Tuesday, 15 September 2020

THE WARP

The restroom door opened. Vesper ambled out and slumped back on the bar stool. Not wasting a moment Exodus refilled his tumbler. Breinz stared at him. 

   “Made a mess in there? In accordance with the pathetic male figure you can’t help conforming to?”

   Vesper returned a weak smile. “No more so than the sensation of relief warrants.”  

   “Go check,” Breinz snarled to Exodus. The cyborg left the rag on the bar, but realized he might need it and shoved it back into his belt and went. Vesper burst into tears all of a sudden. 

   The cyborg stopped and looked back. “Really? That bad in there?”

   “Shh!” Breinz snapped. “This is it! Here it comes, the confession! The phenomenon on which every bar in every quadrant every day justifies its existence. The ravaged soul! Torn, impregnated, burdened beyond its limits with the refuse of life! It’s about to be delivered from its dark bosom, encouraged by alcoholic vapors and two involuntary listeners. One of whom has no choice but to suffer it and the other mercifully relieved of the capacity to understand a thing.” 

   She dropped a glance Exodus’s way, before continuing on Vesper. 

   “Out with it, you pathetic excuse for a man! Let’s hear it! The jury’s in place! Your counsel is standing by!”

   Vesper had his face buried in his elbow. The other hand thumped the bar top like the war drummer was the last man left standing. His sobs filled the room.

   “It’s all over!” he cried in anguish. “I’m doomed!”

   “Excellent!” Breinz shouted with a laugh. “Good opening statement!”


Sunday, 30 August 2020

THE WARP

    “Makes them seem smaller eh?” hissed Breinz. “Well now, that would depend on the problem, wouldn’t it?”
 
   “In the best of cases, that is, worst of cases,” Exodus corrected himself. “It can make one forget one’s own hardships and make one grateful a moment. For there are many who have it much worse off.”

   “Thank you Exodus,” said Vesper, receiving his top-up. “You are a friend crowned with wisdom. Please accept my confidence as a tip.”

   Breinz’s uninhibited gaze stayed locked on the cyborg. “With your hand on your heart, if you can find anything so small, are you suggesting I have cause to be grateful? For what may I ask? Being alive? You over-grown freak! You call this existence? A 'forgettable hardship'?”

   Exodus frowned in search of a suitable response.

   "Between us, no," said Vesper. He emptied his shot and stood up on weak legs. “Your case, Olga, we shall leave as one of Fate’s cruel twists. If you’ll excuse me, I shall withdraw from this stimulating atmosphere of bitterness to perform an action that simply won’t hold further delay.”

   The other two watched him make his wobbly path to a steel door at the other end of the room.

   Breinz called out after him. “You miss the bowl you wipe it up!”

   A resounding burp reverberated from the tiled quarters as the swing door closed.

   “I hate that man,” Olga Breinz muttered. “A hypocrite of the worst kind.”

   Exodus looked at her and innocently considered the likelihood of this being true. Then wiped the bar with his rag. “I think Vesper is a nice man. A friendly and caring soul he is. He cares about us. Has it crossed your mind that he’s our only returning customer? That says a whole lot. The man has integrity! And he drinks a whole lot while he’s here. That says a whole lot about his job too. He takes it seriously!”

   Breinz swung her eyes back to Exodus. Like poisonous darts about to strike.

   “And I hate you too,” she rasped. “Always have. How’s that for integrity?”