It was nine a clock in the evening at 'Psycho Laputa', a club infamous for catering to the "weird" crowd. Dirk was probably already inside, waiting. 'I need you', he said. 'The party is nothing without you', he said. Besides, D. Oris Columnior himself was supposed to be making a surprise appearance today. Sangria groaned in frustration. If only she had a car, she wouldn't be in this mess right now, but she didn't, and she wouldn't because her mom was too fucking cheap to get her one…

"Well, look you, all gothy and darkly cute. Mind if I annoy you for a few minutes?"

Sangria looked up. The voice belonged to a rather tall guy with long, dark hair and even darker make-up. He had a long, sharp nose that seemed to be stuck in a perpetual snort.

Noticing Sangria's stare, he smiled coyly.

Sangria was not amused.

She hated this. With so many wannabes and posers trying to get in, the line practically crawled. Fucking idiots. Why couldn't they just get a clue and stay in their mothers' basements where they belonged?

I wish I had a machine gun. Sangria thought. Yeah…that would be sweet.

"I'll take it as a yes."

Without missing a beat, he stepped into the line, right in front of her. Just like that. No 'excuse me', no 'please', he just walked in like he owned the fucking line.

If he weren't such a loser, Sangria would've kicked him where it counted. She grimaced. All the other losers at least tried to look presentable, but that guy? Sangria didn't know where to start. His pants were sliced and torn at several places, in a bad, look-at-me-mommy-I-can-use-scissors kind of way. From what she could tell, he wore fishnets under them. Fishnets! The rest was even worse. He wore a fancy suit jacket – like the kind people wore to parties back in the 19th century. Underneath, he had a lacy silk blouse. A camouflage-colored blouse. Like just about every other wannabe, he wore a huge duster, except his was all torn and ripped. It had patches, for God's sake. Patches! Who was he trying to fool? His duster had huge flaps that were completely covered with buttons. What did he think this was, 80s? He wore so much eye liner it wasn't even funny. But all that was nothing compared to what he put on his head. Sangria didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was a purple-and-black, striped "jester" hat with silver bells. Yes, bells.

"Watch it, luv," the loser smiled. "You might hurt someone with those things."

Sangria rolled her eyes: "What things?"

"Your thoughts, of course."

Great. Could he get even lamer?

"And what thoughts would those be, Master Yoda?"

"Delusions of grandeur, luv," the loser licked his lips. "Can't you smell it? Can't you feel it dripping from your pores, like contempt during a church revival?"

Sangria knew she shouldn't say anything. That guy was worse then a loser. He was a loser who actually thought he was God of Cool. What did Dirk call his type? 'Lonely Ricos'?

"I mean, look at you," he smirked. "Just look at you. You are Goth's Goth. The epiphany of Gothdom. Makes me smad, really."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

This time, he rolled his eyes: "You really don't get it, do you, my pretty little gothy skirl. There is no you. There hasn't been a you for a long time. You wear all the right clothes, dye your hair all the right colors, style it in all the right ways, listen to all the right music, hang out with all the right people… Tell me, luv, are you a rebel?"

"What kind of half-assed question is that?"

"The kind you're trying to avoid, my dearest Gothette," the loser smirked, "Now, out with it."

"Don't tell me what to do!" Sangria shouted

"Why not?" the loser shrugged. "You tell everyone else what to do all the time. 'Stay out of my room.' 'Don't touch my nail polish'. But, really, that's beside the point. Answer the question, luv."

Before Sangria could give him a piece of her mind, he added: "Please? Pretty please? With cherry on the top?"

Sangria felt a headache coming on.

"Look," she rolled her eyes. "As you pointed out God knows how many times, I am a Goth. I don't buy into all that super-safe, politically correct, gosh-darn puritan crap that's supposed to be the fucking norm. I am tired of some brain-dead sluts and their whiny boy-toys crapping all over my music, my movies and my books. I am tired of all the rules that only exist because our 'leaders' are afraid of getting sued. I am sick of living in a world where money can buy you everything except anything you actually need. I wanna spend my life on my own terms, without some stupid conformist breathing down my neck. So, you know what – yes, I am a rebel. Take it or leave it."

There. Dirk would be proud.

The loser started giggling. Loudly.

"What the hell is so funny!" Sangria demanded.

The loser's giggling erupted into all-out laughter. He rocked back and forth, like a clown who had too much to drink.

People started staring.

"Shut the fuck up!" Sangria yelled, swinging her arm.

I am gonna wipe that stupid grin off his face that moron how dare…

He caught her arm by the wrist. He didn't seem to hold it that hard, but when Sangria tried to pull away, she realized that she couldn't move her arm. At all.

The loser was no longer smiling.

"Oh, the pain, the pain," he said slowly and deliberately, "Tell me, luv, do you always punch people to make yourself better or is it just a one-time thing?"

"Let…me…go, you psycho!" Sangria swung her other arm.

The loser twisted her wrist.

Sangria had no idea anything could possibly hurt like that. It was worse then being kicked in the stomach. Worse then getting hit with a baseball bat. It burned though her entire body, jolting every nerve, every cell, every fiber of her being. Forget about punching – it hurt so much she couldn't stand.

"What do you know," the psychotic loser smiled ruefully. "All that incense-sniffing, sing-along acupuncture stuff was actually good for something."

The pain stopped as suddenly as it came.

"What do you want, you bastard?" Sangria said as she struggled to get up.

The loser gave her his hand.

"Don't worry," he assured her. "I won't hurt you this time."

Against her better judgment, Sangria took it.

