This is a satirical short story. The following is crude, vulgar, misogynistic and devoid of any artistic value. Yet, I need to work on my boring writing. This is only a test.
"Give the people what they want!" Ray Davies, 1981
Duke kicked at the charred beam that used to support the bar roof. Flames danced where, earlier in the evening, others had busted a move. He was a good dancer. Hell, Duke was good at everything; except accepting rudeness. In the distance, sirens wailed, growing louder as they approached. The sirens almost drowned out the moans of the injured and dying scattered under the rubble.
"They all deserved it," Duke consoled himself. "No one. NO ONE disrespects Duke."
He considered the fact that he should run. The Police would not understand his righteous fury. 'Besides,' Duke
thought, 'I could take them all out by myself. With my bare hands. No worries.'
Within the next few minutes, the cops would try to arrest him. Duke had time to reflect.
"What went wrong? Who tried to ruin my weekend..."
It was a typical Friday night for Duke. After teaching advanced defensive techniques to the local SEAL Team, Duke was normally a tad thirsty. Every bar wanted Duke to grace their establishment. His presence ensured drink sales would increase three hundred percent (Duke accounted for half the volume increase). He usually had to turn away at least three or four limos sent to his compound. The one last Friday, with cash lining the floorboards was particularly enticing.
But no. Duke liked the "Dew Drop In".
The Dew Drop In was a dive. But it was Duke's kind of dive. There was usually a good chance that someone would be carried out on a stretcher. Duke liked light entertainment after a hard day's work. Sometimes at work, a SEAL would actually make contact with Duke. When Duke held the SEAL in a pain compliance position for two hours, Duke grew just a scosh fatigued. The DDI was just the place to wind down.
This Friday was like most any other. The usual crowd parted like grass when Duke blew in. The tent card at the bar was hurriedly removed so he could take his seat. Duke gazed across the barroom, gracing the patrons with his benevolent consideration. All avoided eye contact. Duke understood and accepted their reverence, but sometimes wished that someone worthy would face him.
Duke started the evening off slowly. The bartender placed the pony keg of Guinness on the counter, and carefully backed away. Duke deftly flipped a gold Kugerand at the barkeep, who bowed and scraped, mumbling a 'Thank you'. While filling his custom barvarian stein, Duke could feel eyes upon him. His years of ultra-secret training with The Company taught him to be able to sense movement, intentions and actions hours before others crossed his path.
He lifted the ten pound, frothy stein to his parched, leathery lips. There would be no problems tonight. The eyes upon him were the normal assortment. Many belonged to the women that wanted to be with him. The men's eyes all gazed upon the man that they wished they were. Even with his back turned, some were afraid to look at Duke. He huffed under his breath. He knew that there were weak people in the world. He just wished they would stay home. They were usually boring, and ugly.
After drinking his weight in stout, Duke decided to slow down. He motioned to the bartender, who placed a gallon of tequila in front of Duke. Duke preferred White Lightning, but for the good of the nation, curbed his tastes. After all the surplus corn in North America had been ordered and shipped to the stills of Kentucky, the resulting food riots were regrettable. Duke was nothing, if compassionate. And humble. He switched to tequila. No one would miss the cactus.
After a few hours, Duke felt that familiar stirring. No, he did not have to use the restroom. Duke only needed to relive himself every other month. This feeling was different. He realized that it had been almost forty-eight hours.
Two days had passed. He had not pleasured a woman.
Almost as a warning beacon, Duke emitted his own, special pheromone. It warned all men to give him a larger than normal space. It warned all women that it was possible that they would have a story they would be proud to tell their grandchildren. As Duke lifted his god-like frame from the bar, a respectful hush fell across the room. As much as where lightning knows where it will strike before it laves the cloud, Duke knew who the fortunate lass would be.
She was, of course, the most beautiful woman in the bar. But Duke needed more than beauty. In the same manner that The Himalayas need southeast Asia to support them, Duke needed a special woman. Her earlier suitors had already scurried to the corners of the bar, and were busy soiling themselves as Duke approached the woman.
Her body shook nervously as she lifted her hand to him. Duke gently took the hand, and the woman lifted out of the seat as a leaf is carried by a gale. The two walked toward the hallway, to under the sign that read "restrooms". A tear fell from the woman’s eye, as she finally gathered the courage to look at Duke.
"I’ve, I’ve never done anything like this…" the woman stammered.
"No. That I can guarantee."
