TALL MAN – By Dan Leicht
It was afternoon on a Wednesday when he walked into Blue Spaghetti’s. A tall man, with a peculiar tendency to twitch his nose, and wooden hands, made his way to the hostess desk. He had on a long trench coat, something fidgeting under it as he moved.
“Table for one,” he said in a gruff voice.
“Yes, of course,” replied Cinta, the hostess.
We all stared at him from the bar stools, Gina, MC Frisbee Rockstar, and I.
“Maria, he’s sitting at one of your tables,” said MC Frisbee Rockstar.
I walked over to him holding the wine list close to my chest. Something had come out of his coat, a long black tail of some kind. It slithered from his seat in the booth onto the floor and curled around his right boot.
“Hello, my name is Maria and I’ll be taking care of you today. Can I start you off with something to drink?”
“Got any syrup?”
“I’ll have a glass.”
“We don’t actually serve that as a drink. But I guess…”
“It’s unorthodox I know, but if you haven’t noticed yet I’m not exactly normal myself,” he says with a smirk. He points to something outside the window across the parking lot. There’s a small wooded area with something hidden in the trees. A large winged beast.
“That’s my ride. His name’s Rupert.”
“Is he a…” I began to say as I squinted my eyes.
“Dragon? Yup. Saved him from a giant squid a few months back. We’ve been best of friends ever since.”
His tail began to move, probably out of excitement to his own story.
“Oh, sorry about that. This tail has always been a bother.”
“It’s licorice. But you can’t eat it. That’d be pretty gross. I’ve had it long as I can remember. Name’s Hank, nice to meet you.”
“I’ll be right back with your syrup…” I said before rushing away back to the bar.
I look a mess as I run over to Gina and MC Frisbee Rockstar.
“Do you see his tail? It’s made of licorice!” I said in a loud whisper.
“Shh, calm down. He’ll hear you. Where’s he from?” asked MC Frisbee Rockstar.
“I don’t know, certainly not from around here. He came here on a dragon! He’s keeping it in the woods next to Taco Shack.”
“Maybe he’s from the past and will pay you in gold coins!” said Gina with a laugh.
“You two are hopeless,” I said before heading to the kitchen to pour his glass of syrup.
I headed back to his table with the glass in hand. A cup filled with the thick syrup hardly seemed like something anyone would use to quench their thirst, yet I’ve learned not to argue too much with the customer, especially ones with pet dragons.
“Here you go, Hank. Have you decided what you’ll be having for lunch?”
“Thank you, Maria. I’ll have a large bowl of sugar please. Preferably not that powdered nonsense, I want the good stuff.”
“Uhhh, suuuuure. Any appetizers?”
“Do you have any sugar cubes?”
“Of course. One plate of sugar cubes before your bowl of sugar. Coming right up.”
I was walking back to the kitchen when I heard the noise. It was Hank’s dragon, and it seemed like it was crying out to him. Hank quickly got up and ran out the door, but not before yelling, “I’ll get that order to go!” I ran over to the door after him to see him running towards the woods. His dragon was up in the air spewing flames at what looked like a large spaceship, the kind you’d see in comic books or cheap T.V specials.
“Hank!” I yelled out after him, “you forgot to pay for your syrup!”
He didn’t stop though; he was determined to save his pet dragon. I’d only just met him but I felt compelled to help him, at least it would give me a better chance for a decent tip. I ran out after him and caught up to him pretty quickly.
“You run really slow, Hank,” I said as I passed him.
“Try having a diet like mine and you’d be slow as molasses too.”
We reached the trees and Hank told me we’d have to climb. He helped me up into one of the trees and I grabbed onto the branches, climbing as high as I could before shouting out to his dragon.
“Ummm…Rupert! Get away from that thing! Ummm….Hank! What am I supposed to say?”
Hank wasn’t making much progress on the tree. He shouted something up but I couldn’t make it out. Soon the tree was shaking as the ship projected some sort of sonic wave. It pulsed through the trees and I was losing my grip.
“I can’t hold on!” I cried out moments before slipping from my perch.
Rupert caught me before I hit the ground and together we soared up high into the air. I pet the back of his head and told him he was a “good boy” – it seemed appropriate at the time.
“Rupert, lets teach this alien scum a lesson!” I shouted before we dove from the air and ripped the futuristic looking turret from the ship’s chrome surface. I then jumped off Rupert’s back and landed on the ship. I punched a hole in the green glass and it splattered like gelatin. Inside were three freakish little men, their skin composed of blue scales and red stripes.
“Leave my friend alone!” I shouted as I slammed my fist into their computer console. Orange lights began to flash as I jumped from the ship and was once again caught by Rupert moments from the ground. I looked up to see the ship going haywire, the three goons inside trying to regain control. They zoomed off, zigzagging in the air. I looked over to Hank and said, “that’ll be 3.50 for the syrup,” and he replied back…
“Wha? What? What is it, Dan? I’m almost done telling my story.”
“Since when do you get to narrate the Hank Saga stories?”
“I just thought…it all really happened and…”
“A spaceship? And a dragon? These stories are supposed to sound realistic. Nobody’s going to believe this one.”
“I believe it,” said Hank as he took a sip of his syrup.
By Dan Leicht (D.e.e.L) October 13th 2014
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