Peacock Boy and the Bartender

Peacock Boy struts into the bar and asks for a manly drink.

“Whiskey,” says the bartender as he puts a tumbler of amber liquid in front of the boy.

Elegant fingers wrap around the glass. They stir it gently, sway it like a gold prospector must’ve swayed their pan, as if looking for nuggets inside.

He hesitates only for a second before he gulps it down. His ocelli-studded train unfolds and vibrates, which earns him a couple of disapproving glances from the other patrons.

“The spa’s that way,” the manliest of them cackles.

The goat-like sound makes the bartender’s hairs stand up.

Peacock Boy turns around on his stool. “How do you know? You must be a regular there.”

A smile hushes over the bartender’s lips, then his face turns unreadable again.

“What d’you say to me?” Manly Man rises. At only five foot three, he’s lost some of his intimidation.

“You should’ve remained seated.”

Peacock Boy is obviously looking for trouble.

Chest puffed out, he climbs off the bar stool and walks toward Manly Man, his feathers sweeping the stained floor like a luxurious broom. They face each other, Peacock Boy and Manly Man, becoming two sides of the same coin.

Manly Man hits first. Peacock Boy’s head snaps back. He stumbles, but doesn’t fall.

Manly Man’s friends roar like boars.

Peacock Boy regains control and kicks Manly Man in the crotch.

A unanimous hiss echoes through the bar.

“You’re dead.” Manly Man’s voice sounds less manly now.

The bartender pours himself a drink, grabs the baseball bat underneath the bar, then leaves the safety of the counter. “That’s enough!” He points the worn barrel at the Manly Man.

The room turns quiet. Eyes don’t stare so much at the sports equipment-turned-weapon than at the bartender himself—at his lower body, the furry legs and hoofs.

“Holy shit, he’s one of them.”

“I prefer the term satyr, thanks. Now get the hell out of my bar.” The bartender swings the bat, speeding up the process.

“I shouldn’t have come here,” says Peacock Boy, a plum-colored bruise blooming on his cheek. “But I thought—”

“This could be a place you can belong, hang with the boys?” The bartender shrugs. “Hell if I know why I even bother.”

“I tell you what. My feathers need some pruning…,” he looks at the bartender’s feet, “and your toenails have seen better days. No offense.”

“None taken.”

“Excellent. As it happens, there’s a spa nearby.”

“After you.”

Tonia Markou is a Greek-German polyglot and globetrotter with an unhealthy obsession for stationery, mugs, pajamas and Chuck Taylors. Her short fiction has appeared in Youth Imagination, Corvid Queen, little somethings press, Scarlet Leaf Review and Havok. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Medium at @toniawrites.

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