Friday, 23 March 2012

Hard Knock Life

(Flash fiction)   

    Smothered between stale, moist thighs, an afflicted, idiotic penis and an unclean fold of haemorrhoids, Neil's bollock suffered in existence, hanging in his sad sack alone and impoverished. His twin had been the lucky one. He'd been removed after an adolescent Neil had attempted some acrobatic manoeuvre which was intended to involve a skateboard and a hand-railing, but had in fact only involved a hand-railing and a previous brush with the law alongside the privileged son of the Doctor whose responsibility it would become to decide whether or not the offending bollock - which had receded to the much sunnier setting of Neil's stomach - should or should not be dethroned.
     He spent his days suffocating, numbed by soiled, mossy pants, soaking in the overdeveloped, reanimated refuse of Neil's rotting innards and various putrefactive stages of his own product. His surrounding scrotum was fortified by layer upon layer of the festering bodily discharges of strangers, as well as a residuum left by the unidentified seepage that sometimes bubbled from the all-but sealed-shut cavity that was Neil's buckled anus, staining its rear a filthy burnt-orange and punctuated only by a surgical scar. Indeed, it had for a time seemed that the only auspicious element of Neil's bollock's entire region was the once thriving population of parasitical organisms, but they, too, were stricken with plague and only a sluggish, mutated few remained.
     The Pluto abandoned on the outskirts of the circulatory system, Neil's bollock was depressed. Thankfully, however, he usually found himself knackered to a witless docility, blind to self awareness.
     Low vibrations ushered him towards a state of vague consciousness - Neil was in conversation. He had actual, real-life company. The muffled reverberating continued for some time at varying frequencies until, quite suddenly, it stopped. Neil's bollock sensed that Neil's retarded penis had perked up. Shortly thereafter he felt something caress his surrounding sack, gently ushering him about it, signifying that Neil was almost certainly about to partake in all manner of sexual atrocities. Then, as if out of nowhere... Serenity. He found himself aired, enlivened by the relief of nudity - an unwelcome quickening, for here, Neil's bollock knew, opened the gates of Hell. Wide awake and smashing against an unknown provocateur's swollen, outwardly hung prolapsed rectum, he began to charge all of his new found vigour to the conjuring of fictions and prayer; that Neil might not be too intoxicated, that this hell might not last too long. 
     Suicidal despair was partially doused by determined delusion - bathing in beautiful blue lagoons, swimming with dolphins, basking in meadows of unequivocal splendour - all of this took undiluted focus. The whole while it hammered at the wall of his figment - unyielding reality. He was squashed, bitten, chewed, stretched, kicked, clamped, stabbed, burnt and trampled on throughout this most hideous stop-start exchange of pathogens, until, finally, he got the order. Neil's gullible penis had been hard at work. Concentrating with clarity, purpose and accuracy was easy to him as he only had one thought - go - which he was either thinking or not thinking.
     It was time. One last agonising push. It was, after all, up to him to finish the job, to put this horrible affair behind him. He forced, squeezed, crushed, imploded himself as blood vessels burst all around leaving him shrivelled, utterly unable to reflate, and producing nothing more than a drip. Then it was over. He watched Neil's moronic penis wilt as his own cognisance dissolved, freeing him from the excruciating, acute distress of absoluteness.

The End

Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Half Man Half Debauchery - Daydreaming

Produced by Terra.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Aidan Fucking Moffat

