A Fish Out Of Water
By Linda Kelly
A Mare Inebrium Story
Mare Inebrium Universe created by Dan Hollifield
Take the air he breathes away from a man and he will gasp and struggle to
regain it and, if he succeeds, he will be more cautious in the future. Take a
fish out of water and although it also will struggle for oxygen, when it is
placed back into its bowl, it continues its life with carefree abandon.
It was a typical early shift at the Mare Inebrium. The bartender, Max,
wore the usual white apron that covered the front of his soft brown slacks
and shirt. His sleeves were rolled up to the elbows. He was polishing a long
curving cylinder with
a bar rag. A tall beautiful woman in a very short
floaty skirt suspended over miles of legs stood across from him, leaning
casually against the bar.
The usual regulars were at their usual places at the bar. A few D’rrish
were seated in pairs across various gaming tables playing tri-d chess, or
holo-holdum, Texas style. Occasionally they would chitter or click their
mandibles or wildly flutter their
antennae as the games progressed. There
were a couple of third shift space port workers having a nightcap before
going home, and a couple of aliens indefinable in their portable life support
drinking smoking, caustic substances. A couple of Human
class II Heavy
Worlders were arm wrestling at one of the floating tables in the center of
Trixie glanced at the class two pair. “Max, looks like you need to turn up
the anti-grav on table 6, Buster and Bruno seem to be going for a record.
Max reach under the bar and the table the wrestlers were using stopped it’s
Trixie picked up a dice cup by the lip and shook it a few times. She
flipped it up in the air, it twirled once and she caught it from the bottom.
She tilted the cup toward the deck of the bar and five holographic dice
appeared to tumble across the surface. “I don’t know Max. I can feel them in
the cup, but they just don’t roll out right.”
Max took the cup she offered him and handed it to Professor Camfortt. “You
heard what the lady said, Professor. I guess it’s back to the virtual board
with this invention.”
Professor Camfortt stuffed the dice cup in one of his capacious pockets and
said, “An interesting question of physics, Max.” Professor Camfortt dreamily
stared off into a point in the bar that held no interest, so Max knew he was
already working on
Max spotted a young woman across the room sitting in a booth. He shook his
head and turned to Trixie. “Now where did she come from?”
Although he sensed the girl posed no threat, Max was always keenly aware of
any being who crossed the threshold of the Mare Inebrium. This girl had
drifted past his sensors and senses with not even a ripple of disturbance in
“Trixie, looks like you ‘ve got a ‘live one.’”
Trixie turned around in surprise. She scanned the room and nothing had
changed, The games continued, the special environments were still sipping on
that which would dissolve a hole in the floor–business as usual--except there
was a girl sitting
quietly in one of the booths against the wall. How, Trixie
wondered, had the girl arrived without being noticed. She gazed quizzically
at Max, but he just shrugged.
Trixie walked across the room, observing the girl. She was dressed in
bell-bottom blue jeans inset with a hot pink panel that flared from her knees
to her ankles. Her belt was a long fringed piece of paisley fabric. She wore
a hot pink leotard that
clearly showed two perky nipples. Her eyes were
elaborately made up. Her upper eyelashes were thickly coated into stiff
spikes and dark eyelashes appeared to be tattooed under her black rimmed
eyes. Iridescent shadow in graduating shades of
lime green covered her
eyelids. Strangely, she wore no other makeup. Her hair, a rather mousy brown,
was straight and rather stringy hung limply down to her waist. Some sort of
wilted fauna dangled in wilted dejection over one ear.
The girl, in turn, watched Trixie approach. Her eyes got wider and wider as
she saw the beautiful elfish face, the incredibly long legs, and an
undulating stride, the girl thought she would give eight inches of her hair
to emulate. As Trixie came closer,
the girl amended that to bald. She would
shave her hair, if that’s what it took, to learn to walk like that. After
all, hair would grow back.
“Hi, I’m Trixie. What’s your
The girl‘s eye‘s widened as she looked up at Trixie. “Far out. Wow. What a
trip. I’m Sunshine Rainbow.” The girl blinked twice, her long spiky eyelashes
slashing through the air.
Trixie looked at her quizzically. Then she noticed the girl’s pupils, which
were hugely dilated. “I’ll bring you some water, Sunshine.”
“Cool,” the girl answered absently.
