A not-so-subtle cough brought Parck back to the real world. He took a sip from his Corulag lager before he slowly turned his head, calmly raising his eyes to face a man who sat down next to him by the bar. Not a pleasant sight at all: a morbidly obese, awfully dirty, and foul-smelling human who was giving him a harsh scowl, an expression of disapproval clearly visible on his ugly, unshaven face.
Such attempt at intimidation might have worked on the usual clientèle, however, it could have never worked on Parck: the years of service with Grand Admiral Thrawn made him completely immune to the death glares coming from anyone else than from the said commanding officer.
Since the man kept simply throwing proverbial daggers at him, saying nothing at all, Parck shrugged and turned his attention back to the golden hue of his drink. A fresh, unfiltered Corulag lager wasn't something he could allow himself very often in the Unknown Regions. He planned to enjoy it to the very last drop.
What was wrong with his guy? Was Parck sitting at his usual spot or something?
Once again, Parck lifted his eyes to meet the other man's, getting mildly annoyed. The man was staring at him as if his very presence was poisoning the atmosphere of the bar.
"How can I help you, sir?" Parck asked as calmly as he could.
The other man's death glare intensified.
Sorry, darling, still not impressed, Parck thought.
"You can leave my bar. Now," the man said with a heavy Corulagi accent.
Parck frowned. It was the owner?
"I beg your pardon?" he said aloud, his eyes darting over to the bartender who suddenly became too busy preparing a cocktail for another client.
What was going on?
"You deaf or something? Maybe I need to spell it out for you: Leave. My. Bar." The owner snarled, emphasizing each word by repeatedly slamming his fist onto the table.
"I'm sorry, sir, but I paid for the drink and I am not finished yet. However, I will gladly leave your establishment once I am done here."
He decided to simply ignore the man, calmly taking another sip while staring at the wall.
The man bared his teeth and clenched his fists, visibly seething with anger. "Listen," he growled, pointing a finger at Parck accusingly. "I know what you are, and I don't want freaks like you in my bar. I have a boy, and he's, well…"
He looked briefly to his right. Parck followed his gaze and saw a young man in his late teens busily washing dishes in the farthest corner of the room, discreetly listening to the exchange.
"I caught him messing around with those guys several times already, and I don't want to make the situation worse by having him looking up to you as some kind of a role model. He's a good boy, got it?"
With a sinking feeling in his stomach, Parck realised what was the man getting at. Oh c'mon, not this nerfshit again, let me at least enjoy my last hours of leave.
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about," he said aloud.
"Of course you don't," the owner clipped, clearly unimpressed. "I saw you coming out of the den of iniquity across the street the other night," he narrowed his eyes in disgust. "I know what kind of freak you are."
And then proceeded to unceremoniously spit in Parck's general direction. Fortunately for Parck, the owner's aim was as bad as his attempt as intimidation. The bigot must have been crushed when a gay bar opened right next to his infamous Corulag Pub in the Coruscant's Lower Levels.
Karma is a bitch, isn't it? So, your hobby is watching out for the freaks in case any of them has the audacity to visit your establishment?
"Ah, well," Parck returned to his drink, slowly stirring the glass before taking yet another sip. "Do you also kick former clone troopers out of your bar or only gay men?"
That remark was enough to wipe the scowl from the man's face. The man looked positively outraged at the suggestion. Parck knew how to deal with his kind; the clone troopers were considered the war heroes on Corulag since they had proudly fought for the ideals of Chancellor Palpatine, playing an irreplaceable role in establishing the New Order on Corulag. All Corulagi were Palpatinists; he, too, had been a Palpatinist in the past.
"What? Of course I don't kick the war veterans out of my bar. Well, like all Corulagi I don't particularly like the fact they were born out of the tube, but it's not like they chose their fate."
Clone troopers might have been mere clones, but they were bred for war, and they won the war for their masters, which earned them respect among Corulagi.
Parck's lips marred in a smirk. Gotcha. "So I chose to be gay?" he countered in a deceptively mild tone, placing the glass on the table.
The man let out a deep scowl, his expression clearly saying Parck asked the most idiotic question ever. "Men are drawn to women, and women are drawn to men. Always been that way, since the very beginning of life. Life would have disappeared otherwise. People like you are twisted. Sick."
You must have been right there, waving the rainbow flag when the den of iniquity opened, Parck thought sarcastically.
"And don't tell me the usual galaxy is overpopulated kraytspit, blah, blah, blah," the man continued his lecture, crossing his arms in front of his chest, grinning in a way that suggested that he was about to deliver the final blow to Parck's ego. "Oh, wait, the galaxy is overpopulated. By freaks like you."
It took all Parck's self control not to burst into a laughter at the man's bigoted speech. Not a particularly brightest star in the galaxy, was he? Did he really think Parck hadn't heard it all? He must have recognized Parck as a fellow Corulagi from his accent just like he recognized him.
The owner flashed him an evil smirk. "You just need a night out with a couple of hot babes. Human, preferably, but it might have not worked on someone who spent his whole life screwing around with freaks. But hey, I was told a night with a Zeltron female could turn even the most stubborn gay men. Try a Zeltron."
Parck let out a deep sigh. "A Zeltron, huh?" He shook his head. "You know what, you are right. Your son definitely deserves better. I can see myself in him, and I don't want him to make the same mistake I did. Let me talk to him. Let me show him my mistake."
The man's scowl disappeared immediately; he nodded reluctantly, watching Parck with a mixture of hope and disbelief. He even had the same expression as Parck's own father back then.
"Well, you're a bugger, but at least you are an honest one," the owner said finally, and with obvious effort he wiped the expression of hate from his face."What kind of mistake are you talking about? What do you have in mind?"
"A very foolish one. Allow me to demonstrate." Parck gave him his most seductive wink, placing his hand on the man's shoulder. The owner froze, as if transfixed, an expression of pure, naked shock appearing on his face, and as Parck leaned in the man's complexion turned ashen.
"W-what the hell are you doing?" the owner spluttered when he finally found his voice, yanking away from him, flinching in disgust.
"Mmm… What's wrong?" Parck wondered, his expression pure innocence.
"Oh, don't worry," he said in a supportive tone, patting him on the shoulder soothingly, "you just need a night out with a fine Core World gentleman like me. You will forget all about women as soon as you experience how fabulous gay sex can be … Oh. Guess what, it doesn't work like that."
Parck flashed him a hard glare.
The man flinched again, muttering an old Corulagi curse, and stared at him as if Parck really was a freak of nature. And that was the moment when Parck finally lost it, bursting into an honest laughter, guffawing with open amusement.
He shook his head then, and threw a small wink at the young man in the corner of the room, who shyly nodded in understanding; there was little doubt that the boy would be leaving his bigoted father soon, finding a different place to stay. Coruscant was a galaxy within the Galaxy, there was no need to stick around with Corulagi expats who kept feeding him with the usual nerfshit about his chosen lifestyle.