A shark and an octopus walk into a bar. That’s how Joey To kicks off this Sci Fi Detective Fiction written in the form of a play.
A Sci Fi Detective Story
by Joey To
MORTE, a hammerhead shark-man donning a brown trench coat, sits at the bar with a tumbler of whiskey. The place is quiet and hazy, the other patrons keeping to themselves. Through the window, many neon signs and two moons can be seen. BARTENDER, human but half-cybernetic, is restocking shelves.
MORTE: Hey barkeep.
Bartender stops restocking.
MORTE: How’s the ale here?
BARTENDER: Homebrewed and best in the section if—
The door slides open. Enter KALA, a purple octopus-woman in a black dress. She sits near Morte with one spot in between them.
BARTENDER: Good evening, miss. What’ll it be?
MORTE: An Overloading Hyperdrive please.
BARTENDER: Long day, huh?
Morte shifts one seat across toward Kala as Bartender begins to make the cocktail.
MORTE: That’s a powerful concoction.
KALA: I can handle it.
MORTE: I don’t doubt. Allow me?
KALA: Do I haveta pay you back?
MORTE: What makes you think I’m that kinda guy?
KALA: You look it.
Morte smiles and bares his teeth at Bartender who then glances at Kala. She nods. Bartender then records the order at his terminal.
MORTE: I won’t lie, I like calamari but that doesn’t mean I’m not careful with how I conduct my business.
KALA: And what business would that be?
MORTE: Family reunions.
KALA: You’re a P.I.?
MORTE: Not exactly. I don’t merely search. I make sure the subject is in good health, handle transportation and ensure that the reunion is as pleasant as possible.
Bartender serves a massive glass of bubbling fluorescent green liquid emitting white vapors. Kala nods in thanks before turning back to Morte. Both drink.
KALA: So you’re a physician, pilot and caterer? Besides, didn’t think your type cared about families.
MORTE: That’s just business. I’m a loner. Like your species.
KALA: You’re a loner and a loaner.
MORTE: Very droll. And no, I’m not a physician, I outsource when needed. I’m no flake but I don’t think I can multitask like you.
KALA: Actually, I know you’re no physician. I know all the good physicians around here.
MORTE: That’s cos there aren’t that many. So, you’re a doctor? Let me guess, a surgeon. I can’t imagine a medical conference in this part of the galaxy.
KALA: No, just here to see one. A specialist, in fact. You have use for a virologist?
KALA: Got a pen?
MORTE: Surely you have ink… Just kidding.
Morte hands over a pen. Kala accepts with one of her tentacles, writes, then returns the pen, their respective “limbs” touching momentarily.
KALA: He’s not cheap.
MORTE: Nothing good ever is. So… I hope you’re not ill.
KALA: Just a routine check-up. And you? Your current assignment interesting?
MORTE: What makes you think I’m not here for drinks?
KALA: Your clothes… very different from everyone else.
MORTE: Looking for some rich kid, probably partying nearby. You haven’t told me what you do… thought you were a doctor; you know, the academic type.
KALA: You’re right about the last part. You know Squid-K?
MORTE: That squid, crab and clam cereal mix?
Kala points to herself.
KALA: Yeah, one of the founders and Director. I have a PhD in Food Chemistry.
MORTE: I thought the Director is a Mister Takoyaki?
KALA: He’s also one.
MORTE: Tasty product. But you have tough competition.
KALA: It’s a challenge.
MORTE: Say, putting squid in your product… isn’t that like cannibalism?
KALA: Meh, small fries. Besides, like you can talk.
MORTE: Touché. My species’ reputation is somewhat deserved. That’s why I like the drink.
KALA: Another whiskey for this gentleman.
Bartender grabs a bottle and refills Morte’s tumbler as Kala gulps, finishing her drink.
MORTE: You don’t have to.
KALA: But I like repaying people.
Morte then struggles to move and to breathe… but no one else notices. Kala stands and swipes her watch across the terminal. Bartender nods in thanks. She leans toward Morte.
KALA: (whispers) My paralysis toxin in viral form. Like it? By the way, alcohol enhances the effect. I know who your client is. I know the target is Takoyaki’s wayward son. You and I may not have families but, like you, I don’t tolerate interference in my business.
Squid-K A Sci Fi Detective Story by Joey To is based on Prompt #3 From Writing Prompts For Science Fiction Stories