The voice of the slightly bald man croons Frank Sinatra in a heavily wavering voice.
The Spring Break Crowd, overexcited by the tequila, applauds loudly, a tan boy with bleach blonde hair whistling shrilly and pushing nearby eardrums to maximum vibration. I shake my head and groan under my breath. My sister, Licentia takes the microphone and calls up the next singer, her eyes dull, and her smile plastic. My shoulders itch. My other sister, Audacia, comes up from the cooler, a mixed case of beer and wine coolers in her hands. She has red hair, and Blue sparkling eyes. They used to be green, but that was years ago. Licentia comes behind the bar as the synthetic notes of Electric Avenue began playing.
“I’ve been having that dream again.” I say. “I’m flying, and-” I stop. Audacia looks at me, agitated, and begins shoving beers in the ice tub behind the bar. Some nights, my fingers go numb from the cold in there. Busy nights, you spend hours, cracking beers and handing them off. The register gathers pools of water under the money. How long have we been here now? I think back on the dream. The wind, trees whipping by, a green shady blur. Then I’m pushing up past the canopy of the forest and into the sunlight, my wings stretching out wide now, swooping upwards. Licentia slaps her hand down on the bar beside me and I shudder out of my daydream.
“Wake up!” She yells, coming around the bar and heading back to the stage. I sit the bar towel down and walk out the service door, flipping off my sandals and step onto the warm sand, while sea grass blows around the pathway. I follow it down to the beach proper. It’s busy, but there is a bare spot near the waves. The tourists just want to lie out and get drunk. They usually don’t swim for another month. The cold waves must kill their buzz. I head for the open spot, and sit, feeling the breeze, with my toes near the edge. I could walk into the ocean, and never come out. Go back to a time, I can remember, before we were barmaids. I can’t take this anymore. My shoulders itch, my wings aching to be again. My feathers were taken so long ago, prizes for a rigged contest.
You can’t take a girl’s voice, even if you do give her legs, or take her wings. Perched on the rocks, we sang the songs of a million men’s souls. They died for us, easily, and later, in the most entertaining ways. It was never satisfying, though. Not since we had been downcast. Finally, we decided that taking lives and being bored on a rock was less than we could do with our talents. After a lot of bars, a few thousand years, we ended up here.
I pull myself up onto my feet. The sun is getting lower, and it is my time of day now. I don’t feel quite as bad now as the sea fills with gold. I can hear the crowd inside as I near the bar ,and as all earthbound creatures, I too must make the best of it.