(A short story written to be recorded as a skit between tracks on an album by Glasgow hip-hop bohemians THE BEING but was never used.)
     It wasn’t ‘til I noticed she was sat filling out one of those daft Myspace questionnaire bulletin things that I realised I really didn’t like her but just tolerated her because she looked good with her clothes off, and that with them on she was just a fashion accessory I wore to make me look good, which she did until she opened her mouth. She always had really poor circulation so whenever she climbed into bed she’d be freezing cold which, in hindsight, I maybe should’ve taken as some sort of allegory. I didn’t though, that would’ve been insane.
     But this was all before she started hitting out with all the ‘I’m so sorry’, ‘I never meant to hurt you’, ‘it wasn’t like that’, and the ‘I just needed somebody, he was there and you weren’t’ bullshit.
     Anyway, I seen her in the pub and we started arguing almost immediately, which ended with her telling me really specifically how sad I was and that I just pure thought I was Aidan fucking Moffat. Obviously, I had absolutely no idea what she meant by that but thought it best to act defensively, so I told her she was a horrible bastard and I hoped she’d rot inwards, at which point the guy she left me for burst my lip and I, in turn, burst out laughing. Then, I think, that’s when the kicker-outers asked me to leave, but as I did I had one of those wee accidental dances with some guy on his way in - you know the way you do when you try and pass each other but both go the same way two or three times, which could only’ve emphasised my stupor.
     The fresh air must’ve knocked me for six ‘cause save a vague recollection of shouting abuse at some screamers hanging out one of those embarrassing party limos, the next thing I know I’m in Mount Florida leaning against McNeill’s close door, which was fine because I really don’t mind losing a few hours - it’s the finding them again I’ve never been too keen on.
     So I set off back to Garnethill which is quite a walk by anyone’s standards, and by the time I got to Vicky Road there wasn’t a single soul or car to be seen anywhere, and I must’ve been in some strange mood because I decided to walk right down the middle of the road which gave me an amazing feeling of freedom or harmony or something, like I was a wee boy again, away on some Huck-Finn type adventure. I bit into my lip, reopening the burst, enjoying the taste of my blood like some nostalgic reminder of when I used to stick pennies in my mouth before I’d even started the school: I think it must be the iron in the blood that tastes like copper; weird how blood tastes like money. Then the police snuck up behind me with the window down and told me to get the fuck out the road.

The End

Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Last Draw

(flash fiction)

     Sat up in his girlfriends bed as she lay asleep beside him, Andy was careful not to wake her, working his magic in the dark. With a magazine across his lap he attentively stuck three cigarette papers together, emptied half a cigarette into them, spreading it evenly, took his lighter and his last joints-worth of hash, and began heating and sprinkling it over the open spliff, using caution not to burn his fingers and the light from the flame to guide his hand, until the piece of hash was too small to hold and burn.
     It was a tricky process, building a spliff in the dark, but one Andy had become accustomed to as his girlfriend, Roslyn, had nothing but disdain for what she considered a disgusting habit. She was a beautiful girl, and understanding. Andy had been unemployed for almost a full year and had been unofficially living with her rent-free for most of that time. She didn't mind that he spent most of his time playing on his skateboard, but she really didn't like that he couldn't sleep without a spliff before bed, and recently she'd been under a lot of pressure, what with cutbacks at work due to the financial climate. All Andy felt he could do to help was respect her wishes and not get caught doing what he wasn't supposed to be doing.
     He'd been planning to surprise her with a weekend away for some time, but had struggled to afford it given that he was on benefits and always had to make sure he wasn't without something to smoke. He was sure the gesture, however small, would mean a lot to her, just in letting her know how much she meant to him. After all, he hadn't planned on being unemployed indefinitely, but just couldn't seem to catch a brake. He considered either next week or the week after as he baked the very last of his hash - that being the most difficult part of building a spliff in the dark when there's only a spliffs-worth left, heating it up in order to crumble it in - he had to sit it on the magazine, hold his lighter upside down and blast it with the flame in a downward motion until it was hot enough to crumble it all in at once.
     The glow from the lighter gently warmed the shadows of the room as he thought, somewhat unrealistically, about a humble but romantic trip to the Ilse of Arran, just the two of them. He sucked in a tight half-lung full of air in apprehension of the blistering he was about to give his forefinger and thumb, but just as he was about to stop burning, the room was plunged in to darkness as he felt the spring in his lighter go and something bounce off the magazine. Panicked and blind from staring at the flame, he fumbled at the small piece of hash and the spliff, doing his best to finish the job, but froze for a second, noticing Roslyn beginning to stir. A moment later she shot upright, screaming.
"Calm down, sweetheart, Jesus, what's wrong?"
"My ear! My ear!"
She jumped out of bed, switched on the light and began banging the side of her head.
"What the fuck is this?" She held out her hand, brandishing the cog from his lighter. "How the hell did this get in my ear, you useless bag of dicks!"
Andy had held the lighter upside down for too long and the flame had melted the plastic which held the cog in place, then the spring which pressed the flint against the cog had fired the cog, roasting hot, against the magazine which it rebouded off and shot directly in to Roslyn's ear. Her eyes broadened, changing from rage to disbelief as she looked at him sitting there with his mouth open and a half-rolled spliff in his hands.
"You know what, that's the last straw! Here's your stuff, take your precious dope and get the fuck out of my life before you completely ruin it!" She threw his jeans and shoes at him, grabbed him by the arm and led him out the door, slamming it behind him.
Andy stood outside in his boxer shorts and t-shirt, holding his jeans and shoes in one hand and his half-rolled spliff in the other, wondering where he was going to find a lighter.
The End

Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Great Search for Absolution

(a short story) 

                                Jon Horner

Propping up the bar were the Batman and his alcoholic, HIV positive friend, Count Dracula. The pair had been there all day, and Batman had come to thinking he must be looking good, comparatively, what with all the smiles he'd been getting from the barmaid.
"What're you looking so pleased about?" Asked Dracula.
"Nothing." Replied Batman, smugly, as he shuffled uncomfortably, having found his suit chaffed since he'd let himself go. The pair returned to their usual silence, despondently staring blankly into nothingness, until Batman rolled his eyes and sighed, noticing Robin dragging over a stool.
"Hi guys!" Said the Boy Wonder, gleefully, only to receive a half-grimace in return. Awkwardly hovering, he stood feeling unwelcome until, having managed to get the barmaid's attention, he perked up.
"Hi there, can I have a bottle of your house red, a pint of Guinness, and let me see… oh, I'll have a cherry Bacardi Breezer, please?"
"Have you got any ID?" Asked the rather attractive young barmaid, embarrassing Robin who nervously fumbled about his waist. Batman smirked to himself, and once again caught the barmaid glance him a smile.
"It's in my other trunks." Said Robin, sheepishly.
"I'm sorry, but I can't serve you without ID. Sorry."
"I'll vouch for him, I'm his legal guardian. He is honestly eighteen." Said Batman, trying to impersonate his long forgotten charismatic alter ego, Bruce Wane.
"I'd still need to see some proof of age. Sorry."
"I'm Batman, he's Robin. What more proof could there be?"
"I'm sorry, but I'd need to see some ID."
"Look, I'm really sorry, but it's the law."
"The law? Are you insane? You think that I, the goddamn Batman, am going to show you, a barmaid, my identification? Like Commissioner fucking Gordon hasn't already tried that?"
"OK, if you're going to continue to talk like that I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to…"
"Please, it's no big deal, I'll just have a can of Top-Deck and these two can get their own. He must've just had a bad day or something, I'm sure he wont talk to you like that again, will you?" Pleaded Robin, having turned to his mentor.
"No!" Replied the bleary-eyed Batman, looking down into his almost empty pint.
"How many glasses would you like with the wine?" Sighed the barmaid.
"Just the one, thanks." Said an almost oblivious Dracula.
"So, any good crime fighting tonight Robin?" Asked Batman, sarcastically.
"Nah… redirected some traffic. Before the filth got there, anyway. There was an accident this end of the A77. No one injured. I saw this guy take some kicking up Sauchiehall Street, though. If it'd gotten any worse I'd've jumped in but, well, you know… there were quite a lot of them and he totally deserved it." Said Robin as he sat down, pulling his cape across and down over his lap, just as a girl would her skirt if it were too short. "How you doing Count? Any joy with the medication yet?"
"Nah, the problem's with my blood. It's different on account of my being… Ha! Account…A Count? Never mind. My bloods different 'cause I'm a vampire, so the medication doesn't work. Pain in the bloody... Sorry, that's not funny either. But I mean things just really aren't cool anymore, you know? If I'd known things were going to end up like this…" Said Dracula having just gotten started.
"Yeah, I hear you. Times are tough." Interrupted Robin, regretting having asked.
"No, I'm serious. I'd've never gotten into this whole 'immortal vampire' thing if I'd known. I mean, bloody Norah! The last time I killed someone was so long ago I can barely remember it. And I got twenty-odd years because of dental records and DNA or whatever. Twenty years? Just for having a bite to eat?"
"You were out in ten minutes, and that's not even because you're a bloody vampire and could've easily escaped anytime you pleased. It's because the criminal justice system in this country is an absolute shambles." Said Batman.
"How, exactly, was I to escape from jail? As far as I can see you're the only numpty around here who thinks he's a fucking bat. And believe me, no matter how long someone might live, seven years is never ten minutes."
"Did you know that human DNA is 97% identical to that of a banana?" Added Robin, attempting to distract his friends before they fell out.
