13. What Makes Sammy Run
After more experimental music, Albert began to play something relatively melodic and I saw Samael walk in. He ordered a strawberry milkshake from Aaron, which he threw in the bartender’s face.
‘What didja do that for?’ I asked him.
‘He gave me semi-skimmed last time and billed me for full-fat.’ Samael scowled.
‘The hell he did, Sammy.’
‘The old coot would do it, if he thought he could.’
‘A preemptive strike?’
‘If you like.’
Samael couldn’t sit still. Did I say? We sometimes furl up here, for a while it was the fashion to furl one wing. Some kind of ironic statement about who we were, maybe. Sammy never did before that day. He stood, he sat, he stood again. Several times he started to say something that might have begun with B or C or even Z. I motioned over to Aaron for some under the counter kvass. No one could drink dairy products all night, after all. In any case, the booze certainly calmed Samael down a little. At least as far as jittering like a speed freak a long way from his next shabu. This didn't mean I could ask him anything resembling a direct question. Neither did I feel like offering some banal gambit. So I waited. I waited and then I waited some more. Finally, he let out something between a roar and a yawn. He sat down one last time opposite me, a little incommoded by the arms on the chair. Both wings out now, his were as showy as Travolta’s in one of Hollywood’s stupider takes on being an angel.
‘So, Gabriel, what’s so damned important?’
‘She don’t want to be found, ya mean.’
‘Maybe that too.’
Samael picked at a snaggled canine. He took about as much care of his appearance as though he had fallen.
‘You gonna ask, then?’
‘Ask what?’ I said, although I knew what he was getting at.
‘What they all do, Whyn’t I fallen?’
Samael started to laugh, the sound of a lion or some other big cat with an impala’s leg catching at the back of its throat. It became a coughing fit at some point before he finally recovered himself enough to say,
‘Danged if I know, Gabriel. Just didn’t is all.’
He stood and shambled off without looking back.