The Old Reality Bar & Grill: December 25, 2014

by Paige Turner

Copyright© 2015 by Paige Turner

Time Travel Story: Christmas Day, 2014. The Earl of Detroit introduces his daughter Jessica to HRH Lucky Lucy, Empress of the Eight Known Universes. A wee bit of cultural shock for Jessica. And the rest of the folks in Earl's bar.

Tags: Science Fiction   Time Travel   Aliens  

A scrungy old neighborhood bar in Detroit barely hanging on by its fingertips financially with a half a dozen or so neighborhood people having a drink and talking about how boring life seems these days. All the kids got their faces buried in their god damn electronics all the time and the skinny gawky fourteen year old black girl looks up from her computer and gives them a 'little do you old farts know about any of this stuff' look and goes back to her book report and from her school books and notes she's doing her home work and her daddy owns the place and they have an apartment upstairs and own the building, which is why that bar can actually stay in enough business to continue putting a roof over their heads. This is not a rich family and it's just the guy and his kid and she's studying and listening to the adults talk about what's wrong with the kids today with their faces always buried in those boxes and don't they ever get out and have any fun anymore? Kid looks long and hard at the lady running her mouth, but chasing her daddy's customers out is not a good thing to do, and she damn well knows it too. If the bar had more customers, she'd damn well give that lady talking out her ass a piece of her mind, but no, just be cool, Jessica, don't go stirring up no trouble and she pulls her American Civic's homework out and starts reading.

"What they got you studying now, little girl?"

"About a bunch of crackers fighting to keep people like us niggers, daddy."


"Well, I'm supposed to do a book report or something in our video class about this shit and I ain't got nothing good to say about any of them and Miss Tomlinson wants us to write some kind of short story or film treatment, and I sure don' t know nothing about that."

"You think that's something you'd like to be doing for the rest of your life? I see you watching all those old shows and I was wondering about what you saw in them old shows you're always looking at. What's up with that Rochester and Jack Benny kick you been on so hot these last fee weeks? All I see you do at night is watch that old stuff. I mean, seriously, Jessica. Rochester and Buckwheat and Amos N' Andy. What do you see in them old Steppin Fetchet characters?"

"Whose Steppen Fetchit?"

"Oh, another long ago colored comedian. Should have heard Wilson. That guy could have really made it, I think. Had a hell of a role on the show. Played the cook in the Confederate Solider Rescue commercial. Still wearing his old Army stuff and still had his tag on. Said it didn't matter, did it? Unit director said, "Hey, so he's Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Meanest Menace, let him be, he's got good instincts for a line and that ad lib to that crack about 'you really dumb enough to shoot the cook before he cooks you dinner? Man, no wonder you stupid crackers lost the war.' That line just about made me laugh out loud literally, but I sucked it up. Buttercup and didn't blow the take. Hell of a nice piece of work. Gives me a thrill even today, he just flat out nailed that role and mean as a snake most of the time in real life, course, that was only when he had to be, real gentleman, too. Glad to shine his size nineteens any day of the week, man was a credit to his race, I tell you."

"You're funny sometimes, daddy."

"Only sometimes? You forget your dad is a certified graduate of clown college? Of course I better damn well be funny, you don't be getting no laughs, it's kind of the kiss of death in that business, baby girl." She gives him a shy 'wearing braces' smile and he goes down to pull another beer out of the tap.

This is the Reality Bar and Grill on Christmas Day, 2014. It's a sad little bar with a few neighborhood regulars that come down to bitch and moan and hang out together and it's basically a place where these mid forties to mid fifties, some even older than that drop in once in a while and the camera walks around the room and looks at stuff in the bar and nothing is happening in this place except the muttering and conversations typical of such places and as far as 'dead' goes, this place is pretty much a dying bar in a dying town and the guy tending bar is hoping to get his kid started out okay in life and she's sitting her ass down and doing her home work and looking thing up on the net and making notes and finally closes her notebook computer and looks at her notes. The guy comes back down to the end of the bar where the last stool is next to the wall and beyond that is the hallway to the rest rooms as is made clear as someone comes down the hall and says Hi Jessica and she looks up and says hi back. She's not a babe, she's a gawky girl with braces and big circular gold rimmed glasses and she's really pretty much a geek kind of kid. So her dad asks if she's figured out what she's going to do about this homework assignment that he's not really sure about exactly what it is that her teachers are expecting from her. She says she's going to look up missing Confederate troops who served out on the frontier. He was there, he should be able to help her figure this out, right? Guy looks at his kid.