Trixie went back to the bar and said to Max, “I don’t recognize her as one
of ours, but she’s definitely under the influence of something we don’t sell.
Give me a glass of water, will you, and we’ll keep her safe until she’s fit
for the streets. Oh, and put
just a little ice in it. She specifically asked
for it to be cool.”
Max frowned and concentrated as he stared across the room. “LSD.”
“LSD?” Trixie gasped. “That hasn’t been around her for decades”
Max nodded his head. “Somebody must brought it in from the port.”
“It’s such a nasty little drug – no turn off switch or sober pill.” Trixie
shrugged. “Oh well, be that as it may. I’ll keep my eye on her. She should be
fine far before closing time.”
Trixie didn’t bother with her tray. This girl was a freebie. She grabbed a
napkin and carried the big glass of water over to the girl’s table. She put
the glass on the napkin in front of the girl and sat down on the seat across
from the her. The girl took the glass and drank deeply. Then she held the
glass away from her and stared into it deeply. “Wow.” she said.
“Wow what?” Trixie asked.
“I’m really tripping,” the girl said dreamily. She did not take her eyes
off the glass.
“How’s that?” Trixie asked.
Sunshine Rainbow now was holding the glass in front of her face with both
hands. She looked at Trixie through the ice cubes. “For sure I can see you,
but that’s --like normal. But I’ve never had a hallucination, like, bring me
“Hallucination? You think I’m a hallucination?” Trixie asked,
“Far out,” the girl agreed as she continued to stare at Trixie through the
Puzzled, Trixie asked, “Why do you think I’m a hallucination?”
“Maybe you’re a genie. Can I have three wishes?”
“Sure, sure.” Exasperated, Trixie got up and walked back to the bar.
“I wish for music, and world peace and water–lots and lots of water,” the
girl said to the spot where Trixie had been. “And I want to walk like
that– it’s way cool,” she added to no one in particular.
“Max, she thinks that I’m a figment of her imagination.”
Max leaned back and guffawed. “Trixie, you’ve been the object of many a
man’s -- and many a woman’s, for that matter -- imagination. Why does this one
Trixie‘s brow wrinkled in cute perplexion. “I dunno,. But something’s
not quite right.”
Max looked at her thoughtfully. He ducked around the bar and ambled over to
the girl, The genial smile pasted to his face was belied by his worried eyes.
What made Trixie uncomfortable usually made him uncomfortable, too. He
trusted her sense of
rightness. The Sunshine Rainbow did not appear to notice
him until he sat on the seat across from her.
She looked at him thought the glass of water. “Cool” she said, as she
nodded her head. “Another one.”
Max gently took the glass from her hands and put it on the napkin. The
girl’s hands continued to hold the glass that was no longer there. She
blinked at Max and said, “Wow.”
Max asked her, “What are you doing here?”
She smiled at him seraphically, “Just tripping.”
Max asked, “Tripping?”
She answered, “Yeah, far out, man.”
“Good trip?” Max asked.
“Psychedelic,” she agreed, “except for the monsters – bad juju. But if I look
into the magic glass, they go away.” She glanced furtively around the room.
She cringed as she saw the D’rrish sitting quietly at a gaming table playing
tri-chess. She quickly
grabbed the glass and stared intently trough it at
Max. “The magic glass makes them go away and the pretty man comes to Sunshine
Rainbow,” she crooned.
Max gazed thoughtfully at her. He slowly got up and walked back to the bar.
The girl did not appear to notice she was again alone.
“Trixie, just keep the water flowing at the girl’s table, and always
make she has a glass to hold. Don’t take one away unless you have another one
right there,” he quietly told her.
“What’s up, Max?” Trixie asked, concerned.
“Just a slight temporal disturbance. Nothing that time and detoxification
won’t fix,” he whispered in her ear.
Trixie nodded in understanding. She looked relieved. Throughout the day,
the Trixie delivered glass after glass of ice water to the girl who drank one
glass after another, never leaving her booth.
For a while, Professor Camfortt watched Sunshine Rainbow with
scientific fascination. Finally, he turned to Trixie and said, “When all
possibilities are excluded, then consider the impossible.”
Trixie and Max looked down the bar at the professor who was nodding toward
the girl. Trixie laughed and asked him how he had figured it out.
“Physics, my dear girl, and of course, biology.” he replied. “Knowing
human anatomy, I calculated that in no human species, even considering the
sub-types, is there enough space within the mass for the quantity of liquid
within the subject – that
girl, I mean -- to be stored.”
