A Funny Drunk
“Wow. Woooow. You ever seen him like this, Mem?”
“I have not!”
The four of them sat around a big square table at the back of the bar: Mem the android, Ain and Eleanor the witches, and then C in his enormous duster coat. He took up his glass and, with skill and speed and precision, downed his last serving of scotch, ice cubes and all.
Normally, C looked a bit like a sparrow or other small bird. He had keen eyes that were a bit too big for his head, even though he frequently squinted, and the sort of quiet alertness that came from his line of work. Now, he looked relaxed. And a lot more like a man, Eleanor thought, although his coat was still a couple sizes too big for him.
“Well, I don’t usually drink,” C said. “It pays to keep the mind sharp. Of course, I don’t usually get a week off from work. Mind if I get another bottle?”
“I’ll pay, if this is the guy we get out of it,” Eleanor laughed. “Hey, remember when I asked if you had any stories to share? Changed your mind yet?”
Mem and Ain both shot glances at Eleanor, who responded with the grin of a cheshire cat lurking in a tree, complete with the pointed fangs. C tapped the side of his face, then leaned forward, smiling back at her.
“Well… I got hired to investigate myself, once. It was anonymous, so the client had no idea that’s what was going on. But the description, the voice, even the habits, all of that was mine.”
“So what were you doing?” Ain asked. “You’re definitely not the sort of person to do anything investigation-worthy. Unless the law or the company asks you, anyway.”
C smirked. “It turns out, I was hitting bars across the town, putting drinks on my tab. I went around to the train station and the theme park, and cut fares there. I did a lot of things like that.”
“No way,” Eleanor laughed again.
“You are correct, in a sense!” Mem said, her internal fans having kicked on. “I believe I have solved the mystery, just as C did.”
“Well, it wasn’t me,” C explained. “It was a demon using my face. Turns out, the doppelganger wanted an ‘in’ to the community. Many people know me, he told me, but not too many. I was perfect. So I thanked him for the compliment and let him know he’d have to stop, and after some explanation, he said yeah, that’s okay with me.”
“Oh,” Ain said. Then she sat up straight and looked at Mem. “Hey, have we bought anything on C’s tab?”
“No,” Mem said, “only on Eleanor’s!”
The other three looked at Eleanor, who frowned and leaned back, pouting.
“What? What’re you lookin’ at me for?”