Showdown


by Paul Brian
Machine

Ding-dong.

The hostel door chimed in a far corner of the world at half-past twenty-five. In walked a man in his 40s wearing a black baseball cap and jaggedly-cut jean shorts. He was glam rock meets crack rock. He was the man who watches you from shady areas in public parks – he later explained to a young woman that he was, in fact, a top model scout.

His accent was an amalgam of various continents; he interrogated guests with a staccato patois, slurring vowels like a malfunctioning cement mixer.

Two hours later in the common room he explained to a young man from America about how a transgender woman possessed by Satan from an elite mafia family was controlling his thoughts and giving him piercing headaches using ancient Egyptian medical magic. It involved manipulation of a short string. It was very technical stuff.

Jean Shorts had checked with the top doctor in his country. The doctor told him it was definitely possible, but also not to worry. The young man concurred with Jean Shorts’ physician.

Ding-dong.

Another man waltzed in with a leprechaun gait at an ungodly hour of the morning. He led the staff on a one-way journey up Migraine Mountain talking about the problems of the hostel business model, his own interest in levitation, and how “fuck this” was his favorite expression. It was slightly awkward for one employee to see this man again, as his last contact had been an emailed request for a handwritten reference about how he had cured someone else’s cancer using white magic.

Leprechaun Larry kept hundreds of handwritten references in his backpack detailing his miraculous cures.

He wasn’t in it for the money, though. He was in it because it was his holy Druidic duty.

In the common room, a man with hair gelled down extolled that Jesus Christ was the only answer and Muslims were taking over Europe starting with Sadiq Khan. He also detailed 'the Zionist plan for world domination', for good measure.

“They disguise themselves by using the names of the populations they live in, to blend in, you see,” he explained.

The young woman listening to him, who was partly Jewish, listened awkwardly. But she had to admit it was a nice break from Leprechaun Larry and Jean Shorts.

Things came to a head that evening over copious shots of cognac.

Jean Shorts said he didn’t drink, but Leprechaun Larry insisted on using advanced mind control from Atlantis. Hair Gel said he would turn water into wine. It was baptism by righteous fire.

They all cured each other and woke up the next day in a land far, far away.