Wingin’ It

“Thank you, miss,” Thomas Moon smiled at the friendly bartender that delivered a plate of buffalo wings to the table. Thomas lifted his mostly empty glass of beer to signal her for a refill. “If you don’t mind, please.” The waitress nodded, took the glass, and disappeared to the kitchen. A jingling bell signaled another patron walking in, but Thomas was too distracted with his wings to look up.

“Hey, remember me?” a woman said. Thomas felt the voice directed at him and looked up as the bartender returned with his drink. His lips, chin, and fingers were covered with red sauce. “Britain, 1800’s?” She set his drink down and gave them both a confused look. Thomas shrugged.

“Looks like she’s a few ahead of me, huh?” He smiled, then shrugged at the bartender. “I might need more napkins, please.”  She giggled and returned to the bar. The stranger, wearing blue jeans and a simple black t-shirt, strode to Thomas’ small table and sat down across from him.

“I’m not drunk,” she explained. Thomas nodded.

“I know,” he replied. Then he went to work on another chicken wing. The woman’s yellow eyes sparkled to life and a smile overtook her face.

“You DO remember!” she said, bouncing a little too much in her seat. Thomas shook his head, then swallowed.

“Nope,” he took another bite.

“You have to remember me, we make a great team! We hunted down that pack of werewolves together, took down every last one of them!” The stranger suddenly became aware that they weren’t alone.

“Here are your napkins, dear. Anything else?’ Thomas swallowed to answer.

“Yeah, don’t serve her any drinks,” he laughed and the bartender joined in. The woman’s cheeks almost glowed bright red as the bartender walked away.

“I told you, I’m not drunk! I’m not making it up!”  She placed a hand firmly on the table as if fighting the urge to slam her hand down in frustration. Thomas nodded.

“I know.”

“Then why do you keep suggesting I’m drunk?”

“Because she doesn’t know,” Thomas nodded toward the bar. “She doesn’t know about immortals, fae, or the underworld,” Thomas said, then he pointed a bare bone at her. “YOU keep trying to shed light on it but it’s rude. Don’t do it.”  The woman hung her head slightly and nodded.

“I’m sorry. I was just so excited to see you again!” She looked up at him. “So you do remember? You were just trying to keep me quiet?” Thomas shook his head.

“Sorry, miss. I don’t remember you.” He shrugged. “I spent some time in Britain during the 1800s, and werewolves sound familiar, but that’s all I’ve got.”

“You forgot me?”

“It’s nothing personal,” he shrugged. “When you’re my age-”

“I AM your age,” she interrupted. Thomas chuckled.

“Not likely. It’s only been about 200 years since Britain. How much longer before that?” he asked.

“That’s when I realized I wasn’t aging,” she replied.

“As I was saying, when you’re my age you don’t worry about remembering things as much. All you can do is take each day as it comes.” Thomas reached for another wing.

“How old are you?” she asked him. He shrugged with the wing inches from his mouth.

“No idea, but I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say at least a couple thousand years,” he took a bite.

“Whooaa,” the woman replied with an awed whisper. “I never even considered living that long. What’s it like?” she asked. The woman waited patiently for Thomas to finish chewing. The bell over the door jingled again when Thomas swallowed.

“Wow, for mid-afternoon this place is surprisingly busy,” he glanced up to see a short biker covered in tattoos and leather walking to the bar. Then, he focused on the woman across from him again. “It’s like I said. You let yourself forget a lot of details and live day by day. And you learn to keep to yourself,” he added, in a disappointed tone. He saw the bartender talking to the biker and pointing at his table. The woman across from him noticed his gaze was locked on something behind her. She turned around in time to see the biker approaching the table. She turned around.

“Leave,” she stressed. “This is my fault, I’m sorry!” Before either of them could get up the biker reached their table and nodded at them with a friendly smile.

“Hi folks,” he held up both hands with the palms outward. “I’m sure you’re probably nervous, but I’m not here to start anything.”

“So what can we do for you?” Thomas asked.

“Well, it turns out that I’m here to help you,” he said. He used his thumb to point at the bar behind him. “Sue overheard that you folks are extra old, and she called me over.”

“Why? Are you an immortal too?” the woman asked.

“Nope, but I can tell you a lot about yourselves. My name’s Mundo,” he offered his hand to the woman first, then Thomas. Both shook his hand. “The short version is, you guys don’t belong here,” he pointed at Thomas. “You, I don’t know how you got here.” Then, he turned and pointed at the woman. “I have a pretty good idea about you.”

“It’s a public space,” the woman responded to defend Thomas. Mundo nodded.

“The bar? Sure. Sorry, I guess it was unclear. You guys don’t belong here,” he stopped a heavy boot on the wooden floor. “On this Earth. You’re from different universes.”

“Is that right?” Thomas asked. “Thank you for your input,” he smiled at Mundo and then looked at the plate of wings to choose his next victim.

“I can prove it. You have a tattoo with the number 23 on it somewhere on you, right?” Mundo asked Thomas, then he turned to the woman. “And you have a tattoo with the number 35 somewhere on you, right?” The woman nodded shyly, and Thomas did too.

“Aside from the fact that there’s no way you could have known that, it doesn’t prove anything about other universes,” Thomas said.

“The reason you’re not aging is that this isn’t your universe. I don’t know how you got here, but I do know how to get you home,”

“I’m comfortable here,” Thomas said. “Thank you though.” Thomas nodded at Mundo to communicate the end of the conversation, then he bit into his chosen wing.

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