Bar Jocks: Story Five, Part Three

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“Alright,” Joe said, sliding into a chair. He was in red striped swim trunks and a small cup of tea sat at his elbow. “I don’t know what happened over there, but I’m worried it might get worse.”

Mike nodded. They were in his office, while Gilbert and Murphy were in the break room. “So he just freaked out?”

“Yeah. Full blown panic attack.”

“Any idea what may have caused it?”

Joe shook his head. “Nope, no idea.” Continue reading

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Story Short No. 00049

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“I need no exorcism, thanks for asking.” He pushed the Bible away, which smoked slightly in his hands. “Mike and I are doing okay.”

“Mike?”

“Well, he goes by M’chokdem, but I thought Mike would be better. More up to date. Hip. Goodness knows he needs updating.”

The priest raised his eyebrows, and he exchanged a glance with the other one. “Really now?”

“Certainly.” The possessed leaned back on the bed and belched fire. “Sorry.”

“Anyway,” he continued as he closed his eyes, “he is hopelessly outdated. He hasn’t possessed anyone in centuries, and now—“

“What?”

“Yeah,” he sighed out. “One would think that the demons of hell would be constantly on trend, you know?” Another voice, tinged with souls screaming in agony, issued forth:

“I have told you many times that we have not been really up here since the Protestant reformation. We found the situation too hazardous even by our standards.”

The priest shuddered and crossed himself.

“Please don’t do that,” the demonic voice said.

Bar Jocks: Story Five, Part One

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The radio was playing Eartha Kitt.

“Turn it to something else,” Curtis said, fidgeting with the cuffs of his shirt.

“Ah, get off ya case, ya hog,” Carl said, polishing a glass.

The boar snorted before jumping off his seat and walking to the small stereo at the other end of the bar. Before he could turn the dial, the bartender slapped the towel on his hand. “Nope.”

Keep on reading!

Story Short No. 00043

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“Magpie music?”

Freya nodded and pushed a stray lock of hair back into place. “All glitter, glitter, glitter. Sparkle and shine. At least it makes your brain that way.”

She took out a laser pointer from her jacket pocket and turned it on. “Here we have the waveform,” she said, flashing the light at the wall. A squiggly line formed: Tightly packed valleys and troughs in a one-foot segment. “It is a mix of several frequencies, set into an ultrasonic wave pulse.”

Brian looked at the projection. “This is causing the riots?”

“No.” She turned to the officer. “This pulse can be easily broadcast as an underlying signal. I would say that the signal is then added to something else to make it palatable to the public. In turn, the brain goes haywire.”

“Explain.”

“The frequencies cause various parts of the brain to go into a peaceful trance state. Anyone listening to it usually turns into a blissful zombie.”

“Until it gets turned off.”

“Exactly. The pulse acts as a drug. It is rather addictive and somewhat hazardous if taken in large doses. It is one of the reasons why the military shut off the funding. Too much of a good thing, kind of deal.”

Brian nodded, feeling the pieces fall into place. “So. The signal acts as a drug. Anyone listening to it turns into a druggie, wanting more of it. Willing to do anything to get another hit of it. Including violence maybe?”

Freya’s eyes widened. “That would explain a few things.” She snapped her fingers. “Assassins.”

“Pardon?”

“Eleventh century.” She noticed a motion at the corner of her eyes, and she turned to find Carlos coming in with a wheeled mop pan. She eyed his latest headset with distaste and turned back to Brian. “Legends state that someone gave people psychedelic drugs, then get lead into a so-called paradise, promising them more if they were truly faithful.”

“So?”

“It’s happening again.” She pointed to the projection. “What if whoever is broadcasting the signal is repeating incidents. The people listening to it are turning into assassins.”

“We have yet to hear of any reports of that, but I see your analogy.”

“The only problem would be the distribution.” She reached over to switch off the pointer. “How would the signal be broadcast in such a way that a random set of people would be affected?” She took a step back as the mop handle swooshed past. “Carlos, can you move out of the way, please? We’re busy here.”

He didn’t pay attention and instead kept mopping the area.

“Hold on,” Brian said. He reached over to tip the earphones off.

