“Do you think I should have more kids?”
Brent swirled amber whiskey around in his highball, causing the ice to clink. “Sure. Jesse’s young. You’re immortal. You two are practically obliged to reproduce.”
“Shhh,” Dane reprimanded his friend. “Not so loud.”
“Dane, everyone in this bar is far more interested in their drinks than the two of us.” He sipped his whiskey. “So, is Jesse wanting kids?”
“I don’t know. We talked about it but…”
“But your estranged daughter is a psychotic demon summoner and you’re not sure you want to test the genetic waters again?”
“Something like that.” Dane sighed and took a swig of his stout, leaving a line of foam on his brown mustache.
“You know, I don’t think it’s got anything to do with genes,” Brent said upon emptying his glass. “I think it’s got more to do with you dragging an impressionable child around to monster lairs.”
“They are not lairs.” Dane protested, pushing his thick black-rimmed glasses up on his nose. “And it’s not like I was hunting the things.”
“Just taking pictures for your monster scrapbook.” Brent signalled to the waitress.
“It is called documentation, and it’s important, Brent. I thought showing her my job would instill a sense of purpose in her, you know, make her ambitious.”
“Well, she certainly is that.”
The two paused in their conversation as the waitress approached their table. She wore all black with a red apron tied around her thin waist. She pulled a notepad from it and flipped it open with manicured nails.
“What else can I get you sirs?” she asked, in that east coast accent Dane was still just getting used too.
“Another rye and we’ll split some nachos,” Brent told her.
“I’m not hungry,” Dane said.
“Nachos,” Brent repeated.
She scribbled it down and flipped her notebook closed.
“Can I get you another beer?” She asked Dane.
He shrugged. “Sure.”
She headed back across the bar but stopped as a woman came in out of breath and clutching a bundle to her breast.
“You alright?” The waitress asked.
“Yes, just fine.” The woman said. Her eyes were wide and her hair was hair, kept up in a bun, had slumped loosely to the side of her head.
“Okay, well, just sit where ever you’d like. I’ll be over in a minute.”
The woman slipped into a booth across the bar from Dane and Brent, lowering the bundle to her lap and obscuring it behind the table.
“What’s her problem?” Dane wondered aloud.
“Drugs,” Brent said. “LSD is my bet.”
Dane shook his head.
The waitress brought over a second stout and glass of whiskey, balancing the plate of nachos on her forearm. She put it down on the table and took away their empties before heading over to the woman in the booth.
Dane and Brent each shoved a chip, layered with peppers and steaming hot cheese into their mouths, both burning their tongues and taking a quick drink from their respective glasses.
“You can’t have a baby in here.” The waitress was talking to the woman, pointing with her pen at the bundle the woman still held behind the table.
“Quiet please,” the woman said, starting to rock the baby. “Please don’t wake her.”
“Listen miss, you really can’t be here with the baby. This is a bar.”
“Just let me sit a few minutes please.” The woman begged, looking frightened as she patted the bundle.
“Sorry,” the waitress said with a shrug. She waved to get the bartender’s attention. “Bill, come ‘ere.”
Her shout woke the baby who let out a wail. The bartender started towards the table, likely ready to escort the woman out.
The waitress leaned over the baby.
“Sorry honey, this is no place for little ones.” A high hissing sound erupted from the bundle and the waitress screamed, jumping away.
Dane and Brent shared a look.
“You still thinking LSD?” Dane asked.
Brent stood up from the table. “I’m thinking Fae.”
The woman was standing now too, cowering behind the edge of the table and eyeing the bundle she’d abandoned on the booth seat. Hissing continued to emanate from the form until the baby shed its flannel restraints and jumped onto the table. Her pink fleshy head and torso were the only parts of her which resembled a human infant. All her other features were bird-like. Her legs were covered in blue and gray feathers and ended in razor sharp talons. Wings sprouted from her shoulders in place of arms, and instead of hair, a bright array of plumage stuck out from her head.
The woman screamed, the waitress fainted and the bartender stopped in his tracks. This spectacle had by now captured the attention of everyone else in the bar and they stared in collective silence. Then the thing waddled forward on its chicken-like legs, spreads its wings, a breadth of nearly six feet, and let out a trill so ear piercing that Dane was shocked it didn’t shatter every glass in the bar.
The noise created mass panic and patrons began stumbling over each other in an effort to escape. Brent ran across the bar in four long strides and rushed the creature. It eluded him just in time by beating its wings and taking refuge on the bar.
As Brent stalked it Dane hurriedly dug out a journal from his leather laptop bag and flipped to the section labelled B for Bird. He ran his finger down the page as he read the descriptions of the other creatures he had filed there.
Large beak — no.
Ostrich appearance — nope.
Half-cat, half-bird, half-human — definitely not.
Brent was nearly at the bar. The creature watched him from her peripherals, nostrils flaring.
“Come on, Dane,” Brent called over his shoulder. “What am I dealing with?”
Dane kept reading. Woman-bird hybrid — bingo!
“It’s a harpy!”
“It’s the size of my cat,” Brent said. “Minus the wings.”
“Harpies have babies too,” Dane replied, putting away his journal and slinging the strap of his bag across his chest. He left the booth and walked to the middle of the now nearly empty bar carrying their nachos.
“What are you doing?” Brent asked when he saw him with the plate.
“They like food.” Dane replied. “Come here birdy, come have some cheesy goodness.”
The harpy lost interest in Brent when the food was offered but she didn’t move from the bar. Brent took a coat someone had left behind from a nearby chair and held it up before him like a matador’s cape.
Dane put the plate on the floor and walked away from it. This temptation was too great and the harpy aimed a raptor-like shriek toward Brent before soaring to the plate of steaming nachos. Once she’d landed and dove face first into the mountain of chips Brent pounced and captured the creature in his makeshift sack. It squirmed and shrieked but Brent tied the jacket arms together, foiling any attempt at escape. Then he popped the creatures head out of the collar, making sure her powerful wings and sharp-taloned feet remained stuck within.
Dane snapped a picture with his iPhone and sent it to his computer under the title Fae B: entry 122.
“The woman bailed,” Brent said. Dane looked around the bar, now in complete disarray. The only other person left was the waitress, still unconscious.
“The department will be here soon?” Dane asked.
Brent nodded. “I’ll have to fill out the paperwork, and on my day off too.”
“Well, a werewolf keeper of the peace must never rest,” Dane said.
“I guess I should just be thankful I didn’t need the wolf today, huh?”
The two stared down at the baby harpy who had quit it’s squirming and shrieking. Besides the couple bright blue feathers on her head, she looked almost human. Her cheeks were rosy red and her nose was running. She yawned at her captures before falling asleep in Brent’s arms.
“Hey, Dane?” Brent asked.
“I take back what I said. Maybe you and Jesse should wait on having kids. Maybe you should wait a long time.”