This is Episode 1-5 of a serial urban fantasy & paranormal story.

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Part 1-5: Date

We ended up at Tankies Pub, on the fringe of what this place considered its downtown district. Despite the horrible name, it’s a good balance of sports-bar and club-vibe. There’s a place where a DJ sets up after 10pm or so, and most of the patrons tend to be more or less our age.

Deluxe had washed and straightened her hair, and wore a slim gray dress that hugged her wispy, 90-pound frame like a wrapper on a plastic straw. I cataloged this extensively with my phone, as she typically only wears baggy t-shirts, shawls, and sweatpants. She was too nervous to reprimand me.

I ended up finding a terrible, raunchy blouse from a past life, which I toned down with an aforementioned Deluxe shawl. Jeans plus an up-do (and my laptop in case I needed to detach the third-wheel) and my wingwoman getup was complete. The two of us sat side by side at a four-person table, along a wall opposite the main bar, facing the entrance.

“Can we review introductory protocol again?” Deluxe said, and ran her fingers through a length of hair for the eightieth time.

“Stand up, say hello, a quick hug, a compliment, introduce me, sit down.”

“What if I blank on the compliment?”

“A good stock compliment is: ‘you look great tonight!’”

“What if that’s a falsehood, I’m not comfortable spinning falsehoods, Alena.”

“Protocol isn’t concerned with your level of comfort, ma’am,” I said, wiggling my eyebrows at her. She nodded, glanced forward, and thwacked my leg with her fist.

Her date had arrived, and lucky for her, he easily cleared the ‘looking great’ threshold. Firefighter calendar great lookin’, in fact. So much so that the mean, cynical part of my brain wondered if something was up. Trailing Mr. Tall, Broad and Handsome was an only slightly shorter, smartly bearded and bespectacled fellow.

“Deluxe… did he say he was bringing a buddy?” I asked, spending mental effort to not fixate on Sir Firefighter’s sand-brown coif.

She didn’t answer. The duo spotted us and made their way over.

Deluxe popped out of her seat and said, “Hey! You made it! Two of you apparently!”

“Hey Deluxe, if that is your real name,” said the date. I suppressed a groan. She giggled.

“I hope it’s okay,” he continued. “You said you were out with a friend so I figured why not make it a party, hey? This is Fergus.”

“Hello,” said Fergus.

“Hello!” we chimed. A silent second ticked by, and I gave Deluxe a little boot.

“Hello!” she said again. “I’m Deluxe, and this is my housepal, Alena Bisk.”

I waggled my fingers and tried to catch our server’s eye.

“Pleasure, Alena. I’m Dack by the way.” He stuck out a hand as he sat down, and I shook it.

“Who’s thirsty?” I asked.

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Continued in Part 1-6

This story was originally published on the Hive blockchain & ecosystem, as part of the Scholar & Scribe community. See info on the latest Polygon NFTs and story parts here.