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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias

Racist Scum

by

Harris Tobias



                                             Racist Scum
   
“Did I tell you there’s a bar on T’sek that won’t serve humans? They think we're disgusting. Stupid racists that’s what they are. They shouldn’t be allowed in our bars either, but what are you gonna do? The universe is filled with racist scum. Damn Thoggs.” Old Archie sounded outraged by the insult. You’d have thought he really believed what he was saying. Off on one of his rants again. If you didn’t know him, you’d think he was outraged about something he’d actually encountered. T’sek? Where the hell was T’sek? The fact that it was a place at all was questionable. And what in hell were Thoggs? We only had Archie’s word that any of what he said was true and his word wasn’t worth very much. The fact that no one had ever heard of T’sek or Thoggs or any of the million other fantastic things he uttered didn’t help his credibility any. Frankly, we couldn’t care less about racial politics on a planet half a galaxy away. Our belief or lack thereof made no difference to old Archie. That was his schtick. He was our resident storytelling lunatic.We all just nodded our heads as if racist Thoggs on faraway T’sek was indeed a terrible injustice.


Archie was always making statements like that. In fact, we’d heard the one about the bar on T’sek a dozen times. Archie waited to see if anyone had a question they wanted answered about Thoggs or any of the other nonsense he claimed to know about. If you wanted a question answered, it would cost you a drink. Heaven only knew how many drinks the old scoundrel had mooched off of us over the years. Of course we were wise to his game. Sometimes we played along, mostly we ignored him. If anyone wanted to know more about racist Thoggs or the mating habits of Kloropaedia on Houron VI, it was because they were in a generous mood. A story for a drink, that was the deal.

Since the time Archie first announced that he was a time traveler from some distant future; that he was stranded here in this primitive “shit hole” as he called our present, we were all subject to Archie’s little scam. Everyone got a kick out of the old guy. He was fun to have around. We bought him drinks just to hear him rattle on about his world.

“You told us that one before,” said Lester Brown, one of the regulars. “They think carbon based life forms are disgusting, isn’t that what you said? Disgusting? Something like that. And as for the mating habits of those Kloro-thingies, that was too gross to want to hear again. I still can’t get the pictures out of my head. You got anything new?”

“Tell us about time travel,” somebody called. “How did you get here again? Tell us that one. That’s always good for a laugh.”


Archie sat there mute and made a show of his silence by wiggling his empty glass in the air. Archie liked questions. They meant a free drink. The old guy never seemed to have any money of his own. Archie might have remained silent all night but for the booming voice of big Vince Lomax who hailed Larry, the bartender, to pour Archie a shot. Archie only drank bourbon so Larry knew what to pour. Archie always said that Kentucky bourbon reminded him of home. Who were we to argue?


Archie downed his shot in one gulp and turned to face Lomax for the question. Lomax was one of the regulars down at the Shaggy Bear. We all were, regulars I mean. Lost souls with nothing better to do than hang out at the pub. It wasn’t much of a life, but it was better than sitting at home talking to the wall.

Lomax was always trying to catch Archie in a lie or an inconsistency. So far he hadn’t any success. We all leaned in to hear today’s encounter.  “Okay, here’s my question: if our world is just so much ancient history to you, how come you ain’t rich?” Lomax scratched the back of his bald head and continued, “I mean if I went back in time and knew what was going to happen, I believe I could make some easy money at the track or in the stock market. So that’s my question, why ain’t you rich?”  Lomax looked pleased with himself like he just might have trapped the old man in a real conundrum.


Archie rolled his eyes and blew out a puff of air from his cheeks. He gave Lomax a sad, put upon look like he’d answered that same question a million times; but a deal is a deal and Archie owed Lomax an answer.

“Put yourself in my place for a minute,” Archie began. “Say you just arrived in this time from, oh I don’t know, say ten years in the future. How much minutia do you think you’re gonna remember? You might remember some big things but think back 60 years, do you remember who won the Kentucky Derby? 200 years you remember who won the Russo Japanese War? 300 years? Who was the governor of Pennsylvania? Now imagine 500 years back, you wouldn’t have a freaking clue. Well that’s how I feel. No clue. That’s why I’m not rich. Everything I knew hasn’t happened yet and everything that’s happening now is news to me.” Then Archie tossed down his drink and added, “Now if you want to know  who won the hoosball tournament in 2556, the year I left, just fill up this little glass and I’ll give you the scores. A lot of good it will do you.”

This is how it went most evenings, Archie had his moment but eventually the conversation drifted around to current events and topics that were a tad more relevant than the rules for hoosball. Archie stared down at his empty glass and racked his brain for something to entice us with but his act was getting old.

The last time we saw Archie, a funny looking stranger had just entered the bar and ordered a drink. This wasn’t all that unusual, The Shaggy Bear was a business after all, and while it seemed like our exclusive little club, it was not.

This stranger came in and sat down at the bar right next to Archie. When his drink arrived he leans over to Archie and says loud enough for everyone to hear, “You know, where I come from they won’t even allow human beings in the bar let alone serve them? We think carbon based life forms are filthy germ covered scum. What do you think about that?”


Archie practically fell off his stool he was so livid with rage. “Thogg scum,” he yelled and lunged for the stranger’s throat. It took four of us to hold him back. The stranger bolted for the door, Archie was hot on his heels. We never saw Archie again. Now we don’t know what to believe.     
     
     
    


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2014-02-01 11:06:38
It's like Hitch Hikers Guide, and the bar scene in Star Wars and a few others that were so long ago that I can't remember. A pleasant read.

2014-02-01 06:53:22
micheledutcher - Harris Tobias is doing what he does best in this story: combining a bar environment and a time traveler. I always enjoy these snippets. Perhaps he could put them all together and have a time traveler's bar book. Always a fun read, Harris.

2014-02-01 06:50:25
micheledutcher - HarryJBenthan wrote: I read every word and this was a good short story. The sociological musings in this are interesting. I do not think the contents of the story could be stretched to the extent of being a longer story, but they are certainly explored well in a story of this length. Thanks for this.




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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


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