Buzz Off

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 8

It was a slow afternoon at the Hawk and Pigeon. Maybe it was because it was 3pm on a Tuesday. Maybe it was because Hammers for Orphans was encouraging people to raise money by giving up alcohol for “Ju-dry.” Or maybe—just maybe, Jules considered—it was because his establishment was suspended five hundred feet in the air by a hot air balloon. The bar’s current clientele was comprised of two harpies, a gryphon, and a kangaroo with a jetpack. And then, as always, there was Philip the Fly.

“Another one of these, please,” Philip slurred.

“Another whole pitcher of margarita?” Jules raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

“Alright, just a pint of Ruddles Best, then.”

“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”

“What?” Philip regarded Jules with his huge compound eyes. “I’m just nicely buzzed!”

“Badum-tsh,” said the gryphon, not looking up from her all-day breakfast.

“It’s no problem if you want to stay in here,” said Jules, diplomatically. “I’m not exactly short on seats. But I am not serving you any more booze.”

“Maybe just some chips then?”

Jules sighed, knowing what was coming. “Fine.”

He put the order through to the kitchen and then, after a dreadful few minutes’ wait, came back with the chips.

Sure enough, Philip the Fly vomited all over them.

Both harpies downed their remaining shots and flapped away.

“Gotta bounce,” mumbled the kangaroo, after a long enough pause that he clearly hoped it wouldn’t look as though he was leaving for the same reason, even though he definitely was.

Jules also found himself something to do around the back. Or rather, he headed out back under the pretence that he had something to do but was actually just going to scroll through Twitter.

Except he couldn’t, because his phone was still on charge beneath the bar.

He quietly nipped back, hoping he could grab it without Philip noticing, but to his surprise found that Philip was no longer sitting at the bar. Instead, he was standing by a booth across the room, shovelling the kangaroo’s abandoned scampi and chips into his gob.

“He does this all the time,” droned the gryphon, apparently not at all put off her bacon.

Philip stopped, looked back at Jules, then quickly resumed shovelling.

“But why?” cried Jules. “You’ve got chips here!”

“Yeah…” said Philip, making his way towards the harpies’ three remaining onion rings. “But there’s puke on those ones.”

“Right,” said Jules. “Out. Get out. I don’t want to see you in here ever again.”

Philip grabbed the onion rings, shrugged, then made his way to the door. He blundered into the frame seven or eight times while trying to find the opening, but eventually made it out.

There was an extended pause. It was quiet. Very, very quiet.

The gryphon chuckled.

“What is it?” asked Jules.

“I guess you just barred a barfly fly from your flying bar.”

Jules let the words sink in.

“You too,” he said, after a moment. “Out.”

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

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