Sonic the Hedgehog hair just begging for pixie comparisons. Her frosted tips were visibly dead, drowned in bleach, dying to just die and finally fall out in peace. But they were just a footnote in the bold-faced headline of razor sharp nipples on a pair of barely-covered breastesses. Without a bra, her wife-beater was performing miracles in the struggle against gravity.

Her partner behind the bar literally wore her feathers out: a stunning plume of pinks and purples mohawked down from her head and through the open back of her Bob Marley t-shirt. Her heavily mascaraed eyes were practically iridescent and incredibly sad. They held the pain of war veterans and widows, while her body balanced the Lolita-like invitations of youth. She was so skinny under the bagginess of her vintage top that the potential for a boobie to slip out was just as likely as an arm. Her skin looked as virginal as the feathers sprouting from her back and surely felt just as soft. And nearly as much as her eyes appeared a heart-beat away from certain death. She smiled through the whole ordeal.

The last lady walked meekly with little cry for attention. An exotic taupe to her silky skin, her sexuality only showed in brief glimpses, completely covered up when compared to the other two bartenders. Her body was cloaked in an unaltered t-shirt and shorts that didn’t at all resemble panties. Mystery clouded in every sensual-yet-fully-clad step. The lone patch of easily-overlooked skin was a perfectly taut mid-drift. It existed right where her blue top ended and her shorts began, only visible for two sweating inches when she reached up to grab a stack of plastic cups. Her skin looked hot to the touch, but a metal bottle opener was chillingly tucked against the protruding pelvic bone that peaked out from her low-slung capris. The clash of body heat against a simple tool’s cold steel immediately warmed Mikhail’s crotch. He’d miss those details later in the night, once the drinks hit hyper-speed, but right there, that smallest juxtaposition was nearly enough to make him fall in love.

He assertively tried to make eye contact and then smiled with a hint of shyness, proud that the gesture felt natural. He wanted to show interest in more than just booze, without pervertedly leering, but she quickly ducked away uninterested. She was just the bar back, not allowed to serve him in the formal way and way too timid to return his flirtatious informalities. Mikhail saw the logic in it, but still got a little stung. Turning to his right, Sonic the Hedgehog was walking towards him quite casually, obviously not in a huge rush. He started to order when his Dipset scully was pulled down over his face and everything went dark. Before he could even turn around—

“I get the boosters boostin’, I get computers putin’,” Chevy snarled, careful to enunciate the laissez-faire like Cam’ron, “Y’all get shot at, call me, I do the shootin’.”

Not wanting to lose an easy chance to order, he just peaked out from below the 100% acrylic blind-fold and asked for three shots of Jameson, two High Lifes and a tequila-soda— making sure to say please in the process.

“What the fuck happened to this place?” Mikhail said, still rubbing something like sleep out of his eyes.

Inevitably, on nearly 70% of his Fridays in the five years after he had turned 21, Mikhail started his night with a quick drink alone at Low before going on to meet his best friends somewhere else. It was a tradition. His ol’ stow-away was a quiet place to drink a whiskey, standing up, while shaking off the Brown BTWN. No one used to talk at Low; somber Elvis songs played on repeat. He’d then wander off into the #720’s casino-intense pace under all those lights. It made for a smoother transition, taking a bit of the edge off, just by taking it one step at a time.

“It’s been more than a minute since you’ve decided to stop by the party, too much snuggling on the couch, watching movies and getting fed right,” Chevy said. “It’s good to have you back, at least until you change your mind on her again.”

“No sir, I’ve changed just as much as this place. Is this spot still even called Low?”

“The Internet age is one that still spins outside your cage, water slides raining sage, I get paid for days…”

That’s what Chevy did, Chevy rhymed, and Mikhail’s potential responses whirled in his head:

  • A. “I slay…yeah, Kay Slay…the Drama King, all day, and you gay, like a dry toupee kissing a hot soufflé…flame-ing! All hail Mikhail, your momma’s king!”
  • B . “It’s like, all the furniture is still the same. The TV’s are all fucked up”…and they were. Cracked screens still looped the barrage of bad news on mute, the color balance always switched. Reds looked green, blacks looked blue. The bar stools still had one leg too short and massive rips in their vinyl cushions. As they forever had, spider webs caked the slowly turning ceiling fans like the innards of a cotton-candy machine… “It looks like the old crowd phased over to a different bar just as they were replaced. The new crowd didn’t notice the switch either.”
  • C. “You have no idea how many times my phone has vibrated tonight, Katya just won’t leave me alone,” he could say…then talk about his newly regimented independence and how good it felt.
  • D. Awkwardly, he could ask Chevy “What’s up?”, while handing out drinks and hesitating on what to tip Sonic and her glowering nipples.

Editor’s Note: Please Use Rear Exit is an online novel, you can read about it on author Brandon Perkins’ SG Contributor page and find additional chapters and related media at


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