To the patrons that were former military, the sensation in the bar was familiar. For over an hour, the VietNam vets thought that a B-52 arclight strike was being executed in the men’s room. To some of the older vets, the roar brought back images of mushroom clouds after weapons testing in New Mexico. All tried to enjoy their drinks, and ignore the act of nature roiling a few dozen feet away. Men humbly hung their heads. Most of the women’s eyes were wide. Some involuntarily licked their lips.
When the two emerged, Duke made a beeline to the bar, and ordered up a full keg of Guinness. Duke’s partner literally floated out of the men’s room. Her feet did not make contact with the rough-hewn wood floor. She glowed. Her hair was sticking out, as if teased by static electricity. As she drifted back to her table, throngs of women surrounded her, asking questions discreetly. Duke’s partner could not answer. She had not stopped smiling for over an hour.
"God, I’m thirsty." Duke told the bartender as he pulled a couple of Kugerands from his boot. "Oh, and how about a nice bowl of those Kopi Luwak beans. I’m a bit peckish."
Yes, it was a typical evening.
It was so typical, it was impossible to tell when it went wrong.
Following his first conquest, Duke realized that he was behind on his quota. After all, it had been almost two whole days. Duke regretted the disruption to the bar that his "services" provided, but Duke was a dutiful man. He knew what was expected from him. No, what was needed. Women needed something to dream about. Men needed impossible goals to strive for. Duke provided both.
By later in the evening, Duke had lost track. Well, he did not keep track. Even with an IQ over 220, Duke found it unnecessary and self-indulgent to retain such data. He only knew that he had to work tomorrow, training a Spetznaz unit in advanced hand-to-hand combat.
"I never get a break, you know that, Ted?" Duke told the bartender. "Working on a Saturday tomorrow."
Ted nodded, while wiping down the bar. Duke took a roll of Kugerands out of his boot, rolling them down to Ted.
"Thanks,’ Duke told him, "just next time, check those Kopi Luwak beans closer. I think there was some shit still stuck to one of them."
As Duke rose to leave, the bar patrons once again parted like Red Sea waters. Duke decided that he needed some fresh air, and would walk along the waterfront.
The feeling descended on Duke rather quickly as he walked. This disturbed him for two reasons: First, he had long ago learned to control all feelings through ancient mediation techniques. Secondly, it was an unpleasant feeling. Duke NEVER felt bad.
His genius intellect went over ever word, every motion and nuance that evening. Everything was perfect, otherwise known as "normal" by Duke. Still, the feeling persisted.
When the realization dawned on him, Duke stopped walking. The rest of the world, in respect, stopped as well.
As he tried to suppress his anger, Duke found himself turning back toward the bar. It was normal for those that he had pleased to be in a state of shock. He could pleasure people in ways that could fill six volumes of the Karma Sutra. Still, eventually, when his partners realized what a gift they had been given, they are grateful.
No one had thanked him.
Duke never blacked out, but the moments following that epiphany were, at least, a little unclear to Duke. He remembered images that, in his mind’s eye, looked a lot like the original Van Goughs that hung at his estate. Duke remembered reaching the bar door, and pulling down two wooden support beams. He rubbed them together. Flames leaped-up from the timbers. His massive lungs blew on the flames, catching the bar ablaze. As screams pierced the night, Duke thought back to his encounters…
The bar maid, the professional model, the merchant seaman… none of them thanked him.
Duke’s Zeus-like laugh cracked the night as the flames engulfed the bar. No one tried to run out the front door. Duke was there. He was not happy. The patrons scrambled out of the back, most of them made it. Duke consoled himself that those that didn’t make it out were the ugly and boring ones.
As Duke threw down the smoldering wood beams in disgust, a dog walked up to him. His head was down, and tail in the submissive position.
"You," Duke said to the dog, "a little late now, isn’t it? Man’s best friend, right. You’re not even grateful, just like the rest of them." The dog sulked away, looking both ashamed, and satisfied.
Lights were visible, in the distance, as the police cars converged on the scene. Duke instinctively assumed a defensive posture, then lowered his hands, and stood straight. He decided he’d give them a fighting chance, by letting them strike the first blow. Or two. Or three. Or whenever Duke tired of their feeble attempt to bring him down, he’d retaliate.
Seconds later, uniformed men leapt from the police cars. Each pointed a tazer, or a pistol, shotgun or assault rifle at Duke. For the first time that evening, Duke smiled. He clenched his bare fists, and surveyed the army arrayed against him. Finally, a fair fight.
"Bring it on."