Fiction Fiction: Palace Bunker (A Brief Sketch)

By: Scott Thomas Outlar


“Read us another poem for God’s sake!” The Patron Saint half-laughed, half-rumbled from his seat in the corner. He stood up, continuing through a grin with a growl, “Of course, you must realize that you can’t keep us entertained with that last one forever? It was all fluff! You better have an encore stuffed up your sleeve somewhere or there’s sure to be trouble brewing soon.”

“Oh, give it a rest already, you brute! Isn’t it enough I pour you these stiff apéritifs every morning and shove fresh pastries in your face as you stumble through the neon arches? What the hell else are you demanding from me? That I sing hallelujah and dance like a monkey each time you clap your hands? Besides, you only care if I read the verses with a bit of sexual innuendo scattered through the lines, otherwise the words fall on ears more deaf than even that silent wall behind you. Go harass it for a while and leave me in peace so I can serve the Scarlet Queen her slice of cherry pie like a proper hostess.” Lady Zeta gave a hearty laugh and tossed a copy of her latest book on the table. “Why don’t you read one for a change and show these distinguished guests that you’re able to behave like a civilized human specimen for once in your miserable life.”

“Well, I might have to do just that, in fact, if you won’t pick up the slack.” The Patron Saint snorted as he snatched up the book and started riffling through its pages in search of his favorite selection.

Silverfin, having watched the scene play out in its all-too-familiar way, cracked a wicked smile. “Oh, we all know you can’t read worth a damn. Give me that tomb,” he barked, yanking the book from The Patron Saint’s grasp. “It’s on page 71, you clown. Don’t you have it memorized by now?”

Silverfin pushed himself away from the table, rubbed his sardine-stuffed belly, and made a mad dash to the front counter. Upon clearing his throat like any decent would-be conqueror before the first act of war, he dove into the opening lines with his best Shakespearean accent…


Part II


After having built up a slow momentum through the first three verses, Silverfin roared into the crescendo with a high falsetto vibrating in his voice, then quickly shifted directions once more, smoothly galloping into the interlude with a deep, solemn, bass tone that reverberated off the ancient stone walls. Whilst about his grand performance, he distractedly used his foot to pull at the leg of a nearby chair, attempting to turn it slightly to the left where he could hop atop it for the grand finale of what was just about everyone’s most adored piece, “Darling of My Boots.”

But his usual chai latte laced with three shots of Columbian espresso had uncharacteristically spiked to four full cups on this particular occasion, as his nerves were slightly on edge concerning a sketchy situation of the romantic sort (so to speak) that had recently taken a foul turn for the worse when the proverbial horse escaped the barn. Thus, his attempted mount was an uncoordinated mess, and so he slipped to the floor, rather ungracefully, in a crashing heap.

“Oh, shit!” as he missed the mark and the ceremony arrived at an abrupt conclusion.

Shrieks of laughter and terror erupted from the crowd in equal measure, depending upon how far away each member of the royal society was situated from the actual fall. Once the severity of the situation was clear, the high cheer turned to concern for their friend, obnoxious though his antics might be at times.

A short while later, the scene had calmed, excess drama had died down, the impromptu poetry festival was finished, and Silverfin was slumped back in his regular seat with a bag of ice provided by Lady Zeta propped on his sprained foot.

“I know what you’re up to here, in fact, you scam artist,” Lady Zeta laid into Silverfin with a sneer. “Don’t think you have me fooled for one instant. Tomorrow I’ll see that shady lawyer of yours skulking around outside, waving some doctored slip from the hospital that details how your entire leg is damaged beyond repair, looks like a mangled hyena limb that’s been mauled by the king lion, and now, with no other course of action, you’ve been forced to sue me for control of the Champagne Club.”

“Damn straight! I’ll see you in court!” Silverfin roared. “If karma won’t deal with you, I’ll take the scales into my own hands. That’ll teach you to leave furniture set up haphazardly in such a chaotic fashion when I’m attempting to breathe your metaphors to life. Have some appropriate design sense with your aesthetic in the future when I’m set to perform!” He laughed and tossed the bag of ice on the table before standing again. “Put that ice back in the freezer to toss in your next mojito. You’re going to have to resort to using your supplies in scarcity mode after I’m done with your purse this time.” He rubbed his hands maniacally and stumbled to the front door. “I’ve had enough excitement for one day. Grab your cloak and hat, P.S., it’s time we set forth to fairer lands. I’ve heard tell of taverns yonder to be pillaged and plundered yet.”


Part III


Silverfin threw up his arms in a victory sign, hands proudly affirmed above his head, claiming his last triumphant curtain call for the evening, and proceeded to slowly hobble out the door, shuffling haggardly to milk his performance for all it was worth.

Clap! Clap! Lady Zeta floated across the room with a leopard’s leap, landing a triple-ten atop the counter; she grabbed a navel orange from the fruit basket and hurled it out the entrance so that it rolled to a perfect stop right behind Silverfin’s heel.

“Take a cue, all ye Dionysian wayfarers! Go now to chase his crooked tail back home, and have a bite of fresh citrus on your way out,” our heroine howled. “No more cake and toffee candies for you sex-addicted, sugar fiends tonight! No more rum and wine! Hell, we’ve kept our heads screwed on straight enough somehow until a quarter past five. Again. So let’s give ourselves a proper pat on the back and then make sure to catch a few winks from Morpheus before we rise to do it again (though even better) on the morrow. You’re all lunatics, but I love you. Dearly and truly.

“Oh, and don’t dare forget that the Whirling Mystic will be traveling through Tibet this week, so he’ll sure as hell stop here on Saturday to encourage us all to really lose our minds for a while. Be ready to rip off your shirts and stomp them into the dance floor with steps of great exaltation!

“Now scram and skedaddle, my crazies! I have to lock the Golden Goose back up in his godforsaken cage and then hit the hay. There cometh soon a brand new dream that demands serious attention.

“Ta-ta ‘till tomorrow.”


Bio- Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.com where links to his published poetry,
fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, live events, radio podcasts, and books can be found. His
work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Outlar was a recipient of the
2017 Setu Magazine Award for Excellence in the field of literature. Selections of his poetry have
been translated into Afrikaans, Albanian, Dutch, Italian, French, Persian, and Serbian. His most
recent book, Abstract Visions of Light , was released in 2018 through Alien Buddha Press. His
show, Songs of Selah, airs weekly on 17Numa Radio.

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