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Funny Fiction Speculative

It was last Saturday evening. I had just arrived home after a long day of work. I detest Saturday work, especially Saturday work that is so dreadfully boring. Rest assured I would no longer be updating client contact information, and if Martin had any objections then he will receive more than half of my mind about how much of a pathetic, squirrely little man he is, and upon any further objection, I will use his head as a toilet scrubber. Anyway, my phone began to ring. It was Dalton. I answered.

"Hello Dalton"

"Hey man, come out with us tonight."

I didn't need convincing. Certainly, I could use a drink and a bite to eat. Nothing worked up an appetite as much as updating client contact information all day, and nothing worked up a great thirst as much as Martin.

"Okay" I said. "Where to"?

"Well we heard there's a new place. Just opened. It's supposed to be a fun time. We'll pick you up soon." Dalton answered.

Dalton wasn't much of a conversationalist and I dread speaking on the phone.

"See you soon"

I ended the call.

I undressed, went to the bathroom and washed my face, put on fresh deodorant, and got dressed into my going out clothes. A few moments later I received a text from Dalton. It read "we r outside". Dalton doesn't like texting in full words. This makes me irrationally upset, but I decide not to address it, it will no doubt lead to a longer argument in which I had zero interest in. I only wanted to eat and possibly drink myself stupid, a state of mind in which Dalton existed interminably.

I sat in the backseat of the Buick behind the driver, which was Carl. Dalton was beside me in the back and in the passenger seat was Debra. I liked Debra best out of the group but still found her somewhat tiresome, and doubted her tastes as she had dated Dalton for some time. The relationship had ended amicably and she continued on as a member of our quartet. In some regards I'm glad that her and Dalton had been a couple as it keeps Carl from hitting on her too much. Carl is absolutely cringeworthy in all matters of romance and we try our best as a group to keep him in line. He's harmless of course, just very embarrassing.

We arrived at the establishment called "The Jumping Frog" at approximately 9:35 PM. I, of course, immediately began inquiring about the ridiculous name. Debra and Carl agreed that the name was likely in relation to dancing and music, suggesting that the place was "jumping". Dalton suggested that it was because they served frog legs. I have already informed you that Dalton is stupid, but I will amend my previous statement to read "Dalton is incredibly stupid". If this establishment does in fact serve frog legs it would not be surprising or related to the title of the business. If, in fact, the entire place were named after the idea that it serves frog legs, then this place would be known as a specialty establishment that focuses primarily on frog legs. This is not the case, as it is known that this place is one of drinking and partying. Not frog legs. Not specifically. Dalton is incredibly stupid.

I decided that while I could not fully agree with Debra and Carl, that I would not let the name alter my perception of the place, and I rather enjoy frogs anyway. Occasionally, I will go sit at the pond to relax and meditate, and while I'm there my favorite creatures are the turtles and frogs. The geese and ducks can be intolerable and the fish are boring.

As we entered the establishment I took note of how busy the place was. There were several booths lining two adjacent walls and all were occupied. Luckily we were able to locate four stools at the bar. I immediately ordered a whiskey and soda and it was delivered to me promptly. This was a decent start. Over the course of the next hour I sipped down two and a half whiskeys and soda before deciding I wanted something to eat. I called for the bartender who would also be serving as our waiter. His name was Carl. Dalton found it hilarious that the bartender had the same name as our dear friend Carl. Carl the Bartender chuckled politely while the rest of us groaned to ourselves.

Carl the Bartender was an older gentleman of around sixty and for the short hour that I had known him had constantly had a smile on his lips and a twinkle in his eye. I had no doubt that Carl the Bartender was a loving grandfather who told his grandchildren wildly imaginative stories of grand adventure. When I asked him if I could see a menu, he smiled his smile at me and said in his velvety voice;

"You won't need one of those, I have something I know you'll like".

