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...at the Four Winds Bar

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Stanford Pines was sweating. He had just missed getting caught up in that unpleasantness back there. Four young adults, teenagers maybe, being arrested for possession. Still he seems to be getting closer to home, everyone appeared to be human. The police certainly acted like earth authorities.

He walked out on to a long expanse of beach, now the sands become a crust beneath his feet. Sandpipers flew away at his approach, scattering to the four winds. Seagulls stood their ground as he passed, the lesser birds had fled. He walked on.

The building loomed up out of nowhere, a large brick cube. There were bars on all the windows. Ford walked around the building to get a feel for the layout. He hated to walk into a situation blind, but that's difficult to avoid when you're being shunted around dimensions by higher entities. Where had Jheselbraum the Unswerving sent me now he thought? Right, the building. There was a door in each of the four walls, but two on opposite sides of the building were chained and bolted. There was a sign above each door reading the Four Winds Bar. Hmmm... four winds at the Four Winds Bar, two doors locked and windows barred. Must be a bad neighborhood. He looked around and saw nothing but beach and scrubby foothills for miles. Alright, maybe not. Odd...well, he had decided to dedicate his life to the wierd and the odd.

The door facing the ocean opened and two women came out. One was young and slight, dressed in black with black hair and what Ford considered too much makeup. The other was older, dressed in white and had her arm around her younger companion.

"Come, Suzy dear, let's take a walk, just out there upon the beach. I know you'll soon be married and you want to know where the winds come from." The older woman was saying.

"Miss Carrie, nurse, what is this place? Is it even on the map?" The younger woman asked. Well, it's never said at all, on the map that Carrie reads, behind the clock, back there, you know, at the Four Winds Bar.

Might as well go in, thought Ford. If nothing else I can get a drink. He stepped through the door, bathed in deep cerulean light, an oceanic blue. The queenly flux, eternal light or the light that never warms. One door let to take you in, the other one just mirrors it. In hellish glare and inference, the other one's a duplicate.

Okay, definitely not MY earth, damn place looks like a Fellini movie. On a throne a massive, heroically proportioned person sat, wearing a Greek chalmys and a wreath of laural. Well, 'person' may be the wrong word, he was easily twelve feet tall. At his feet was a sack, bound with leather at the top. The sack moved. A dwarf dressed in harlequin capered about, serving drinks. Six chitinous insectoid creatures sat at a table, three with wings and mandibles, three without. All had compound eyes and antennae. A band was playing, a three piece, guitar, bass and drums. The guitarist was a birdperson, the drummer seemed to be some sort of cat and the bassist was a tall, thin human with wild blue hair. Ford doesn't know much about music, but he supposes it has a beat and you can dance to it. Like a time lapse shot before his eyes all around the bar tiny white flowers grew and bloomed. Moondrops. The clock struck twelve, the moondrops burst out at you from their hiding place.

The band ended their set. The tall man looked Ford over and gestures for him to join them.

"Hey, earthling! C'mere! You look confused and we're supposed to meet someone here! You him?"

Ford spreads a six-fingered hand against his chest in a 'Who, me?' gesture.

"Yes, you, asshole! You see some other shithead blocking the door, in the light that never warms?"

Ford joins them at a table. The tall man asks him "What are you doing here, earthling? You gotta have a reason to find the Four Winds Bar. I'm Rick Sanchez, by the way. This here's BirdPerson and Squanchy. We're the Flesh Curtains."

"Wait, your NAME is BirdPerson?" Asked Ford.

"Well, my name is..." A stream of twittering and whistles."But Rick cannot pronounce that, so he calls me 'BirdPerson'. This is adequate for my needs." BirdPerson responded, in a slow monotone.

"And I'm 'Mreowhstfft' , Rick's not so hot at that either. I'm from Planet Squanch so Rick calls me 'Squanchy'. He's a nicknamer anyway. It's cool, I'm squanchy with it." Squanchy said.

