The Pig and Whistle: Little Things
|Pig and Whistle story universe|
TFOR's had left me a member of the strangest minority on the planet. I'd had the flu it causes numerous times—you can't run a bar that caters to people that suffer from 'Transformative Failure of Ontogenetic Regulation' and not run a massive risk of at least getting sick. But I'd hoped, and believed, I'd always be one of the people that has such indomitable luck to never fall into the 30% group that suffer the other aspect.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last fifty years you've heard of TFOR's — the disease that transforms your body and leaves you looking like a reject from a freak show. Me? Just look at me. This bulls's head isn't a costume piece – no, it's my own flesh and blood. I'm just lucky I can still talk—some have to learn all over again, and others are forced to rely on machinery. Still, my wife left me, the courts won't let me see my kids and I'm left with nothing but my bar.
Yep. You heard me, ol' Gordy isn't just the bartender. Nope, he owns the "Pig and Whistle". Eh? How did the bar come to be? Well, that's something of a long story, so sit back and I'll fill you in…
It was June 2012 when I first opened a bar – the "Dark Horse Tavern" – it would have done well, if not for the fact that the planet had just come out from under martial law. I was thirty, had lived the last decade during the dark times of the collapse and was hoping to make a killing by getting in on the business boom early. What I didn't realize was that there were already a plethora of bars in that area, most run out of basements, like the speakeasies of the early twentieth. The competition was non-existent, since those bars had long ago gotten stable patronage and I was the "New Kid".
But that didn't stop me from trying, and for a while it looked like I'd succeed. But then my father passed away — we told everyone it was the result of the bullet he'd taken during the height of the collapse, but the truth is that he died from the fever that indicated the start of the TFOR's transformation process. At that time the laws against discrimination were still being argued over in the "New North American Congress" and discrimination against TFOR's was just as nasty as it had always been — the whole family would have come under fire if the cause of my fathers death had become public knowledge.
I sold the bar to one of my competitors, took the limited inheritance my father had left me and moved across the country. I'd heard of how much different the cost-of-living situation was on the east coast and decided it was worth the risk. That was April, 2016 and the world was well on it's way back to normality. The North American nations that had existed before the collapse were gone, destroyed during the collapse and now returned as a new nation built from fragments of the old United States, Canada and Mexico. Not that I'm complaining – the old United States was starting to rot from within before the collapse and the new North American Republic was much better, though we were still struggling to clean up the messes from the collapse (and before).
For the next two years I worked fifty hours a week at a construction job and put the extra money I was making in a savings account. This time I was going to start my bar and it would be successful. The problem proved to be finding a place for it—I'd already decided that there was on untouched demographic when it came to bars and other places to congregate – the teefer's. But I persevered and, just when I was ready to give up, found a theme-bar that had gone out of business right after the start of the collapse. Done in the style of an Inn from one of the more popular RPG's — the Final Fantasy series, I think — it was a nice design, mixing the look of an Inn with a fully functional bar.
I left my job and lived on site as I rebuilt the bar, focusing on making it accessable for any level of TFOR victim and modernizing the electrical and plumbing installations. Then I bought some advertising and, on July 4, 2018, I opened the doors. My first clients were the TFOR's who had taken over the old hotel next door–squatters, yes, but they'd been there throughout the collapse and the dark years, so they technically took legal ownership when the "North American Republic" was founded, but I'm told that the buildings original owner is one of them — which one is something I still don't know, twenty years later.
The bar was a success, slowly growing and expanding to the point that I worked out a deal with my neighbors to put a connecting hall in so that the ones that get to drunk to safely get home get a free room for the night. What? Oh, when did I finally become the handsome creature I am today? Ten years later. December 22, 2028. I'd been married for four years and had a wonderful pair of kids, but my Wife was always pushing me to change the bars policy, or sell it and open one that catered to "real people", as she put it. Stupidly I ignored all the signs that she was one of the bigots that felt that teefers weren't human anymore, and when the hospital confirmed that I was transforming she filed for divorce and disappeared with my kids and most of my savings.
What? You want me to tel you more about my transformation? No offense, Mr. Journalist, but that goes outside the scope of an article about the Bar and how it's become one of the key parts of the counties TFOR's policies. In fact, I don't think that it really is all that key—sure, a lot of teefers straggle into this city because of my bar, but the real keys to the way this county seems to turn out teefers who are self-sufficient and great members of society is the shelter around the corner on West Street and the hotel next door.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have work to do. My first customers of the day will be coming through the doors in a few minutes and they won't be expecting to see a journalist here. So put the pad and pen away and leave, or buy something and have a good time.