It’s the last straw when three prudish pigs play a nasty trick on the set. So where else would Wolf go to plan the perfect payback, but Harry’s Behind the Scenes Bar, Baths & Grill?
Soaking wet when he arrives at the back door, Harry’s dragon-magick fireplace soon gets Wolf’s fur mostly dry. Shifting to his human, silver-hair-to-his-bare-butt self, he’s almost done when the door opens again.
And what to his wondering eyes does appear but a trio of boorish boar brothers—without a single reindeer!—all in a row from short to not-very-tall: Guy, Gresham and Grant Graham.
Wolf’s idea is so brilliant, it’s definitely dawn coming up like thunder, “outer China ‘crost the Bay.” (Wolf really likes Kipling). A maybe mean, surely sneaky, snake-in-Eden idea.
Payback is a dish best served hot...and hard.
Join the fun as payback plays out. There’s help from Tom Thumb, fine food, expensive bottles of Harry’s Dragon’s Own Special Reserve wine (the only thing which gets a shifter drunk), Death by Chocolate, Lady Flame, a private tour of the baths. Plus rooms of straw and sticks and bricks, and an Easter Egg, which might be hiding in Manhattan.
Fair warning: there’s a lot of huffing and puffing as part of the plan. Just not at doors.
47,053 words in the story
- 2 To Be Read lists
- 1 Read list
IF YOU’RE FROM HERE. . .
Then you already know dragons, shifters and other magickal beings exist, just like magick itself. You already know about Harry—how could you not? And you’ve certainly heard of Harry’s Behind the Scenes Bar, Baths & Grill. You may or may not have heard of the actors involved in these events, but if it’s the latter, please don’t tell them. Actor egos are so fragile, you know, no matter what their exterior might be when not using their human shape.
If you’re more used to physical parchment, and new to magickal books like this, here’s a quick tip for moving around an mBook: lightly press the lower right corner, and tell the magick where you want to go.
So unless you want a refresher on what you already know about your own world, press and choose Before the Dinner, where you’ll start learning the true facts about what happened, with not an alternative fact among them.
IF YOU’RE NOT FROM HERE. . .
You’re on one of the Worlds Beside, only you haven’t known it until now. If you blindly consider this book to be fantasy and nothing more, instead of the true tale it is, you still won’t know.
Either way, pay attention.
There are worlds beside, beyond, next to your own.
Picture a very, very fine parchment held between your palms, so fine you can almost see through it. As long as the parchment is there, your palms won’t touch. But if there is a single hole, then a tiny bump or bulge in a pair of palms might touch the other. And something, something so small as a drop of sweat, might move from one palm to the other.
Now pick up a pin. Punch so many holes the sheet is ready to fall apart. Each of those holes is a different World Beside. A world of horror, or great beauty; a world on which you could live your life in ease, or a world which kills you with your first breath. And all the holes you’ve punched are less than a single drop of liquid in all the liquid in all the worlds, in terms of the numbers of Worlds Beside your own.
The author has carefully selected the Worlds Beside where this book will be published: the sad, sad worlds where magick doesn’t exist, and you can only obtain this work of art in a mere electronic form, instead of the magickal version.
If you aren’t interested in some basic background about the World Beside where all this happened, feel free to click, press, push, pound, swipe, or whatever it is your eBook requires you to do, and go to Before the Dinner.
Here Be Dragons
Dragons are a private people. Some say insanely so, especially when it comes to their hoards. Although that word or anything similar is only said in a whisper well beyond the range of their sensitive ears. FactsRight.chk has never been able to debunk the reports all over the ParaNet that dragons can at the very minimum hear the individual beats of a hummingbird’s wings, plus any slurps of nectar, from several miles away, even though none of the ParaSites making the claim have ever produced the hummingbird and the dragon, much less offered proof of how the determination was made.
This author suspects the dragons have spread the story themselves, and variations on it, to help ensure politeness at all times to themselves, about themselves, and most particularly about their hoards. The days are long past when a dragon can just let loose the (in)famous draconic temper and flame an offending/offensive human, or a magickal being, into crisp pieces. Defending a wrongful death suit in the ParaCourts is a time-consuming and expensive process, with a risk of hoard diminishment.
Harry, the oldest dragon on our World Beside, doesn’t need flames. He has other methods to call upon when needed. He’s never seen in dragon form any more, and if you’re in his place, you’ll never know whether the human or magickal being beside you is Harry’s other shape.
Harry’s Behind the Scenes Bar, Baths & Grill
Rumor has it the Dutch traders who bought Manhattan back in 1626 actually worked for Harry, though they might not have known it. Rumor also has it Harry still owns much of the island. The BB&G’s official address is 725 Fifth Avenue, and when it’s visible it’s a full block long and two wide: three football fields by almost two.
The main thing you need to know in relation to the BB&G and the events recorded here, is bars and businesses here in Manhattan have strict rules for customers: human form at all times for shifters, clothes unless you’re a magickal being who doesn’t wear them, and no sex on the premises.
Harry doesn’t care about your choice for the first unless when shifted your size or mass could affect the structural integrity of the building. Like dragons. Another rumor has it if Harry shifted, he’d take up a major part of a city block. Or what remained of it. In the fight between a dragon’s mass and whatever else was there first, the dragon wins every time.
As for the second, there are so many magickal beings with no human shape, and with shifters being used to naked before and after shifting, the BB&G is like some human beaches: clothing optional.
He doesn’t care at all about the third.
However, Harry does have a mandate for his customers: If you make a mess, you make a reasonable effort to clean it up before you leave. (No cleaning is expected if you’re using one of the many darkrooms.)
Of course, what Harry means by “reasonable effort” is notifying the staff and paying the clean-up fee. It’s a modest flat fee, and undoubtedly profitable given the sheer volume of mess humans, shifters, and other magickal beings make when doing any of the five things permitted within the boundaries of the BB&G: drinking, dining, bathing, socializing, and sex.
All of which combines to make the BB&G the best place in the country for:
Drinking. If Harry doesn’t stock what you want, he’ll get it by magickal or mundane means for a price. Only BB&G virgins ask for a wine list, as it’s six inches thick, with small print.
Dining. Whatever non-sentient food you want, cooked (or not) to perfection.
Bathing. The baths are primarily used for sex, an ancient human tradition long, long ago adopted by magickal beings—perhaps with the greatest enthusiasm by shifters. However, if all you want is to relax and get thoroughly cleaned, inside and/or out, waxed, groomed, brushed, or whatever your shape requires, it’s free.
Socializing. The BB&G is a superb place for friendly chats in the ambience of your preference, philosophical discussions, political debates, religious arguments or plotting the next revolution, as long as the latter doesn’t start on the premises and discussions don’t escalate to violence.
Sex. Harry offers a wide array of comfortable to not-so-comfortable private, semi-public, and very public spaces for any kind of sex you want with consenting partners. This reduces the risk of potential emotional cluttering of your life if you’re ready for sex, after the fast, slow, or in-between run-up to readiness with the other being, and then you had to leave the BB&G, take him, her, they, or szlyn back to your place. Which in turn would leave you dealing with the sometimes messy “afters,” whether those happen minutes, hours, or the next morning later. At the BB&G, done is done, and you walk (or however you move about) away.
Now that you know what you need to know...press on.