"So, who are you, asshole? And how'd you get here? Like I said, you gotta NEED to find the Four Winds Bar."

"It's a complicated story...say, who's the big guy?" Ford asked, gesturing towards the throne.

"Him? Oh, that's Aeolis, god of winds." Rick replied.

"But, he's mythical!" Ford objected.

"Not around HERE, he's isn't!" Squanchy said, tittering.

"It IS the Four Winds Bar, stranger." BirdPerson remonstrated.

Rick snapped his fingers in Ford's face. "Yo! Asshole! Name! Rank! Mission! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE?!"

"My name is Stanford Pines. I suppose it all started when I conceived my interdimensional portal...."

Rick, grease and lime juice from tequila shooters on his chin, stood and leaning with his fists on the table, and got in Ford's face. "Whoa! Wait a minute, Fordsy! YOU conceived the interdimensional portal?! I invented the interdimensional portal, motherfucker!"

"Um, Rick..." Started Squanchy.

"I know, I know! Like acid and oil on a madman's face!" Rick snapped at him.

"His reason tends to fly away." Muttered BirdPerson. "Sorry, Stanford. Give him the benefit of the doubt, Rick. He may be the one. If he can duplicate the portal, what else can he do?"

"Go on, Fordsy."

"Well, I had help. A dream demon from the nightmare realm tricked me. He wants the portal so he can enter my dimension and conquer it. Or destroy it. I had shut it down, but my idiot brother accidentally restarted it and flung me through it. I spent an interminable amount of time in the nightmare realm, but managed to escape. The Oracle has sent me out into the multiverse, so I can obtain the parts I need for a weapon to destroy him..."

"Hold up, Fordsy! Oracle? Haughty bitch?" Asked Rick.

"Tall." Commented BirdPerson.

"Seven eyes?" Queried Squanchy.

"Now, Squanchy, don't be oculist! I never judge a being on how many eyes they have, not even Gromflomites."

"It's not oculist, Rick! It's descriptive! People SQUANCH seven eyes is all I'm sayin'!" Squanchy defended himself.

These people are clearly insane, thought Ford. "You know the Oracle?" He asked.

"Vagisil the Unyielding? Yeah, her dimension is a handy place to avoid the Galactic Federation. Bitch sent us here. 'You will assist the Demon Hunter with his weapon and, in turn, his weapon will aid you in your quest.' Pretentious cunt."

"Show a little respect, Sanchez!" Fumed Ford.

"He is simply bitter because she shot him down." BirdPerson said.

"Wait, you hit on the ORACLE?! Are you fucking INSANE?!" Ford raved

"Little bit. Hey, she's an attractive... thing. Being. Entity. Can't blame a man for trying, right Fordsy?" Grinned Rick, nudging Ford in the ribs.

"Rick, Stanford mentioned a weapon." BirdPerson said.

"Right, talk about missing the point! You got plans for this uberweapon, hotshot? What do you use against a fucking dream demon, whatever the fuck that is!"

Reluctantly, Ford pulled out the plans for the quantum destabilizer and unrolled them on the table.

Rick was impressed. "Holy shit! HOLY SHIT! This is good, Fordsy! This is very, very good! So, it destabilizes the actual Strong Force? The energy output must be..."

"Phenomenal!" Finished Ford, a smirk on his face. That'll take the arrogant asshole down a peg, he thought.

"Fordsy, I take back all the bad shit I'm gonna say about you! Boys! You were right! Fordsy here is the guy! Ford, are you ready to join a gang of interdimensional criminals and terrorists? Dedicated to the overthrow of the Galactic Federation?"

"Do I get a quantum destabilizer out of it?"

"DO you? A hundred, a thousand! What do you think, Pers?" Rick said.

"I believe that one thousand would be adequate, yes." BirdPerson replied.

"What's this all about, Sanchez? Terrorists? What are you talking about?" Ford still didn't want to go into a situation blind.

