Andrey Kiselev (Follow) @123rf.com
(enhanced using pics art)
Marti and I stood looking at the women with their gift bags full of “4EVER YOUNG.”
Marti was seething in anger and took one look at the young woman at the salon who, as Marti saw it, was standing between her and critical information about Deshaun’s whereabouts.
“Do you have his contact information?” Marti growled at the woman.
“I’m not supposed to give that out.”
“I need his information!”
“What she’s trying to say is that something in those bottles of “4EVER YOUNG” made both of us very sick and it could make someone else ill as well unless you stop handing it out!”
“But I don’t understand Deshaun said it’s only vitamin C. Between you and me,” she began whispering. “He makes it himself with some recipe his grandmother passed down. He takes it every day, and it hasn’t made him sick at all.”
“Tara, is it?” I asked, looking at her name tag.
“Yes,” she smiled, bouncing in place as though she were just happy to be acknowledged.
“Perhaps we could just talk to him, you know to make sure. I mean I’d hate to have to talk to law enforcement about it and have this place shut down.”
“Yes or better yet the Board of Health!” Marti growled. As she moved forward, her hair moved slightly revealing her exposed jawline. To our luck, that was all it took.
“Oh my god! Here’s his number!” Tard ran from both of us and began grabbing every bag of “4EVER YOUNG” from the patrons of the salon.
Neither Marti or I cared about the chaos that was erupting behind us. We took Deshaun’s contact information, including his address for good measure and left the salon.
As soon as we were in my car, we wasted no time trying to call Deshaun.
The phone rang and rang.
“If he’s on a boat, he may not get any reception.” I sighed
“My bet is he’s not even left for the airport. I saw we drive to his place.”
I nodded plugging in the GPS coordinates, and away we went.
When we got to Deshaun’s apartment, some cute little place on the Westside, we saw him. He was packing up his trunk for his trip. I parked across the street from his apartment.
“I’m going to eat him!” Marti growled
“Marti, do you want to stay in the car?”
“No,” she sighed.
“Then stop it! We need his help!”
By now, I too, was feeling overly hungry, and my stomach began to growl fiercely. I had one fleeting thought of what it would be like to taste flesh. I said one.
Something was going on in the chemistry of my body, and my stomach began to hurt. I didn’t have time for my pain; however, I had to make it out of this car and over to Deshaun.
I struggled to move as it felt like every organ in my body was changing or shutting down. Before I could reach Deshaun, I collapsed onto the pavement. I was sure something snapped. I felt no pain; however, everything was numb.
Marti was behind me, and I saw Deshaun too, he stood in front of my broken body.
“Yup! Marti too!”
Marti growled, and I gave her a look. She stopped immediately.
“What are you doing here? Let me call an ambulance.”
He stopped and between the two of them they helped me stand on my now crooked leg. I leaned on Deshaun’s pink polo that he wore. He was getting ready for a trip to the tropics. Part of me felt terrible for having to make him late because there was no way after what we were about to tell him would not render him paralyzed in shock.
“Are you sure?” He asked, concerned.
“Yes!” Marti growled
Deshaun saw her face then as her bandage came off.
“Holy shit, what happened to you?”
Marti became angry. I held her back from Deshaun.
“4EVER YOUNG is what happened! What the hell did you put in that potion? It’s turned us into flesh-eating zombies.” She growled
“Nothing! There’s nothing in it except lemon juice and distilled water! I swear!”
“Your mouth is making mine water more and more every time it says something stupid!” Marti growled at him again.
Deshaun backed away from the two of us. “Look I have no idea what happened to you guys after you left the salon. I can prove it wasn’t me!”
Deshaun had us follow him into his apartment, and his hands shook from fear as he fiddled with his keys to unlock his door. He couldn’t take his eyes off Marti as her bandages were loosening from the summer heat.
Finally, the three of us made it inside his small apartment. He walked over to his refrigerator and pulled out a large bottle. He poured a glass of what was inside it sipping it then he passed it around to both Marti and me.
“See water and lemon! That’s all I swear!”
“Are you certain? Do you get the water from another source?”
“No, I distill it myself by boiling it then adding freshly squeezed lemon from my juicer. It’s stupid I know, but I really needed the extra money for the salon after my boyfriend dumped me, leaving me with the expenses of this cruise. I know it was wrong to take money from people, but it’s no different than commercials.”
“False advertising!” I said annoyed
Deshaun seemed visibly hurt, and while Marti and I knew how it wasn’t “4EVER YOUNG.”
“If not this idiot than what?” Marti yelled as her mouth began to twitch uncontrollably.
I was afraid of what would happen to her if she continued to deteriorate. What would be left of her?
