Aurelio lifted the glass off the smooth marble bar top and took a closer look. The liquid inside looked like honey but moved like oil; tiny black flecks dotted the amber liquid.
“What is the club special, exactly?” he asked the bartender. He winked at Aurelio.
“It’s so delicious it’ll change your life.” He replied with a broad grin.
“Uhuh,” Aurelio narrowed his eyes at the bartender for a moment, then shrugged and took a big gulp. He lowered the glass and placed it on the rotting wood bar top; he noticed the changes immediately.
The bar suddenly seemed almost empty. He looked around in surprise and counted six other patrons instead of the wall to wall bodies moments before. The colorful club lights was a single blinking lightbulb. The bartender’s once upscale uniform became a ratty dark apron; Aurelio wasn’t sure if it was black or just that dirty.
“Welcome to the real world,” the bartender said with a smile.
“What do you mean, real world?” Aurelio asked.
“I mean, THIS…,” he spread his arms to gesture at the dilapidated bar. “…is the real world. What you saw before was a lie. The governments of the world are trying to keep us under control. Instead of fixing their mistakes, they’re just blinding us to them. The club special is a temporary antidote to show you the truth. And now that you know the truth, the resistance needs you. Will you join us?”
“Oh, so it wears off?” Aurelio asked with interest. “Great,” he said. “This place looks pretty crappy right now, I liked it better the other way.”
“The other way is a lie!” the bartender said.
“Says who?” Aurelio asked. The frustrated bartender frantically gestured at the bar again.
“YOUR OWN EYES!” he said. Aurelio shrugged.
“I mean… by that logic when it wears off, THIS,” he mocked the bartender by gesturing at the condemned bar around them. “will have been a lie, right?” he asked.
“But it’s not! This is reality!”
“Says who?” Aurelio repeated his question. “And for that matter, what are you even resisting?”
“We’re going to topple the world governments to set humanity free.”
“Free from what?”
“From that fake, manufactured reality they’re living in.”
“You know,” Aurelio sighed. “For someone that talks about reality a lot; it’s funny how much you don’t understand it.”
“Huh?” the bartender asked. Aurelio shook his head and reached into his shirt from the neck to pull out an ID badge.
“Whatever, I don’t have time to explain it. It wouldn’t kill you to spend some time with a Mundo,” Aurelio said. The bartender’s eyes went wide and he took a single step back when he heard the word, “mundo”. Aurelio placed a white badge with a red scissor logo on the wooden bar. The bartender took another step back when he saw the badge and bumped into his liquor shelves; they crashed down around him. Aurelio casually picked up the mostly empty glass of gold liquid and held it up to the bartender.
“Give me the bottle,” he said then put the glass down. The bartender nodded and stepped forward to reach under the counter. He quickly pulled out a bottle and put it on the counter.
“Ms. Sharp is always on the lookout for new ways to use nanos. She heard about you tricking people into your guild, then she heard about your special drink,” Aurelio stood and grabbed the bottle. He nodded at the ID badge on the bar. “This server is now yours; topple your governments any time you want.”