Max poured the professor another drink. “This one is on the house,” he
Dr. Camfortt absently clasped the beaker of steaming liquid and sipped it
slowly as he once again stared off into nowhere and, to him, everywhere.
“Mmm,” he commented to no one in particular, “Nice vintage.”
Trixie and Max were uncertain whether Dr. Camfortt referred to the drink
or Sunshine Rainbow.
Trixie was placing yet
another glass of water on Sunshine Rainbow’s table when the girl looked up
and said, “What’s happening...”
Trixie opened her mouth to begin reassuring her with a vague explanation
of transient temporal anomalies, but snapped it shut as she realized that
this was just some form of greeting, not a request for information.
“I’m really tripping,” the girl said dreamily
One of the younger D’rrish ambled over to the juke box and inserted several
coins. A three dimensional holo-projection of a multi-species popular band
appeared between near the Club room entrance between the Bio Hazzard and WC
The girl’s head swivelled towards the music and, as if mesmerized, slowly
walked toward the holo-dance floor. She undulated and gyrated to the music
with remarkably smooth grace. She skipped and swayed, she flung her arms
above her head and girted to the music, totally oblivious to the other beings
in the room. Many of the other customers, not all human, stopped talking or
playing to watch her, and they continued to add coins to the juke box.
Trixie shook her head at Max and the Professor, “She’s obviously not
an accomplished dancer. Her moves are crude and repetitive, uninspired, but
despite that, she is fascinating to watch, isn’t she.”
Neither man, their attention on the dance floor, heard her.
As first shift tuned into second, Blanch came in, her long skirts swirling
around her ancles, to relieve Trixie. She said, “Anything special going
Trixie said, “Nothing much. Oh, just keep that booth by the wall supplied
Blanch looked across the room. “Which booth?”
Trixie, turned to point at the girl. The booth was empty except for a few
empty glasses, and no one was dancing to music. “She’s gone. I didn’t even
“Who’s gone?” Blanch asked.
“Oh just a temporal from the sixties.”
“A time traveler from the past?” Blanch gasped. “Why aren’t you worried?
She could change the fabric of time!”
Trixie continued to calmly wipe the bar, “No, Blanch, she was from the
sixties. She was one of those hippies we get here every once in a while. I
think she was on LSD. To her, we were just a hallucination.”
“Ah,” said Blanch with understanding. “That’s why she disappeared. When
her LSD trip ended--she returned to her own plane of existence.”
“And none the wiser, poor thing,:” Trixie said. “Can you believe it, to
her, we’re not real--just fiction at best, when in reality, if she was indeed
from the sixties as we suspect, she is long dead and turned to dust, may
Max added, “And, since we are still here,” and he pinched himself lightly
and winked, “yes, still here, she didn’t believe what she saw and what she
experienced, so it never, in her plane of reality, really happened.”
Trixie clasped Max’s arm as they left the Mare Inebrium. “I’m glad this is
were I actually exist. This reality is a good place to be.”
As they walked out the door, Max pulled her close, kissed her and they
Somewhere, sometime, on another plane of existence, a young man wearing
faded blue jeans and a madras shirt with cut off sleeves shook his
girlfriend’s pink leotard-clad shoulder. "Sunshine Rainbow, it’s time to get
going to the Love-Feast Apple and Forester are throwing on the Beach."
She looked dreamily up at him and said, “Far out.” She gracefully crossed
her legs and rolled forward to stand up. She took his hand.
“Wow, you were really tripping. Was it really psychedelic?” he asked.
“Ok, I guess, but I don’t remember much. Just some music,” she
“What kind of music?” he asked.
“I dunno, groovy, I guess. Wow, I’m famished. I hope Apple and Forester
aren’t serving macrobiotic again.” And with that, the last of the gossamer
memories of her day at the Mare Inebrium drifted away from her empty little
© 2006 By Linda Kelly
To reach me, pleas email me at my favorite Email address: RelativelyLinda@hotmail.com
I'm a 50 year old lady who works as a chemical dependency counselor. I live in Black
Diamond, a village in the country outside of Seattle, WA. Besides being an avid Sci-fi reader, I
enjoy playing with my grandchildren. My four year old granddaughter and I recently took a
2,000 mile road trip to California, but that's another story!
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