Work ends with a colorful chorus of blue algae, fish parts, and Spreul.
Completely sated, I slid out to my Transporter and headed to Eddie’s. Sally and I haven’t been getting along so well. Hell, that’s an understatement. Last night (or was it the night before?) she hit me with a weapon for the first time. She told me to get out.
Eddie’s is a Brain Bar. I don’t want to fight with the old girl, but, I need some time to be myself. Or, at least the myself I thought I once was back in the day. If you know what it is that I am saying.
A Brain Bar is where you get hooked up with an electronic chip and you have hysterical fun or intellectual discussions or travel, to find enlightenment, to have sex or act out complex mysteries, with yourself in whatever role you choose. You can choose a 30-minute Trip. There are intermediate times available, and even, an eight-hour REHABILITATION / RECOVERY session that will leave you limp as a wet worm. People take these Trips and come out of Eddie’s with a whole new outlook on life. There are “couples’ retreats”. Most people come with a friend and they share a Trip. I always come alone.
The police are always trying to shut us down. I’m half-owner of Eddie’s. I get to Trip for free. Sally knows where to find me. It’s best I spend the night, here. Eddie comes out from behind the bar, his gorilla shoulders seem to belong somewhere else besides that goofy face of his. But, god bless him. It was his idea to invest in Eddie’s. He works full-time and I help pay expenses with some of my income from the Job: that’s another thing that pisses Sally off. We never get to go anywhere, because all of my money is getting poured back into the Bar.
Eddie hops to meet me, holding a Grey Goose Vodka Martini. How he does that, without spilling a drop, is just amazing to me.
So, I settle in to my spot and he grabs the electrodes. “Four hours”, he thinks.
“Yes,” I think. But, for a few minutes, I just want to enjoy this drink.
And then, there was another, and then, it was time.
I looked back into the dim recesses of the bar. There were nine soundproof cells operating.
“Eddie!” I called out with my tinny, screeching voice.
He was wiping down the bar. He dropped the rag and waved a tentacle downwards, in my direction. He “shushed” me with another. With the speed of a ten-year old, he splashed over to me.
“Want another drink?” he asked, telepathically.
“No. I want to escape the humdrum,” I responded.
“Amy and Judy want to Trip with you,” he reminded me.
“Sally would kill me,” I thought.
There was silence in our minds for about thirty seconds.
“You know, George, you ought to be home,” thought Eddie.
“Plug me in,” I thought.
The walls began to slide up around me, giving me complete privacy, temperature control, humidity control, and, most of all, sound control. Once I went inside my head, there was never any knowing what sort of unmanaged squeals, honks, and blasts might come out of my shiny, black beak. Eddie’s bar (and mine) was the best in town. As Eddie plugged me in, he nodded toward the back of the room.
“Business is good,” he thought.
“Not good enough,” I thought.