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  •  Da boyz are slumming a bit tonight, (7+ / 0-)

    or at least not in a five-star joint:

    The glass panel in the top of the door was dirty, and the door to the barroom stuck when they tried to open it. “Needs to be planed a bit on the bottom,” Stouty muttered as he put his shoulder to it.

    “Figures,” Callie snapped. “A place like this. That stupid sign looks like Daffy Duck meets Wile E. Coyote.” He held his breath for the first few seconds as they entered the barroom, just to be on the safe side. Startled Duck or no, all the dirt and dust motes and pollen in the air could really mess up a lad’s sinuses.

    He was concentrating on counting off his customary 30 seconds of held breath as he took a step forward, and plowed right into Stouty.

    “Will you look at that?” Stouty jerked his head toward the far corner of the room. “No, Callie, don’t look directly. Be subtle.” He pronounced the “b.”

    There was rather a large crowd in the bar, most of whom seemed to be relatively unkempt but in fiercely good spirits. The exception was the lone bony figure in the far corner, huddled into a bench beside the giant chimney and clutching a tankard as if his life depended on it.

    As indeed it might, Callie realized. “Well, I’ll be . . . hornswoggled. There’s Froop.”

    “Hornswoggled?” Stouty peered at him. “Where’d you get that fancy six-dollar word? Been readin’ them adventure stories by the likes of cfk and pico and Tara again, have ya? It’ll all come to no good, you know.”

    “Oh, I know,” Callie agreed blithely, “but Froop. Oh my freaking succotash, it’s Froop. Stouty, we’ve gotta clear the room, we’ve gotta talk to The Man.”

    Stouty rolled his eyes. “Ohboy, and you want me to do it, right?” He sighed. “OK, here goes.”

    He faded into the crowd, working his way toward the bar. Callie saw him signal the barman, thought he saw something pass between them, and a few seconds later a pretty blonde barmaid walked over to Froop and spoke to him.

    The old man looked up without much interest, then nodded once, twice. He levered himself to his feet, turned back to grab his tankard, then followed the barmaid through a door at the rear of the room.

    “Did I just see what I thought I saw?” Callie demanded as Stouty eased himself back onto his barstool. He glared.

    “Why, goodness gracious, my lord and liege,” Stouty placed a meaty hand on his heart, “what do you think you saw?” He grinned and tossed back a large gulp. “Maybelle has merely invited the good professor to sit in a private room, where he will be more comfortable and not be bothered by the noise and riffraff present herein.

    “And where,” he went on, “we can go and have a nice, private chat with him. But lest he have any ideas of leaving before we can get there, there is a very fine specimen of Dragonensis Grandiflora Cecil parked just outside the exit to this fine establishment.”

    He finished his drink, gently placed the empty tankard on the bar and rose from his seat. “Shall we go, m’lord?”

    There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from Midtown and how late is it open? -- Woody Allen

    by Mnemosyne on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:58:53 PM PDT

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