This story is by Taurean Morrell and was part of our 2020 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Simone’s hair was fiery like the feathers of the phoenix after its risen from the ashes. Her freckles were in alignment with the stars in the night sky. I loved her with all my heart but my time with her was limited. I watched as she flipped through the pages of this month’s Shonen JUMP magazine with her feet kicked up on the cherrywood bar counter. She found solace within the black and white pages of action-packed comics from Japan. Her skinny black faded Levi’s were tucked into her scuffed black combat boots. She sported a white tank top which revealed her thin freckly arms. “Jay, can you make me a gin and tonic?” Simone lowered the magazine in front of her face revealing a cheeky metal smile.
“Really Brace-face? At 10 A.M.?” I asked while wiping down the wooden bar stools next to hers.
Simone jumped off the stool and slammed the magazine on the counter.
“Yeah really! It’s your bar. You can do what you want can’t you?” Simone asked with her hands on her hips.
“You got me there. This is my bar, but I am going to need a dance out of you first. For old times
sake, Red,” I responded with misty eyes.
Simone ran towards me and gave me a bear hug. “Are you crying, you big softie?” Simone asked with a cracking voice.
“It’s so funny, I was thinking back to how we first met. It seems like it was just yesterday, but it’s been what? Fifteen years?” I asked
“Fifteen and a half to be exact,” Simone corrected me as she rested her head across my chest.
I put my hands on her shoulders.
“Is it bad that I’d rather have my really powerful superhero friend stay with me in my bar and shoot the breeze than have her risk her life trying to stop a giant asteroid from hitting the earth?” I asked, looking into her eyes.
“Yes, Jay that makes you a loving friend but kind of selfish a prick at the same time,” Simone said as she wiped away my tears.
Simone walked towards the jukebox.” What are you in the mood for? Hip Hop? RnB? 80s pop?” Simone asked while looking at the available selection in the jukebox.
“Surprise me,” I said.
Simone smiled and pressed the play button. Bobby Caldwell’s What You Won’t Do For Love started to blast through the speakers in the bar.
I watched as Simone started gyrating her hips like a cobra in heat. She closed her eyes as if the music were being injected into her bloodstream. I started to two step my way towards her and she smiled at my lack of rhythm. I grabbed her and held her close to me as we swayed together in unison to Bobby Caldwell’s sultry lyrics and that oh so funky baseline.
“Jay, I love you.” Simone whispered in my ears as the song slowly started to fade out.
The intro to Mariya Tekeuchi’s Plastic Love started to play. Simone’s favorite song. She started to playfully pull away from me so she could dance by herself.
“Let me get you that drink Simone,” I said as I made my way behind the bar to make her gin and tonic.
I took out a highball glass and filled with ice cubes. I added two ounces of gin and five ounces tonic water and garnished it with a lime. I put an orange straw in it for her. Simone danced over to the counter and took a seat at the bar. She looked at me then at the drink.
“Did you make this with love Mr. Bartender?” Simone asked while looking at me sheepishly.
She took a sip and gave me a little wink of approval. “This is awesome Jay, so you’re not just a handsome face I see,” Simone teased.
I put my hands on the bar counter and hung my head.
“What time will the asteroid be hitting the earth today?” I asked
“I would say in about twenty-five minutes. I’m going to fly up there and try to redirect it from entering Earth’s atmosphere,” Simone said as she slurped the last bit of her gin and tonic.
“Damn, you’re so calm about it though Red. Aren’t you afraid of dying? Or failing?” I asked while putting my right hand on her shoulder.
Simone looked at me. Her hazel eyes were laser focused on mine.” I’m terrified Jay but I believe if I were anywhere else but with you right now, I’d be having an anxiety attack,” Simone admitted.
Simone jumped off the stool. She looked up at the ceiling as if she could see through it.
“Jay, it’s time. I can feel the asteroid getting dangerously close to the Earth’s atmosphere. I have to go,” Simone said with a look of determination.
I jumped over the bar and wrapped my arms around her. I couldn’t stop the eruption of tears that came from my eyes the tighter I tried to squeeze.
“I love you Simone and I always will,” I sobbed.
Simone started to cry.
“Jay, I don’t know if you realize how much you’ve made life worth living for me. Not even being a superhero has brought me as much joy as being your friend and at times your lover. Thank you so much for being my sun in a world so cloudy,” Simone said while sobbing.
“Go Simone. Go and save the world,” I said while wiping the tears from my eyes.
Simone kissed me on the lips and held me for a few minutes. She walked towards the glass door of the bar.
“Hey, give me your red leather jacket. I want to look cool up there when I’m tearing up that asteroid,” Simone said looking back at me with her arm extended.
“Catch,” I tossed my jacket to her.
She caught it and put it on.
“Thanks Jay,” she smiled
I watched as Simone opened the door and looked up into the sky. She put on her orange wireless earbuds into hers and she touched the screen of her iPhone. I opened the door and stood behind her. I could hear the opening chords of Plastic Love coming from her earbuds.
“Stand back Jay,” Simone said as orange and blue electricity besieged her whole body.
In seconds she was in engulfed in a blue aura. The energy she was emitting was pushing me back. I was leaning against the bar door covering my face with the bend of my arm. The blue light from her aura was blinding. Simone gathered herself and launched her body into the heavens like a blue rocket at the speed of light. The impact of her take off sent me flying backwards through the bar door glass window.
“Ouch” I said as I got up and started picking out the little shards of glass out of my arm, legs, and face.
I bolted outside the bar to see the spectacle for myself. I looked around and noticed everyone on the block was looking up as well. People were coming out of their cars and homes to see Simone save the world one more time.
I kept my eyes locked on the clouds above me. I could make out the blue light moving around in the morning sky. It suddenly stopped moving then it flew into what I could assume was the asteroid. The giant fire ball in the sky that followed caused the ground to shake. I watched in horror as I saw my friend falling from the sky like a shooting star or in her case a fallen angel. Upon impact with the earth came a giant dust cloud .I didn’t even notice the flaming bits of rock that showered the earth after she destroyed the asteroid. People around me were screaming as they tried to dodge the falling debris.
The dust cloud was coming from the forest not too far from bar. I jumped into my DeLorean and headed for the forest. When I got there, I saw a giant crater in the center of it. I jumped down into the crater and saw my friend’s burned body. Her clothes were ripped, and her arms and legs were severely burned. Her face and hair remained intact. She was still as beautiful as ever.
I picked her up and held her close to me. Her body was burning up.
“Simone, speak to me,” I said fighting back tears.
“Simone!” I screamed as I watched her slowly open her eyes.
“Jay, I came back to let you know, I got a thing for you and I can’t let go” Simone smiled
“You’re such a dork Simone, “I said sobbing like a baby.
I held my friend close as she died in my arms with a smile on her face as if she had just heard the world’s funniest joke and she knew the punchline.