Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Barter

Laria was nervous. The noise from the stationside bar leaked through the hatch ahead, almost forcing her back to her quarters. The 'Appy 'Ole was hardly the roughest bar in the universe, but it was significantly more... lively... than the refined wine bars of her previous experience. She took a deep breath, marshalling her thoughts. The bruises on her shins were a testament to the hours of practice she had put into her sassy walk. She thought she had it down pat now. She'd prepared her drink order in advance - nothing would make this go wrong more quickly than her staring blankly at the drinks and mumbling about Quafe, and then she really would have to run back to her quarters and lock herself in and never ever...

Breathe. 

Chin up. Shoulders back. 

Laria strode through the door, glanced around with what she hoped... no, squash that... glanced around nonchalantly and headed for the bar. She leant against it, resting her hand on her hip, one knee slightly bent, just like she practiced. "Straight Pator Number One," she ordered. A tough drink. The barman slid it across the polished metal surface, and Laria managed to react just in time, catching it before it fell off the edge. Close. She knocked it back, and slapped the cup back onto the bar.

Her mouth exploded into a ball of fire. This was horrid! Horrid and painful. She clamped her jaw shut, calling on all her self-control. Tears, unwanted, escaped from the corners of her eyes. A guy stood up, walked towards her. This was it! This was the opportunity! She was going to get a chance to be sassy and cool!

And she was going to totally ruin it all by being unable to speak because her mouth was burning like she'd gulped propellant. Quick. Think! 

Laria blinked back the tears, nodded to the bartender as she pushed herself to a stand, looked at the approaching guy, winked, and headed from the bar, giving all of them a good look at her new walk.

There. That wasn't a total disaster. Laria looked at herself in the mirror, safely back in her quarters, and having rinsed and spat more times than she cared to think. She nodded, and gave a little wry grin. Hey, that looked good too. A little more practice, that was all she needed.

Wait. A gnawing fear tugged at her gut. When she'd winked at the man... prior to her stylish exit... had she winked with the correct eye?



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