"You sure you're really ready to be hearing that story?"

She looks at him. "Yes, daddy."

He looks at her and thinks for a minute. "You sure now?"

"Yeah, I'm sure."

"Okay, let me go get a drink, I don't think I want to be talking about this without a drink in my hand, okay?" She nods. He goes down to the back bar and reaches way back under the counter and up comes a bottle of Boris. He looks at a minute, sighs, gets down a shot glass, considers it, goes, "Hell, no, I might have been young and stupid at one time, but let's not go pissing this one away. Last bottle of Boris in the entire world, and I'm not going to be cheapening up with your sorry assed excuse for a glass." So he goes back and opens a drawer and pulls a box out of it and wanders back down to the end of the bar and there is a stool on his side of the bar and he sits on it and looks at the box, looks at the bottle, looks at his daughter, who's got a really intensely interested look on her face and up atop the bar is something of a curiosity to see in an old mirror back bar room bar. The walls in this place are all made of blue mirrors from table height up. You look across the tables in the place and most of the wall tables have this blue mirror stuff on them that might have been the cat's pajama's in the thirties, but that was eighty five freaking years ago and it's passed into passé along with the Mighty Wurlitzer with the bubble tubes sitting over there unplugged gathering dust. Sometimes you have to really put the scene in context and this kid doing homework in this dreary bar on this particular night seems even more sad because it's Christmas. The art work on the walls has been looked at as the camera wandered around and Unit Taffy 3 people stare out of old pictures and there sure was a lot of people in this group of people, and they are all wearing T shirts and grinning like they had just gotten away with something. There is a picture hanging up on the wall at the end of the bar of Jack and this blond. Actually Jack and a whole lot of blondes, but this group of four people are two guys and two girls and another woman in the middle and they all have their arms around each other and "Jack and the Clones and the Real Deal', hugs and kisses, Unit Taffy 3, Detroit. World Game Detroit, January 3-September 15th, 2015. Time Travelers Local 1, Detroit Michigan, Detroit 2015, and the Crew of the City of Detroit, say hi. The guy takes it down where it's hung forever and wipes it off.

"Baby girl, I told you I'd tell you this story about this photo when the time was right, and I guess it being Christmas day and all, there ain't much I can get out of doing here about putting you off about telling Unit Stories. I know you always wondered about what's a guy like me doing in a silly bar polishing glasses and serving beer to a bunch of people who don't have anywhere else to go, but this is some serious shit here and it being pretty close to kick off time, i might as well tell you about how it came to be that I got this job laid on me. You know I'm not from around here, originally, right? Just a few too many stories that didn't add up, and you don't have to go lying to me, I can pretty much see that you figured out there is a bit of stuff I'm pretty reluctant to talk about with you about. I know this old Unit stuff I keep hanging on the walls don't mean anything to you, and it's just a bunch of old photos with all this silly 2015 stuff put on them, but this is what it is, child, and I don't really know how to tell you this, but the fact is, I was born on The City of Detroit, which isn't in Detroit: It's a ship named after this City. You'll be seeing some of these people when they get here, but you don't go mentioning I mentioned that fact to you, okay? Simply because none of those people need to be hearing about that ship pulling in. It'll get here when it gets here, but it's all about to begin again and I should start telling you about some of the shit that's about to go down around this dive bar out in the middle of nowhere in this Rust Belt sad assed excuse for a town. And with that choice bit of Zen mysticism, I should explain how these pictures happen to be hanging in this bar just happen to have all these dates out of the future on them. You see, I'm the Unit Taffy 3 advance man."

