Location: Xerion, fourth planet from the sun in the Abdula Galaxy
Danjaki noticed Yerkof enter from the haze and amble toward the bar. "Nasty out there today," Danjaki said.
"Gets worse everyday," Yerkof replied, using his fingers to brush ash and grit from his government cyber security worker's uniform. He removed his hat, slapped it against his knees a couple of times, and placed it on the bar. "Makes you wonder if those in charge ever go outside."
"Conditions have worsened since the President ordered an increase in mining production." Danjaki replied. "I hear the air quality on the other side of the planet is so bad people have to wear masks any time they're outside."
"I eVideoed a couple of friends from there last night. They said the air quality wasn't much better indoors. Asked if my office had any openings." Yerkof put his elbows on the bar and cupped his chin in his hands.
"The government keeps it up, we'll need to find another planet to live on soon. The usual?" Danjaki knew the answer but asked anyway.
"Make it a double."
Danjaki poured a long shot of dark whiskey, put a napkin on the bar, and placed the drink in front of Yerkof. "I heard about Phrya leaving you. Sorry, man."
"My own stupid mistake to cheat on her at that postal convention." Yerkof downed his drink and nodded for another. "I sure wasn't thinking with my brain."
"How'd she find out?" Danjaki asked.
"From a stupid idiot -- me." Yerkof shrugged his shoulders. "I couldn't stand deceiving her."
"You two've been together for a long time."
"Started dating in high school. Married ten years next month." Yerkof took a small sip, wiped a dusty sleeve across his face, and swiveled on the stool as a woman walked into the room grabbing everyone's attention.
"Wow, haven't seen her in here before." He stared at the Eusterian as she strode to the opposite end of the bar. Two men approached her immediately and began a conversation. She smiled and accepted a drink. When Danjaki delivered it, Yerkof thought she might have whispered something in Danjaki's ear.
The low light in the bar didn't provide Yerkof with a clear view, but he could tell she was about five feet nine inches tall, with Eusterian blue skin and a single braid of hair hanging to her waist that divided her otherwise bald head in two perfect sections. She wore a singlet that had to have been painted on. Her smallish breasts peeked out of the top. When she smiled, Yerkof felt a twitch in his crotch that made him pinch his legs together. He spent a few more minutes ogling her slim body and appealing curves.
Yerkof jumped at the sound of Danjaki's voice.
"Geez, you sneaked up on me," Yerkov said, holding a hand over his heart.
"Or maybe your mind was busy elsewhere." When Yerkof, his head down as if in prayer, didn't respond, Danjaki moved a towel in circles over the bar a few times before continuing. "Think Phrya will take you back?"
"I hope so. I tried eTexting and eMessaging her, but she didn't respond. I called and it went to vMail. She's staying with her brother. I don't dare go there. Not yet, anyway."
"He's a big SOB," Danjaki said.
Yerkof nodded and finished his drink. He pulled a wad of money out of his pocket, laid it on the bar, and headed toward the door.
"Where you going?" Danjaki asked. "It's still early."
"Home to take a cold shower." Yerkof glanced again at the woman before wobbling outside on weak knees.
"Better make it a double," Danjaki yelled through a laugh.
The Eusterian woman slithered onto the stool Yerkof had vacated and put a half full glass of Third Galaxy wine on the bar.
"That's quite the disguise," Danjaki said.
"It's so unlike me, all tight and sexy," Phrya replied. "Maybe that's partially why he…" She stared straight ahead, her fingers wrapped around her glass. "Anyway, my cousin's a makeup artist in CineTown. I asked if she could help me out and voilà," she said with a swipe of a delicate hand. "Did he notice me?"
"Every man and many of the woman in here noticed you," he said. He offered to fill her glass. She covered the top with her hand and shook her head. "There's going to be a lot of drool to clean up tonight."
"Funny," she replied, crossing her legs. She saw Danjaki's eyes follow the movement and was pleased she could still attract attention from the opposite sex. "As long as Yerkof was one of the droolers." She winked, lifted the glass in salute, and took a sip of her wine. "Do you think he knew it was me?"
"Naw. It's too dark and smoky in here to see anyone clearly at that distance." Danjaki wiped the bar some more, uncertain what to do. "You gonna take him back?"
She paused before answering. "Probably, but he needs to suffer more first. Will he be back tomorrow?"
"I'll be here, too." She finished her wine and handed Danjaki the glass, lightly touching his wrist. "He really likes my butt, you know. Maybe I'll make sure he gets a good long look at it tomorrow." She stood up, turned her back to the bar, and wiggled from side to side. "Oh, God," she said, her cheeks warm. "I can't believe I did that."
"He'll need three cold showers," Danjaki said, stepping closer to the bar to hide his excitement.
"Let's hope," she said with a wink as she sauntered out the door, leaving many of the patrons open-mouthed.