The air in the bar was thick with cigarette smoke as some honky-tonk tune wafted through the air assaulting my ears. I was definitely more of a Pink Floyd fan. After a long day of working the Texas Frightmare convention I had stopped in here to wet my whistle and hang out with Dr. Pus and The Dunwoody. What more companionship could you ask for?

“Dave, did you sell out of Empire 2 already?” I asked.

He gave me that sheepish grin that melts women’s hearts and Doc bounced around in his seat full of excitement.

“Clean out on the first day!”

I just shook my head. My werewolf novel had sold decently but I think I secretly always wanted to have the appeal of The Dunwoody. As we nursed our beers enjoying the ambience of the local watering hole I noticed the lack of female companionship in the bar. This was truly out of the ordinary because no matter where The Dunwoody goes the women are sure to follow. He is like a pied piper for the opposite sex. Women just seem to melt when he was around. On top of that the only thing I notice was that there were no windows but what appeared to be retractable skylights in the ceiling almost like a stadium roof. I really didn’t pay much attention to them because I wasn’t there for an architectural tour.

Doc, wearing his famous blood coated scrubs, got up an sauntered over to the bar to retrieve another round of libations for us, but accidently bumped into a rather large hairy individual wearing shit-kickers, jeans (that were WAY to tight), and a wife beater.

The grizzly bear turned toward Doc taking a menacing stance and uttered those words that no one wants to hear, “What the Hell man?”

Doc began to profusely apologize to the wolf of a man offering to buy him and his friends another round to compensate for bumping into him. Grizzly didn’t seem to really interested in this and continued to raise the tension level in the odd little establishment by taking a threatening posture and towering over little old Doc. Now I’ve known Doc for a couple years and I had the feeling big boy wasn’t going to intimidate Doc. Christ, he’s pulled his own teeth in the past.

Doc walked away from the unhappy crowd at the bartop to avoid anymore conflict because there was nothing more he could do. He offered the drinks and apologized. It’s not like he could turn the clock back and make sure he didn’t bump into the guy. The whole thing was silly.

“Ralph! Open the roof!”

With a mechanical grind the roof tiles began to pull back like an automated pool cover, each individual section folding onto the previous one exposing the beautiful starlit night sky. There were no clouds moving around up there; it was perfectly clear. My eyes saw the full moon in the sky and alarms began to sound in my head. The last few conventions I had been to hadn’t turned out so well. The zombies in San Francisco and the Vampires in Chicago. Oh shit what had I gotten myself into this time!

I looked back over the bar and wooly mammoth and his ‘entourage’ had turned there hairy bodies towards us but had their heads upturned to the sky taking in the fully round yellow disk in the Texas night sky. Great. Werewolves. I thought remembering past experiences.

A hazy yellow glow enveloped the group of hairy bastards as they began to change shape. Now, I had never seen a shape shifter actually change before so this one would be new but as their faces elongated, stretching the skin in bone into snouts, I began to get nervous.

A dentist, an author and a programmer walk into a bar —

I looked back and the werewolves and had to do a double take. They weren’t werewolves. At least that I’d ever scene. Their skin was leathery like an old sofa and they had wings. As a matter of fact the only thing they had resembling a werewolf were huge fangs. I paused long enough for that split second slap of reality to set in and —

Gargoyles. Motherfuckin’ gargoyles.

I can’t win anymore. Everywhere I go this happens. I thought it was Dane and Bryce that caused this, but evidently it was me. I settled back into the chair accepting that I was finally going to die at the hands of an evil monster in a situation that I didn’t create or deserve.

As I slouched even lower in the chair resigned to my fate, I felt the table bump into my shoulder and turned to look at what ugly monster was coming up behind us. Instead I saw a pair of glossy black lace up boots; kind of like wrestler would wear, standing in front of my face. My eyes tracked upward to see what was filling the boots and there was a man in black tights and top with a long black cape on hood flowing over his shoulders. On his chest was the letter ‘D’ emblazoned in white phosphorescent lettering with one hand on his hip and the other holding a giant scythe. He reminded me of what the Grim Reaper would look like as a superhero. Upon his gorgeous face he wore a mask that looked like a cross between Night Vision Goggles and sunglasses.

‘Behold creatures of Doom! Your fate is sealed as The Dunwoody has arrived!’

I didn’t know whether to put my head in my hands and laugh or cry. Or should I be thankful The Dunwoody made an appearance? I had heard comical stories about this, but seeing it in person was a completely different thing.

The Dunwoody jumped from the tabletop to the sawdust covered floor sending up miniature mushroom clouds of dust. I stood from my seat and took a step back trying to get my back against the wall to watch whatever was going to go down. I looked for Doc but all that stood next to Dunwoody was a five and a half foot tall man in blue scrubs with red piping. A short Mohawk adorned his head with a silver skull earring in his right lobe. Across his eyes and face were a Lone Ranger style mask and held in his right hand were a set of silver plated extraction pliers for pulling teeth.

As I continued to back up I bumped into an empty chair and proceeded to plop down in it. Resigning myself to my fate, I didn’t get up get up from my perch. I could watch the festivities about to unfold in front of me. Next to the chair was a table with a pitcher and glass on it. A full pitcher. Of beer. Someone loved me.

Full glass in hand, and on the way to my mouth, I watched as the little man ran in front of the group of gargoyles his hand whipping back and forth. He moved so quickly I could barely see what he was doing, what I did hear were yelps in pain and the tinkle of pulled fangs hitting bare patches in the covered floor. As he turned back towards me I saw the large ‘CP’ on his chest and realized it was seeing the infamous Captain Pus in front of me.

The gargoyles continued to scream in pain and maintained their spots in front of the bar as The Dunwoody jumped from the table to the side of Captain Pus brandishing his scythe in front of him. One of the leathery beasts finally developed enough gumption to come after the pair, but he ended up getting the raw end of the deal as his head ended up bouncing across the bar and smacking into the digital jukebox. It didn’t stop there either as The Dunwoody continued swinging for the fences sending more and more heads across the bar to the jukebox. With the flash of an eye the fight was over almost before it began. Seven beheaded bodies lay on the in the sawdust with black ichor soaking into the woodchips. Across the room, the matching heads lay at the base of the jukebox and half of my pitcher of beer was gone.

‘Ralph! Close the damn roof!’

The panels unfolded in a reverse order across the hole in the roof blocking out the stars and moon darkening the room. My eyes blinked and their opening they were greeted with darkness. I tried not to move because I couldn’t see anything in the room including the hand holding my beer. With in just a couple minutes the lights came back on and to my surprise Dave and Dr. Pus were sitting next to me at the table. They shared a smile across the table and filled my beer mug with the wonderful amber liquid.

Doc looked over at me and grinned.

‘Welcome to the Library Ben!’

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