The handle moved quickly to block the movement. “That’s okay, chief,” Carlos said, focused on the mopping. “I got it under control.”

Brian’s eyebrows rose. He tried again to shove the earphones off, and he was blocked by the wooden stick.

“It’s okay, chief,” Carlos said again. “I got it under control.”

The movement was so quick, so surprising that the two were in shock. Carlos whipped out a revolver from a coat pocket and aimed it at Freya.

“You move, chief, and she dies.” The other hand was holding the mop handle, cut halfway and tipped with a green-tinged blade. “You move, chief, and you die also.” He raised his head, and Freya noticed his eyes were glassy. A faint grin played over his face.

“Oh god, Carlos. You’re addicted.”

“Don’t I wish,” he said. He eyed the two. “I just got a small dose of what everyone else had. He promised me so much more if I stopped the two of you.”

“You don’t have to do this, kid,” Brian said. His hand nonchalantly drifted to his hip holster.

“Nuh-uh-uh!” Carlos jerked the blade to the officer. “Hands up, both of ya,” he said. “Don’t want to hurt either of ya.”

Freya slowly raised her hands. One of them held the pointer, which she flicked onto Carlos’ face.

He cried out, blinded by the bright green laser. He dropped the handle-knife and covered his face with the arm.

Brian move like a flash, wrenching the gun from Carlos’ grip and quickly cuffing his hands behind his back.

Freya turned the pointer off. She looked at the struggling figure with a furrowed forehead, then reached over to pull off the earphones.

“NO!” Carlos cried out as she did so. A blare of music issued from the earphones.

“Give them back!” he continued, struggling more. “I want more music!”

“Music?” Freya wondered, then a light bulb flicked on. “Of course! Stupid of me to guess otherwise!”

“What?” Brian said.

“Don’t you see?” She picked up the earphones and reached over to pull out his player. She looked at the display, which was emblazoned with a number: 105.6FM. “The signal. It is broadcasted as a radio station.”

Bar Jocks short no. 003 (Part 2)

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“Hi honey, I’m home,” Joe said as he walked into his home. He tossed his keys onto the side table and looked at his uncle, Brian Lee Moose, who was busily weaving a string of lights around the framed photos hanging on the walls. Another person was crouched down against an opposite wall, fiddling with a power supply strip.

“Alright, kid,” he said in his Brooklyn accent, “let it rip!”

The lights flicked on, showing a grid of sparkling lights that illuminated every frame. Joe noticed that the doorways were covered with bright, silvery garland and clear glass ornaments.

Brian took a step back and nodded. “That’s pretty nice, kid.”

“Thank you sir.” The lights switched off, and the figure straightened up. He turned, giving a sharp double profile of Joe. “Anything else?”

“Nah, kid. I think we’re done here in the room.” Brian turned to find Joe. “Heya, nephew. What’s shaking?”

The other person turned to focus on Joe, showing a somewhat carbon copy of him. His antlers were already gone. “Hey.”

“Brad and I were decorating the room,” Brian said, waving a hand to the lights and the garlands. “How went Bar Jocks?”

Joe shrugged. “They want me to dress as Santa. I saw the costume they want me to be in.” He gestured with his hands. “It’s…kinky.”

Brian had to stifle a grin. “No doubt.”

“In the meanwhile, I have to go later today to get a harness measured.” A choking sound had Joe look at Brian. “Eh?”

He shook his head and covered his mouth with a closed hand. “Nothing,” he said as he cleared his throat. “Just a bit of dust.”

Brian smiled. “That’s your father right there, kid. Did that all the time when he was your age.”

Joe blushed. A week after the fateful meeting between him and Brian left him at a loss. How was he to deal with the situation?

“It’s a damned shame you ain’t old enough to see him in action,” Brian continued. “I’d happily get you in if you wanted to.”

“Uncle!” Joe exclaimed. Brad went into a fiery blush.

“Heck, he could get a few lessons from those two rats.”

“Really, uncle!”

Brian held up his hands in mock surrender. “I’m just saying, nephew. Just saying.”

Joe sighed heavily and gave his uncle a steely glare before going up to Bradley. “Anything you want for Christmas?”

