“I think it’s over-” the polite stranger fell mid-response. He attempted to point at some place further along the plaza before collapsing to the ground. Astrid heard the sound of dozens of bodies hitting the ground along the side-walk. The 14-year-old girl had a feeling she was close to the place she was looking for and stopped someone to ask.
“Huh,” Astrid said to herself. She shrugged and wondered if it was normal for people to collapse in groups on this particular Earth. Then she heard footsteps. She turned to see a man in a black suit approaching her with interest. He was tall, lean and pale; his dark suit and sunken eyes made him look like he walked out of his own open-casket funeral.
“Hey!” Astrid smiled at him. “Do you know where Mundo’s Bar is?”
He stopped walking and looked around at the bodies on the cement, then back at her.
“Why didn’t it work on you?” he asked. Astrid shrugged.
“I don’t know. So.. Mundo’s Bar?”
“Why aren’t you more…” he paused while he searched for the right word. “…concerned?” he asked. Astrid sighed heavily and floated a foot off the ground.
“I got my own problems to deal with,” she said. “I don’t care what you’re up to.” She sank back to the ground. “Can you point me to the bar or not?” The lean stranger took a step toward Astrid while holding his hand out toward her. She felt a wave of tingles tickle her brain and she giggled.
“Awww, you’re just a baby Corona,” she said. He stopped walking again with a surprised look on his face. “That’s why it didn’t work,” she added. “You’re not strong enough to mind control me.”
“You’re just a little girl!” He laughed. “Of course, I’m strong enough!”
“You should come with me to Mundo’s bar,” Astrid said with the concerned tone of a teacher. “It sounds like you have a lot to learn about yourself. It’s better for Mundo to explain it to you or you might try to control the wrong person.”
“I don’t need the advice of a little gi-,” Astrid hovered off the ground again and floated away. “Hey! Where are you going!? he shouted after her. She did not slow down or turn to acknowledge him until he started running after her. “You’re going the wrong way!” he shouted. That did slow her down. “Mundo’s is the other way,” he pointed to the right when she turned to look at him.
“C’mon!” she said and floated the direction he pointed in.
They traveled in silence for three blocks until he pointed at a building with a neon green sign on it that said, “Mundo’s Bar”. Astrid floated in with the stranger in tow. A large, round woman sat behind the bar; she looked up from her newspaper when Astrid and the man entered.
“Her too? Why isn’t she asleep?” he asked in surprise when he noticed she was moving. Astrid giggled.
“I told you, you have a lot to learn,” Astrid said. Then, she turned her attention to the woman. “Hey, Mundo! This Corona,” she gestured at the dark-suited man. “…doesn’t know anything. Also, can I get a taxi?”
The heavyset woman nodded; as she did a black hole opened under Astrid’s sneakers.
“Thanks!” Astrid shouted as the hole swallowed her whole, then she disappeared.
“What! Where’d she go!?” The stranger asked. Mundo shrugged.
“Dunno, I didn’t have a chance to get her a ride.” Mundo sat up straighter and looked at him.”So, you’re the reason everyone’s asleep?” She asked, then gestured at the barstool in front of her. “Have a seat.”