Kid looks at her dad, dad sighs heavily. Picks up the bottle and cracks the seal on it. Then he opens up this velvet covered box and reaches in and out of the thing come a big huge goblet that looks like a king should be willing to pay for what it cost, but not what you see on sale at Walmart. He picks up the Bottle of Boris and smiles at it. Kid is looking at her old man kind of differently. Her dad is a bartender and they simply don't drink during working hours and this is a huge and very expensive looking glass. He picks up the bottle of booze that nobody has ever seen before, but knew he was keeping for a special occasion, but other than his daughter, nobody noticed him getting out the box and the bottle as they were all busy talking about something else and he's just dialed them out and it's he and his kid and he's about to open up to her about something. He picks up the bottle and takes a drink and savers it, rolls it around on his tongue and smiles blissfully at the taste and finally after a couple of more really sensual passes over the palette, down the hatch it goes. He grabs a couple of shot glasses and pours them both full and picks up one and hands it across the bar to his kid and she looks at it and her dad pick up his, and looks at it and seems like this is a 'vodka ad moment' but the damn glass has highlights and points of light radiating in big star burst ad age special picture quality to sell booze highly polished odd way. The two look at each other, the old man raises his voice and says, "'Taffy 3, Taffy 3, the only cross time unit that never would be, good old taffy three, taffy three, only cross time unit that ever went free was good old taffy three, taffy three, only cross time unit that never would be, is good old taffy three.' Down the hatch kiddo, one big go!" And he slams it back and shakes. "Whoo wee! Hey, any of your asses want a drink of the really good stuff? It being Christmas and all, what the hell, Taffy 3 be coming to town, I guess I can pop for a few rounds and it won't break the bank. Drinks are officially on the house for the rest of the night and get your asses down here, I'm about to tell my kid war stories about the Unit, so the rest of you pecker heads listen up. Anyone of you who can identify who this lady is? The one right there?"

"Yeah, she's the one on the left's non identical twin, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean."

"Well, she's actually Paris Hilton. For real. And she's going to be coming in this bar one night and you don't be getting in her face or I'll eighty six your sorry ass, you hear? You need some bullshit excuse to go trying and be putting your hand in her pocket, you die a fool. Jessica, go get down the rest of the pictures from the wall. Take your time and get them all, okay? I got to go get me some stuff out of the cellar, so when you get them, give me a hand behind the bar handing stuff up, okay?"

"Sure daddy."

And off down the wall she goes, and these guys in the photos are all grinning like they won the Irish Sweepstakes or the Lotto of all Lotto prizes and she'd wondered about them for years. She puts the pictures on the bar and they start looking at them and someone picks up a bar napkin and dips a bit of water out of a glass and wipes them and everyone goes, "I always wondered about those dates on those thing, but some stupid thing Earl was always saying he'd tell us those stories about those old days when the time is right and I guess he better be getting his ass on the ball, it's only a week away until January 3."

Actually it is six days, but that doesn't really matter that much, it's December 25, 2015, and old Earl is about to tell his friends about those pictures. The kid is behind the bar and passing things up from down in the trap door cellar where he keeps his booze in boxes and the kid can see her old man pulling boxes out of the way and hauling out boxes of stuff and some he'd shove aside after checking tags on them and man, where the hell did he ever come up with this stuff? Anvil road cases with combination locks and old guitar cases with labels from all over hell and creation and finally he finds a box with silver looks like cell phone and he spends some time looking through them for one that works, but al the batteries are dead in them.


"Yeah, right, Jessica, I ain't got time for this shit. Only god damn time traveler in this town and I simply don't have time for this looking around shit. Fuck it, it's Christmas and I ain't got fucking time for this shit." he mutters as he looks through this collection of junk down there under the bar. The scene jumps down to his level and there are a few boxes of booze that are sitting on their side and behind that is a whole hell of a lot of stuff that sure as hell shouldn't be down there! A truck? A truck with some kind of cannon made out of this big huge-enough-to-take-a-person cannon tube is laying next to the dusty old weird looking vehicle with Klown Kops Need Payola Too! Jack for Governor! sticker pasted on it with Jack for King of the Klowns! also being on the plank bumpers on this odd little V 8 powered hot rod down under the bar's floor. There is even an old red Kelvinator refrigerator down there lying on the dirt floor behind the odd little car that seems more dune buggy meets Barnum and Bailey school of hot rodding. The bar tender looks out at this stuff sitting out there on the dirt floor in the basement under his bar and something isn't right here, but since you already know this place isn't actually in existence, we're just talking story here and dig the systematic visuals being offered.

