He was caught in that fine rift between wakefulness and slumber. The world was in a fog, like the ocean on a cool summer night, except Slick felt anything but cool. His carapace felt burning hot and clammy, disgusting while encased in the thick wool suit he'd neglected to remove before passing out. He could smell himself, and he smelled soupy and revolting. Slick's head was pounding so hard he could hear the drum of his own pulse, and with each throb came an intense wave of pain. He let his heavy eyelids close and stifled a moan as his sour stomach roiled.
And then something soft and cold made its damp, relieving presence known upon his forehead.
"If you have to puke, buckets on your right. Stupid drunk." It wasn't Droog's voice as he'd expected, but the silky – and painfully familiar – voice of a female.
Slick wasn't awake then, he couldn't have been. He wasn't dreaming either. He must have been having a nightmare.
Slick managed to remove the facecloth with one drunkenly limp arm, but when he tried to sit up, he was firmly pushed back onto the mattress.
"Easy. Easy." A thin, manicured hand was pressed to his chest, holding him down. Her arm was so close to his face that Slick could smell the perfume on her wrist, a heady aroma along the lines of lavender and rosemary. Even drunk and in a horrible dream, her smell made him want to tear her clothes off like a wild-man and fuck her. Or be fucked by her.
He opened his mouth to tell her how much he hated for for it, and for showing up in his dream still wearing that stupidly gorgeous glittering gown that spilled over the side of the bed and over her shapely, crossed legs. He wanted to call her a bitch. A slut. A cunt. To tell her he didn't want her stupid help and that he could take care of his own hung-over ass, but all that came out was a gurgle more fit for a mental patient than a gangster.
She laughed, her smile bright against her dark features, then she brushed her fingers along the jawline of his helpless face. "It seems all the men in this city are just boys in disguise, so prone to throwing little temper-tantrums when things don't go their way. Isn't that right, Slick?" She pinched his cheek as though he were a child and then laughed, low and soft. "I know you want to hurt me, Slick, I can see it in your eyes, even if you're stone-cold drunk. But you can't. At least, not in this state." She pulled a cigarette, thankfully void of a holder, out from the bra area of her dress and lit it. "Anyway, believe me or not, though I'm sure you won't, I've been looking for you. There is something I've been meaning to give you."
His alcohol-slowed mind had no time to think of anything vaguely resembling a response before she was upon him. There was nothing tender about her kisses. She kissed him hard, almost violently. Her tongue invaded his mouth and her sharp teeth were unforgiving as they painfully razed his lips. She tasted of cigarettes with a slight tinge of mint. The flavor added to his fever, heating him with the combined temperatures of hatred, passion, and lust.
Neither would admit it, but in that moment, together they reveled in their combined inferno.
She was the one to break the kiss, and she pulled away smiling, bringing a trail of saliva and blood with her. She slipped a crumpled piece of paper into his good hand.
"Don't lose it, Slick." She stood and glided over to the doorway, her steps impossibly quiet in her green spike pumps. For a moment she paused and leaned against the frame, a shapely silhouette of feminine perfection. "Trust me, you'll thank me for it later."
With that she was gone, and Slick let his eyes close. He fell back into his painful vortex, hoping that if he fell asleep in the dream, he'd wake up in reality.