Pub Crawl

by Robbie Matthews
A Johnny Werewolf Story.

© Robbie Matthews 2000
All rights reserved.

The events described here take place a little after the events in Fringe Dwellers -- printed in the Anthology Nor of Human... from CSFG Publishing -- and shortly before Dragon Omelette  -- printed in the Anthology AustrAlien Absurdities. Other Johnny stories have appeared in Machinations and The Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

    "Two schooners of  Old, Bundy and Coke, and a Bloody Mary for Vlad," I said.
    "Johnny, you know I don't like Bloody Marys," said Vlad.
    "Oh, alright.  Gin and tonic."  I grinned at him, and he scowled back.
    "Just because I'm a Vampire doesn't mean I like Bloody Marys.  It's a cliche.  If I feel like blood,  tomato juice isn’t much of a substitute.  You're a Werewolf, and I don't see you chowing down on raw steak all the time."
    "Just stirring you."
    I manoeuvred the drinks back to the table, and handed them around.
    There was Vlad (real name Kevin), Warrick, Joshua and myself. Respectively, a Vampire, a Werewombat  -- long story -- a werejaguar, and a werewolf.
    Bruno's is the only decent Undead pub in Sydney.  It's nestled in the less classy part of Pyrmont.  It’s been there for ages.  It isn't the only pub in the vicinity.  A block away on one side of us is the Shamrock.  That's the fairy hangout.  Before anyone starts in on me about political correctness, I choose my words advisedly.  Roses -- the gay pub -- is half a block away on the other side.
    I guess all us fringe dwellers like to stick together.
    We'd saved the world together once, which is another long story.  The public is fickle, though, and fame is fleeting.  Just as well.  I like Bruno's the way it is.  A quiet place to go for a drink with some like-minded friends.
    "The thing is," said  Warrick, "Undead is such an imprecise term.  Strictly speaking, it should only refer to Vampires and such.  Not weres."
    This conversation had been going on for quite some time and for several rounds of drinks, and was just reaching the comfortable stage, where you could argue it around for hours without having to actually think about what it was that was being said.
    "It's a term of convenience," said Joshua. "Like ‘gay’. What does that word mean, after all? Nothing, really.  Except it's a neater and shorter and nicer than homosexual.  I'd rather be an Undead  Gay than a homosexual metamorph."
    "Technically, you're both.  Simultaneously.  At the same time," said Vlad.  After five G&T's he gets quite relaxed.
    "True, but irrelevant.  I could also describe myself as a gender differentiated person of the feline persuasion."
    "You could, but I wish you wouldn't,"  said Warrick.
    Which is about the time that the idiot walked in the door.  Again, I choose my words carefully.  Only an idiot walks into an Undead pub waving a gun.
    "Right. Nobody move" he yelled.
    One of the Zombies by the fireplace spun around.  His arm left his body, and landed on the floor, still clutching the remains of his drink.
    "You shit!"  said the zombie.  "I was trying to make that last until payday!  Now I'm going to have to get it sewn up again!"
    This was not, apparently, going to Idiot Boy’s plan.  He waved the gun around wildly.
    "Don't move, I said! Hand over all your cash! Do it now!"
    "He has got to be kidding," said Joshua.
    This was too much for Idiot Boy.  Growling “I warned you,” he aimed at Joshua and pulled the trigger.
    Unfortunately, he wasn’t much of a shot.  Guess who was standing next to Joshua?
    “That bloody stings!”  I said.  His bullet had hit me just above the heart.  A nasty wound.  More importantly, it was just about my last decent shirt, and now it had a hole in it.  I looked at Idiot Boy, and growled.
    When a pissed off werewolf growls at you, you know about it.  What is more, Josh was changing, Warrick was changing, and Vlad was showing his fangs.  I know for sure that my own teeth were longer than they had been.  Bruno was reaching down under the bar for something.
    If I’d been in Idiot Boy’s shoes, I would have run.  Not him.  He waved his gun around some more, and fired another shot, this time into the ceiling.
    “I said, nobody...”
    A few minutes later, he hit the street.  We’d let him keep the gun.  Admittedly, he’d need the services of a good proctologist before he could use it again...
    After things calmed down a bit, Bruno shouted everyone a round of drinks.
    “Look at this shirt," I said.  "Ruined!  The bane of my life, shirts.  Every time I do the werewolf thing, new shirts.  I can’t afford it.  And blood’s a bugger to get out at the best of times.”
    Warrick looked pretty rumpled, too.  Joshua looked calm and collected, as always.
    “Lycra.  It stretches, you see.  I never go anywhere without my lycra bodysuit.”
    He pulled open his loose blouse, and showed us.  Sure enough, he was wearing a body stocking.
    Warrick grimaced.
    “Electric blue?  With orange slashes?” he complained.
    “Someone has to have style,” said Joshua. “Speaking of which, Vlad...”
    Vlad was smugly sipping his sixth G&T of the night, secure in the knowledge that he rarely needed to rip his clothes to shreds to get out of them.
    “I’ve been meaning to speak to you about your outfit.”
    “What’s wrong with it?” said Vlad.  He stood, and gave a twirl.  “You’ve been on at me forever about wearing evening dress all the time.  So, I looked in my wardrobe, and pulled up something a little more up to date.”
    “Yes, but ... a lime green leisure suit?  Did you have to?”
    “Very practical wear for your modern vampire.  Light, comfortable, long wearing, wash-and-wear.  As I don’t sweat, the fact that it’s pure polyester doesn’t bother me in the slightest.”
    Barry ... a ghoul ... called from the doorway.
    “Hey!  He’s decided to try the Shamrock!”
    We all piled out onto the footpath, drinks in hand.  Sure enough, Idiot Boy was walking into the Shamrock, gun held high.
    We held our collective breaths, and someone started taking bets.  A mere 35 seconds later by my watch, a rather disgruntled looking cane toad came flying out the door.  He was followed by his clothes and his gun.
    “Those Faerie don’t have much of a sense of humour, do they?” said someone, as we all trooped back inside.
    I don’t remember a great deal more of that evening.  We ended up staggering off together.  Vlad had to go to work -- naturally, most Vampires have night jobs -- so Joshua, Warrick, and I decided that a walk would do us good.  Besides, Joshua has the best coffee, and his place is on the way to my place.
    Passing Roses, we found a figure dressed fetchingly in leather straps and handcuffed to a lamppost.  It was our old friend with the gun.  He was gagged, but his panic stricken eyes were expressive.
    We waved cheerfully goodbye as we walked to Joshua’s.
    “There’s a moral there somewhere,” said Warrick.
    “Pick on someone your own size?” I suggested.
    “Don’t assume people are victims?” said Joshua.
    “Do some basic research before attempting an armed robbery of any kind?”
    “I was thinking more along the lines of not being a bloody idiot, but those are good too.”
    To the musical sound of muffled cries for help, we sauntered off into night in search of coffee.


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Last updated 23-Jun-2003