alien walks into a bar.
In her new “Janna” identity,
Gwen is on a leave of absence from her
job with the group of people aligned with the descendants of the aliens
who had given a jump start to the evolutionary process that produced humankind.
Elizabeth, Edward, the original Janna, and Corrina
have taken off into
space to get Corrina to the planet of her ancestors before she dies.
again, huh? Is it because the burger was good, or is it maybe my charming
sat down at the bar in The Grumpy Troll and chuckled at the bartender’s
was good,” she said. “And you are kinda cute in a rough-and-tumble sort of
“So I am.
I’m Johnny, by the way.”
medium, raw onions, fries, and an IPA, right?”
putting in her order and drawing her beer, Johnny asked, “So, ya live in the
neighborhood? Am I gonna be seein’ ya in here as a regular?”
wish,” said Janna. “I do live in the
neighborhood now, but my cat and I are heading for New Orleans. I got an
interview with a publishing company down there.”
you were an exotic dancer.”
“I was; I
just quit. But…hey, in case you’ve
always wanted to be an exotic dancer, there’s an opening now. Just tell ‘em
Strawberry Fields sent you. Those Cubs fans would love you.”
think I’ll stick with tendin’ bar,” said Johnny. “Ya meet a better class of
think. Hey, ya know, there’re lotsa bars in New Orleans; you could come along
with me,” said Janna. “It would be an adventure.”
Janna, I could use an adventure,” said Johnny. “If you’re serious, I’m in.”
conversation had taken place six months ago, on Janna’s second visit to The
the “real” Janna’s first and only visit had been a few days before this
Gwen/Janna visit. That first visit had been just before she had taken off to visit
now Janna so completely that Janna’s own mother wouldn’t have been able to tell
and Johnny had hit it off right away. With his bartending experience and
devil-may-care personality, Johnny found employment quite easily in the French
The bar he
worked at, Marie Laveau’s Lounge, had three small apartments above it rented by
Johnny and two other bartenders. New Orleans being the city it was, Johnny
sometimes didn’t leave the building for days. He worked, ate, and slept there,
making more money than he had time to spend.
landed the job with the publishing company and had a loft apartment downtown.
When Johnny couldn’t get time off, she and her cat sometimes stayed at his
place and did some work from there. The relationship wasn’t intense, but it was
nights were often slow, and though Laveau’s often was open all hours, starting
Wednesdays and into the weekend, some Monday nights Johnny told the sparse
crowd they would be closing early.
night, Johnny sent the waitress on duty, Claudette, home at 2:30, and was
had done some work and had decided to take a nap until 3:00. She set her alarm
so she could be awake when Johnny finished closing up.
lying in bed naked with the sheet pulled up to her chin, she heard a shout and
then a gunshot. She slipped on one of Johnny’s shirts, took the Glock he kept
in the nightstand, and quietly stepped into the hallway.
both of the doors to the other bedrooms and found them locked. She remembered
earlier that Tom and Ben, the other two bartenders, had said they were going
out, and if they got lucky, might not be back until midmorning.
calling 911 or going downstairs, and decided Johnny might need help now rather
than ten minutes from now. When she was halfway down the stairs, she could see
most of the bar. She saw Johnny lying on the floor and a guy with his back to
her going through the cash register.
scumbag!” she yelled.
turned toward her with a pistol in his hand, and Gwen/Janna shot him three
times in the chest.
She ran to
Johnny and found he had a chest wound. Fortunately, it was high and not on the
side where his heart was. She picked up his cell phone from its place behind
the bar and called 911. Knowing it would be a while before they got there, she
applied pressure to the wound with a clean bar rag and urged him, “Stay with me
here, Johnny. Help is on the way. You’re going to be okay, I promise.”
okay. Surgery was successful, and after just a week he was good to go home.
Gwen/Janna spent every minute she wasn’t working taking care of him.
relationship was strengthened, and when Gwen/Janna got “the call” to rejoin the
extraterrestrial group stationed on Earth, she said she would return to them
only if Johnny was brought into the group.
had been thoroughly vetted, Gwen/Janna was told he was in and she could decide
to remain Janna or be transformed back into Gwen.
to continue her life as Janna. That would mean there were now two Jannas,
but separated by a dozen or more light years. What were the chances they
would ever run into each other?
The End (of Nowhere)
Dorman, firstname.lastname@example.org, of Madison, Wisconsin,
who wrote BP #86’s“New Orleans Take-Out” & “Not This Time” (+ BP #85’s
“Door County Getaway” & “The Gift”; BP #84’s “Goodbye to Nowhere Land”
and “Nobody Should Be at 1610 Maple St.”; BP #83’s “Door #2”; BP #82’s “A
Nowhere Friend” & “Foundling”; BP #81’s “Nowhere Man in Nowhere Land” &
“The Box with Pearl Inlay”; BP #80’s “Andrew’s War” & “Down at the Hardware
Store”; BP #79’s “Cellmates” & “Get Some Shelter,” BP #78’s “All Is as
Should Be,” BP #77’s “Essence of Andrew,” BP #76’s “Flirting with the Alley,”
BP #75’s “The Enemy of My Enemy…” BP #74’s “Doesn’t Play Well with Others,”
#73’s “A Journey Starts with a Flower,” BP #72’s “The Beach House,” BP #71’s
“The Big Apple Bites,” BP #70’s “Borrowing Some Love” and BP #69’s “Back in
Town” and “Finding Good Help…”), is retired from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for 60
years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired
English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had poetry and
flash fiction published in Apocrypha and
Abstractions, Birds Piled Loosely,
Burningword Literary Journal, Cease Cows, Cheapjack
Pulp, Crack The
Spine, Drunk Monkeys, Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, Flash Fiction Press, Gap-Toothed Madness, Gravel, Lake City Lights, Near
Knuckle, Shotgun Honey, The Creativity
Webzine, Theme of Absence, The Screech
Owl, The Story
Shack, & Yellow Mama.
Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and
pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor for the
independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated
poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous
anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow
Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from
the Moonlit Path, among others,
as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the
Big Easy, Thuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She
appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby"
in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for
lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides
in southern Arizona. https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/