"Oh, shut up you pathetic little prick. Sick to the stomach listening to your drivel!" Said Batman, even more bitterly than usual.
"That's just… that's just not on and you know it! I've just got here two seconds ago and already you're… It's not my fault criminals aren't scared of 'The Batman' anymore! It's not my fault you're a big fat alcoholic! Maybe if you stopped getting photographed staggering home covered in your own vomit while everyone else is on their way to work, at least then people wouldn't be able to see your lumpy bits through your Lycra! I mean, give me strength, that trout Vale wrote one article calling you a bloated pederast and you've been pond life ever since. And by the way, you've got a massive bogey hanging from your nose!" Said Robin.
"Aw what, man… and I thought the barmaid fancied me! Why didn't you say?" Said Batman having turned to Dracula, wiping his nose with his cape.
"You have the luxury of mirrors, take advantage of that now and again." Said Dracula. "And eh, speaking of bananas, Banana-man was in here the other day."
"Pfft… Banana-man. That'll be right!" Said Batman.
"But Eric isn't old enough to be in here?" Said Robin.
"He was on the red-bull." Said Dracula, before everyone once again fell quite silent. Time slowed as Robin looked around his shadow-stained surroundings, wondering what it was that these two, at one time, gods among men, found so comforting in such a horribly grim place of squaler.
"I'm just pissed off with the whole world today in general, you know?" Dracula began again. "I can't even go to a seedy nightclub without being splashed all over the tabloids the next morning. I'll just be heading back to the coffin and already I'm destined for the front page of The Sun. It's not on, it really isn't, and, well, personally I blame the Devil. It's all his fault things ended up the way they are."
"I heard that!" Shouted The Devil from a table up the back of the pub.
"Speak of the bloody Devil, right enough." Muttered Dracula.
"He's been sat back there all night." Said Batman.
"Shit, I…I think he's… he's coming over!" Stuttered a now very panicked Robin.
"Don't worry, it's cool, he's a nice enough guy when you get to know him. Just let me do the talking, he and I go way back." Started Dracula. "Hey Satan, sorry mate, didn't see you over there, how's tricks?"
"Aye, Aye, very good. And I suppose Hitler was my fault an' all?" Asked the Devil. Everyone fell awkwardly silent for a moment before Batman botched an attempt at changing the subject.
"So, anyone been watching Celebrity Big Brother?"
"I bloody well knew it!" Exasperated the Devil. "Ok, I'll admit the guy was good for business but other than that I had nothing to do with the mental bastard. Well, apart from obviously setting the horrible fucker ablaze for all eternity, but, 'oh no, never mind that! It's all the Devils fault! Of course it is!' If you really need someone to blame, blame that delusional gob-shite Nostradamus. It was him put the idea in the mad bugger's head in the first place, not me."
"But we saw him in here just last week." Said Dracula.
"Who, Nostradamus?" Asked the Devil.
"No, not Nostradamus. Hitler. He was sat over there by the pool table, drinking with Elvis."
"You need your eyes tested, pal, that was Chaplin and Wolverine. Trust me, both Hitler and Elvis are well and truly damned." Insisted the Devil.
"Fair do's. So who's that you're drinking with tonight, Satan?" Asked Batman, looking back at an overweight, middle-aged man with thick grey hair, bushy grey eyebrows, very shaky hands and big wet lips.
"Oh, that's an old friend. He's just after telling me about this dream he had where he was sentenced to death for attempted suicide. Interesting guy but he's a bit odd." Answered the Devil. Then catching the barmaids eye. "Hey toots, I'll have a your phone number, all today's takings, a triple Ardbeg - no ice, a bottle of Mountain Due, and whatever these three are having." Another short silence was interrupted as the Devil received everything he'd just asked for, then noticing Robin spying him nervously from the corner of his mask. "Pleased to meet you, I'm the Devil." Satan offered out his hand in friendship.
"Hello Mr the Devil, I'm…" Robin reached to meet the Devils handshake, only to find Batman calmly blocking the way.
"Robin, are you really so foolish as to shake hands with the Devil? No offence, Satan."
"None taken."
"I mean, come on, boy. Most people, such as our unfortunate friend Dracula here - No offence, Dracula."
"None taken."
