The Crystal Tavern

in #writing2 months ago (edited)


The above image was made by @amberjyang using Midjourney with the prompt 'cute tiny gray alien in a tracksuit dancing in a disco tavern.'

Dance Party

When Joseph had first seen Lee by firelight, he'd treated the encounter like contact with a strange and exotic animal. Then, back at his home, he'd begun to see her as a weird yet wildly entertaining friend. Now, after watching Lee turn Battelle Metals into a circus, Joseph was certain that something big was happening. Something that was already completely upending his life.

"Next stop, the local tavern," said Lee as they returned to Joseph's truck.

Joseph was quiet as he got into the vehicle. He suddenly had a million questions for Lee and didn't know where to start. "So you modified the transducer from a parts cleaner to do ultrasonic welding of stainless," he said finally.

"Yes, by modulating the transducer input, as I explained to you and your colleagues," said Lee. "I sense you are troubled. Your role as my Earthly partner will bring you great fortune, but also great uncertainty."

Collecting his thoughts, Joseph started the truck. "Next time just give me a heads up before you cause a scene like that," he said. "And maybe when we're back home we can go into my shop and you can show me what other tricks you have up your sleeve."

"Good," said Lee. "I will warn you now, I plan to cause a scene at the tavern."

"What kind of scene?" asked Joseph.

"There will be many people recording me and we may have to leave quickly," said Lee.

"Guess we'll go to the Crystal Tavern," said Joseph. "Getting kicked out of there is no big deal."

Twenty minutes later the pulled into a parking lot. Lee hopped on Joseph's shoulder for their entrance. Inside, Joseph headed for the bar, where a white haired bartender was talking with a pair of grizzled regulars. "Looks like we've got a comedian in the house," announced the bartender upon seeing the tiny gray alien on Joseph's shoulder.

"I'll take a beer," said Joseph. "Something strong and dark, if you've got it."

Lee jumped off of Joseph's shoulder and onto the bar. "And I will have a shot of your strongest liquor," she said. "He's buying."

"Hot damn!" exclaimed the bartender, slapping his hand against the bar.

Everyone in the sparsely populated rural bar looked. A few people took out their phones.

"Is that a new robot?" asked one of the grizzled regulars.

"My body in a sense is a robot," said Lee. "I'm autonomous but Joseph is my guide in this world. And yes, I'm serious about that drink."

"What's it going to do with a shot?" the bartender asked Joseph.

"She will probably do something weird with it," said Joseph. "But nothing dangerous or messy or anything like that. Right?"

"That's right," said Lee. "I will consume the alcohol and then use the energy from it to perform for the good people of Crystal Tavern here."

"Wow she's so lifelike," said the bartender. "This here is next level. Fine, I'll get you your drink. Show us what you got, just let me get my phone."

Lee took the shot glass in both of her little knobby hands and drank its contents down. When the glass was empty, she slammed it down on the bar and chirped loudly.

"Well look at that," said a grizzled regular.

"Ladies and gentlemen," said Lee theatrically. "I will now perform acrobatics for you. Acrobatics and fast dancing. The sad cowboy music playing may clash with my performance. Are there other music options?"

"Nothing newer than 1992," said a dumpy woman by the juke box.

"Blue Monday by Fats Domino would be perfect," said Lee.

"Best I can do is We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel," said the woman. "That's what's coming on next."

"As you wish, prepare to be dazzled," said Lee. She then flipped off the bar, landed on her feet, and began spinning around with her arms out. Billy Joel came on and she began twirling faster while moving around the room in increasingly improbable ways. Her movements were graceful yet extraordinarily quick. Lee zipped across the floor, hopped on tables, and spent two minutes doing extreme break dancing.

When Lee's performance was complete, several people clapped. She went around to everyone there, one after another, and told them about her new OnlyFans channel. Returning to Joseph's side, Lee found him grinning. "Nice dance," he said. "Guess alcohol is like rocket fuel for you."

"It is dense energy," said Lee. "We should soon depart. Within 10 minutes would be best."

"Gocha, let's roll," said Joseph.

Lee hopped back up onto Joseph's shoulder and they left. As they approached Joseph's truck, a man who had been in the bar ran up to them holding a pistol. "You there!" said the man. "Hand over the robot."

Joseph felt panic and adrenaline wash over him. "My name is Lee," said Lee. "And I urge you to reconsider your choices."

"Come here, you," the man growled, lunging at Lee with his free hand.

Lee leaped onto the gun, snatched it, and threw the weapon at the man's head at high velocity. The man was knocked to his knees by the blow. The pistol skidded away.

"I saw everything!" shouted a woman standing outside the bar, pointing her phone their way. "The police have been called."

"Don't you move," Joseph said to the disoriented attacker. "I don't know what you were even thinking."

"Shit, Joe, I'm sorry," muttered the man. "Just seemed like too big an opportunity to pass up."

"Wait ... you're Bob Jr.," said Joseph. "Do you know how pissed your dad's going to be when he hears about this?"

"Look, I didn't mean anything by it," said Bob Jr. "It's just that a robot like that must be worth a fortune."

"My worth is indeed great," said Lee. "You were foolish to believe that you could take it for yourself."

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All of us in the comments section can't wait to see what happens next. I also wish I could hear what Lee's voice sounds like :)

Also I find it interesting that many people are calling Lee a robot, and not an alien!

Maybe I'll try to take the voice I imagine and generate a sample: )

When faced with the unknown, most people try to explain it in terms they can understand. They assume Lee is like a more advanced version of a talking doll rather than a being they can't fully imagine.

I am really enjoying every bit of this story and trust me, I can't wait for the next part

Thanks! This is a fun one to write.

Joseph must be in that brainstorming mood right now
Let’s see what happens next…

It's already a big adventure for Joseph. And the story is just beginning...

I am just trying to look at the questions that is rolling through Joseph mind that moment he get inside his car

So many questions he doesn't know what to ask first.