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Fair’s Fair

by Marva Dasef

Audio version by Robert L. Sellers, Jr.

I lurched across Pioneer Square, hurt by the turned-away eyes. I wish they’d look at me — go ahead and stare! After the car wreck, the doctors did their best to put me together, but even a pro can’t fix a thing if some of the parts are missing.

I dragged my body into a bar and pulled myself up on a barstool, making sure that the cash register blocked my view of the mirror. As usual, I sat with head bent, hat pulled down over my eyes.

“What’ll ya have, buddy?” the bartender’s rough voice rumbled.

I looked up, expecting the usual gasp of surprise or disgust, the eyes shifting left or right. I got neither. The bartender looked straight in my face, continuing to wipe the glass he held.

I was the one who gasped. He was over seven feet tall with one of the ugliest faces I’d ever seen, including my own. He was poorly shaved, the stubble continuing down his neck to disappear under his shirt.

“I said, what’ll ya have, buddy?” he repeated.

“Uh, scotch,” I whispered. This was not a man, I thought. His nose was a snout; his canines long and pointed; his arms would have hung to his knees. He looked like those pictures, except for the shave and clothes, of course. My own appearance made me bold; people tolerate questions from those they pity.

“You look like one of those Bigfoot monsters,” I ventured, made bold by my own visage. His chuckle was a guttural cough.

“So?” he said noncommittally.

“So, how can you be here? Why haven’t the cops or the zoo come to get you?”

“You oughta know the answer to that, buddy,” he grinned.

“What do you mean?”

“C’mon, you’re almost as ugly as me. It works great — right, buddy?”

I could see how it worked for him. When you’re as ugly as that, no one looks at you. He’d have no problem hiding out in the city.

“But, why?” I wanted to know.

“We — yes, there’s lots of us — did okay in the woods until all those science guys and hunters started comin’ after us. We want to be left alone, so we went where no one would think to look for us.”

Dollar signs danced before my eyes. “What if I turned you in?”

“Now, you wouldn’t do that, buddy.” His confident gaze met mine.

I decided quickly, and answered – “Right... fair’s fair.”

Copyright © 2006 by Marva Dasef

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