Swamped

Male frogs wearing tight fitting taffeta pants sauntered in out of the rain. They strolled up to the bar and ordered chalices of mead. The frogs croaked out an old ditty as they commandeered a table. Rat had little patience for frogs. He didn’t mind toads so much as they were a quiet sort. But frogs were a rowdy bunch, always looking to cause trouble.

A young croc sat in the corner of the room nursing a warm bock. He eyed the frogs and drew his tongue across his lips. He shifted his position to get a better view of the nattily dressed frogs. He had been in a bad mood since his arrival at Rat’s bar. The thought of biting off a frog leg made him drool. “C’mon,” he uttered, “make a ruckus. I’m ready to take you all on.”

The only one in earshot of his remarks was an old snake. “Sssave sssome for me, young croc.” The snake slithered closer to the fancy dressed frogs and occupied a nearby table. The young croc followed. Rat saw their relocation and checked below the bar for his trusty cleaver. But it was a young beaver who ultimately prevented the slaughter by excitedly slapping the table where snake and croc sat with his tail.

The beaver recognized the frogs from a concert that they had given where the lilies grow. He was an ardent fan and, in his excitement, he forgot his manners. The loud whacks of his tail against the table drove croc and snake back to the corner that they had come from. Fearing that their ardent fan would never stop talking the band of frogs excused themselves after chugging their mead and promptly exited the bar. Croc and snake slithered out after the frogs leaving behind a bewildered beaver.

A short while later a swarm of dragonflies blew in and settled at the bar calling for shots of whatever was handy. They were in a celebratory mood having just won a Quidditch match against a squad of mayflies. Rat set up a round of his cheapest whiskey for the dragonflies. The skink waitress ferried a trayful of shots to the stragglers at the tables. Despite the few wolf whistles and catcalls, they were more respectful than the frogs had been.

The bar cleared out quickly after the hellbender arrived. He was not noted for his friendly disposition. The skink however found him pleasant company as he always treated her with respect. She also liked that those who hurried out the door often left large tips by not waiting around for their change when they paid their bar tabs. Rat took advantage of the quiet to restock the bar in preparation for the arrival of the late-night crowd.

“How’s it going, Harry?” The skink stuffed some bills into her apron and finished clearing off a table.

“Can’t complain. What about you, Martha?”

“Keeping busy.” Martha placed the glassware into the dishwasher and headed back to clear another table.

“Has he asked you to marry him yet?”

Martha stopped piling up the dirty glasses. “Who? Rat? He’s already got a wife and a new litter. Besides, he’s not really my type.”

“Who’s not your type?” Rat put down the case of bottles that he had carried in from the back room.

Martha rolled her eyes in his direction. “You are, you old fart.”

“Well, of course not. But then, who is?” He gave Martha a once-over then huffed. “You’re not the skinny thing I hired anymore. You shouldn’t be so picky.”

Harry downed the last of his quaff and leaned in to Martha. “Maybe we could go lie in the mud together later?” Martha laughed. “What?! I’m serious. I fancy you. Have for quite some time.” Harry stood up and strode to the door. “If you change your mind, you know where to find me.” After the hellbender cleared the door, the crowd waiting outside flooded in.

 

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