Bradley shrugged.

Joe reached over and pulled his son into a tight hug, which was returned with interest.

“It’s been tough on you, I imagine,” he said, rubbing Brad’s back. “I don’t even know how you celebrated the holidays. But I’ll make it up to you.” He hugged tighter, giving his son a trademark moosesnug. “I promise.”

“Mmmph!” Brad said, waving his hands a bit.

Moose immediately loosened his embrace. “Oh yeah, sorry.” He chuckled a bit. “I get carried away sometimes.”

“That’s saying something, kid,” Brian said. He was standing next to the power strip and pushed the button there, illuminating the room. “You always get carried away.”

Joe stuck his tongue at his uncle, then focused on his son. “Alright, tell me what you want to do, and we’ll do it. Deal?”

Brian nodded slowly. “Deal.”

Bar Jocks short no. 003

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“Alright,” Joe said as the trio slipped into their seats at the Steerbucks coffeeshop. He steadied the table to prevent the cups from slopping over. “Why are we here?”

Mr Huxley, owner and manager of Barjocks, looked at him and Mike, who looked far too out sized with the seat. “We thought to have a meeting away from the bar to inform you of what is to be happening in the coming week.”

“Alright…?” Joe adjusted his hand-knit blue and yellow striped sweater with a quick shrug.

“As we all know, it’s going to be Christmas in another week, New Years a week after that. That gives us a certain chance to…show off.”

Mike picked up the thread. “Nothing in jocks, thankfully, but we do expect a bit more conservative dress.”

“Speedoes, I guess?” Joe questioned.

“Not only that, but, er…” The ‘roo fumbled with the rest of the sentence.

The giant bison cleared his throat. “What the assistant manager is trying to say is that you have been voted by the staff to be put as Santa this year.”

Joe loudly choked on his coffee, causing a few people around the trio to look askance. Mike reached over and patted the moose’s back. “Santa?!?” he wheezed between coughs.

“Yes,” Huxley said. “That means a certain change of clothing for the next week or so.” He reached into his pocket and took out his tablet. He riffled through the contents there and turned it to show a certain photo. “This was Michael last year.”

“Oh hell,” Mike said, blushing. “I forgot you had that pic.”

Joe reached over to take the tablet from his employer’s hand and looked dumbfounded at the photo for a few moments. He then looked at Huxley, who was calmly sipping his coffee. “I am to be wearing this all this week?”

Huxley nodded and took the electronic back. “Keep in mind that is the usual bill of fare, as it were. Being your manager, I am fit to change the outfit in any way.”

“The year before me, it was Sirius and Arc who were Santa,” Mike said. He looked haunted. “Never again.”

A faint smile hovered over the bison’s muzzle. “Yes. I believe we made a lot of money that week.”

Joe snapped out of his fevered daydream of the fluffmonsters in the Santa outfit. “Money?”

“Ah yes,” Huxley said. “I did not know why I didn’t tell you this before.”

He cleared his throat. “Every year, the city has an annual toy drive. Unwrapped toys and such, but we usually give money for a local orphanage. We usually give about twenty five or so hundred to the Teddy’s Home place down the road.”

Joe nodded.

Mike piped in. “Of course, people are free to donate the toys if they want to.”

“So what am I to do?” Joe said.

“Wear the costume, of course,” Huxley said. “The rest of the staff is to be your elves.” The smile appeared, wide and wicked. “We are to be getting extra help this week to help with the donations, of course. Which means more elves for you to order around.”

Joe rolled his eyes and drained his cup. “If I didn’t know any better, sir, I’d say you are enjoying this.”

“You might be right,” Huxley said, rising from his seat. “Which reminds me, you need to come over today for a fitting.”

Joe’s jaw dropped a bit. “A fitting?”

“Of course. We need to see how big the harness will be.”

Joe sputtered for a response as Huxley went on. “If you can be so kind as to come over at five so we can get you prepared.” He motioned to the ‘roo.

“Gotcha, boss,” Mike said. He stood up and gently patted the moose on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, you’ll do fine.”

“I guess,” Joe muttered as the two walked out of the place. He peered into his cup. “This calls for a refill.”