“Look my plane doesn’t take off until later I can spare a few to help you guys figure out what caused this to happen.”
“You are just afraid of a lawsuit!”! Marti said visibly holding the rest of her jaw in place.
“No, I really want to help! What if it’s something else? What if it’s the Zombie Apocalypse? I want to know my chances of surviving!”
I collapsed on Deshaun’s couch. “Where to begin?”
“Well, where did you guys go after you left my salon? You guys always meet there then eat afterward, right? Maybe it’s something you ate?”
“God, I’m starving!” Marti groaned.
“Umm, okay but let’s think first.” Deshaun was scared of Marti.
“Pierre’s Pier!” I said
“What? A cheese plate does sound good, so does a leg. Do you think that’s on my Keto diet?”
“Oh, Marti focus! We both ate a cheese platter and champagne.”
“Doesn’t seem zombie inducing,” Deshaun said. “Did anybody give you guys anything besides that? A piece of candy? Did you brush up against someone that looked sick? Anything like that?”
We both shook our heads.
“Well, why is Marti worse than you Kayla?” Deshaun was asking a legitimate question.
“She’s the mean one.” I joked not thinking of my repercussions.
“No, wait you could be onto something!” Deshaun said, hopping to his feet.
“Wait for, what?” Marti wailed
“Look, honey, I’m not trying to be mean, but you do have some serious mega-bitch vibes going on. Maybe you pissed someone off!” Deshaun said as sympathetic as he could muster all the while fearing he was going to be lunch for two starving Zombies.
I thought back to yesterday as foggy as it was now becoming in my mind. I recalled Marti giving her best impression of the wicked witch to that waitress.
“Marti, it’s the waitress! You were so mean yesterday to her.”
“Not my fault! Her idiocy brought it out!”
“Well, there’s only one thing to do. We have to go talk to her!” Deshaun exclaimed excitedly to have the heat pour off of him.
We all piled into my car, and I let Deshaun drive as my vision was now failing me.
It seemed like the drive took hours. Downtown Cleveland on a summer day, while baseball was going on, wasn’t the best driving situation to be involved.
We finally made it to “Pierre’s Pier,” and I was able to make out the waitress from the day before.
We found her folding silverware into white cloth napkins, and when she happened to look up at the three of us, it didn’t seem to surprise her that we were there. Although, she did look a bit alarmed at Marti’s face.
“You did this!” Marti growled
“I did.” The young waitress said her chin out in full defiance. “You were so nasty to me yesterday! It was like every customer that came in was mean, hateful, expecting! I reached the end of my rope!”
“That doesn’t give you the right to hurt people!” I said to her angrily.
“What did you do to me?” Marti was ready to snap at any second as she was already barely holding on by a tiny thread.
“It’s a spell.” Said the young woman. “Honestly, I thought it would have worn off by now.”
“Does it look like it to you?” Marti yelled
“No, ma’am.” She said politely
“What did I do to you? I was nice!” I said deflated
“Guilty by association but I didn’t put a lot in your drink. I’m sorry.”
“Fix this!” Marti was in her face now, and the young girl was petrified at what her spell had created.”
“Okay!” She squealed
“Now!” Marti approached her, her mouth opening revealing saliva as a hungry gaze fixated itself over the waitress.
“There you go again! You can’t even be nice for five seconds! Sometimes that is all a server wants a decent tip and to be treated like a human being worthy of serving your food! A simple I’m sorry could go a long way right now bitch!”
Marti took a deep breath, ready to pounce, and I pushed her back.
“We are sorry! Please help us!”
“Not until she says it!”
I looked at Marti, “Don’t you have something to say?”
“Sorry?” She said flexing it more of a question.
“Not good enough! You still don’t care! Look I’ll help your friend, but you will have to wait till the spell wears off!”
“Fine! I’m sorry! I can’t look like this anymore!” Marti began to cry tears of blood.
The young woman seemed to take pity on her after all. She had us follow her to her car, and together we swallowed a potion of some sort that seemed to make the zombie aging process dissipate within a few hours.
I do wish I could say Marti changed forever after this. She will always be Marti. Marti is more careful with how she treats others now.
Marti got her good looks back after all, but sadly she was not able to reattach her two fingers in time to heal with the rest of her body.
Marti keeps them in a jar, why I don’t know. Maybe it’s a reminder to what could have been?
Either way, I think we could all consider this a lesson learned. Always be kind to those that work to serve others, delivery men, night workers who stay up late to service you in gas stations, fast food workers, bartenders who have to deal with their share of drunk assholes, your Uber drivers, and tip them too. You never know who is having a terrible day a little kindness goes a very long way.