“The usual please, Furry Karl.”
“Coming right up, Baker Bloch.” Karl reaches into the cooler behind him a pulls out a tall can of Krings, popping it open and positioning it on the counter. Baker partakes.
“Ahh, good beer after a long hard day of work, eh Karl?”
“I suppose. I don’t drink myself.”
“Oh right,” says the male Baker. “The farming incident.”
“And the prostitutes. And killing that guy over in Bennington… besides all the other stuff done there.”
“Well, that’s all red liquid under the bridge for you Furry Karl. Clean sweep in this here Collagesity. New beginnings. Here’s to new beginnings.” He raises his beer.
“I can’t toast with you, but I’ll second that anyway. Listen, um, Baker. I can’t really talk much tonight. As you can see (Furry Karl looks around), the bar’s pretty busy.”
“I noticed that. Demon Days.”
“Yup. Gates of hell opened wide this weekend.”
Baker Bloch also looks around. “None in here at the moment I can spot, though.”
“Oh, they’ve been here. The mall’s been invested with them. Especially the Santas. I’ve counted at least 3. So… enjoy yourself here. Drinking alone tonight?” Furry Karl tacks on.
“No. Old Mabel will be joining me. We’re going to talk about her new living quarters — Spongebub’s former home.”
“Good, good.” A bald headed demon enters the bar and sits down at the last stool; starts to play computer cards as both Furry Karl and Baker try not to stare. “Okay, gotta run,” Karl says, moving toward him.
“I’m sorry once more I’m so late, Mr. Bloch. It’s just that Unch was there (!). I could see him finally. And from that perch on the southwest corner.”
“Next to Perch, yeah you told me.”
“Sorry.” Old Mabel realized that she was repeating herself in the excitement. “I dare not fully approach him yet. It is a him, correct?”
“I haven’t really thought about it,” Baker responds. “I’m not sure he’s — or she’s — anything. Like the typical plant, I suppose. Minus ferns?”
“Mosses, maybe,” Old Mabel offers. “I’m still getting familiar with terra firma flora and fauna.”
“Right. You should have been here earlier, Old Mabel. Place was jumping. I think Furry Karl will be alright in this new location. It’s just so… in the middle of things.”
“Malls are special places,” agreed Old Mabel, taking a sip of her lemonade. “Well lighted. You can accidentally bump into your friends and neighbors without having to telephone them up.”
“Good point,” agrees Baker. “You get the social niceties out of the way without a social commitment.”
“I’m learning your ways.” Old Mabel smiles at him, studying his rugged orange face and dead white eyes. Yes, he’s still most likely the one, she thinks. Despite demon Jiff offering to change over his body to a larger and greener variety. Despite Snowbob and the day before yesterday. In the closet.
“You’re so strange, having to sit with your back to the wall if anyone else is in a room with you.”
“One demon left around,” Baker Bloch whispers to Baker Blinker. “And it has to be here.” The small cyan demon squeaks in return — good ears on this one.
“Good that Old Mabel is getting adjusted. Maybe now she can get over this dislike of Wheeler, since she’s getting over, well, *you*.”
“I don’t think she likes Wheeler impersonating me at times,” Bloch agrees.
Baker Blinker sighs. “So where does that put *us*?”
“Same ol’ same ol'” the male Bake responds. “We are the parents of all that’s around us.” He waves his arm.
“I don’t think Karoz is coming back,” Baker Blinker says, tears starting to form in her eyes.
“Oh sure he is,” Baker Bloch attempts to comfort. “Wheeler’s probably sent him off on some crazy assignment to retrieve an ancient diary again.”
“She’s still looking for Number One, yes,” a sniffing Baker Blinker agrees, taking a sip of coffee with a shaky hand. “Muff-Bermingham was a bust. Plus the war started while we were there. Greens versus Grays. The one Little is involved in. A shame Old Mabel hasn’t heard a thing from him since he left.”
“Hasn’t she?” The male Baker eyes the female Baker knowingly.