THEN A PENGUIN WALKED IN #35
DOMINICK DIDN’T DRINK. HE’D never acquired the taste for it. In fact, he never even liked being around alcohol. It wasn’t a moral thing, he had nothing against anyone who chose to imbibe. It’s just that the smell alone had always made him want to vomit.
So back home, while his friends, what little he had, would be out at the clubs or attending parties, Dominick would stay home and watch TV. It was lonely, but he hadn’t minded all that much. He preferred the solitude over the bubble guts.
There was something about today, however, that was different. Maybe his senses had matured, maybe they just didn’t make alcohol in Gund like they did at home, or maybe being in another world had affected him in ways he couldn’t see, but when he walked into the Laughing Parrot tavern, he felt nothing, not even a minor stirring in his stomach.
He hadn’t wanted to go in, he’d argued his case, quite strenuously. He’d stood his ground and simply refused. So how he was now sitting at the bar, drunk for the first time in his life, was a set of circumstances he had chosen not to struggle with. He felt too good about the situation to care about the reasons.
There was something about the ale that had been place before him, something in the smell. It was delightful. And the fact that it came in a tankard, the fact that he was going to actually drink a tankard of ale, had him gulping it down like a muddy puddle of water in the middle of a desert.
Besides, he’d had a lot on his mind. He’d let down an entire world. That can really eat at a guy. Escaping into his drink seemed like a really good idea at the time. And now that he was, for lack of a better term, sloshed, he knew it for the great idea that it was.
Dominick found being drunk a rather interesting experience. He had no problem starting conversations with complete strangers, something he’d always struggled with before. He sang at one point, though later he wouldn’t remember the song. But most of all, he had a great time learning how to walk again.
It was always something he’d taken for granted, walking, but under the influence it was if he’d forgotten the process entirely. Moving in a straight line seemed next to impossible. And that was even if he could stay on his feet. Eventually he was able to move through the crowded tavern and into the restroom.
The restroom turned out to be a narrow, and shallow ditch in the back that he could empty his bladder into. This turned out to be another reason for Dominick to appreciate his drunkenness. Otherwise, rather than finding the situation a laugh riot, he would have been more than a little disgusted, and more than a little queasy.
It was on his way back, as he wound his way through the mass of people, that the trouble started. It began with a wall. Or what he thought was a wall. Dominick had just begun to get the hang of this whole walking thing, of weaving in and out of the crowd, when he walked face first into a massive wall of muscle.
“Excuse me,” Dominick said. Though in truth what came out of his mouth was little more than slurred nonsense.
The wall of muscle turned and Dominick found himself face to chest with a man who had most recently spilled his drink on himself.
“That’s a bad spill,” Dominic tried to say. “You should watch where you’re drinking.”
“You spilled my drink,” said a voice from above.
Dominick looked up and found that the broad chest went straight into a head a foot or so above him. No neck, just chest, then head. The face, which was attached to the head, had a sour expression painted across it.
“That’s what I said,” Dominick slurred. “You spilled your drink. That can get expensive.”
“You gonna buy me another?” The man poked Dominick in the chest. It nearly took him off his feet.
“Hey,” Dominick said once he had righted himself. “Don’t go poking people.” He poked his own finger in the man’s chest.
To be continued . . .