Shoulda Been a Wizard (HTML excerpt)
Waking up in the dark with a meaner headache than just drink can count for. Neck’s got an awful crick, but I can’t seem to move it. Can’t seem to move anything hardly at all. Door creaks open. Footsteps soft on carpeted floor. Then on come the lights, all of a sudden, nothing to see but bright, bright, bright.

Slowly make out the shape of a man sitting in a chair cross the room from the bed. I’m lying on a hotel bed. Hotel room. I was in a hotel bar. That’s where I was talking to—

That man. That man right there. Sitting cross the room from me, watching me wake up.

“What do you plan to do with your life?” the man had asked. No kind of question to ask a stranger. Not quite a stranger, course, I seen him there moping over a cheap beer every Friday night since ever and all. Never wanted nothing to do with him. Didn’t take a genius to see he had him some kind of trouble, didn’t want none of it splashing on me. But he’d called me over tonight, all You, come here, and a man don’t ignore that less he wants to start a fight. I didn’t want to start nothing. I went on over, see what he wanted.

What he wanted, turned out, was to buy me a drink. Same foul piss-water he swills every week, cheap bastard. Not much I could do about that. Someone buys you a drink, you drink the damn drink. Just manners.

Not that he’s got any manners to speak of. “Go on, tell me. What kind of future do you envision for yourself? Or do you even think about the future, beyond anticipating your next chance to drink your paycheck away?”

Drink halfway to my mouth, I put it down again. Glared at him. Didn’t say nothing. Who did he think he was? Thought maybe buying me a drink meant a free ticket to talk trash? And not like he wasn’t describing his own self, Friday like clockwork drinking himself stupid. Least I had taste and standards.

He just nodded, like my putting down the pint glass was the answer he was looking for. “Thought so,” he said. “Well. I have a proposition for you. I’d like to offer you a chance at a singularly rewarding future.” Took a pull on his own drink. In no hurry to make himself understood. “I have considerable funds to put at your disposal, if you accept. Go on. Drink up and I’ll tell you.”
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This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for October 21, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1173 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.

Cover art features original and fortuitously blurry photography by the author. Pint glass features Boulder Beer's "Pulp Fusion," a blood orange IPA that's remarkably tasty.

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