Ackmena's Golden Pub
It's been rough around here lately. Like, seriously.
See, we got the flat remodelled, and it was a fully functioning bachelor pad. A swingin' one at that. Problem with that is that me and JJ, well. As for bachelors, we aren't, like, Don Juan De La Nooch, that's for sure.
But, JJ, man... He's married now. Like, tied the knot. Hitched the nearest post he could find. Bought a hundred thousand credit ball and chain.
And didn't even invite me to the wedding.
To say that I was a bit miffed was not an understatement, because I'm usually really mellow about everything. I think I was slightly hurt, but it was a serious slightly.
When I brought it up, he, like, went on a tirade. Called her 'Mrs Black N'Decker,' whatever, like, that means... But he was being really heavy. Like, King of the Bringdown people. Lord von Bad Time. Emperor Palpameanie (where did that one come from?).
As an empath, I could sense Rhonda's sadness. That, and the big goobery tears that Ithorians cry. She ran to JJ's room and fell on his bed, sobbing. I did my best to calm her down, but being ethereal and all, the shoulder patting (do Ithorians even have shoulders?) didn't work.
"Why does he hate me so much?" she sobbed.
Look, I've woken up in some strange situations in my day. I know how it feels to not remember making the mistake, but have it blinking up at you, all saucily the next morning, with the taste of cheap death sticks and sick in your mouth and your Jedi Robe hanging out the window.
Thing is, Jedi are negotiators. We know how to get out of spots like that. That and there is this really stellar clause in the Jedi Code that makes all pre-nups null and void on Knights and Masters. But then there is that counter clause that says that Jedi aren't supposed to get well pissed and marry the nearest female.
So, right, once Rhonda was done with her blubber-fest, and, that's, like, not me being insensitive, man. Seriously. She has two mouths. Bawling coming from both. Stereo crying.
Well, she said she needed a drink. Now, there are plenty of pubs and bars around Coruscant. There is even a nice one right outside of the Temple. And O'Shenanigans down the way from our flat.
"Nothing like that!" she said, suddenly, all, like, not weepy. "I'll take you to my special little place!" She drug my poncho, thus me, into her wedding present, parked in the docking bay of our flat. An '06 Mercedes Talz luxury speeder, fully equipped with leather interior, a 400 audio-disc changer, toe-warmers, tea-maker, 1.21 Gigawatt Flux Capacitor, cup-holders, gun-holsters, towel-rack, in-dash GPS thermal detonation system, the CLUB (R), the RACK (TM), Easy-Bake Oven (TM), a cooler, a freezer, an ice-box, wind-screen wipers, wind-screen wiper wipers, track lighting, Sno-Cone maker, deep fryer, candy corn compartments, Stow-And-Go seating, Smash-And-Go roadkill removal device, Kill-And-Gob roadkill cooking device, a broiler, gun sentries that drop from the ceiling if the speeder is stolen, a change machine, and platinum spinner bling rims.
It was the most gaudy and redonkulous vehicle that I'd, like, ever seen. "Wow..."
"Yeah," she said, in stereo. "Ain't it a beaut! My little Scrummy-lumpin got it for me. It was a steal at 2 million credits!"
There was a scream from down stairs. And some stuff breaking. And some sobbing and cursing. I guess JJ found the receipt.
I sighed. I hoped he'd be okay and would have, like, gone to make sure that he wasn't in the process of drinking all of the Ajax in the place mixed with some of that hydrochloric acid that we keep in case of emergencies, but she'd already started. We were already half way to, uh...
"Where are we going?"
We were past light-speed. Moving onto ludicrous speed. I closed my eyes. It was even blurrier than the Ether.
"To my special little place! Weren't you listening?"
I knew that tone. I played it cool and kept quiet. That, and if I'd have opened my mouth, I'd have melfed brownie in her posh new interior. Too bloody fast for someone who lives their days at the speed of brownie influenced thought.
We skid to a halt and after I found my bearings and fell out of the door, she scooped up a handful of poncho and drug me inside.
It was a grungy little place, filled with all female patrons of any species that you could imagine. They all sat at high tables, sipping on glowing drinks.
"Ackmena!" Rhonda brought me to the front of the bar.
"Rhonda!" came a deep voice. The person behind the counter had long grey white hair, with thick dark eyebrows, and wore a tasteful tunic. With my Force sense, I knew the person before me was a woman, but she was so very masculine, man.
Rhonda introduced me. "This is Qui-Gon, Ack. He's a Jedi ghost."
The woman stared at my poncho, with disbelief. She shrugged her broad shoulders. "I'll take your word for it."
Rhonda turned to me. "Qui, this is Ackmena. She runs the bar here."
I waved. She ignored me. "What will you have, dear?" she said, looking through me.
Rhonda giggled. "I'll have a Purple Nerfle... Give Qui a hot cocoa."
I love hot cocoa! "I love hot cocoa!" I said. It's like an unspiced brownie in drinkable form. With those little marshmallows all mixed in.
