Saturday, July 4, 2015

Short Story: Boardwalk on Noir


31 stories in 31 days Challenge, this is #4!

Boardwalk on Noir


“Life's not fair, you know” Matt told the floppy-eared goofy-looking guy next to him on the bar who nodded, exaggerated like a puppet.

“Meeno, Meeno” the guy answered thoughtfully.

Matt looked at his glass, he couldn't even tell what color the liquid was. He was seeing in black and white so it might be Noir. He doesn't remember what he ordered any way.

“I've got nothing to show for my life, nothing” he said to the alien

“Ohlifeisasaddeed” it said, taking its own drink. Matt tapped the translator embedded behind his ear, of all the rotten luck it would go out too.

“Nothing?” the robot bartender asked

“I can pay for the drinks, bot-tender!” Matt told it, waving it off like it was a fly hovering over his soup. “When it rains it pours” he muttered.

The alien answered “Itdoobutlifegoungotdaliveno?”

Matt nodded, throwing come interstellar currency units at the bot-tender and going outside for a walk, on the boardwalk where he could listen to the ocean waves crashing against the beach. It was dark outside so he was still seeing mostly in black and white.

The signs were no longer readable. The alien languages on the neon and lit-up signs were no longer being translated for him. His device had failed. He walked away from the buildings and the alien signs and tightened his collar against the cooling breeze.

It was quiet and lonely out near the water. Matt never thought he would end up a loser like this, his life had certainly stunk. He kept going, thinking his day would come, his turn would be just around the corner. Nothing doing. The footprints behind him were wiped out in the next wave, but they were as lasting as his impact on society had been.

Life stinks. Especially his. He wondered if the two suns and moons and the five and a half hour day and five and a half hour nights were causing his mood swings.

Matt thought about standing there until one of the suns came up, he'd be able to watch the green and purple sea. It had a calming effect on him, it always had. Some people might just walk out there and end it all. Nobody swims in these waters, especially humans, they would be fish food immediately here.

Matt shook his head. To much of a coward to even kill himself, he mused. He walked back to the boardwalk and watched the signs in the alien languages as he walked past. The translator was definitely not working. Some of them didn't even look like a language, some of them looked like bird droppings.

He stopped. One of the signs was written in a human language at least. Not his language, for sure, but he could sound it out. Matt didn't know he could even do that. “Kee-op-ee” he sounded out the syllables and he knew “A coffee shop”, because it wouldn't make sense to have a copy shop on the beach just before first night ended.

He entered the shop. Coffee. He stood there in the doorway a moment and just breathed in the smell and the color in his vision started returning. The Noir he had been drinking was starting to wear off and his mood was already changing.

This is my life, I will write the script. No more floating around waiting for someone else to do it for me.

“Ann-yeong ha-sayo” the short, smiling human woman in the apron said with a curt bow. He bowed back and she showed him to a table. “Coffee” he said, of course, what else would he order here? The woman was cute, he wondered if she was single out here so far from home. Earth, he meant Earth not home. Maybe. He took the coffee she delivered with his best smile.

Matt had a lot of thinking to do. Maybe he should scrounge up funds for a ride back to Earth, but he didn't really like that idea. It was a dirty, crowded mindless place now. Let the fools keep it, he wasn't going to change 9 billion people, it was pointless to try. So if it wasn't that, then what was it? Matt needed a plan, a goal... or was it a dream.

He definitely had thinking to do.

The woman's name tag, somewhere in his brain he deciphered the symbols of her name and it came to him. “Young Mee-Hee” he pronounced it in a whisper, probably badly. Not that it mattered, her translator is probably working. She might be lonely too, a human running a coffee shop on an alien seashore. Coffee was poison to some of the aliens.

He saw a thin-as-a-rod alien laying on a table, limp. Seeti's found coffee intoxicating. He rolled his eyes. He would definitely talk to her, yep. Maybe. He wouldn't understand her answers, likely, if she didn't speak his language. Matt laughed at the idea that she would assume his translator was working.

Really need to get that fixed sometime today, he thought “or maybe wait until after second night”
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