As my eyes wandered, I saw movement in the
shadows, on the other side of the dance floor. In the far corner, bent
over a mop that had to be dirtier than the indescribable muck it was designed
to remove from the worn, wood floor, was a boy of questionable gender,
with shoulder-length, wavy blond hair and a face I would have wanted to
get close to, if he had instead been his sister. Possessing no breasts
and a bulge where none should exist in any of my fantasies, he was unqualified
to alleviate my sense of being stranded in hell, though surprisingly his
face held me, until Emmett returned to his stool.
As Emmett pulled himself up on his seat,
the bartender came to ask us if we had selected anything from the menu
"Its decision-making time, Emmett,"
I said, turning my attention back to food. "Pick your poison."
He laughed, and after we had placed our
orders for dinner and another round, I turned to him and nodded toward
the dance floor, and the boy quietly mopping the floor.
"Whos he?" I asked.
"Folks around here call him Crystal,"
the old man replied.
"Whys that? Dont they know
his real name?"
"Well," Emmett began, tilting
his head a little and looking at my reflection in the mirror, "he
just kind of showed up here, about a year ago. Some trucker had him on
his truck and they stopped for lunch, and when lunch was over, the boy
stayed. He hasnt spoken a word that I know of. Cactus, here, took
him in and lets him stay in the old trailer, out back. He does odd jobs
around the place and Cactus pays him a little, and feeds him."
"So, how did he get the name Crystal?"
Emmett chuckled, and then smiled.
"Have you seen his eyes?" he asked.