“Hey man, that’s real weird.” said Arouna, perplexed at el Monstruo’s changed appearence. He touched el Monstruo’s cheek and once again drew his hand back swiftly. “That’s real weird. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve seen weird stuff, but not anything like this.” The redness had spread from el Monstruo’s face, down his neck, and across his chest. He stopped wearing the mask; it was stifling with all the heat his head was throwing off. It was bothersome to wear a shirt now, as his torso had begun radiating the strange heat.
“I don’t know what to do, Arouna. I’ve tried salve and I’ve tried clortrimezole. I talked to the doctor at urgent care, but he was afraid to come near me. He threatened to call the CDC if I ever came back.” El Monstruo leaned heavily against the counter of the bar. He was happy that the Freeky Tiki was empty, except for Arouna and him. And Rita. Why does she stand by me? Is she just being a friend, or is there more? Or do I just want there to be more? El Monstruo studied Rita’s petite frame and imagined her staying with him, not only through this ordeal, but anything that would come in the future. She would fight for me to the end if she had to. She’s my best friend.
“You know, I don’t know if I ever saw someone turn red. I don’t know if anyone has ever seen it. But maybe it isn’t a bad thing. Maybe you’ll be able to get some kind of grant to go back to school and finish your education. How about that, huh? They say minorities always get money for school. How much more minor can you get than just one?” said Arouna with a smile. He placed a tiki mug on the bar and filled it with seltzer and a mix of juices. “There. It may not work, but it is the best I can do. It may not turn you white again, but it will freshen you up. Maybe help you think better.” Arouna’s grin and impromptu cocktail made el Monstruo smile, until he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. His smile looked terrifying; a mass of sharp fangs jutted from his mouth from every direction. If the smile wasn’t enough, the pointed nubs of his horns were starting to push through his skin. His smiled swiftly bowed into a deep frown.
Rita watched as el Monstruo’s head drooped. Her heart was breaking to see him suffering so much. She put an arm around him and tried to comfort him. He leaned on her and felt tears rolling down his face. Arouna walked away, allowing them some space. “God, I am so happy that it is him and not me.” said Arouna softly to himself. Rita let el Monstruo cry on her, holding him closely. He shuddered as he wept; his body was radiating heat, tempting Rita to pull away from him.
The door to the Freeky Tiki swung open, and Rita turned to see a gang of men pour in. There were at least ten, and they were led by a young blonde with a broken nose. The guy with the broken nose popped the collar of his polo shirt and strutted towards the dimly lit bar. El Monstruo looked up, his large eyes puffy from crying. The thug in the polo shirt took a step backwards, forgetting for a moment that he had ten guys to watch his back.
“You think you’re big…” he started to say as el Monstruo stood up, swinging the metal stool he had been sitting on. The thug heard a loud crack thunder in his skull as his legs buckled and his body collapsed on the ground. Rita screamed and Arouna shouted for el Monstruo to control himself. The thug’s friends ran at el Monstruo, trying to grab at him. One was jabbed in the eye with the stool’s leg, another crashed into the solid, wooden bar. The third threw a punch that sent el Monstruo’s head rocking to the side. El Monstruo simply wrapped his arms around him and sent him flying over his head to the ground. The thug’s friends started to step away once another of their number was sent crashing to the floor with a head butt. They scrambled away, leaving their fallen friends, and the thug in the polo shirt behind. RIta tried to calm down el Monstruo, but he was deaf to her pleas. He wrenched the leg off the stool and clubbed the still body of the thug.
“Die!” he yelled vehemently. “Why don’t you just fucking die?” EL Monstruo swung the metal leg down hard on the young man’s skull, and heard a satisfying cracking sound. The sound of breaking bone was followed by the sound of a shot gun being cocked.
“Stop it now, man.” said Arouna, pointing the gun at el Monstruo. Sweat beaded on Arouna’s face; he could feel the intense heat flowing out from el Monstruo’s body. He prayed that the big man would stop and listen to reason. He hoped, at least, that el Monstruo wouldn’t kill the thug then and there. It was obvious what was going to happen, but the police wouldn’t see it the way it really was. El Monstruo rested the metal leg on his shoulder and turned to look at Arouna.
“I don’t want to stop. I need to do this. This would be justice.” said el Monstruo.
“You aren’t going to do it here, and if you’re smart, you just won’t do it at all. Stop now. You got a girl that cares for you, and…”
“I used to have a girl that cared for me!” shouted el Monstruo, “She was supposed to be my wife. Instead, she went off to fuck some rich bastard and left me here alone.” Rita was frightened; she had not moved since the violence started. Her mind was filled with so many things she should say or do. She wanted to say that he wasn’t alone, but she was afraid to say that she would be there for him after what he had just done. “I need to do this.” continued el Monstruo, “It’s all I can do.”
“Then take him out of here, and don’t come back. If you do what I think you are going to do, I won’t forgive you.” said Arouna, lowering the shot gun. “We stood by you, and we believed in you. Both me and Rita. Don’t think for a minute I don’t support you in what you’ve done, but if you do anymore, well, that’s too much.”
El Monstruo felt the need to kill the kid; he was a law breaker, and he would hurt Rita if he gave him the chance. El Monstruo knew that the thug saw her comforting him, and if he let the thug live, he might be back. Confused and afraid, el Monstruo just ran. He ran from the restaurant and down to the ocean. He looked at the expansive sea and let loose a primal yell. He threw pieces of drift wood at the ocean, and hurled big rocks when he ran out of drift wood. The excercise calmed him down, freed him of his aggravation.
“What did the ocean ever do to you, my friend?” asked a thin man with a beak-like nose who was fishing from the shore. El Monstruo was startled, as he hadn’t seen the man earlier. The thin man was wearing loose, green pants that he had rolled up to his knees and a ratty looking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt. Sparse, straw like hair peeked out from under a bright white sailor’s hat. “I know the ocean can be mean, but I didn’t see him take anything from you.”
“What do you know?” asked el Monstruo dismissively, stalking away.
“I know more than you can imagine,” called the thin man. “For example; I know what you are turning into.”