"I suppose you would prefer the term 'freedom fighters'. Here's the deal, Fordsy. See those guys at the back of the bar?" Rick said, indicating the insectoid aliens. "Those are Gromflomites and they control the Galactic Federation. About a nonillion sentient beings are not happy about that, Fordsy. And that's just this dimension. The Galactic Federation are BAD PEOPLE, Ford! Torture! Mind control! CUBES! Me and the boys are trying to put an end to this Ford, and between your quantum destabilizer and my neutrino bombs, we have a shot! What do you say, you in?"

"I get a quantum destabilizer, right?"

"Abso-fucking-lutely, asshole! As many as you want!"

"Alright, I'm in!" What am I letting myself in for? Thought Ford.

"Yes! Sweet!" Rick fist pumped."100 years, Rick and Fordsy..."

The clock struck twelve, the moondrops burst....

"What the hell!" Exclaimed Ford.

"Relax, Fordsy! This joint is a Nexis. It exists in all dimensions, all timelines at once!" Rick explains.

"It is always midnight at the Four Winds Bar." Said BirdPerson.

"Bullshit! There's bright sunshine outside!"

"Try the other door.".Rick deadpanned.

Ford stormed out the infernal door. It faced on to the ocean. Well, that's impossible, he thought. He looked at the night sky. Blackness. Sheer empyrean blackness. A star shone. One star. There were no lights on the bar, there were no lights anywhere. Can't blame light pollution. A single star. Astronomy. A star. He'd seen some strange things, he'd survived the nightmare realm, but this disturbed him. He shuffled back into the bar.

"Aw, you broke him, Rick." Squanchy said.

"He's a big boy, he'll get over it! It's a Nexis, Ford! It's everywhere at once, but it's its own pocket dimension. Don't you understand the fractal nature of reality? I thought you built a portal?!

The two women, in black and white reentered the bar.

"Miss Carrie, nurse, and Suzy dear would find themselves at the Four Winds Bar." Rick said.

"It's the Nexis of the crisis" continued BirdPerson.

"And the origin of storms." Finished Squanchy.

The dwarf scampered up. "Just the place to hopelessly encounter time, and then came me!" He said.

"Hey!" Said Rick

"Hey!" Said BirdPerson.

" Hey!" Said Squanchy.

" Hey!" Said Ford.

"Call me Desdenova, eternal light! These gravely digs of mine will surely prove a sight! And don't forget my dog, fixed and consequent! " The dwarf said.

Ford kept repeating "Astronomy....a star." Over and over.

Rick placed his foot in the dwarfs face. "Fuck off, Dez!" He said.

"Yeah, fuck you and your little dog, too!" Squanchy added.

" Hold on, Dez! A round for the table! We're celebrating! Boys, a round of drinks and one more set and we are OUTTA HERE! Let's BLOW this popsicle stand!" Rick was exuberant.

The door opened and three men came in. One was wearing sunglasses and had thick curly brown hair and a beard, one was tall and thin with stringy long hair and one had black hair and a wispy moustache. They greeted the Flesh Curtains.

"Hey!"

"Hey!"

" Hey!"

"Hey!"

For some reason all six broke into gales of laughter at this exchange.

"Eric, Allen, Buck, good to see ya! We're about to start our last set, wanna sit in?"

"You know it bro! What's our motto? You can't have too many guitars! You've known me a long time, Rick! Just call me Don."

Everyone got up on stage. Allen asked, " We playin' the song?"

Rick answered "Of COURSE we're playin' the fucking song, man! Gotta keep this place goin'!"

Eric turned to the drummer. "A piece of advice, Squanchy. You so much as TOUCH a fucking cowbell, I'm skinning you and keeping your hide!"

"Yessir, Mr. Bloom!"

Allen played the piano intro and Eric stepped up to the mike. "The clock strikes twelve and moondrops burst..."

Ford was blown away.