A Peculiar Collection

There wasn’t much left in the world that perplexed Omar, he was far to cynical and old give a toss either way. But in an effort to stay with the times he allowed himself just one little excess, one peculiarity he knew he was not unique in. Cultivating odd friends. Everybody did it to some extent, in a effort to make themselves feel normal, or at least, that was Omar’s justification. All comparisons aside, he knew that if there was ever a competition he was on to a winner. There was none odder than Fess. Or to be exact, Vestigial Legs. It had a ring of untruth about it, the name, as did much of what passed for normal when talking about Fess’. But whatever it was that passed for normal around Fess, was a distant relative of what Omar recognized as normal. Possibly from abroad, or further a field…

Omar checked his watch, 9:12 pm, and toyed with his glass of coke, no ice cubes please, and limp slice of lemon. He wondered why the weirdest of the weird shared their peculiarities in drinking establishments, or if perhaps it was the drinking establishments that made them weird. Especially since he couldn’t drink. His wife would have a fit if she knew he was down a pub. Omar looked up at Fess and flinched unconsciously, but Fess didn’t notice. One couldn’t help but flinch at Fess.

Fess drank like a fish, or a black hole, that is to say he didn’t appear to stop, well as long as someone else was paying. Omar wondered if black holes liked a pint, perhaps they preferred spirits. When Fess was drunk he had this peculiar habit of talking about back home. But back home for Fess was no home Omar recognised. No home, he was sure, anyone would recognise. It was a home where amongst other odd things, the sea was sentient. Did you get that. Omar would often chuckle at that. A world where clouds had opinions, and Sunday lunch consisted of sun rays and a good attitude. Omar hadn’t got to the point where he had asked what sort of opinions these clouds had, but he was looking forward to it. All of this Fess denied when sober, not that he appeared any more normal when sober, hell no. His memory was liquid not his character.

He didn’t smoke though. Which was something. But he was anti smoking in such an alien way that it perturbed Omar. He waved away cigarettes as if he were being offered a pickled turd. A look of disgust on his face that had nearly caused fights.
“Why do you humans like to to suck smoking twigs, haven’t you got over it yet, it’s just fire! Get a life.?” Fess has said once, his eyes blazing with supernova insanity and then he would slurp down a whisky or tequila. Those self same eyes would then gloss over for a second, as if he were nothing but water, or whisky for that matter and he would become oddly poetic.
“Alcohol, I can see why you like that, such exquisite suicide, but fire… I’ll never understand your obsession for that demon.” Fess said with an accent that denied analysis. Part Welsh, South Africa, Cockney and German Gestapo Officer.
“I remember the first time I got drunk. Do you?” He had asked, but not really wanting an answer.
“Tenants Special Brew, awful, like liquid fire, how did you do that, why did you do that. I could feel my brain dying. It was in an alleyway, a drink offered by some peculiar Scotsman.” Fess had laughed, sounding like a doorbell whose batteries were on the way out, the failing warbling of some demented blackbird.
“And he was saying sorry, kept saying sorry. Sorry about the bottle. Not that I cared after a sip of that awful beverage. I loved him already.” Fess winked.
“Loved everybody for that matter.” Fess was silent for a moment, then for a minute, staring at the bottom of his empty tumbler then at Omar. Fess wasn’t that good at body language, he went at it like a toddler with a finely balanced sledgehammer. The pink ear muffs, constantly worn didn’t help, and tonight’s wig, a fetching electric blue bob, tended to cause most people to avert their gaze, missing the show as it were. But Omar was almost, but not quite used to his sledgehammer facial theatrics, and tf not immune, at least inoculated..
“That’s enough for me!” Fess announced after his hints had failed and stood with a swish that sounded far to much like a wave on a beach. He was out the door before Omar had drawn a breath.
“Must Fly!” he had said as Omar hurriedly followed him out of the swinging doors, glancing again at his watch. Fess was nowhere to be found. Omar smiled looking for the vanished Fess. Perhaps he could fly, he wondered, but didn’t look up into the sky. Where, if he had bothered, he would have seen a dwindling Fess shaped dot.

Omar sighed and tucked his hands into his coat pockets and set off for home and family, a smile etched onto his face. Fess was certainly interesting, and would make a good chapter in his book, if he could afford the bar bill.

A Peculiar Collection

JohnG

Westcliff One Sea, Southend, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

A whimsical fantasy short story, a verbal flight of fancy.

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