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This is the first part of the official Bodega series.

Transcript[]

As bars go, the Shitrivet Tavern took 'sleazy’ and redefined the word. A trio of Spurloopian strippers outnumbered the lone customer, but ground the pole onstage with real menace regardless. Behind the chrome-top bar, hunched and moodier than a Morkbeast, Jar-Gell Floop gazed dully at the tiny vidscreen embedded in his left forearm. An empty glass slid down the bar, and with honed reflexes unique to a veteran bartender, Floop caught it, filled it, and returned it with gusto, without glancing up. It was the fifth pint of ale the human in the corner had swigged, but it was five times the business Floop had the previous night, so he wasn't complaining.

After a spell, the melancholy was broken when the front doors creaked open - creeeeeaakkk. Floop saw four figures in desert cloaks, dust masks fastened across their faces, scanning the room from the doorway. Their eyes settled on the human ale-swigger at the far end of the bar. They broke formation; two sat at the tables on either side of the door, one sat a ways behind the ale-swigger, and the fourth approached the bar with all the cockiness of a Krellslooster.

“Barkeep, one beverage - lady’s choice,” said the burly interloper, nodding towards one of the Spurloopians, who was taking a break from swinging her big ol’ titties.

“Give him two fingers of Fuckmonster, Floop,” she slurred. Floop grinned and poured the black liquor into the traditional phallic drinking vessel and gently pushed it towards the man. Leaning in close, the stranger peeled back his facemask, revealing row after row of razor-sharp Offworld Combat Teeth. He had no way of knowing Floop was odontophobic, so it really was just one of those weird coincidences typical of a space saloon.

“Put the chompers away, mister,” said the ale-swigger from the corner. “Can't you see my friend here is odontophobic?” Floop looked stunned. How could this guy have known about his odontophobia? Unless…

“Bodega,” said the tooth guy, grimacing.

“It is you, Bodega!” said Floop, turning. He'd not recognised his old compadre, and cursed himself for it. Bodega always had money, and he could've charged five Skrells for the ales instead of three. Then it dawned on Floop - if Bodega was here, and these four guys were here, it could only mean one thing. There was about to be one Flaarv of a good fight.

“You're coming with us, Bodega, like it or not!” said Chompers, smiling to show off his fancy gnashers. Floop blinked hard. When he opened his eyes less than a second later, the four interlopers lay dead, and Bodega sat finishing the last of his ale. His famous Lazgun lay smoking atop the chrome bar.

“Great Moons of Shabboth!” exclaimed Floop. “You ain't lost your touch, boy!” 

“And you're still slower than a Glorbworm with the ales,” said Bodega, grinning. He played the fight back in his mind. He'd seen the four fellows follow him, of course, and had calibrated his Lazgun to instantly pierce their Shrovian armour. Just as Chompers had turned to grin at Bodega, he'd taken his shot, refracting the Lazgun beam off those shiny dentures to perfectly strike all three goombas right in the heart, killing them instantly. Then, to finish off the leader, he'd simply angled the Lazgun beam up off the third incisor in row five lower, and turned the leader’s brain into Vomanian Swampnoodle Soup.

“Bo-dega!” said Floop, grinning.

“Yup,” said Bodega, also grinning, but laconically.

“Bode-ga!” said Floop, still grinning and nodding.

“Uh huh,” said Bodega.

“Bo… dega!” said Floop, still grinning.

Okay, this was getting weird, so Bodega paid and left.

Credit: Aditya Srinivasulu

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