"Daddy? Mrs. Fletcher is asking for another drink."

Okay, this searching for stuff ain't going too well, "Just hand her the bottle and wish her Merry Christmas pumpkin."

"The whole bottle?" Like the old man has flipped out: A bartender giving away booze is an ex bartender pretty damn quickly out of business. Her daddy sells the stuff and he's often said how sad it was she didn't have nothing to do with her crummy life but sit down at his bar and get half way loaded each night, and sometimes he'd had to actually walk her home, which isn't any big deal, she lives a half a block away and snow and ice doesn't stop her, but when it gets really treacherous out, Earl always walks her home to make sure she always makes it home okay and that's just the way her daddy is, always looking out for people, but handing out a full bottle of Stoli to the old lush? And what did you get me for Christmas? Not been a very good year and her daddy going stupid on her over Christmas? She'd seen her before other holidays and a bigger loser she's never seen before, sure lucky her dead husband worked at Fisher Body all those years and she's sitting fat dumb and happy on his pension, only she ain't all that happy. Okay, her old man is going soft in the head, but as long as he's going to be explaining about how come all those old photographs hanging on the walls of all those mostly white people is so big a deal to her old man, so the kid gets the bottle and hands it over to the lady and mutters, "Daddy said Merry Christmas Mrs Fletcher."

And the lady says thanks and is very surprised. Earl gets out of the cellar and has a box of the silver phones and another box sits inside of that box of phones. He seems pretty please with himself for some reason. He looks across the bar, sees people passing the framed pictures around and sees the ornate frame with nothing in it and smiles and picks it up. Everyone is commenting on the old pictures and where they are from and now they are looking at Earl all sitting along the bar and this is getting interesting. Earl smiles at them, then picks up the bottle of Boris and pour the big expensive goblet full of the savored stuff. He's going to really just drink all that booze that he'd made such a gigantic deal out of saving for the 'right occasion.' This seems to be it and everyone has their glasses full and Earl pulls down more shot glasses and with the very last of the bottle, fills the last glass and pass them out to all the people there, including his kid.

"All right, I promised you some day I'd explain all those pictures and since it's the last Christmas and all before 2015, I guess this is the right time for Boris, so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you a toast to Unit Taffy 3, named after the most ungodly odds any American task force ever had to face and how the hell they ever got away with what they did, I'll never know, but they did. Taffy 3 faced really bad odds and pulled the Army's chestnuts out of the fire that day and pretty much saved the United States from a huge defeat. You people will be meeting people from Taffy 3 this year and this old bar ain't going to be open at this time next year, so this is kind of my way of saying good bye to the old times we shared and hello to the new times we'll be all sharing and having a whole hell of a lot more fun doing than we've all been doing so far this year. Taffy 3!"

And he raises his magnificent worth a fortune looking fancy goblet and starts drinking it down like it was water and even in the middle of sipping this extra special bottle of carefully never opened booze, which they are savoring, Earl is just calmly chugging away and when he reaches the bottom, he stops and lowers his glass and sets it down with a smile and everyone sipping on this stuff is simply stunned that this black bartender everyone knew didn't drink has just chug a lugged over half a fifth and this is a bit of slightly dropped jaws. Earl smiles and say, 'Bet you never saw me chug one down like that before, eh? Come on, drink up, I'm going to do a magic trick or two to get worked up a little, so drink up."

"Man, I think I already saw your first magic trick Earl, You still standing after that bit of stupidity!"

