An Old Acquaintance

Brian’s point of view

“So, when are we supposed to be back at the hotel?” I queried, glancing at Nick and Howie in my mirror. I was driving us back from the cinema.
“Kev told us to try and get back before 1 am this time,” Howie informed me.
“I think we woke him up yesterday when we got back at… hey, when did we get back?”
“Half two,” Nick answered. “Kev weren’t happy! He gets grouchy if you wake him up. Besides, we have rehearsals tomorrow”
I was about to contribute to the conversation when a loud bang issued from the engine of my car.
I grimaced, “Oh man! Not again?!” I complained out loud as I pulled over and got out of the car.
“You mean this has happened before?” Howie asked as he and Nick got out of my car as well.
“Twice,” I told him, pulling up the bonnet and looking at the engine.
We all tried out a few things to get it restarted, but nothing seemed to help.
“Aw hell!” I exclaimed, giving the bumper a kick. “Lousy piece of junk!”

Howie’s point of view

“So, do we call triple A?” I asked.
“I’ll do that!” Nick exclaimed and got out his cell. He punched in a few numbers then moaned.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“I’ve got no money left on this card!” he told us.
Brian reached inside his pocket, “Aw man. I left mine in my room at the hotel!”
“So did I,” I informed them. Honestly, the one time I forget my cell, Rok’s car breaks down!
Nick looked at the building we had pulled over next to. It looked like a late-night bar. “Maybe they’ll let us use their phone?”
We walked into the bar, and entered a slightly smoky atmosphere. The bartender and the three customers glanced briefly at them. Brian walked up to the bartender.
“Can we use your phone?” he queried.
He finished wiping the glass he was holding, and replied, “Sure, it’s in the back.”
Brian went to the back to use the phone and Nick and me sat down at one of the tables.
The bar tender looked at us, “Are you gonna buy anything?” he grunted.
“Erm… no thanks,” Nick answered nervously.
He just shrugged and continued to watch the TV on the wall. The other customers paid little attention to them.
“I wonder if we’ll get killed by Kev again,” I said to Nick.
“Probably,” Nick answered.
I coughed due to the cigarette smoke in the air, “Urgh, I hate smoke!”
“How AJ managed to survive this, I don’t know,” Nick commented, wafting smoke away from his face.
“He quit, remember?” I reminded.
“Yeah, of course,” Nick replied.
Brian came back from the back room where the phone was and sat down next to us, “They said they’d get here around 1:15 am.”
“OK, now we’re definitely gonna get killed by Kev!” Nick dismayed.
“I’m sure he’ll understand if we explain,” I reassured.
Brian grumbled, “I hate that car! I liked my old one better!”
Nick grinned, “Is that before or after you crashed it?”
“Hey, that wasn’t my fault!” Brian retorted. “I told you, the other guy hit us!”
“OK, OK!” Nick defended. “Anyway, you’re right. It’s not funny.”
He was obviously having bad memories from the previous year.

Nick’s point of view

“So, what do we do till they get here?” I asked.
“Talk, I guess,” Howie replied.
Brian stood up, “Might as well get a drink while we’re here. You guys want one?”
“I’ll pass!” I stated.
“I have whatever you’re havin’,” Howie replied.
We sat around, as bored as hell, until the Triple A guys arrived. Brian and Howie both stood up and went outside and I was about to follow when someone walked into the bar. It was a girl of about 18 or 19. She had short, blond hair. But one thing hit me most: she was beautiful! It looked like she worked at the bar, since she was helping out and talking to the bar-tender like he was a friend.
She finally noticed I was watching her, and she stopped and looked at me, “Take a photo, ’cause it’ll last longer!” she laughed.
I swallowed nervously and was just about to speak when Brian came through the door and came up to me.
“Nick, c’mon. We gotta go!” he told me.
“Just wait a sec, Rok!” I instructed. Brian looked towards what I was concentrating on. He moaned.
“Nick, pick your jaw up off the floor and get moving!” Brian ordered. I was about to object when he grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the bar.
“Aw man!” I complained to Brian as he pulled me along. “I was just about to say somethin’ there!”
“And stay here even longer so Kev will kill us? NO WAY!” he shouted, pushing me into the Triple A vehicle. Howie was already there, and we were driven home.