Normally this would have been enough for me to leave entirely. How dare someone presume to know what I may or may not want. They would not know my tastes and they certainly would not know if I had any allergies or aversions to certain foods. My dietary restrictions could be quite complex. Of course they weren't, but the person in question would not know this. Somehow though, Carl the Bartender did not offend me. I trusted him and the grandfatherly wink he gave me.

"Okay then let's have it" I said

"Very good" said Carl the Bartender, and he walked in to the kitchen.

Debra looked at me inquisitively for a moment before asking if I had really just agreed to order something without knowing what it is. I knew this was out of character for me but Carl the Bartender was my friend, or at least the whiskey and sodas had convinced me so. I should interject here and tell you that I am quite a light weight when it comes to liquor, and I have a feeling that these whiskeys were stronger than normal. A few minutes later Carl the Bartender arrived with a steaming bowl of soup. He placed it down on the bar in front of me and told me that it was his specialty, and one of the finest chowders around.

It wasn't quite chowder season yet. The weather was still relatively warm and at this very moment I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but this chowder called to me. The aroma of savory mushrooms and shrimp, the green celery scattered among a backdrop of white creamy broth. I could hear regular Carl beside me attempting to hit on someone, asking the lead up question for his corny pick-up line.

"Did it hurt"?

I never heard the response. As soon as I placed the spoonful of chowder in my mouth I was transported to a state of euphoria. My mind travelled through technicolor dreamscapes as my soul was in zero gravity, floating, suspended in time. I only remember bits and pieces after this but I will try my best to describe them.

At one point I could see Carl the Bartenders smiling face. He was speaking to me.

"You can have whatever you want, kid."

I believe my response was; "I want more chowder."

"I meant in life, you can achieve your deepest desires here. Choose one. Choose wisely."

I blacked out once again, and my next memory is my belly touching wet pavement and I am slithering like a snake, and even flicking my tongue out, as if I'm trying to detect my prey.

Lights out again.

This time I awoke in a strange apartment, frothing at the mouth, with every hair follicle standing on end.

I suppose now would be a good time to explain why I am writing all of this. Well, it is in one part a review of the establishment that my companions and I chose that night. It may have been last night, I'm no longer sure what day it is. The second part is that this is my confession, or rather explanation, to the best of my ability of the events that occurred. Lasty, it is an apology to Martins family. Those things I said about him at the beginning were truly my thoughts and I wish to be thoroughly honest. He was a pathetic, squirrely little man but I am indeed sorry that he is dead.

As for the establishment "The Jumping Frog", I give it a devastating zero out of five stars. The atmosphere was boring, the drinks were bland, Carl the Bartender is some sort of demon, and his chowder is a concoction straight from hell. I repeat, stay away from the chowder. I called up the establishment to complain while writing this and they told me no one named Carl has ever worked there. I haven't been able to contact any of my friends to gain clarity as of yet, their phones have been going straight to voicemail, but when I am able to contact them I will have answers.

As for Martin I have absolutely no memory of what happened to him, but when I fully came out of whatever state I was in, I was on my knees atop of my living room coffee table. My arms were raised towards the ceiling with my palms facing upwards. I had been in the middle of speaking though I do not know what I was saying. My mind went into a state of panic as memories flooded out of my head except for the very few I could grasp on to. That's when I saw Martin lying on the floor before me. My heart began to race from my chest and I nearly fainted. After several moments I was able to check his pulse and determine that he was in fact deceased. I could find no telling marks or clear causes of death. No gunshots, stab wounds, his head hadn't been bashed, and his neck appeared to be unbroken.

My first instinct was to alert the authorities, but I quickly came to my senses and decided to write this instead. I believe I will attempt to locate my friends before turning myself over. I have calmed down considerably now and am beginning to think clearly. If I am able to prove anything, then Carl the Bartender is the guilty party and I am an unfortunate victim. Whoever may find this, please apologize to Martins family, and keep out of The Jumping Frog.

September 30, 2023 23:08

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Rabab Zaidi
07:20 Oct 08, 2023



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