"Bill, no, you haven't seen magic yet. I had a customer one time who'd go through forty or fifty cases of that stuff a night. Bought a hell of a lot of rounds for the house, but forty or fifty bottles? No, forty or fifty cases of this stuff Your thinking that only a fool would buy so much booze and just give it away, but he also went through cases of gin, box cars full of beer and as a matter of fact, the guy threw a five day party right here in this city we're standing in right now and if you didn't have money, you got to eat, drink whatever you wanted, it was on the house."

These folks are looking at this guy flat out 'what the hell are you talking about fool?' This guy runs a barely hanging on bar in a town with dying industry and no jobs and he's passing out bottles of booze? He grins back at them. As far as 'sizing up an audience' goes, this guy knows he's got them in the palm of his hand and as long as he wants to talk, they are more than into sitting right there and drink his booze and everyone's covered, so let's hear this story of your's Earl. He gives a little 'hee hee' laugh and then stands up. This is a guy who has seen some shit in his time, but they haven't ever seen this guy like this before. He's just radiating 'I know something that you guys don't' and they are hooked. You could shut off the booze and they'd still sit there and listen and he knows it too. The photos on the wall are finally going to be talked about? Okay, they're damn good and well hooked and he winks at his kid, who's slightly awed by this side of her dad she's never seen before.

He pick up a cell phone from out of the box and goes, "Here, Merry Christmas, Gang, meet iPhone X. Just say whatever you want to, just go down the row and say who you are and iPhone X will pick it up and figure out who you are. I said I'd do a magic trick for you guys tonight, and I plan on doing just that."

They look at each other, okay, this is a trick, sure, we'l humor him, and having decided to humor the guy with these odd phones with the funny kind of back, that has this sort of X on it, but it's more like the X is made of four arrow points coming together in the middle. Earl pulls the next box out of the box of dusty cell phones and passes over a bar rag to people can clean the dirt off of their phones. "Why you been keeping these things downstair, Earl?"

"They don't work."

"Why on earth you keeping a bunch of funny looking phones that don't work, Earl?"

"Well, Unit Pixie 3 shut down the service when The City of Detroit left. Couldn't do Mirror World without their tech, you see what I'm saying? These phones worked off their system. You can't do this kind of stuff without having some serious quantum computer around and they didn't have any way of getting here until Little Timmy showed up."

"Who's Little Timmy?"

