Friday, October 9, 2009

A routine night at Roonies -- flash fiction

Bullets ricocheted around the bar.

Some bounced off the floor where the hapless recruit jerked around in a terror addled bebop, her face a rictus of horror.

"Dance gratchech, dance!"

Christ, I hated it when he got like this. It happened every time the Dresden Commander had a second cup of piping hot glub. He just couldn't hold his liquor. He'd start waving his gun around and shooting at whatever was in his field of vision.

Luckily he was like a two year old when he was drunk and would lose interest in whatever he was doing as soon as he was distracted by something shiny. As expected, the bullets stopped after a couple of minutes. I doubt he could see much of what he was doing now anyway.

Most of his eyes were drooping and he looked pretty out of it.

After he stopped shooting he went back to loudly and drunkenly arguing about who was the best Catwoman ever, with one of the other patrons.

The thankfully unshot recruit made her trembling way over to the bar where I gave her some sorbet laced heavily with brandy. A glass smashed at her elbow and she jumped about a foot. Happily I had put all of my nicer things away before the Commander and his crew came in to bust up my place again.

A crew was only as good as their leader, and these guys had a fine example. Some of his idiots were breaking chairs with their zrimbyts, some were smashing plates into the fireplace. I stood there and watched the stupidity around me while wiping glasses until they were mostly clean. I ducked occasionally if something came really close to my heads.

The Commander caught my eye and gestured blearily for another round.

I put on my masks and gloves and carried another hot pitcher of fizzing glub to his table. I was going to give him another few minutes to either pass out or squelch his way out of the front door.

If neither of those options seemed likely I'd just have to take a salt shaker and "accidentally" sprinkle a little onto one of his tentacles so that he would sober up and get out before too much more damage was done.

Or before a fight broke out.

These Dresdens had shoe size IQ's and if there was no one else to fight after a few drinks they would fight one another. Then the fight would spill out into the street. Then they would be called in by the ministry to break up the riot.

I often wondered if the heads of the ministry also had shoe sized IQ's.

I didn't like the idea of Roonies going up in a blaze like the bonfire that the Dresdens had set last month in Oldtown. Apparently there was some misunderstanding about overcharging for day old intestines, and when troops arrived to break up the riot the Commander ordered the place flamed with the beleaguered butcher inside.

In a matter of minutes the whole block went up in smoke. The Commander and his crew even hung around for a bit to roast weenies.

But I did hear that the butcher's pet Goldfinch was lovingly carried outside before the fire was set and given to a kindly neighbor. I heard that she was delighted to have him. The nice lady was very concerned that the little birdie would lose his appetite after being separated so abruptly from his owner.

All the rest of the week she fed him and watered him and generally pampered and spoiled him until he was so fat he could hardly move from his perch.

Then on Sunday……

She served him with a nice dark gravy.

The list of 62 fridayflash stories at Mad Utopia


Karen from Mentor said...

For any regular reader wondering why this story seems familiar....this is a reworked edition of the *Bare Bones story* generated from Lauren's random list.


Susan Cross said...

Not usually my genre but it kept my attention.

Laura Eno said...

How fun, Karen! Your mind is a dark and twisted path...

Karen from Mentor said...

That poor little bird..... :0)

Anonymous said...

A strange tale, but one well-told. I especially like your descriptive phrases, such as this one: "... the hapless recruit jerked around in a terror-adled bebop ..." Very nice.

Jeff Posey

judy said...

Ha! I was reading it thinking I was some sort of super genius because I intuited the ending. But, turns out, I read it before! Loved it even more this time around. Who was it that said stories are written, they're rewritten? Good job!

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Judy,
I often intuit the ending of stories...that's where my anti-blurt button comes in handy....well, that and keeping my hands firmly over my mouth in the movie theatre.


Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Jeff, aliens are a departure for me.
Since I don't usually write scifi the best part was imagining what it would be like having two heads... that was great...even if it only lasted for a little while....

Thanks for stopping in Susan, glad I could hold your attention.


J. M. Strother said...

This is a very twisted little piece, and I mean that kindly. ;) It's a very fun read.

Is there a reason for the one line paragraphs? It's an interesting technique, and I figure you had a reason for doing it that way. Just curios.

Karen from Mentor said...

Glad you enjoyed the piece Jon.
I tend to separate ideas with spacing. I didn't realize that every line was separated til you pointed it out.....laughing....

Thanks for stopping in.


Lily Mulholland said...

I laughed out loud at the line about him being distracted like a 2yo with something shiny. This was one wacky story and I really enjoyed it!

How did you make your post non-copiable?

Karen from Mentor said...

Hey Cascade Lily,

I learned it on the mothership.

But seriously, do you mean you tried to copy/paste a line into the comment box and it didn't work or something else? Might be an OS incompatibility.

Really glad you enjoyed the story!
[feels all warm and fuzzy]
Thanks for stopping in.
Karen :0)

Chris Chartrand said...

