“Lemon drop.”


Smid glanced from one diamond-cut jaw to to next, acknowledging the faded white scars and emblems adorning time-stressed jackets; must be mercenaries. Turning around, shaking his head, he grabbed two martini glasses from the fridge and started mixing.

The hell kinda merc drinks a froofroo bullshit drink like a lemon drop? he thought to himself.

Hey, you’re the one still making them came the drooling voice from all around him. Smid cocked his head to the side, then nodded. “Fair enough,” he said aloud.

“Old man, you gonna hurry this shit up? We gotta be outta here by the second sun.”

He peered over his shoulder at the men; the speaker impatiently tapped a knife he’d conjured from somewhere in his flak jacket against the bartop.

“Sorry boys, be right up.”

A towering, seething mass of black tendrils with hundreds of glowing blue capping the stalks slid into the stool next to them. Locals called it Steve. The closest merc stared at Steve for a good minute before the upward curl lip of his lip took all sensibility with it.

“The hell you supposed to be? Oc-to-puuuuussy?” he enunciated the word carefully but drowned in the long vowel. He was clearly drunk. Steve looked down at him and laughed, the sound reminiscent of a two spiders fighting with legfulls of knives.

The merc pushed back on his seat. He didn’t notice it quiver. “Chu’ laughin’ at, buddy. Ya gotta fuckin’ problem?” His friend placed a gloved hand on his shoulder and uttered, “Al, cool it.”

“Drink up,” Smid said, sliding the glasses over to them. The pale yellow liquid sloshed gently, but didn’t spill. “Enough sour in there for everyone, don’t need to add any more.”

The one named Al huffed, spat on the floor, and grabbed his glass, draining it in one gulp. “Tastes like right piss. Gimme ‘nother.”

Smid let loose a hearty, belly-rumbling laugh and turned his back. Al’s grumblings were cut short by the unearthly scream ripping through his companion as the “stool” he’d been sitting on blossomed into a dozen vicious barbs, impaling him and spilling steaming guts onto the floor. Smid turned around to watch the rest of the show.

In his drunken haze, Al shrieked and stumbled backwards. Picking himself off the ground, he backed into the wall. What a fuckin’ amatuer Smid thought. The moment Al’s back touched it, two giant rotating blades burst from its surface, bisecting his body vertically from the chest down, turning him into a flapping perversion of some octobeast or another.

As his companion’s desiccated corpse was drained by the stool’s hungry barbs, the skin on his face drawing taut against his skull and eyes popping onto his cheekbones like peeled grapes, Al choked on his own blood, his stomach exploding in a burst of red.

Smid nodded to Steve, “The usual?”

Steve replied with the sound of ten schoolbusses crashing into a ceramic store.

“Two gallons of infant blood, comin’ up hot.”

Narrated by Raygun Readers