Friday, March 14, 2014

Bulgakov's Bar

I wrote this tale for a writing contest where the last line of the story had to be a line from a song. Hope you like it.

Bulgakov's Bar

Chapter 1

There was a song playing in the background, that was vaguely familiar, but since the band playing it wasn't even humanoid, their rendition of the tune was avant garde, to say the least.
This had to be the worst bar I had ever been in. You wouldn't believe the slime they let in here.
I'm talking real slime, wallowing in tubs by low tables, sipping drinks from extruded tubules projected from their shapeless mass.
I don't know how I get talked into these missions. I swear every time I get done with one I'll never do another, but the boss can be rather persuasive. I think it has to do with the fact that I am a bar fly. I have been frequenting drinking establishments since the people of the worlds first figured out how to concoct liquid inebriates. That goes back an astonishingly long time.
Because of that, the boss always tosses me the jobs that requires a presence in a watering hole. This place had to take the prize for shit holes, and I don't say that because of the excrement covering the floors, it certainly is a hang out for the most unsavory characters in the multiverse.
The joint, Bulgakov's Bar, no doubt named for the author, is where the boss told me to rendezvous with a target who has been instrumental in starting serious wars, on various planets, spreading bio-weapons use, and being an all around pain in the arse for the boss, for many years.
I was here to get him to cease, or there would be hell to pay. I have been tracking this guy for quite some time and had finally been told by one of my locals that he comes here every so often. That, unfortunately, could mean a long time spent in this dump, waiting for a no-show. But I had no option but to wait and see. To help pass the time I conjured a copy of "The Master & Margarita" to read while I waited. I figured it was only fitting since I was in a place called Bulgakov's.
I have always liked this book about the adventures of a young human female who is chosen to be the hostess for an annual party. The party turns out to be quite unusual, with the hostess standing for hours, while the guests kiss her heel, as they arrive, in tribute to the host.
Finally after several hours of sitting at the counter rubbing elbows with patrons who don't have elbows, my local arrives.
Thanks to the boss, or maybe not, depending on the situation, I can follow whatever gibberish is spoken in the worlds. This particular dialect my local speaks sounds like gargling gravel and snorting, not one enjoyable to hear.
"Am glad here you be. Target is to be coming in time not to long." said my local.
"Good, I tire of waiting for this creature."
"Target is come within soon time, not more than a turn or two at least."
"A turn or two? That's 700 days! Why so long?"
"Target busy till wars gets started in the other place, must be sure it goes before come."
"Best can be said, no sure way to get better time."
"I thank you for the help and hope to work with your new child in the next cycle."

"Is an honor to serve the boss, this people will not see you again but will come as child soon after an explosion of life. Thank you for this creature be to help."
With that the local left to go mate. These locals have three sexes or breeding units, can't say that this local had a sex really. They have a male and a female element in as much as two of the three contribute genetic material used to produce offspring, but my contact is the recipient of both and essentially only contributed continuity of consciousness to the reproductive process.
That means my contact will be exploding directly and will return to me as a new person, with the old mind in it. Of course, it will have to contact me since I will at first fail to recognize it. The offspring mature to a usable age in just a few hundred days, so I will be operating alone during that time. Such is life.
Things have significantly changed since I was first asked, by the boss, to "do a few things" for him. He is hard to deny, and I have been in his service for far longer than I first planned to be. I have worked some demanding jobs and have always been able to get the results I needed. A few were touch and go for a while, but in the end, it worked out. Things got a lot tougher when the people of the worlds learned to travel through space and dimensions. This created a far greater opportunity for mischief. When they were contained to a single world they could only bugger with each other, but once they got the technologies to travel things got wild. Back in the days of old, most travel was by using a lower life-form to do the walking, swimming or flying. Travel between population centers took a long time, and problems were mostly isolated incidents, not effecting whole worlds or groups of worlds as it is today. Now these greedy little fools can cause all manner of mayhem resulting in the death of millions, billions sometimes.
This current target has been particularly nasty spreading chaos on several worlds simultaneously. I have to stop this.

