Flash Fic – Closing Time

This is part of my ko-fi initiative, where I write a flash fic for anyone who buys me a tea. And thank you Tom, for this story, about a werewolf who just wants a drink …

Closing Time

It was the start of every bad joke he’d ever heard. A werewolf walked into a bar.

But Miles had had a bitch of a day – no pun intended – and was in no mood for any jokes. Or anything else, besides a nice stiff drink.

Stoney’s was the kind of bar a hipster would set up, but ironically. They were deadly serious here. That jukebox whose lights only worked occasionally; the tables had genuine drink rings and cigarette burns on them, even though smoking in bars had been banned for decades now; the old drunk at the end of the bar, with an eye patch and three missing front teeth; all were real and not fake affectations of a so unhip it was cool dive bar. This was all the real deal. And the guy at the end of the bar called himself Yeoman, although everyone knew that wasn’t his name. But hey, live whatever dream you could afford, right?

Miles took one of the torn vinyl stools around the scarred, horseshoe shaped bar, and waited for the bartender to get to him. He was a good looking kid with messy black and green hair and a gold septum ring. “Do you have Full Moon ale?” Miles asked. “I love that stuff.”

The bartender leaned in. His right arm was a sleeve tattoo, wrist to shoulder, with twining vines, birds, and even some koi mixed in. It was beautiful, and must have taken forever. “You do know this isn’t a werewolf bar, right?”

He nodded. “I know. But it’s a shifter bar?”

“Yeah, but … non-werewolf shifter bar. You know how some wolves get.”

“Exactly, which is why I’m here and not there.”

“Well well, look what we have here,” a man said, coming up beside him. He had short brown hair and a sneer. “I think some poor doggie got lost.”

“Get lost, Zeke, or you’re bounced.”

Zeke ignored the bartender, and leaned in. “I said get lost, fur face.”

Miles sniffed the air, and attempted to parse the scent. It was difficult. “Are you some kind of shellfish?”

Zeke jerked his head back, like Miles had took a swing at him. “Fuck you! I’m an otter!”

“Do you mean otter as in gay lingo, or as in the animal?”

Zeke scowled. “Animal! What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing.” Miles made a show of looking him up and down. “You just look more like a marmot to me.”

“What?”

“I was thinking capybara,” the bartender said.

“Those guys are usually pretty mellow.”

Zeke looked between the two of them. “What are you two talking about?”

“Gay lingo. I guess you’re too straight to understand,” Miles said. The bartender put a beer in front of him, and he took a pull off the bottle.

The bartender made a shooing motion with his hand, and Zeke made a disgusted face and walked off. “Capybara?” Miles asked.

The bartender smiled. “First obscure animal I could think of. I do wish there was a marmot category. What would they be like exactly?”

Miles shrugged. “Maybe only partially shaved? Like, smooth from the waist down, but from the wait up, full fur. Save for the head.”

“Eww,” the bartender said, laughing. “I’m Keshi. Crow shifter.”

“I’m Miles. And I’ve never met a bird shifter before. Must be fun.”

“It has its perks. And for the record, I’m not gay.”

“Ah.” Damn it. Should have known he was too good to be true.

Keshi gave him a cocky grim. “I’m pan.”

Now Miles grinned. Maybe it wasn’t such a terrible day after all.

**

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