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4. Restaurant

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“You bought a restaurant?” Davy was both surprised and not surprised to see his friend had decided to live in a restaurant.

“It’s really more of a grill and bar,” Steve casually responded. Steve excitedly ran his hand along the counter of the restaurant’s central bar area. He grinned as he lifted his hand and turned it towards its face. “Closed for over a year, and barely any dust.”

Davy sat down at a booth near the bar. “I thought you wanted a place to live,” he said.

Steve smiled. “And now I have one. My life is an anomaly, Davy. You can live in a house or an apartment. I will live in a restaurant, and I will make it my home.”

Davy didn’t say anything. He wanted to. Namely, he wanted to ask how Steve could afford to simply buy a restaurant. Formerly condemned or not, restaurants aren’t cheap, especially when they’re paid for with cash like Steve claimed. But Davy had decided that he was not going to worry as much anymore. He didn’t know how Steve got this place, and he wasn’t going to get worked up about it.

Steve climbed over the bar, eager to examine what could be waiting for him on the other side. He emerged after a few seconds holding a dusty, empty bottle. While trying to read the faded label, he asked, “So tell me again about these relics. When can we get to work on finding one?”

“Again, I don’t know,” Davy replied. “They’re relics of Rebisome or something. Lady Gut Possum said I’d know when I’ve found the first one.”

“What kind of cryptic advice is that? Also, Lady Gut Possum? I get that she’s a possum, but what does the ‘Gut’ mean?” Steve had come back up with a second bottle, this time filled with liquid. It was brown, but not a healthy looking brown. It was the kind of brown that indicated that whatever was in there had long passed any reasonable expiration date. Steve drank it anyway.

While Steve was in the bathroom vomiting out the liquid he had just consumed, Davy once again thought over his situation. He was told he was the second-most important person in the world—not the most important, though. He also had just been reunited with his old friend whose enthusiasm for doing stupid things was often more a source of stress for Davy than anything else. Also, was this whole quest derivative? The prophecy, collecting a certain number of relics, it really did feel like something Davy had seen thousands of times before. Does saving the world mean anything less if it’s not entirely original?

While Davy was thinking, a woman walked through the door. She wore a brimmed hat and pants. She looked like she had walked through that door many times before, and she expressed mild, momentary surprise to see Davy instead of the half-busy restaurant she was presumably used to. The look of surprise, however, disappeared as quickly as it came, immediately replaced with comfortable calm. She turned to Davy.

“This isn’t Herb’s Diner anymore, is it?”

Davy felt like he could answer this question. “No,” he said.

The woman looked at Davy, then the bar, then back to Davy again. “So, what’s this place now?” she asked.

“My friend bought the place. He lives here now.” Davy still thought this sounded stupid, but he was determined to be more laid back. He was putting all of his effort into being more laid back.

The woman did not seem fazed. “Living in a restaurant? That’s gotta be a pretty sweet setup. Where’s your friend now?”

“I’m right here!” Steve shouted as he walked out of the restroom triumphantly, in a way that looked like he was trying to show how he was not just vomiting his life away in the bathroom. “My name’s Steve. I’m an adventurer, though you probably haven’t heard of me yet,” Steve said with nonexistent humility. “Also, I’m an astronaut,” he said with the same degree of humility.

The woman smiled slyly. “You seem like a sharp guy, Steve. Buying a restaurant like this. That’s a real power move. Tell me, Steve, what are a couple of smart guys like yourselves doing in a city like this?”

Steve beamed. “Oh, not a whole lot. We’re just on a mission to save the world.”

The woman raised her hand to the brim of her hat. “Well, it would be a real waste of your talents if you weren’t up to something spectacular. How exactly are you saving the world?”

Davy was starting to feel a little hesitant. “Uh, Steve? I don’t know if we should be telling everyone what we’re doing.”

The woman smiled again and gestured to Davy. “And look at you, with the sense of caution that keeps your mission on the right track! I couldn’t imagine two people more capable of saving the world.”

Davy knew there was no way this woman was really this genial, but he found himself letting this slide. Being complimented like this felt really nice.

Steve guffawed obnoxiously. “Yep. Davy here keeps me in line. We’re a great team.”

The woman sat on the closest bar stool. “So what’s your next step? Need to fight any monsters? Locate some treasure?”

“Actually,” Davy said. “We’re looking for some artifacts of Rebisome or something. Not exactly sure what they are, though.”

“Yeah, a possum lady told Davy to look for them,” Steve chimed in.

The woman’s mouth opened wide in a manner that was too deliberate to be sincere. “You don’t say? I’ve got one! You want it?”

Davy stood up. “You serious? How did you get it?”

“The uh, Possum Lady. She gave it to me. She, uh, told me to sell it to you. For two hundred dollars. Cash.”

Davy sat back down. The compliment had worn off, making way for the return of his common sense. “Why would she give it to you and then make us buy it from you for two hundred dollars?”

The woman paused for a second as she clearly thought for an answer. “She wanted to teach you about the value of hard work,” she said. “Um, nothing in life is free and all that.”

Steve’s excitement had not receded. “Come on Davy, let’s go get this artifact. I’ll pay for it.”

Davy’s common sense made way for his apathy towards Steve’s finances. “Sure, let’s do it.”

The woman stretched her arms out towards Davy and Steve. “Great! Just follow me. The artifact’s in the back of my van.” Steve enthusiastically followed her out the door of the restaurant. Davy coolly stood up and left behind them. They were all out of the building before the lights turned off and the interior of the restaurant was engulfed in an otherworldly darkness.


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