"Ah, right to the heart of the matter. I'm not really sure, to tell you the truth. I saw Left Coast Tim open him on up over there right in that corner of the bar one night, well, it was actually seven AM and I'd just gotten breakfast going on and his buddy Skyrock finally showed up with the parts. Morning we had the place shot up by Mrs Lumbai. She just gunned the shit out of the place shooting at a set of full up assassin swarm. Blew the hell out of place, but damned if she didn't really knock down five hundred of the fucking things going at them full auto and she never shot a single person in the place, but blew the hell out of that whole corner. You could see the sidewalk from in here, and old Jack there, the one with Ms. Hilton, never ever even turned a hair. Every single stunt guy in the place about shit when the gag lit off, but everyone stayed in character and never even blinked. They all thought it was some super magic, but little did they really know. About shit when they read up on what had been flying around in here that morning, but with shooting like that, damn! She shore as hell won the Miss Detroit flat out hands down that morning, but nobody has ever shot down four hundred assassins, much less taken out a score of five hundred and her little counter says she shot five hundred and two rounds, but they think she shot two that were taking ricochets and might have wound up planting someone. God damnedest gun fight I ever saw, but I don't know if what she was shooting that day was really a gun or not." He thinks about it. "Oh well, kind of an odd weapon, produced projectiles, but not 'out of the barrel' kind of projectiles. Looked like a bunch of spikes sticking out through her skin, kind of way odd gun, if that's what it really was. Packed about a twenty millimeter cannon shell impact, I'd say, and this self important little general comes through the double doors there and sniffs, kind of, like the old Reality Bar and Grille wasn't good enough for his Paper Pushing Pentagon ass. Thought that 'ol Jack was going to reenlist in the army, not knowing that Jack simply didn't have time to fuck around with his low level ass. Jack called up Barry and Mickey, Boris called up his people, Paris Hilton was there at that meeting and I went along as a secret secret serve agent, servicing secret secret secrets you can't tell anybody about, simply because the would think you were nuts. Sometimes though things simply are nuts. Like the fact I'm talking to you guys who are looking at me like you are right now, so now I'm going to do my first magic trick of the official contest which is going to be starting with an English guy named Jumping Jack Flash whose this little Limey sad faced kind of guy who sat over there and drank a lot of gin and signed off on anything the Unit pushed in front of him and the Army okayed anything he put in, because they all thought it was some kind of really secret secret shit they were involved in here, and I guess it was. But since this is the next time we'll all be playing Dee troit, I thought I'd say you guys don't go easing yourselves out the door just because a bunch of white people starts showing up here and thinking their shit don't stink. I'm serious now, anytime you want a drink, I don't care, you just come in and it's the same old damn bar to you guys it always was, even thought it's going to be all Mirror World, it's the same old place as far as any of you guys go, so just ease on in and if some honky be getting in your face, you just look at him and tell em your a close personal friend of Mr. Earl's and it's best you be cooling you jets or the Pixies be throwing that cracker's ass out the door and anyone gives you any shit, you got the right to just have them ejected, no questions ask and no bullshit has to be taken from anyone. Mr. Earl and I go way back, and he's not bad for a nigger hating Georgia cracker boy. Guy had some serious issues when he got here, but he bailed Mrs. Lumbai's ass out that time she needed that Hellfire dropped in to take out that fifty cal, and he was on it, no questions asked, just delivered the fucking goods and did just what the hell he was supposed to and he was a colonel then and she was this illiterate blacker than black black operator that lived all of her life in Africa and to tell you the truth, I'm not ever even sure if she knew what planet Detroit is on, but considering she's Lucky Lucy's kid sister clone, I guess it doesn't really matter that much. Lucky Lucy happens to be a fan of Jack the Cat's and she's just a big huge Detroit junkie fanatic fan. Who knows, this time out? We might even go as far as fourth season, but I kind of doubt it. Jack's around, but frankly, I don't think I'd want to play Paris Hilton's boyfriend all that much myself, and what with all the Pixie Dust it took to pull the place back together before the humans got wise that morning, frankly, it was pretty damn weird a day. Picked up the Presidents, us and Russia's, Ms. Hilton, then we went over to Skyrock's place for a while, hung out, oh, maybe a month or so while everyone hassled out their bits, and then we came back here and closed up for good. Later on, a few of the guys would wander by and have a few, but it was pretty much closed to the public when they found out we really didn't have a Tokyo Unit and really started to tear apart the greatest cover story never told. Good luck with that one, you assholes, may you rot in hell for canceling the four other shows we had up on the board at that time. Rump Ranger Rick looked like it might have legs, but the back lash we got from The Toast of the Castro pretty much put the kibosh on that one. Some of the bath house stuff was pretty funny, but after they outted the guy brother in the none identical twins for being straight, that was just a bit too much plot twist and the network pulled it. Paris was getting bored with it and I don't really blame her. She go so much shit for her line of blast wear, and then she got more shit for running it every god damn bombing that went on anywhere or any place or any time. Taffy 3 took a hell of a lot of really undeserved shit for that too, but at least we had the Confederate Soldiers we rescued to shove down there throats and having the real guys, well, never did understand how the hell they really pulled that one off, I kind of think Little Timmy was the culprit with that one, but it could have been one of the other time travelers that showed up for the ball." Flat out baffled is now the looks everyone all the way down the line are wearing. He laughs. "Okay, this is real magic I'm talking about but since I can see I'm losing you, how about instead of just hanging around this sad assed bar, I show you a real trick and then I'll buy you dinner any place or when you want to go, cost is no objection. Circe Five, Four Seasons, something in the gay nineties perhaps? Did you guys ever want to go live rich somewhere and all that stuff?" Well of course they did, but old Earl is going a bit out to lunch after he chugalugged that bottle of really amazing booze. There is the goblet, there is Earl, and the fact that the guy still seems sober but they aren't, oh well. He sighs. "Look, I could be flapping my jaws all night here and you wouldn't be believing a word of what I'm saying. So it's time for some pixie trick o' technology."