"- Are at least sensible enough to barter some outrageous agreement before handing over their eternal soul to damnation. I know we're all friends here but, come on, you should know by now to keep your wits about you when drinking in a fine establishment such as this. I mean it's no surprise they call you The Boy Wonder, your head's in the bloody clouds."
"Sorry, I didn't think."
"Don't be too hard on yourself, wee man." Began the Devil, cheerily. "You'd be surprised how many a nobleman's fallen for that old chestnut. Anyway, my friend'll be waiting but I'll be back in a bit. Bye for now."
Despite being in the company of friends, Robin once again found himself alone enough for his eyes to wander.
There was the Devil and his friend sat at the table nearest the back. Then at a table a few in from them sat a group of four unremarkable looking young men of various heights and builds, all of whom must have been in their early thirties. They laughed and argued amongst themselves as only life-long friends could. Then, at the table closest the door there was a very odd group of eight, who, despite seeming to frequent the place as often as most of the staff, kept themselves to themselves more than anyone. The most noticeable of whom was a very beautiful girl who never left her boyfriends side, even walking arm in arm to and from the toilets. There were the two pensioners, one of whom seemed an intellectual type, the other a jailbird complete with a facial scar and tattooed tears. Next was a very unhealthy looking, buck-toothed young man who was clearly in desperate need of a good bath, a very energetic, spotty youngster who couldn't have been any older than Robin was, and a very bland looking man of an indescript age who seemed to bore anyone within earshot to tears. Last of all sat a very, very strange looking man who at a glance wasn't even visible, seeming to be almost completely transparent like a hologram, who only ever caught the attention of the old criminal looking man. Robin sat watching for a while, trying to fathom what might be the purpose in having your own personal hologram, especially if you had to adhere to its every command, as the case seemed to be here.
After having pondered the pros and cons of holograms, Robin's attention was brought back to the well being - or not - of his old friend and father figure, Batman, having noticed him now absentmindedly drooling on himself. Robin gently nudged his sensei, hoping to arouse him from his near comatose state, only to find that Batman was not at all insensible, but just as unforgiving as ever.
"When will you realise that you're not wanted!" Robin quickly thought on his feet, needing something agreeable to say.
"No, sorry, it's just since they weren't happy about serving me I thought I'd give you the money and you could, you know, get a round in for me?"
"Oh, yeah, is it your round again already?" A twenty pound note was discretely exchanged, and while Batman got the drinks in, Robin heard something very out of place - a gentle song passed behind him.
"True love will find you in the end… You'll find out just who was your friend…" Then having looked, saw it was the Devil's friend making his way to the door. Not being used to such obvious optimism, Robin felt uneasy and slowly turned back to face the bar where he found the Devil had again joined them, with his arm around Dracula's shoulder, comforting him.
"Don't worry, big man, we all make mistakes. God knows, I've made mine." Said the Devil, but Dracula looked tearful as he poured the last of his wine, eyeing the approach of another bottle.
"So what do you think'll happen to you, Dracula? I mean, what with your health an' all?" Asked Robin, genuinely concerned.
"Well, if I'm staked and/or beheaded I'll go to hell. If not, I'll just continue to rot inwards until I'm crippled and all I can do is regret. Then eventually there'll be nothing physical left of me at all. Nothing but regret. Regret and guilt. The rest'll've rotted away and my conscience'll just lie wherever my body lay, awake but unable to do anything but suffer my own failings. Not too dissimilar to the dead-weight feeling of a broken heart except a thousand times worse, that and nothing else for all eternity." Said Dracula, disillusioned.
"Hell would be exactly the same only instead of just lying there you'd be on fire." Said the Devil, trying to reassure his friend.
