Gavin Andersen stood from the table, pushing his chair back. He picked up the tray and moved to the garbage can. As he stepped from the shade and into the brighter lights of the large glass window, the fine fur covering his skin changed from black to that of azure.
“Watch it with that thing,” a rough voice called. “You almost skewered me with that barb.” Two other men at the same table nodded and verbally agreed.
Gavin turned his round head and looked at the face of the voice. “Sir, you are mistaken.” He dumped his tray in the tall garbage can and placed the tray on the small shelf. “My tail is in my complete control. It only goes where I tell it and it was not anywhere near you.” Gavin’s left ear twitched.
“What did you say!” The man slammed his palms on the table and jerked to his feet. His chair slid several feet, then toppled over and bounced once. The eyes of other nearby patrons in the restaurant turned. The other two men at the same table sat back and narrowed their gazes at Gavin. “Are you calling me a liar?” The man’s narrow face showed flexing jaw muscles and a thick finger jabbed in Gavin’s direction. “You think just because you’re deformed, that means you get to be rude to people.”
“I am not deformed,” Gavin said, slowly blinking his lavender eyes. “To answer your question, yes. You are a liar. My tail was nowhere near you.”
A growl escaped the man’s curled lips and his eyes went wide. Leaning forward, he charged and extended a hand, his fingers clawed. “I’m gonna beat some sense into you.”
As the man lunged for him, Gavin waited. As the grasping appendage touched him, he twisted and stepped out of the way. The man stumbled forward and banged into the garbage can. Several people giggled and the two other men stood, clenching fists at their side. One snorted as his lip peeled back, showing the tips of dingy yellow teeth.
“If there’s one thing I can’t abide,” another voice said, heavy with a southern drawl. “It’s blatant elitism.” People turned to look at the voice. A man in a dark blue costume stood. His half mask let his brown hair flow in a swept back style. Wiry muscles protruded from different body parts. Gloved hands crossed in front of his chest.
“Another one,” the first shouting man said. His dull green jacket had a name tag with Vic stitched on it. “Chuck. Will. I’m gonna need backup.” The other two nodded, then turned to face the newcomer.
“Good sir,” Gavin said. “I did not mean to involve you in this disturbance.” He spread his hands, indicating Chuck, Will, and Vic.
“It’s no bother,” the newcomer said, raising a hand. “I been dealing with bigots like these knuckleheads all my life.”
“These knuckleheads are about to put you down,” one of the other two said, stepping forward and throwing a wild punch at the blue-clad person.
The newcomer locked his eyes on the punching man. A faint yellow glow flashed from his sky-blue eyes. “Hold that pose!”
The punching man froze where he stood, his fist inches away from his target. His eyes didn’t blink, and even the clothes maintained their position in the stopped motion attack.
“Will?” The other man looked at his partner standing like a mannequin. Then he stared at the blue-clad man, who nodded.
Vic shouted and threw a hooking punch at Gavin.
Gavin, seeing the movement out of the corner of his eye, ducked and let the punch zoom over his head. “Sir, I am not going to fight you,” Gavin said as he righted himself. “I don’t believe in violence, but I also don’t want to be hurt.”
“You might not want to,” Vic said. “But we all have to deal with what we don’t want.” He threw a one-two combination at Gavin’s head.
Gavin put his arms over his head, absorbing the blows, drawing a hiss through his pointed teeth. His tail slammed into the heavy tiled floor and held him up though he did bend a little from the force.
“I don’t know what you did, pretty boy,” Chuck said. “But you ain’t doing that crap to me.” Swinging wildly, Chuck stepped in on the blue-clad man.
Sticking an arm in the way, the man in blue deflected the first punch. He shifted and his eyes connected with Chuck’s. When the glow flashed, he shouted, “Tap dance!”
Chuck spun in a circle from the force of his punch. His hard boots clicked on the floor. Then the next one. His hips moved and knees flexed. Both hands flew in different directions, working in conjunction with his feet.
“What the hell are you doing?” Vic stepped away from Gavin, but kept his hands up and a wary eye on Gavin.
“Step, shuffle, pivot, hands, pivot,” Chuck said and imitated each action as he said it.
“Sir,” Gavin said. “I recommend you just leave. No one has been seriously hurt.”
Vic jerked his head towards Gavin. “Don’t you tell me what to do!”
“He wasn’t, ya jerk,” the blue-clad man said. “That’s my job.” He nodded towards Chuck and Will.
“What ya mean?” Vic licked his lips and turned his head back and forth between Gavin and the other guy.
“I’m called Coax,” the blue guy said. “I tell people what to do and they do it.”
“Is that why Chuck is dancing?” Vic pointed with a nod of his head.
“Precisely,” Coax said. “So, the way I see it, you can leave of your own accord, taking your friends with you, of course. Or, I can make you leave. In any fashion I desire.” He raised an eyebrow.
“Shit,” Vic spat. “Can you make them stop that?” In answer, Coax nodded once, slowly. “Fine,” Vic said, straightening. “We’ll leave. Just make em stop that.”
“Cut it out,” Coax said, never turning away from Vic. Chuck stopped dancing and Will finished his punch, the force making him stumble forward.
“Don’t think this changes anything,” Vic said, waving for his friends to follow him. “All it does is prove what we already know. You people are a plague and you need to be controlled.”
“Have a nice day,” Gavin said, with a wide smile on his face.
Vic and his two friends dashed for the door and left, running into the parking lot to a pickup truck.
“Thank you very much,” Gavin said turning to shake Coax’s hand. “You handled that without any violence at all. That is an amazing talent you have. You should make an excellent hero.”
“Oh, I ain’t no hero,” Coax said with a shake of his head. “I just don’t like backward thinking people like that.” He tossed a hand in the direction the trio had run.
“I see,” Gavin said. “Thank you anyway.” With a wave and a smile, Gavin left the fast food restaurant.
Coax moved to the counter. The cashier and manager stood ready to take his order. “For helping that man, your meal is on us,” the manager said.
“Well now,” Coax said, showing a row of bright white teeth. “This is gonna be a kick in the teeth then.” His sky blue eyes locked on the manager then the cashier. “Gimme the money.”