He picks up the box and opens it and picks up a big green glass bottle with a mismatched stopper from some other bottle in the neck. He plunks it down on the bar with authority and looks at it with narrowed eyes. Okay, enough with the melodrama. He opens the bottle up by pushing the glass stopper on down into the bottle. Okay, magic trick, but the glass stopper obviously ain't glass otherwise he couldn't do that. He smiles at them, obviously about to spring something on them and says softly to himself, "Like candy from a baby.'

"He has to chuckle. "You want to go to Hawaii baby girl?"

"Yeah." Obviously her old man is losing it, and he's not in no tax bracket to be taking her black ass off to Hawaii.

"You don't sound like you really mean it. I'm serious. If you could go anywhere in the world you wanted to go for the next six days, where would that be? Or is Hawaii good enough for you?"

"Yeah, daddy, Hawaii be fine with me," humoring the old man, who's looking at the other adults and kind of letting them know he's about to surprise his kid, but she'd gotten her presents the night before and they'd asked about how she done with Santy Clause and yah, she'd gotten some stuff she'd wanted and some other stuff her old man got her that she'd be wearing back to school January 5th and some of it wasn't too bad. LIke her old man has any real sense of what's cool for girls to wear. Yeah, right. Okay, in other words, but she sure didn't get no trips to Hawaii.

"You're wonder if our old buddy Earl has finally gone round the bend, eh? Okay, losers, watch this next magic trick and see if I'm lying to your face or not. This bottle contains pixie dust. If you want to get technical about it, what our friendly little bottle of pixie dust consists of is direct control nano assemblers running direct quantum instruction. It's not theoretically possible to ever even exist, but there it is and I'm holding maybe about twenty thirty trillion bucks worth of stuff down in the basement and this little bottle is worth more than this entire planet we're standing on right now and Skyrock just handed it over to Jack because he just handed his super duper pistol having enough fire power in it to pretty well rip up the whole joint and if you think about five hundred hypervelositic ammo rounds being set off in here? Haven't got a cue as to what hypervelositic means, do you? These are little tiny piece of matter moving at near light speed and old Mrs. Lumbai blowing off a whole clip of the stuff playing Annie Oakley in here? Five hundred hunters loose and she just blew them all away and yeah, hell of a joke Skyrock, but this place was just smoke and busted up flat screens that cost a million bucks and here is this asshole thinking he's the guy in charge of the Unit comes in here strutting his stuff and all the Pixies wearing tool belts are winking at the guy and he was feeling pretty self important that morning he came in an stepped on Skyrock and if Jack hadn't have given him the hold single, I think old Skyrock would have just busted that guy right in two with that bullwhip trick of his. He had it hauled back and ready to fly. This picture frame you guys always wondered about it not having a picture in it? There's lots of pictures in here you guys simply can't see because you don't belong to the Unit. There's pictures of all of us that is Taffy 3 in here and it's probably worth a lot of money to somebody somewhere, knowing who is really in the Unit and who says they are in the Unit not being the exact same deal. You can't cut it in our world, that don't matter none, but this being Christmas and all, I'm breaking security here, but since nobody would ever believe you, what the hell. We're going to be seeing a lot of each other and sometimes I'll be able to talk and sometimes I won't, but tonight I can talk, okay? So let's see, what shall I wish for? Eh? Jessica, you ain't thinking your dada daddy is playing with a full deck, but since we always cheat em fair and square sir, I'll let it slide for now. So. Let's have a little fun: Detroit, this is Detroit Actual, this is operational immediate. Lucy, please."

Slight buzzing click. "Hello?"

"Hey, Lucy! How they hanging? You still out smiting the peasants and blowing them away with your awesomeness in ballistic effects?"

"Earl! My god, Earl, What happened to you? Why didn't you make the pick up with the rest of the crew? When the hell are you?"

He laughs, for he can see everyone looking at him and he's looking at this little empty picture frame. "I'm in December 25 2014, and I'm in the Reality Bar and Grill."