This was fun. I like how you layered on details after giving us words like "glub",showing us a fully developed universe without dumping information on us. Very cool.

Anonymous said...

Very nicely done Karen! I love how you kept it like the title says, like a routine night's events while describing so many unusual things :)

It's great!!! Big hugs!

Cat Russell said...

Here I am reading what I think is a routine brawl story between humans or humanoids and you start dropping words like "squelch" and "headS", etc. And then the end with the gravy. You created quite the twisted labyrinth for us. I loved this.

Alan said...

Ew - drunk slugs!

Karen from Mentor said...

lol Alan.... more like squids....

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks a lot ganymeder, I felt bad at first about serving up the little bird...but it still makes me laugh every time I read I guess it was the right way to go....glad you liked the labyrinth.

Karen from Mentor said...

What Estrella? You've never been in a bar with a drunk tentacled alien discussing/debating the merits of the various actresses who played catwoman? This is unusual?

Big Hugs back at you honey! Thanks for stopping in.

Karen from Mentor said...

Glad you liked it Chris. I enjoyed picturing all the little dramas swirling around the bartender as he/she narrated the story.
And as "they" always say...two heads are better than one. But don't drink the'll rot your brain(s).

Carrie Clevenger said...

Unique ending. I haven't read the other.

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

What a great setting! Han Solo and Chewbacca would have been at home in the chaos!
Very cool bunch of aliens :)
The salt trick was hilarious.

As for the poor bird - I'm a firm believer in not harming living creatures in real life. Anywhere else, anything goes ;-D

Very enjoyable, Karen!

Brad Nelson said...

Great lead in to the sci-fi factor. At fist, I was wondering what the hell a gratchech was, but with "Most of his eyes..." I started to understand where we were. The seemingly ordinary beginning shifting subtly to the undexpected worked very well. Absolutely wonderful, and I loved the ending too.

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks so much Brad. And I can't define what gratchech is in mixed company. Just know that it's a very indelicate word.
[the commander is such a pig or um such a squig? what would you call a squid/pig hybrid?]
Thanks for stopping in.
Karen :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

I feel the same way Mazz....I wrote a post in my things I've seen thursdays called "mug full of spider" where I talk about not being able to even squish insects.....but apparently I can flame butchers and roast pet birds willy nilly in fiction....who knew?
Have you ever seen someone melt a slug with salt? It's pretty hideous. But in fiction...with just a little "accidental" spillage it works a treat to clear the rabble out of Roonies.

For anyone who hasn't already read Mazz's piece *Late Bloomer* it's amazing ...take a few minutes to go read'll be glad you did. the link:

Karen from Mentor said...

@ The Writer the previous version had the same ending, I just took out a little bit of extra detail that the story didn't really need.
Thanks for stopping in.
Karen :0)

Anonymous said...

This piece evoked some sort of intergalactic space bar in my mind. :-) And a dark and hilarious one at that. Very nice work! (Oh, and Michelle Pfeiffer, obviously.)

~Tim said...

What an odd alien world. In this world, everyone knows that goldfinches should be served with light gravy.

The alien words were a little distracting on my first read-through. Once I was in that place, they fit right in.

KjM said...

The perils of being a barkeep. A fun glance into a world so different from our own - and so similar.

Nicely done.

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks KjM, aren't all worlds kinda the same once you boil them down? Basic needs need to be met, and you duck when something comes too close to your head(s)

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks so much Elizabeth. I'm glad the story tickled you. I agree that Michelle Pfeifer is amazing...the scene on the piano in The Fabulous Baker Boys???? oh man...

but Catwoman for me? Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt tie in my mind. [but I'd be willing to discuss it over a nice glass of milk....I gave up glub for my last birthday]


Karen from Mentor said...

Sorry Tim, the lady only knows how to make dark gravy, but I'm sure she'd be open to a new recipe.... cook goldfinch's often do you?

Tomara Armstrong said...

I wasn't seeing anything out of the norm (even the glub) until "most of his eyes were dropping"... you won my heart then.

I cracked up too with the whole "catwoman" argument - I have been around several people who like to argue this as well.

I love the whole otherworldly twist. I hope to read more ;-)

Karen from Mentor said...

That's funny Tomara, I'm not familiar with all the different kinds of drinks out there, so there may very well be something called "glub" but when I was writing the story I thought that calling the drink "glub" would be a perfect tip off to the reader that they had stepped into a futuristic or otherworldly setting...laughing... but apparently not.
Glad you enjoyed it. And yes it would be fun to expand on these characters...
Thanks for stopping in.
Karen :0)

Mark Kerstetter said...

Shit, I missed the whole thing. Nothing left but overturned chairs, broken glass and vomit.

You're just gonna have to write about Roonie's again. Maybe with some more visual clues, like what the multi-headed bartender looks like?

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh my gosh Mark, alien squid vomit? Thanks for that right before lunch....laughing....

But I hear it makes pretty good paint thinnner.