The Exile Episode 42

When my three companions finally grew quiet, I lay my head back against the seat. Wherever we were headed, we had been on the road for over an hour, having stopped twice to change vehicles. Although I was physically exhausted, I couldn’t sleep. My mind wouldn’t stop asking questions.

“What had my sister-in-law been involved in? Who was Calypso? Who were the Sirens?”

I raised my head and looked over at Jeckle.

“Who are the Sirens?” I asked.

“Evil women whose only purpose is to destroy the will of all men,” Cazonetti answered.

“Ignore him,” Jeckle responded.

“They are wicked, man,” Cazonetti snapped.

Jeckle looked back at Cazonetti in the rearview mirror.

“Done?” he asked.

“Fine!” Cazonetti growled, flopping back against the seat.

“Why is he afraid of them?” I asked.

“He’s not,” Heckle said. “He’s scared of the Minotaur.”

“The what?” I asked in surprise.

“You were warned, my brother,” Jeckle said. “Call him that again, and he will kill you.”

“Wait a minute. Who?” I asked.

“Okay. It goes like this. There are three sirens: Lorelei, Delilah, and Circe,” Cazonetti began. “They’re sisters, not in blood but in bond.”

“And whatever you do,” Jeckle interrupted, “Don’t date one and go and have an affair with the other.”

“I didn’t know,” Cazonetti protested in exasperation.

“If you betray one of them, you’ll have to deal with Michael Minos,” Jeckle said.

“Minos?” I asked. “Who’s that?”

“The Minotaur,” Heckle said with a laugh.

“I swear that man is half gorilla,” Cazonetti said. “His hands are so big he could wrap them around your face and squeeze the life out of you.”

“And we’re headed to see these Sirens?” I asked nervously. “Maybe I should wait in the truck.”

“Don’t worry, man. They won’t hurt you,” Cazonetti said. “Not while you’re protected by Calypso. Somehow you gained her favor. We still haven’t seen her, by the way.”

Cazonetti leaned forward toward Jeckle and asked,

“She’s still a recluse, right?”

Jeckle nodded.

“We have arrived,” Heckle announced.

Jeckle pulled into the parking lot of a nightclub, its neon sign flashing “Dark Pleasures.” A line had formed from the front door, down the walk, and around the corner.

At the entrance stood a burly man wearing a pinstriped suit. As he stood guard, his beefy arms crossed at his chest, his long white beard gently lifted in the evening’s breeze.

“Ah. See there. The Ferryman is on door guard. I might as well just stay with the truck. He’s not going to let me in,” Cazonetti pointed out.

Suddenly I realized that my companions had been throwing out a lot of names from mythology and folklore. Calypso, the Sirens, Minotaur, the Ferryman. Cazonetti had been called the Coyote, a trickster.  But Heckle and Jeckle? Then I remembered those cartoon characters and saw the connection. The brothers were mischievous and loved good-natured joking with each other.

Interrupting my thoughts, Jeckle said,

” Cazonetti, if the sisters order him to lift your banishment, he’ll let you pass. Besides, you’re here because of Calypso. She still carries a great deal of weight with the sisters.”

“Which one are we here to see?” Heckle asked.

“Lorelei,” Jeckle answered.

“Oh no,” Cazonetti grunted, rubbing his forehead. “She had to pick the ex-girlfriend.”

“Come on,” Jeckle said.

“If there’s trouble, I’ll be there but not a moment sooner,” Cazonetti said.

As I climbed out of the truck, Cazonetti grabbed my arm.

“Careful in there. Lorelei is the worst. She’ll seem like your friend at first, but before you know what’s happened, she’ll possess your every thought.”

“Come on,” Jeckle called again.

Cazonetti released his hold on my arm, and I hurried to catch up with Heckle and Jeckle.

With a grin on his face, Heckle called back to Cazonetti,

“Now behave, or no treat for you.”

I followed Heckle and Jeckle up to the front door and the large bearded man. When he saw me, he immediately stepped aside and let us through.

As the music pounded, people on the dance floor jumped up and down, bobbing their heads in rhythmic unison and flailing their arms to the hypnotic beat. A succession of colored laser lights flashed, illuminating the dancers.

I followed Heckle and Jeckle over to the bar and sat down. While we waited, I looked over at the stage and the club’s DJ. A strikingly beautiful woman, she moved her head in time to the music’s beat, bouncing her cropped blonde hair against the headphones. Her short red skirt caught the beads of sweat as they rolled down her bare midriff, and she swayed her hips from side to side.

“Don’t fall into her spell,” Heckle warned me.

“Is that her?” I asked. “Uh. What’s her name. . .Lorelei?”

“No. That’s Delilah,” a woman’s sultry voice said behind me.

Startled, I spun around to see a tall beautiful brunette standing behind the bar. When she finished mixing a drink and leaned forward to serve, her black net shirt brushed against the polished wood of the bar.

“Who’s this guy?” she asked, her eyes locked on me.

“The Exile,” Heckle answered.

A spark of interest flashed across her eyes, and she said, “So you’re the lynchpin to this entire operation.”

She had a natural beauty, striking but not intimidating. I found myself fantasizing about her. Quickly I shook the thoughts from my head and asked,

“You’re Lorelei?”

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