All I want is a beer in peace to celebrate my success—a tall mug of liquid gold and anonymity—but no. Fate had tossed in the one person I did not want to see just as I was taking the first, and most glorious, gulp of beer. The frothy liquor shot down the wrong pipe causing me to choke and heave for a breath. Bartender Bill dispassionately reached over the bar and walloped me over the back before returning to scratching his crotch and hoicking mucus.

Stuff a Duck! I furtively glanced for an escape but there was no subtle way to do so. I was sitting right, smack-bang in the middle of the bar. As a last resort, I raised the collar of my jacket and slouched letting my shaggy, shoulder length hair drape over my face. Usually my slovenly destitute disguise was brilliant, but Captain Dart Thayer was an infamous mercenary. He hunted, hauled, maimed and killed people for fun. He was so good at his job he earned a fortune and could choose his clients.

Of all the pubs in the galaxy why (why!) did he have to visit mine! The Crap Shack was hardly what he was used to. There were no hot babes, barely any selection of liquor and it was, as the name suggested, crap. The sexiest thing for the next 300,000 miles was Bartender Bill's hairy butt cleavage.

I swore I would never affiliate with that overpaid, condescending maniac ever again. And now, if I didn't get out of this crap hole, I'd end up breaking that vow. I force myself to be unnoticeable, the ruse seriously tested as his heavy boots clunked towards where I sat. They stopped a mere meter way, so close I could hear his leather jacket creak and smell a faint trace of motor oil and tobacco. From my peripheral vision, I could see the gun handle of his vintage .44 Magnum poking from his coat. It was barbaric weapon to blow a man's head off and enough recoil to send me flat on my arse with broken wrists. I personally had a laser gun; it was efficient, tidy and common.

"Your finest bottles of Bourbon for my crew," he drawled, "Hell give every one in this dump a bourbon on me." Looks like I wasn't the only one celebrating success. Of course he probably bagged and tagged a bigger criminal than I.

BB (Bartender Bill) spat in the sink in response and lifelessly dumped some tumblers on the counter. Thayer swaggered away and I could hear chairs scraping as he and his rowdy crew settled at a back table. I discerned there were about four of them, all stuffed full of testosterone with a cherry on top. They smack-talked, used foul language and just generally acted like men. The aggression and noise was enough to disturb Nattering Nigel from his aimless rambling with a whiskey bottle. I continued to drink beer as BB handed bourbon from a tray to the ungrateful troglodytes. Now BB and I aren't, and never will be, close but I felt insulted for him as I listened to their complaints about the décor, smell and lack of boobs etc. All were true, but if they didn't like it they should bugger off.

I drained my glass and slid from my stool intent on getting through the front door. Nice and casual, easy does it. No one will notice me because I'm just another dirty drunk.

"Hey you!" That dreaded voice bellowed. I ignored him hoping he was addressing someone else. "Shortie heading to the door! Are you rejecting the drink I've bought everyone?" I froze, leaning on a chair for support as trepidation turned my knees weak.

Silence fell over the bar and I cringed. "No, Mister but the missus wants me home before midnight. Thanks for the offer."

A chair scraped followed by heavy footsteps. I turned slightly so he was within my peripheral vision.

"It wasn't an offer. As I see it, the only people trying to get away are those who are Wanted or are my enemy. Which are you?"

"Neither," I breathed hoarsely.

"Turn around then," He demanded in a challenging tone.

My fingers tightened on the chair, "Okay," I answered, then spun around bringing the chair with me so it hit him square over the head. The chair broke into multiple pieces and he grunted, stumbling back but (unfortunately) still conscious. His gang roared in outraged, chairs screeching as they suddenly rose.

Gotta split, my instincts screamed. Turning tail, I sprinted out the door and hurtled down the corridors of the shabby space station. I needed to get to the dock where my ship was parked, it wasn't as big or luxurious but that was the beauty of it. I had purchased the old piece of junk and paid a high price for it to be completely redone internally; so while it still looked like rubbish it had enough speed to outrun merc-ships. When I reached the dock doors, I hit the closed button and fried the circuit board with my gun so it would jam close.

I thought my plan was a success until I was tackled from behind and crushed into the floor like a cockroach. Can't breathe, my lungs shrieked as all the wind whooshed from my mouth. The Neanderthal dragged me further beneath his body, a huge arm wrapping around my neck for a strangle hold. I panicked and sunk my teeth into his meaty bicep, biting down hard so I tasted blood. Thayer hissed a curse and used his other fist to slam my ribs from the side. It was my turn to shriek in agony as something snapped.

He instantly froze then rose to his hands and knees to spin me around. His black-as-night eyes widened and his mouth went slack.

"Vivi…" He breathed, a dreamy expression forming on his rugged face.

Determination filled my body. There was no way he was going to win this battle. I let my injury bring tears to my eyes and then I whispered his name weakly. At once he attentively cupped my face, thumbing away a streak of moisture.

"I'm sorry," he lamented, lowering his face to mine. I wasn't sure if his heartfelt apology was for the past or my new fractured rib. Maybe both. Either way: apology denied.

"Yeah, you should be!" I snapped angrily, slamming my forehead against his. It was hard enough to make me see stars and he cursed, drawing back to cradle his head.

I relished the freedom drawing my knees back and propelling my military edition boots into his gut. He flew backwards as I scampered upright, dashing to my ship.

He howled at me to stop but this time I was victorious. Throwing myself into the ship I gave a voice command to secure the door.

"Entry is secure," the computer replied.

"Engage autopilot and get out of this hole!"

The engine roared to life. I glanced out a porthole, taking in the sight of Thayer's furious face. He was animatedly indicating for me to stop, no doubt punctuated by some choice words. I poked my tongue out and gave him the two-finger salute.

Take that, Captain.


One-shot entry for Maranwe Telrunya's Weekly Writing Challenge. This is an unedited piece so it isn't perfect (1,211 Words).