"But I don't get it. If you two are friends then why…" Started Robin, not having noticed Batman rummaging around his utility belt, producing a small plastic bottle and pouring its contents out onto a scrunched up bundle of his cape. Batman sat looking directly at Robin until Robin noticed, then grabbing him in a head-lock, Batman smothered Robin with the damp patch of his cape for a few seconds, rendering him unconscious.
"Chloroform." Said Batman.
"Good thinking, Batman!" Cheered the Devil.
"Sounded to me like the boy might've had a point." Said Dracula.
"Ucht, we are friends, Dracula, but business is business and, you know, life goes on." Said the Devil.
"And on and on and on and on." Began Dracula. "There should be some kind of extenuating circumstances clause or whatever… a mitigating cause. I wasn't of sound mind when I signed that contract. There should be a union that takes care of this sort of thing."
"Yeah, you should get yourself down the Citizens Advise Bureau." Said the Devil, mocking Dracula's declaration. "And anyway, let's not forget that death's a privilege I earned you people in the first place. It's not my fault you thought better of it."
"But if you're intention was such a humanitarian one then why pop up at such an opportune moment brandishing your 'get out of jail free card'?" Said Dracula, as if hurt. "I mean it's fine for everyone else, they've infinite ways to die and the hope of Heaven. I'm completely goosed."
"Ok, so you're fucked as far as Heaven goes but trust me, it's not all it's cracked up to be. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's just plain boring, and what do you mean 'infinite ways to die'? People don't go around wanting a piano to fall on their head, it's a lucky dip... or not. You get what you're given, you die, you go up or down and that's the end of it. For most people, anyway." Said the Devil.
"Anything's got to be better than being beheaded or staked through the bloody heart." Said Dracula, sulking.
"Hmm…" Pondered the Devil. "Ok, lets say, just for talking's sake, you could choose. How would you want to go?"
Dracula turned for a second to see his friend Batman almost fall from his stool without even seeming to notice as his elbow slipped from the bar, then answered.
"With my heart in one piece. I mean, bloody Hell, if you'd successfully managed to take over Heaven we wouldn't even be here and I wouldn't be in this Godforsaken mess!"
"Godforsaken? Don't you talk to me about Godforsaken! And I never even tried to take over Heaven, you silly bastarding twat! That's pure propaganda. All I did was ask God if he were capable of building a chasm so great that even he couldn't jump it, and the pretentious prick threw me out!" Insisted the now irate Devil, rubbing his left arm then clutching his chest and screwing up his face.
"Heart burn?" Asked Batman.
"Nah, it's… Aw bollocks…" Started the Devil before collapsing to the ground with a thud. Batman and Dracula sat perturbed.
"Did he just have a heart attack?" Asked Dracula.
"As unlikely as it might seem, I think maybe he did." Answered Batman. Just then, up jumped the Devil.
"Sorry about that, lads. Happens all the time. Too much salt in the diet, red meat, that sort of thing. Pain in the arse, though. Every time it happens all my ongoing agreements become null and void. Loose a bloody fortune." Explained the Devil, looking even more red than usual.
"What?" Asked Batman.
"You know, stress. That and lifestyle. And work, of course. I mean the money's good but the hours are terrible. Look, there's really no need for anyone else to know about this, is there?"
"Hold on, rewind a bit. 'Null and void'?" Said the now wide-eyed Count Dracula.
"No, no. Not yours. I mean if you'd just wanted to play a mean guitar you'd be off the hook but you're a vampire, and not just any vampire. You're top-boy vampire. You're fucked, sorry mate." Dracula sank even further into himself before Satan continued. "Honestly, Hell isn't all that bad. After a thousand years or so you wont even notice you're on fire anymore, and there's women down there. Women like you wouldn't believe. A lot of interesting characters. It's way more fun than up there with all those clean living goodie-two-shoes. Once you're acclimatized, that is." Dracula seemed unconvinced.
"There's really no point worrying about it now." Began Batman. "I mean, the hung-over moments of cognizance between waking up and getting to the pub are surely bad enough."
"Hangovers? You still get hangovers?" Asked Dracula.
