Ah, hey! You’re new here, aren’t you? Haven’t seen your face before. Well, that’s nothing new around here, I’m used to a lot of faces. What can I get you? Drink? We got just about anything a fellow could ask for.
What, that one? Oh, that’s just an obsidian shooter. The trick is to use real lava, you see. Might be a little strong for you, though. But you think that’s wild, let me tell you about the other day, when we had a minor little mishap with our gravity.
You see, we really don’t know what’s outside the bar. Oh, the windows? Sure, we’ve got them, but they tend to change what they show, and it seems like they show something different to everyone. Our bouncer says they’re showing the inside of a giant computer, but Jimmy the Wrecker, in the corner, swears that they’re looking out at downtown Chicago. Of course, most people don’t argue with Jimmy.
So one day, few weeks ago, business as usual. Bar was pretty empty, I remember. Mainly the locals, a couple lizards, some out of work fellows, Jimmy was there. I’m shaking out another Manhattan for Jimmy when all of a sudden, the olives are floating up past my face.
A moment later, it’s clear that it’s not just me. “Oy! The hell’s happenin’ with my drink!?” Jimmy yelled from the corner. G27 let out a distressed clank, and I sucked in a breath myself as I felt my feet leave the floor.
A soft wave of glasses drifted lazily over the bar, chasing after the herd of olives. Holding on to the rail of the bar, I took a quick survey. G27 had latched on to the floor with his magnetic clamps, Jimmy was thrashing around like he was trying to swim, and most of the other patrons were in various stages of panic. Not how I like to run my bar, I’ll tell ya.
One guy, though, at the end of the bar, seemed to still be in control, keeping himself in his seat with one hand. I made my way down to him with difficulty. “Hey, friend,” I greeted him. “Any idea what’s happening here?”
The other fellow gazed around the bar with polite interest, as if observing a neighbor’s new minivan. “Looks like you forgot to pay the gravity bill,” he commented. I noticed that one hand was over the mouth of his beer bottle, to keep the globes of liquid inside between sips.
I gave him a short laugh; even in times of crisis, bartenders have to put their patrons first. “Any idea on how to fix it?” I noticed that he was a fairly neat fellow, if slightly chubby, in an oxford, a bow tie, and a pair of spectacles.
He glanced over the bar, his legs floating up off the stool. “Maybe! Do you have any paper back there?” he asked. I found a legal pad and pencil beneath the bar and passed them over.
The man began scribbling down equations of some sort; I was lost almost immediately. He seemed to be using letters instead of numbers. “I don’t believe I’ve made your acquaintance,” I said. Across the room, the lizards were fending off an attack by several floating chairs.
Before he stuck out his hand, the little man at the bar held down the pad and paper with his other hand, smartly keeping it from floating away. “Jonathan Tinnesdale, quantum physicist,” he said with just a slight hint of pride. “Currently disgraced, of course, after my antiproton cage prototype failed spectacularly and blew up half of JPL’s high energy building.”