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Everyone is Welcome

by Mark Gagnon about a month ago in Sci Fi
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Sometimes the unusual is the norm.

Have you ever reached a point in your life when all you want to do is get away? It doesn’t have to be a drastic change, just a fun weekend get-a-way where the only decision you’ll need to make is what to have for dinner. I’m sure most have felt that way from time to time. The question is, what are you going to do about it? I can tell you what I did. I went to Key West for a long weekend.

The sun was breaching the horizon just as I turned onto the main road that would take me to the end of the United States. Six hours and 42 bridges later (yes, I counted them) I arrived at my destination, the Super 8 motel near downtown Key West.

I checked in, dragged my suitcase up the stairs to my room, and promptly took a nap. When I finally awoke, the sun was beginning its descent into the Gulf of Mexico. Using a map the desk clerk provided, I headed for Mallory Square to view my first Key West sunset. I had hoped to see the green flash, but that was not to be.

Duval Street was transitioning from daytime tourists and shoppers to the creatures of the night party animals. I walked along, letting the growing crowd steer me first in one direction, then another. The Green Parrot and Sloppy Joe’s Bar were already full. I wanted some place a little quieter, more off the beaten path. I found my destination tucked away in an alley just off Duval Street.

The Pit Stop was more a neighborhood bar than a tourist trap. A sign in the window read, “All Travelers Welcome.” As soon as I walked through the door, I knew this place was different. The primarily empty tables were covered with red and white checkered tablecloths. A bar ran the length of the room with a floor-to-ceiling mirror attached to the back wall. There was an odd placard hanging over the center of the bar that said, “Puns Intended.” In the far-right corner sat an old upright piano. The man at the keyboard looked even older. I had found my perfect retreat from the world.

I strolled to the bar, soaking in the ambiance. The bartender saw me coming and was already positioned in front of the barstool I was heading for. He sported a long handlebar mustache, slicked-down hair parted in the middle, and sleeve garters. He smiled and asked, “What will it be?”

“I’ll have whatever’s on draft.”

“You got it! Your wish is my demand,” he said with a grin.

“Very punny,” I replied.

“You catch on fast! My name’s Alex, what’s yours?”

“John.”

“Well, John, I think you’ll fit right in,” Alex said, as he went to pour me a beer.

The piano player started playing, Flight of the Bumblebee. It was an odd song choice for a bar and I was about to ask Alex about it when a voice from the stool next to me said, “Handley always plays that when I come in. He’s a real joker!”

I looked to my right, expecting to see the person speaking, but all I could see was a rather large horsefly. He must have seen the confused look on my face because before I swatted him away, he said, “What’s the matter, haven’t you ever seen a barfly before?”

“You’re the first one to talk to me,” I replied, trying to keep my cool.

Alex returned with my beer before the conversation could continue.

“Hi, Buzzy! What’ll you have?”

The fly looked around, then replied, “That spill at the other end of the bar looks interesting. I’ll have some of that.”

“Coming right up,” Alex said, as he headed for the spill with a sponge.

“Buzzy, why does the piano player always play that song when you come in?” I asked.

“Because there is no flight of the horsefly songs. Besides, he likes the challenge. Having three arms allows him to play base, rhythm, and melody all at the same time.”

This time, I looked at the piano player and watched as three hands flew skillfully across the keys. Once again, my attention shifted, this time to the stool on my left, where a fuzzy outline solidified into a mass of purple, gelatinous matter. Alex had returned with his sponge and squeezed its content on the bar in front of Buzzy.

“Hey there, Blobby, the usual?”

“Yup, grape Jello shots, my favorite.”

In total befuddlement I said, “Okay everyone, what is this place?”

Alex replied, “I apologize. I thought you knew. This is an interdimensional bar. Beings from all different times and dimensions pop in here for a meal or something to drink on their way to somewhere else. Not much different from a regular bar, really.”

I looked around the room and watched as customers winked in and out. Apparently, I was the only one to use the door. The longer I stayed, the more at home I felt. As the sun rose on a new day, I decided I was moving to Key West. Maybe Alex will give me a job.

Sci Fi

About the author

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling around the US and the globe. Now it's time to draw on these experiences and create what I hope are interesting fictional stories. Only you, the reader, can tell me if I've achieved my goal.

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