"Well, no, but you know what I mean. When you're not properly drunk yet." Said Batman.
Just then Robin began to stir. Everyone watched as he came to.
"…What... what the bloody hell did you do that for?" Asked Robin.
"Too many questions, Robin, too many questions. An inquisitive mind is an annoying mind. You'd do well to remember that. And watch your language." Said Batman.
"Ok, so if questions are so daft then riddle me this, Batman. What's the deal with that guy over there?" Asked Robin, pointing towards the hologram-looking person. Batman shrugged, smugly grinning up one side of his mouth as if to imply 'who cares' bravado.
"He's a ghost." Answered the Devil.
"There's no such thing as ghosts." Said Robin. Everyone gawped at Robin, amazed, finding what he'd just said surpassed all levels of idiocy previously assumed.
"Robin, wee man, you're sat drinking with Count Dracula and the Devil. What do you mean there's no such thing as ghosts?" Said Batman.
"Ok. So how do you know he's a ghost?" Asked Robin.
"Because I'm the Devil. And because it's obvious, just look at the guy, you can see right through him, he's quite clearly a ghost." The Devil turned to Batman. "This boy isn't going to do your legacy any favours."
"He has a lot to learn, I admit. Besides, neither am I, at present." Said Batman.
"Hold on a second. So how come, if I'm not mistaken, I mean, we see those guys in here all the time, right? And only one of them even knows that see-through guy's there?" Asked Robin.
"Evidently, that's the guy he's haunting." Answered the Devil.
"But we can all see him. Any one of us could just waltz over there and start up a conversation with him, couldn't we?" Asked Robin.
"Shit, yeah, that is strange. I mean, of course I should be able to see him but there's no reason you should. What about you Count, can you normally see ghosts?" Asked the Devil.
"I cant even see my own reflection." Answered Dracula, without having bothered to look. After a short baffled pause the Devil started humbly.
"Well I guess the only explanation I can offer is that he belongs to a completely different fiction than you, where different rules apply."
"Oh. It's rubbish being fictional." Said Robin.
"It has its perks, I'm sure." Said the Devil. Just then the barmaid rang the bell and called last orders.
"One for the road, gents, it's on me?" Said the Devil, to which there was a resounding grumble of agreement. "Another day, another dollar, and all that. Chin up guys, things could be worse, trust me."
"Ha! Trust you. You're right, though. Things could always be worse. Get Robin something strong, will you? He deserves it, putting up with me."
"Consider it done. Better drink fast, though, don't want big Superman out there getting his knickers in a twist."
"Superman." Batman said, despairing. "He's not super, nor is he a man. He's an alien."
"He's a dickhead is what he is." Said Robin, prompting his three elders into laughter.
"Robin, I wont tell you again about your language." Smirked Batman as their drinks arrived. Satan held his glass up to Robin's and Robin turned to Batman for guidance.
"It's fine, you can raise your glass. As far as I'm aware, anyway."
"You're OK in my book, wee man." Said the Devil. They cheersed and the Devil put his glass to his lips but stopped short of taking a drink so's to watch Robin's reaction to a hard scotch, as did Batman and Dracula. The young crime fighter took it in his stride, and Batman ruffled his hair with pride. "I think maybe we were both wrong about this one, Batman. He'll do just fine when it's time to take over the old cape and cowl. Don't you agree?"
"I do. He's made of the right stuff, and carries less baggage than I did when I started out. A lot less. He'll do just fine, alright." Just then Superman came in.
"Start finishing up your drinks and making your way outside, please folks!" The Kryptonian shouted with an air of superiority. Batman smirked and they all started giggling.
"Alright boys, shall we neck these then someone can toss a coin for who's gaff we're heading back to?" Said Batman. Everyone gulped down what they had left and stood up, adjusting themselves.
"We can just head back to mine, it's closest." Said Dracula.
"Do we need to phone Dial-a-Booze?" Asked the Devil as they all made their way to the door.
"Nah, I keep the best cellar in town." Answered Dracula.

                                                Erin McGrath

Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.