Bacon Butter Flash

By Ishmael A. Soledad

sfgenreI got this thing for butter. Not the mass-produced stuff but boutique, Sorrell melt in your mouth handmade creamy delight. It’s expensive but I budget to the cent, autopay all my bills. All I see is my drinking and grocery money.

Well, truth is the one hundred forty-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents drinking money’s exactly Uncle Owen’s fine for public disturbance. He’s a fair and reasonable public official even if he is on the bench. Got to the point last year I sent the fines straight through in advance. I’m a little calmer now, not much sense in using all my drinking money to fight.

But no matter what I always have my eight dollars ninety-five for my butter.

So last thing Thursdays, car full of groceries and eight ninety-five in my pocket I stop by Eli’s Deli and pick it up. This time it’s the last one on the shelf.

“Hey Eli! You got anything fresher?”

He waddles out the back, he likes his butter too. At least bricklaying burns it off me.

“Hell no, can’t you read?” pointing to the sign, knowing full well I can’t. “It’s the last, Sorrell’s gone belly up.”

I’m gutted. I’m not the only one, the short guy near the door’s heartbroken. It’s great butter, try it half an inch thick on your brioche and tell me the heart attack’s not worth it.

I got mine, so I toss my money at Eli and head out the door.

“Hey mister, how much you want for the butter?”

I turn around. There’s shorty.

“It’s not for sale, go get your own.”

“I’ll give you twenty dollars.”

“No dice.”


“Nope, not for sale.”

“How ‘bout one forty-nine ninety-nine? Hear you could use it.”

I give him the evil eye. “I told you it’s not for sale. Why you so interested?”

“I promised a friend I’d bring her back some. Let me buy you a drink, I got something to trade, something you might like. If you’re not interested after that, fair enough.”

What the hell, a free drink’s a no-brainer. We walk half a block and settle into a corner at the Biker Bar. It’s familiar, I know the barmaids and a fair few feet of the floor intimately.

He shows me his wristband. “How’d you like Uncle Owen to never see your ugly face again? This’ll let you start, make and get out of trouble scot-free. Now pick someone, anyone.”

Propping up the bar in front of us is Big Dave. We go back a long way, I lost my virginity to his girlfriend and he gave me my first broken nose. Over the years his waistline grew to match his six four height. Better than most I knew that ninety-five percent of that wasn’t fat. I leaned across to shorty.

“How about the guy in the Comanchero colours?”

“No problem. First, I press the red part of the wristband.”

He wanders over, elbows in between Dave and some other guy wearing colours. Dave turns, slowly, looking down.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh I’m sorry petal. Let me buy you a drink.” Turning to the barmaid he yells, “Two strawberry daiquiris sweetie!”

The crowded bar goes silent. The barmaid’s blowing the dust off an old cocktail leaflet and Dave’s glowing red under his bandanna.

Shorty turns to the other guy. “I apologise if I’ve upset your girlfriend, is it her time of month?” Then turning to Dave, “It’s ok, I understand how delicate and fragile you must be feeling.”

Dave’s neck disappears into his shoulders as he gives me a withering gaze. I shake my head and hold up my hands. I’m here to watch the show not star in it.

“Anyway,” shorty continues, one hand on Dave’s leg and one finger to his lips, “didn’t I see you at Mardi Gras … oh no, that’s it, you were handing out how to vote cards for Hillary weren’t you?”

Dave grabs shorty by the neck, lifting him off the floor. I go straight for my phone’s paramedic speed dial.

“Oh we are trifle prickly aren’t we?” and in a blink he’s got Dave’s hand off, thumb broken and head smashed into the bar. Dave crumples to the floor. He dispatches the other guy with a rapid left-right combo.

No one moves. The barmaid places two perfect strawberry daiquiris down. Shorty picks them up, sets them on our table.

“Now part two,” he says, pressing the blue section of the wristband.

Everyone looks around as if it’s all news to them. ‘What the hell?’ and ‘How’d this happen?’ is all I hear, nobody’s got a clue not even Dave who’s lifting himself by a barstool off the floor.

Shorty leans back, smirking.

“Now you tell me that’s not worth the butter.”

I had it out in a jiffy. “Sounds fair to me.”

He takes the butter and holds out the wristband. “Just one thing,” he warns, keeping hold, pressing a yellow section, “you can dump it all on someone else if they’re dumb enough.” With which, shorty, butter and wristband wink out of existence.

“Well ain't you the gutsy one?” I hear as I turn around, the bar closing in.

There went another one forty-nine ninety-nine and a week in hospital.


Another Thursday, another trip to Eli’s. I’ve gone right off butter but bacon’s another thing.

The space for the highland Fitzroy bacon was nearly empty. “Oh come on Eli! You gotta have more than that!”

“The hell I do! Fitzroy’s folded, that’s it.”

I buy it all, maybe I’ll grow my own pigs.

“Excuse me sonny, how much do you want for the bacon?”

I turn around to see a little old lady looking up at me from under her Sunday best bonnet.

A right uppercut lays her out cold in the pickle and sausage aisle.

Damn aliens. I know just where that was headed and I don’t get paid till Thursday week.

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About The Author

Ishmael A Soledad

Ishmael A Soledad has read and watched science fiction since before he went to school and thought it was time to give back instead of just taking. In between writing, working and reading he likes to daydream he's a rock star and annoy the neighbours with his guitar collection. He lives in Brisbane, Australia ('cause that's where the money and packed sandwiches ran out) with his long-suffering wife and psychotic cat.


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garry dean narratorGarry Dean lives on the Mid Coast of New South Wales Australia, and has been a fan of SF for most of his natural life. Being vision impaired, he makes good use of voice recognition and text to speech in order to write. Many of his stories have appeared in AntipodeanSF over the years, and his love of all things audio led him to join the narration team in 2017.

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