I was determined to find that girl again. I wasn’t just immediately attracted to her. I felt like I already knew her. Today, I was going back to that bar to see if she was there.
Brian came up to me, “We’re finished here, Frack. We can go now.”
It was the end of rehearsals, and now I had my chance to go meet her. But honestly, rehearsals at 6:00am to 7:00am! It was ridiculous.
“I’ll see you guys later!” I called, heading for the door. Kevin stepped in front of my path.
“And where do you think you’re goin’?” he questioned.
“Downtown, nosey!” I replied. “Since when do I have to tell you about my every move?”
Kevin folded his arms, “I just don’t want another episode like the last two days.”
“Geez, sorry Kev!” I replied. “You know, you’re starting to sound like my dad!”
Kevin shrugged, “I’m just keeping up the big brother role.”
I rolled my eyes and left. Sometimes Kev could get too nosey as big brother.
I got into my car and I drove to the late-night bar we were at the previous evening. As I got out of my car, I saw that the area was probably the most run-down part of the city. Luckily, the bar was open in the daytime as well, so I walked inside.
Today, the occupants looked a little friendlier than the three grumpy looking characters last night, and there was less smoke in the air. I took a look around and spotted the girl I liked so much serving drinks at the bar. I approached her, and she noticed me.
“Oh, it’s you again!” she observed, smiling.
“Hi,” I said in reply. “Sorry about yesterday. I…”
“You don’t have to explain,” she told me with a casual wave of her hand.
“You’re new around here, I’m guessing,” she continued.
“You mean Florida or this exact spot?” I queried.
She laughed, “This bar, of course!”
I grinned, “Yeah. I live in Florida though. So, are you gonna serve me?”
“Sure, what do you want?”
She got me my drink and we talked some more. She seemed like a nice person; she had a good sense of humour and stuff like that. After a while she glanced at her watch. “Hmm. 7:30. End of my shift. Well, it’s been nice talking to you.”
“Wait!” I shouted.
“What?” she asked. “Problem?”
“Yeah, we haven’t even introduced ourselves yet!” I informed her.
“Oh, sorry,” she apologised. “I’m Jennifer.”
I shook her hand, “I’m Nick.”
“Well, Nick. I have to wait until the other guy gets here before I can leave. I can hang around with you till then.”
“That’d be great!” I replied, perhaps a little too enthusiastically than I meant.
I stayed until the bartender from the previous night came to take over the bar. As I fumbled about to find my car keys out of my pocket, Jennifer had a conversation with the bartender.
“Hey Karlos! How are things?” she greeted.
“Great, Jen. You been OK?” he asked in reply.
“Yeah. I sent out that order for some new chairs. That bar fight got pretty ugly,” she commented grimly.
“Good goin’!” he congratulated. “By the way, how’s Tohja?”
“Oh, he’s fine. You know Tohja; sleeps all day, goes for a wander every night when he feels like it,” she replied casually.
Karlos laughed, “I swear that guy’s nocturnal!”
Something about that conversation rang a bell at the back of his mind. That name; I repeated it over to himself; Tohja…..Tohja……Tohja.
Then my mind flashed back to that night the previous year;

Start of Flashback….

“What’s wrong with you?” the girl inquired, concerned.
“I’m blind for life, that’s what! Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get some sleep!” I told her irritably. I was getting very edgy lately.
“Blind? Geez, that serious?” she exclaimed quietly.
“Yes, now go away!” I ordered.
“I can still help,” she claimed.
“Look, are you gonna leave or do I have to call somebody in here?” I threatened.
“I promise, I can help you!” she insisted.
I frowned in the direction of her voice. How could she help me out at all? I was told this was irreversible. “Who are you, anyway?”
“That’s not important, just lie still.”
I did as she told me, and she put her hand over my eyes, “OK, now this might hurt a bit, but don’t worry,” the stranger reassured.
Suddenly, I felt a cold chill go right through me, but I felt relaxed under this girl’s influence. Like the stranger had said, there was a sudden, numbing pain at the back of my eyes. Yet as suddenly as the pain had arrived, it disappeared, and the stranger removed her hand.
“There. I have to go now,” she stated moving away from me.
“Wait! What did you just do?” I asked, sitting up.
“You’ll understand in the morning,” she told me.
She continued to walk, but her footsteps were not alone. There sounded like another set had joined her.
“Is there someone else there with you?” I questioned.
“Well, sort of. He’s not a person,” she informed.
“You mean he’s your pet?” I asked, surprised. “You’re not allowed animals in here!”
“I wouldn’t call him my pet, but you’ve got nothing to fear from young Tohja, here!” she reassured.

End of Flashback

I snapped back to reality. I was certain it was her. It had to be! No doubt about it! I also came to the conclusion that she was responsible for helping me. That was it, I was gonna ask her about it and nothing was going to stop me. I turned around confidently, but to my dismay, she had already left!
“Wh…where’d she go?” I asked.
The bartender looked up, “Home, I guess.”
“Where’s that?”
“Sorry, kid, but I can’t tell you that without her consent. Employee’s rights.”
I frowned, not happy at being called ‘kid’, but let it drop.
“Aw, c’mon!” I moaned.
“I told ya, I can’t! But you can come back in about five hours when it’s her shift again.” He suggested.
I sighed, “Thanks.” I left and drove back to the hotel. What a disappointment! I thought I could meet her…….