Love Potion No. 999

In this economy you’ve got to take the jobs you can get.

When I found out a couple of months ago that my new next-door neighbors weren’t just a bunch of loud, inconsiderate dirtbags, they were loud, inconsiderate dirtbags running an interdimensional speakeasy, I offered to tend bar.

Drunks are drunks, right? It can’t be worse than wrangling frat boys. And say what you want about your average alien menace from outer space, they always tip well.

I was getting my set-up ready for a hard night of drinking when Djik-lik, my manager, came bustling in. Djik-lik is a pretty good guy, all in all. I’ve certainly worked for worse.

“Jake,” he clicked, “We have a special request. General K’ll’t’rsk has come to celebrate his great victory over the Ooooooom armies this cycle. He says that tens of thousands of Ooooooom perished in a single battle.”

“He must be very proud.”

“He is. He has heard of your people’s ‘cocktails’ and insists on something very special for his celebrations.”

“Ok. What’s this General K’ll’t’rsk,” a bitch to say, but I was sure with practice I’d get it, “like to drink? We have Jello shots, but they won’t be ready for another hour.”

“He wants it strong, he wants it fast, he wants it blue to celebrate the blue sunshine of Pokrath, the world he has just subjugated.”

“How much is he willing to pay?”

“Like all T’rr’k, he’s a cheap bastard.”

“Gotcha.”

So I broke out the Blue Curacao and tequila, mixed up a couple of pitchers of “Sunset Over Pokrath,” and sent it on over.

The T’rr’ks loved it. From my spot behind the bar I could just see their pit as they drank from cereal bowls and boasted of their exploits. The orders for fresh pitchers kept coming and the aliens kept getting rowdier and rowdier.

A couple of hours into it, Eem came down to my bar. Eem is the seating host for the upstairs restaurant.

“Jake,” she asked, her tail swishing sexily (I’ve always had a thing for a curvy tail), “I’ve got a party from the Ooooooom Empire upstairs. They just conquered a planet or something, and they want special drinks. What have you got?”

I was putting fresh dry ice cubes into my cocktail shaker. “Conquering planets seems to be going around.”

“This one was called Pokrath. It’s an ancient Meggary word meaning ‘blue light.’”

“Well, that party started hours ago. They should come down here and join.” I indicated the T’rr’ks. One of them was standing on a bench declaiming what I presume was epic poetry of his culture. His companions pounded enthusiastically on the table every few lines.

Eem glanced over, then turned green. Greener, I should say. “Jake, those are T’rr’k!”

“Yeah. It’s General K’ll’t’rsk and his boys.”

“But I’ve got the Ooooooom Obersignifier upstairs!”

It can take me a minute to catch up, but I eventually get there. “K’ll’t’rsk says he just conquered the Ooooooom. He killed tens of thousands of them and seized Pokrath.”

“The Ooooooom Obersignifier says he did the same thing to the T’rr’k!”

“What’s this about the Ooooooom?” Djik-lik asked as he delivered a bus tub full of glassware to the bar.

“The Ooooooom are upstairs!”

Djik-lik dropped the tub. Broken glass flew everywhere. The T’rr’k cheered. Djik-lik’s normally steely skin turned a mottled grey. “This is terrible! You can’t let them come down here!”

“I know! The Ooooooom and T’rr’k will kill one another!”

“Worse!” Djik-lik moaned. “They’ll break the stemware!”
I nobly refrained from pointing out that Djik-lik was doing well on that front all by himself and mixed up some more Sunset Over Pokrath. “Here,” I told Eem. “Created especially in honor of this battle. They’ll love it.” She grabbed the pitcher and scurried upstairs.

“Hey, Djik-lik,” I asked as I started sweeping up glass. “How come both sides claim to have conquered the same planet?”

“The T’rr’k and the Ooooooom are both rapidly expanding empires,” Djik-lik explained. “They have similar physical needs for gravity, radiation wavelengths, trace elements and the like, and thus similar tastes in real estate. The result is an intractable, genocidal war. At this point it’s not about who gets the planet, which is probably a radioactive waste by now anyway— it’s about killing as many of the other species as possible.”

“And if either party finds out the other one is here…”

“Then we’re the radioactive wasteland.”

“Great. If I’d known tonight was the end of the world, I’d have called in sick.”

The drink orders never stopped coming. I mixed pitcher after pitcher of Sunsets, sending half to the T’rr’ks and half upstairs with Eem. I kept an eye on the T’rr’ks, too, as they graduated from the declaiming poetry stage of drunkenness to weeping on one another’s shoulders to declaring their undying affection for one another. I was hoping they’d pass out and we could sneak them out the back way with the Ooooooom none the wiser.

Then disaster struck. We ran out of Blue Curacao.
When the next pitcher of drinks didn’t arrive on time, the Ooooooom came looking. They slithered down the stairs en masse.

Both the T’rr’k and the Ooooooom noticed one another at the same time.

It was like those old westerns. All the other patrons scurried for the exits, hid under tables, or retreated to the walls to watch the bar brawl to end all bar brawls.

With a howl, the two opposing groups charged one another. Reptilioid claws met gelatinous lumps of goo. Furniture was tossed wildly to either side.

Eem, Djik-lik, and I hid behind the bar, waiting for the end of the world. When it didn’t come, we glanced at one another and nervously peeked over the top.

The T’rr’k and the Ooooooom weren’t fighting. They were hugging one another like long-lost cousins. “I love you too, Bro!” I heard K’ll’t’rsk say too the Ooooooom Obersignifier. “I hate it when we fight! We shouldn’t fight any more!” The Obersignifier jiggled his agreement.

And that’s how the peace treaty was negotiated. All either side needed was a little push in the right direction. And, as it turned out, whatever is in Blue Curacao that acts like MDMA on T’rr’k and Ooooooom metabolisms. A little Love Potion No. 999, you might say.

All I know is I’m keeping plenty of the stuff on hand, just in case.

(For Brad, who knows far more about cheap, crappy liquor than I ever will.)

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