Slug eased himself onto the barstool, a lazy grin on his face. His hair had been professionally tussled that evening, and with his new hologreather jacket, he was confident in his irresistibility.

“Start me up a tab, barkeep,” Slug said, withdrawing his credit card and inebriation license. With a movement made automatic by constant practice, he placed both cards in the bartender’s hand while not losing eye-contact with the azure-coifed beauty across the room. No point in wasting time, Slug thought. “Gimmie a Mai Tai and send one over to that girl with the blue hair.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” the bartender said. “But there aren’t enough points on your license for a single Mai Tai, much less two.”

Slug scowled, and forced himself to look at the bartender. “You’re sure?”


“How about a gin and tonic?”

“I’m very sorry, but you don’t have enough points for that either.”

“How many do I have?”

“For alcohol? None.”

“What? How can that be?”

“Let’s see…it says here that three days ago you apparently called three ex-girlfriends while under the influence of alcohol, causing a deduction. There was a bar-fight last Thursday that you participated in—no, I’m sorry, instigated. And then there was your sister’s wedding—”

“I know what I did at Shelia’s wedding.” At least, Slug knew what they said he did at his sister’s wedding. It was all sort of a blur.

“That poor flower girl…” said the bartender, scanning the report.

“Forget alcohol,” Slug said. “How about some cocaine?”

“Not after your last misadventure with it. I wouldn’t go back to that aquarium anytime soon, either.”


“Nope.” The bartender cocked an eyebrow. “Forty poodles? All of them?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” The blue-haired girl was now deep in conversation with a guy sporting leopard-print facial stubble. Slug pinched his nose in frustration. “What can I get?”

The bartender placed two pill capsules in front of him. Slug looked at the bartender’s grin in askance.

“Diet pills and ginseng, sir. The finest in the house!”

Slug weighed his options. It didn’t take very long. “I’ll take ‘em.”

“Excellent, sir. Shall I send some over to the young lady?”

“You know what? I think I’ll just take these to go. Think I’m gonna spend the night in.”