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Charlie's Grill and Bar

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Charlie's Grill and BAr

Author: Guvnor Of Space
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Xanadu story universe
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This story is a work in progress.

Not to far from the Orlando Convention Center, a man named Charlie Johnson ran a small bar. He served average drinks to the blue collar crowd that lived in the area. His regulars knew who he was, and they almost always paid their tabs. As strange as it may sound, Charlie was barely affected by Xanadu. Sure, occasionally he got the odd changed person in there, and the presence of the National Guard had made things a bit noisy, but on the whole the majority of his customers were his regulars and other people who lived in the area. The same could not be said for these people. Charlie remembered one particular night when four folkswhom lived in the area had all compared stories about who the change had affected the most. The winner had been a newspaper reporter who just happened to be in the area. He smiled as he polished mugs, remembering the rather entertaining night.

The four people had come in seperately. It was a Friday night, and the bar was rather crowded. A country song was playing on the jukebox in the corner, the booths were filled with people in the midst of conversations, and the air was appropriately smoky. Only one of the "them Xanadu freaks" was there, a bear morph who sat alone in a booth, slowly nursing a beer. Everyone was making a conscious effort to avoid him. When the story telling started, three of the regulars were sitting at the bar, drinkin their beer and talking loudly. The first one to speak was an electrician who worked for the city. He signaled the others to be quiet by slamming his glass down on the surface of the bar.

"You know what guys? This Xanadu shit has really fucked up my life. I've been working at that hell hole for a week and I've seen more strange things then I would ever want to see in my lifetime. And the worst part is, the Union says that it's all perfectly con-tract-ur-al." The other two shook there heads in sadness.

The construction worker grunted. "Assholes. That's why I'm non-uinon. They just want to screw you and then take there fucking dues."

The electrician’s rather bushy beard flopped into his bear glass when he nodded vigorously. "Yeah. I mean, just the other day, they asked me to repair a busted light in one of the hotel rooms. Just gettin' there was hell! I had to avoid being shot by some crazy army fox, and the trooper escortin' me had to leave when there was a major fight in the cafeteria." The police officer grunted and pulled off his hat. He scratched his head as he spoke. "Those transformees are getting into fights over all sorts of strange things. Just the other day I had two knights dueling over the hand of a medieval lady vixen. They're all fucking insane!" The last part was spoken rather loudly, and punctuated with a slamming of his beer glass. A little bit sopped out and trickled down the side. The bear-morph looked up at them, dismissed it as nothing and returned to his thoughts. Charlie grabbed the officers arm."Careful George. I don't want you breakin' none of my glasses."

George looked sheepish. "Sorry Charlie..."

The electrician spoke up. "Anyways, as I was saying, I had to go to this room. But when I got there, there was this weird scientist guy, who had some sort of gadget plugged into the light socket. When I went to unscrew it, he done and hit me with some sort of stun beam. Then he said somtin' about his trap and usin' me for an experiment, but the stun thing wore off and I popped him in the face. Then I took off. And then I was told that becuz I didn' change the light, I had to go back. I just stood up to my boss and said "No Sir, I ain't goin' back there" and we got to arguin' and he was all "everyone else is busy, so do it or loose a weeks pay" and I still said no, so I didn't get no paycheck this Friday. Damn convention." He took a long gulp from his glass.

The construction worker set his drink down and stuck his hands into his (empty) tool-belt. "Hah. That's nothin'. Why jus' the other day I had to go and repair a broken windeh' in one of the rooms. Well, let me tell you..."

He stopped as the bar door opened. A young man in his late twenty's, and dressed completely in black walked into the bar and sat on the stool next to George. The newcomer signaled Charlie. "Vodka tonic. I've had a bad day, so make it quick." The construction worker decided to ignore him and keep talking.

"Well, let me tell you, that room was wrecked. Everything in it was covered in this white spider silk, so when I stepped in I done and get stuck. The boys carrying the window behind me dropped it left ot get help, but meanwhile I'm standin' in the middle of a spiders web with no idea of where the spider is. Of course the thing comes out from under the bed right after the other two leave. I'm tryin' to find some way to ward it off, which is why I went and grabbed my hammer, but luckily the boys got back with some guy who seemed to be able to speak to the spider and get it to back off. They were able to get me outta there, but the stuff was stuck on my boots and I had to throw away a perfectly good pair of boots. And I got charged for the broken glass, cuz the boys were the foreman's nephews, and they weren't gonna pay. Damn convention!" He punctuated the last epitaph by gesticulating with his beer, half of which sloshed out onto the bar.

Charlie grabbed a rag from his apron and started wiping it up. "Careful Bill, or I'll call in your tab."

The construction worker paled. "Sorry Charlie. Won't happen again." The electrician smiled and motioned to Charlie. "How bought since my friend just spilled his drink and I seem to have gone and finished mine, you get us another round." He pulled the cash out of his pocket. Charlie took it. "Sure Ben." He drew three drinks from the tap and gave them to the three men.

As Ben and Bill started in on their drinks, George decided to take the opportunity to talk. "That's nothin' compared to what I had to deal with the first day." He wiped off his mouth with the back of his large hand. “My patrol car got called to act as a road block to keep those freaks from escapin’. So I’m standin’ there, hand on my holster, when suddenly this big ol’ bull morph minoutoury thing comes chargin at us. So I told ‘im to halt. He didn’t. I pointed my gun at him. He kept on comin’. I hit ’im in the side. That sure as hell didn’t kill him, but it sure made him stop and think. So ‘e didn’t hurt anyone and he was gonna live. But what happens? I docked a months pay and still have to work. And now that bull thing is suin’ the department. I had to kiss serious ass just to keep from gettin’ suspended.It just makes me so” He slammed the glass onto the bar. “Fucking”He brought it down on the bar again. “Mad” He hit it against the bar again. The glass shattered, with beer a glass fragments flying all over the bar, George, Charlie and the newcomer. The rest of the bars patrons glanced over at the noise. Charlie pulled the remains of the glass out of George’s hands. He would have kicked him out, but he was a regular, and he was just in a bad mood tonight without his paycheck. He still had to be dealt with though, and the new customer appeased. “Alright George. I’m cutting you off.” George nodded meekly. The rest of the bars patrons turned back to their drinks. George looked sheepish. “I’m sorry Charlie. It’s been a bad week.”

The newcomer started laughing. “You guys have had bad weeks? Having beer and glass ruin my jacket are the least of the things that have happened to me.”