"There you go. And the answer to your question is dreadfully simple. You are wasting your potential, luv. You could be great. Heck, you could be better then great. Instead, you insist on following someone else's rules.

"God, I remember the time when Goths used to be innovators. Lots of rushing, lots of envelope pushing, lots of risk taking, more sense-defying stupidity than all the hippies and philosophers world over... But now, they're nothing but chama-chamelions, blood-leeching clones with no bloody sense of humor… They got a whole bag of rules that you simply can't violate, or you're a traitor, a fake or, God forbid, a poser. It's weep-worthy, my dear Gothy skirl, but your non-conformists, your tragic misfits don't escape the bubble anymore. They just make themselves a new one. And you, dear love, are trapped, trapped like a bee in a flycatcher. Personally, I blame TV."

"That's not true!" Sangria protested.

"Is it? Tell me, luv, what is it that makes you so different from all the other Goths?"

She wanted to tell him that he was wrong, that there were plenty of things that made her unique. Her favorite movies? Her favorite music? The posters in her bedroom? Her clothes? Her poetry?

No. That wouldn't work. She listened to all the music Dirk said Goths should listen to. She watched all the movies Dirk said real Goths should watch. She only bought posters real Goths would have. She spent hours trying to find the kind of clothes Dirk approved of. As for her poetry, it was bleak and depressing – just like every other piece of Goth poetry she ever heard.

And Dirk said it was brilliant.

"Don't worry, luv," the "jester" gently caressed her face. "There are truckloads of Goths who have a sense of humor, weird music tastes and truckloads of weird eccentricities Goths aren't supposed to have."

Normally, Sangria would never let anyone touch her without her permission. Now, she didn't seem to mind.

"But…" Sangria protested meekly, "They are…posers."

"Says who?"

"Says Dirk Reveur," noticing the jester's questioning expression, she clarified. "My boyfriend. He was the one who introduced me to the scene. Taught me everything I know...Lot of good that did me."

"There, there, my dearest Gothette." He smiled, tilting her chin ever so slightly, "You got your whole life ahead of you. Be a Goth, be a bloody Goddess of Goth for all I care, but do it on your own terms. Don't ever let anyone tell you how to rebel. Got it."

He was kind of cute, Sangria thought.

Normally, she would tell herself to snap out of it. She already had Dirk.

Somehow, that didn't quite do it for her anymore.

"Got it," She nodded. "Say, what's your name, anyway?"

"Desipio Oris Columnior, at your service," he replied, bowing ceremoniously.

Sangria's jaw dropped.

"Despio Oris Columnior?" he nodded. "As in D. Opis Columnior, the Wandering Troubadour?" he nodded again. "As in the guy who wrote 'Twilight Masquerade'?"

"Guilty as charged."

"Oh my God!" Sangria blushed. "I tried to hit D. Oris Columnior!"

"Don't worry; you are not the only one."

"Wow. I love your work. The 'Twilight Masquerade' was insane!"

"That's not what I was going for, but I am glad you liked it."

"I am serious!" said Sangria, "You are, like, the greatest poet ever."

"That's not what my publisher says," he smiled coyly, "But hey, whatever rocks your boat. And please, if you don't mind, call me Oris. It's easier on the tongue."

"Alright, Mr…. Oris."

"That's my girl," he winked. "Now that you have my name, I would love to have yours in return."


"That's not your real name," Oris pointed out.

"I don't care. I like it. Besides, it was my idea."

"There you go, luv. Now you're getting it."

"Why didn't you tell me…" Sangria started asking.

"…Who I really was?" Oris shook his head ruefully. "You wouldn't have believed me."

"I guess you are right." Sangria allowed.

"Besides, I don't care for Gothier-then-thou prima donnas. I was hoping you were more then that. I am glad to see I was right."

Sangria smiled.

"Say," Oris noted. "We're getting kind of close to the entrance."

"Yes we are."

"Who knew a line could move that fast."

"I didn't. Say, when are you supposed to make a surprise appearance?"

"In about an hour. Why?"

"Would you like to dance with me?"

"What about your boyfriend?" Oris asked wryly.

"What boyfriend?"

Oris laughed.

"As you wish, my dearmost, majetastic Gothette. Let's go."


Two hours later, inside club 'Psycho Laputa'....

"That poor girl. She never had the chance."

"On the contrary, my dear Zoe." Oris replied. "I asked her if she minded if I annoyed her. If she said 'no', I would've moved on to someone else."

Zoe Sage, one of Psycho Laputa's more popular DJs, shook her head.

"Poor girl has no idea what she's getting into."

"No," Oris acknowledged. "But then again, neither do you. You are too clevericious for that."

"Dirk is going to be pissed." Zoe pointed out.

" 'Going to?' Zoe, luv, he wanted to dump her. He said so himself. Apparently, she didn't 'get it.' "

"He's still going to be pissed."

"Too bad. I meant what I said and I said what I meant, luv. Sangria is too good for this pale excuse of a Goth scene. Dirk couldn't see that. As the saying goes, finders - keepers, losers - bleepers."

Sangria came out of the bathroom and waved. Oris returned the gesture.

"She is going to be big someday. Until then… well, she is a nice girl. Got a great," he licked his lips, "Personality. I look forward to plucking her… in oh, so many creamy, juicy ways."

Zoe frowned.

"Oh dear," Oris tilted his head curiously. "Dirk does not look like a happy camper. I guess I'll have to talk him down a notch. Good night, Ms. Sage."

And with that, Desipio Oris Columnior adjusted his hat and headed for the dance floor.

Life is a game.

Bless be the fools who know not how to play it.