"Hold everything, Captain, we're diverting, We're going to Earl's place. Step on it! How long till I can see your smiling black ass, nigger?" Earl just whoops.

"God, Lucy, who is you calling nigger, your highness? Take a look at your own black ass sometime in the Mirror. Yeah, yeah, I know, you just like that night adaption shit all to hell and gone, but yeah, looking forwards to seeing your own bad assed ugliness, Lucy. It's been a while."

"Damn straight it has. So we're having another round of Detroit, hint hint, nudge nudge, wink wink?"

"Oh yeah, we certainly are. You want to plunk a little action down on the outcome lady?"

She laughs delightedly. "Holy cow, Earl, I'd swear you were trying to hustle my sweet lovely old lady ass like I was some sort of 'candy from a baby' you old fraud."

"Well, just getting back in practice. You're going to have to meet my kid, Lucy, she kind of reminds me of you."

"Well, considering the amount of stuff we gene clipped into her, I should think so." He laughs.

"I haven't told her about any of this stuff Lucy. I just surprised her with a trip to Hawaii for the holiday."

"Nonsense, since we're ... fourteen of your minutes out ... why don't we go to one of my places? I'lll download a catalogue and she can just pick whatever place she wants. The Tilllio's are blooming out at the place on Ashtar, I think it's called, we could stop by there if you'd think she'd enjoy it."

"Lucy, my kid hasn't ever been any where besides the real Detroit in her life. Sounds like you're trying to butter me up to shave some points sometime or another, now let's not just go be getting greedier-than-thou on us poor folks, you hear?"

"If you're sitting in the bar in Detroit, I should imagine you might have noticed what's in the basement by now, I should have hoped."

"Yeah, like I'm going to be explain where I got my hands on a whole hell of a lot of gold bricks that be stamped all over US Government."

"Oh, still that problem we didn't quite solve last time. Well, we should have enough gold by now to at least do Eight Mile road. Be nice to get some decent back stops up so we can do some decent shooting for a change. Something hypervelositic isn't going to something you can catch with a big pile of dirt, you know? Get anything above four micrograms and you're pretty much into too big to shoot. You know how I've been waiting on your people to set up a decent gunnery range. Too bad you don't really have the space to put up something serious people would consider worth entering. This lightwave and less restrictions are such a bother."

"Hey Lucy, you weren't around the morning Mrs. Lumbai shot up the place waving that stupid thing Skyrock picked up somewhere that I'm pretty sure is illegal in at least four of the known Universes."

"Not in my realm, sonny. If you're going to be running with the big dogs, you have to pack some serious heat, not this target pistol stuff you futz around with. You ever upgrade on your own personal fire power? Still have that nice little Saturday night special?"

"Saturday night spec ... if you're referring to that little number like the one Jack blew the hole in the stage that time on Belle Isle when you'd parked Detroit 2015 over so the crowds would have some rain cover, yeah, I still got that little blaster. Never leave home without it. Man always have to have something up his sleeve." Earl give a flick of his wrist and there is a small piece of pistol shaped glass with a single red dot on it. He flicks his thumb over it and the dot turns green. He aims it off to one side and goes, Pow! and chuckles. The thing is no longer in the palm of his hand. He smiles and turns his hand over and catches the thing with his other hand. He pushes his two palms together and rubs them and the glass gun is gone. He smiles and puts hit finger up beside his nose and pats it. Oh, Earl is enjoying himself way too much. Lucy says she can't wait to see him again and he asks her if she'll do him a favor and supply communications links for a while, he was down in the basement and found this bottle of Skyrock's and figures he'd crack open the bottle of pixie dust and spin up Mirror World for his friends and she says, yes, of course and he thanks her and she's twelve out and he says he'll have the place all spiffied up for her by the time she gets there and she laughs gaily and says, 'Of course you will, what with Skyrock's stash of pixie dust, you should have a castle ready for me by the time I get there!' Earl laughs easily and says that she wouldn't be able to find the place if he did that and besides, 'the neighbors would talk.' They exchange a few words more and hang up.

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