Fun Fictional Distractions
It was the end of a long work day, and payday to boot. That meant one thing: lottery tickets. Daryl had a pile of them in front of him, and was going through them with wild, religious fervor.
"Well I didn't win nothin'. Just like I thought I would," he said, throwing one to the side.
"Well, why do you play, then?" Argus said with a deriding undertone.
Daryl looked up at him slowly.
"Hey, wildcat!" Argus shouted to the bartender. "You got that drink coming?"
The caracal girl gave him a smirk as she turned to go towards the cooler, letting her eyes linger on him as she went.
"You know Charlene's got a boyfriend," Daryl said, a little apprehensively.
"Never stopped me before," Argus said with a crooked grin.
They were at the Damn Bar (yes, that was its name). Argus had thought of some sizzling one liners he wanted to try out on Charlene this time around, but something was off. He could feel it. Argus turned to look over his shoulder, and that's when he saw Kailian, rising from her seat at a far table, towering over the other nervous patrons, making her way towards him.
"What," Daryl said turning. "Oh lordy."
Argus used a low, direct voice that Daryl had never heard from him before to say, "You let me do the talking."
"Hi guys," Kailian said in a sultry voice.
She was grinning devilishly.
"How are ya," Argus said. "Why didn't you say you was in town?"
"Because you never replied to my messages," Kai said darkly.
There was a pause.
"So this is where you hang out now?" Kai said, looking at Argus, crossing her arms.
"Charming ain't it," Argus said, grinning again.
"It's a dump," Kai said with disgust. "There's nothing interesting around here for miles. Why is there a space port here, anyway?"
"Holdover from the NASA days."
He snuck a glance at Daryl, who was staring dumbfounded at Kailian.
"What are you up to, visiting these parts?" Argus said.
"I want your help with something," Kai said coldly. "There's someone I’m trying to find."
"You know I don't do that no more," Argus said, some annoyance showing.
"What do you do now? Other than drink cheap beer with fat gators." Kai said, gesturing vaguely towards Daryl.
"I'm the QA man at Galico Engines," Argus said, leaning back a little. "Means the shop guys don't like me, 'cause I'm telling them what's gotta be fixed, and the office people don't like me 'cause I don't sign off on stuff that ain't right so they can ship it anyway."
"Right," Kailian said.
"I thought you got out o' this sorta thing, too," Argus said, giving Kai a look.
"I did," Kailian said. "This is personal."
"Who pissed you off now?" Argus said with an attempt at a laugh.
"It's another Valkrie," Kailian said flatly, "like me."
"What?" Argus said. "I thought you were the only one. Well, you and your sister."
"She's not my sister," Kailian growled, rolling her eyes.
"This one's a he. Purple with a grey belly. Dark stripes."
Argus sighed. He saw Daryl scratching his own neck in the corner of his vision.
"I'll try," Argus said, "'cuase it's you. But it ain't easy to track no more. Not since all them people started into that off-grid thing a few years back."
"I'm leaving tonight," she added. "Message me if you find something."
"I'm redoing the headers on my old Chevy," Daryl said, quietly, nervously. "All I need to finish it up is..."
"Nobody cares," Kailian said, staring him down.
Daryl looked down and was quiet.
Kailian looked at Argus again.
"Message me, okay?"
She sighed and turned to leave.
Daryl stared at Kai as she made her way to the door. Finally, he looked at Argus.
"What was all that?" He asked slowly.
"Never how who's gonna show up here. That's why we like the Damn Bar so much" Argus said, attempting a disarming smile.
They were both quiet a while as the sounds of billiards and country music slowly started up again.
"You know her from the Marine core?" Daryl asked.
"Yeah," Argus said.
Saying he had served was easier than telling people what he actually did all those years.
"You gonna finish your scratch tickets?" Argus asked.
Daryl looked down at the pile as if he had forgotten about them.
"Well, yeah. I guess..."