Chapter 2

I just caught a glimpse of my quarry, but the target saw me and lit on out. I did finally managed to get a genetic sample from the target, left on a beverage container. Now I will no longer have to sit and wait for the target to show. I will be able to track him wherever he goes. I have some extraordinarily sophisticated wetware that allows me to home in on any target, anywhere, once I have a genetic marker, as reference. My job just got that much easier. This is good since this particular target can change its appearance and size to fit in with the local flora and fauna.
It looks as though he has gone to ground back on an ancient world where at least the locals are vertebrae humanoids.
I've always liked this world it reminds me of home or what home used to be like an incredible amount of time ago. It's one of those worlds that have a strange creation loop going that is extremely rare. It is as though the world keeps rerunning the same history. The locals rise to a certain level of technology, and then a gigantic rock hits the planet, and they are nearly wiped out. The few survivors start over, and after a while, they get back to where they were, just in time for another hit. The cycle keeps repeating, and the most remarkable thing is that everything returns to, as it was, right down to the location of cities, the names of places and people, and even the same literature. I got my copy of Bulgakov's, "The Master & Margarita" here, and I could go down to a store in a few years, and I am sure I could find a copy so close that only a few words would be different. I was gonna ask the boss about this, but I keep forgetting. But right now they are just starting to, once again, have the technology to create impressive buildings of stone and to craft with iron.
The problem, presented with such a world is, if my target is causing problems now, he has probably been here before, and done his mayhem in a previous epoch. These worlds are exceedingly difficult to change in a way that breaks the loop. This could significantly complicate my difficulty in dealing with him.

I have checked the records, and I got problems with this one. He has been here before, and millions have died as a result of his interference. He is already gathering followers and creating much turmoil in the local government. I only hope I can stop him before this gets too far. The boss wants it stopped this time to break the cycle of endless rise and fall of civilization. He thinks the target is somehow an integral part of this cyclic loop, and it's of the utmost importance, to break that cycle.
He's been extremely busy making speeches and gathering followers to his cause. But he has made a fatal mistake. He just couldn't stay away from his favorite bar, and has returned for a break, before the final push when he does his act, and convinces the locals to follow him. If he succeeds, the repercussions will result in the deaths of millions of locals, for a frightfully long time. The locals will become fanatics killing and torturing each other, practicing genocide and destroying cultural diversity. They will wipe out entire civilizations and wage war for their beliefs for millenniums to come. He must be stopped here and now while I have the opportunity.

I do not kill my targets, I simply need to get close enough to touch them, and I can wipe their memory. Never again will the target be able to cause so much misery on various worlds.
I have disguised my appearance and the target will not be able to detect me. I am close to him, and if I am successful, I will end his career of spreading misery, torment and hatred through the worlds. I have come to the realization, during my lengthy pursuit of my quarry, that he is the most dangerous type. He firmly believes that what he does is right and is for the betterment of those he subverts. He fails to realize the shortcomings of his followers and how in just a short time his teachings are twisted and perverted into a justification for the persecution of vast numbers of locals that fail to embrace his views. I intend to once and for all put a stop to the senseless deaths and destruction on many worlds.
I elbow through the crowd and take a seat at the bar next to him. I am disguised as a member of the same race as he is. A perfect excuse to introduce myself and shake his hand. Once I do, the mission will be done, and he will be just another bar fly, with no direction in life other than to sit here and drink.
"I couldn't help notice you sitting here, looks like you and I are the only humans in the joint." I say.
"Look like it, sit down and have a drink and chat a bit." he says.
"Love to, I'm Mike," I say and offer my hand.
"I'm Jesus," he says as he takes my hand.

I just caught that same song again in the background I heard the last time I was here. It is a tune that I heard an awful long time ago.
The band sings in the background,"...and they don't make Jews like Jesus anymore."

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