Ackmena shook her head and called out our order.
"Hey, Rhonda," I said, pulling out a Jinn and JJ brownie. "Give this to Ms Non-Believer. She'll see me in no time, man."
Ackmena watched Rhonda and blinked. "Where did you get that brownie?"
"Magic. It's for you."
The older woman copped the brownie goodness and it was gone in a flash of dentures. Within moments, she was looking buzzed. "I see dead hippies." The giggles came then. "Rho'Tsu! Bring me some funyuns! And some Snapple!"
I knew what that meant. "Munchies, man."
From the swinging saloon kitchen doors, another older looking woman exited. She carried a tray with drinks and assorted munchies on it and had big white poofy hair. The, like, closer she got to the table, the bigger her eyes got. "You're a ghost!" She handed us our drinks.
I drank mine straight away. The cocoa was good. Very good. Better than the Brew of Dooku. Better than Dagobah cocoa, with the, like, mud and sticks at the bottom. And, like, infinitely better than Obi-Wan's infamous Skittle-Brau. "This is, like, really stellar, man."
"Oh yes," the waitress said, "It's an old recipe from St. Olaf. We used to make it every frosty winter. I've got a plate of Weiderhugen Crispies too. It's a traditional snack dating back to Viking times... Back in St. Olaf, we'd..."
She was interrupted by Ackmena. "Rho'tsu! Don't scare off the customers! "
A small woman piped up from the back corner. "No, pussycat, that's your job."
Then, like, the weirdest thing happened. Laughing came from out of nowhere.
Rhonda turned to me. "That's something about this place too, Qui. There is a laugh-track."
"Sounds expensive." I'd been to places like that... I think, like, Bob Saget had to pay millions to keep his laugh-track running at Full House Land on Skaari Minor. He'd gone mad... And that tinny recording was the only laughs he got.
The little woman in the corner replied, "With jokes like these, it costs a fortune." She looked up at me. She was, like, really small, and like, she was the epitome of a little old lady, man. In her dressing gown with a light robe over it, with curly white hair, she wore spectacles and fluffy slippers. "You're new around here. What brings you to Dorothy's Karaoke Bar?"
"Ma!" Ackmena yelled, "It's Ackmena!" She looked at me and Rhonda. "You'll have to excuse my mother. She suffered a slight stroke a few years ago which rendered her totally annoying."
There went that laugh track again.
"Picture it," the smaller woman began, waving her hand, "Gungan City, 20 aught 6 tango 2. A young beautiful woman delivered a baby with the biggest ears and feet in the whole village..."
Ackmena looked relieved as another woman entered, like, thus interrupting her mother's story. She was about the same height as the waitress, but with reddish hair, and like, a very pretty face.
She greeted the others. "Hello Rho'tsu. Hello Sof'ia. Hello Do... Ackmena."
The returned the greeting. "Hello Blanjhe." She started sauntering toward the kitchen. She stopped when she, like, caught gaze of the dead hippie, who is, like, me. She was over to our table, sitting, her head propped up on her elbows, gazing at me, in a flash. "Hello there."
Rhonda rolled her eyes. "Blanjhe, this is Qui-Gon."
She nodded. "Qui-Gon."
I was fairly nervous. "Huh, yeah."
"He's a ghost."
She nodded again, looking in my eyes. "Interesting."
"He's a Jedi."
Another nod. "Bet he has a big lightsabre."
"He's a hippie."
She started nodding, but stopped suddenly. Like, her face bunched up in a look of disgust. "A hippie? Ain't no way I'm gettin' with another hippie!" She stood. "The last one was trying to get me to join his commune and 'show me the beauty of Mother Nature' in the back of his Fahrfegneugen Bus!" Laugh-track. She stormed off and went like behind the counter.
Ackmena handed her an apron. "You know what time it is."
Rhonda clapped her hands. "Spontaneous song time!"
She wasn't lying. Suddenly, there was this sappy sitcom theme music piping through the place. Worst thing was, I knew the song. It was weird, because, like, I had no control over myself, and I started singing along with everyone else.
Thank you for being a friend.
Travel down the road and back again,
Your heart is true.
You're a pal and a confidant.
And if you threw a party,
Inviting everyone you knew,
You would see
The biggest gift would be from me,
And the card attached would say
Thank you for being a friend.
This whole experience was traumatising. See, like, not only did the little women, and Ackmena sing, but so did all of the other species in there. Snivvians, Wookies, Chagrinians, those Yak-Faced things... All singing, or barking, or bleating, or snorting, or belching that song. Everyone singing.
After the, like rousing choral number, the little woman spoke up. "Rho'Tsu, get me a stronger drink. I just glanced at that picture of Dorothy's ex hanging on the wall and I want to burn my retinas."
As a hippie Jedi, I'm not allowed to hate anything. So, right, I seriously disliked that bloody laugh-track, man. I wanted to find it and hack into little bits with my big lightsabre.
Rhonda started to talk about JJ. "You would not believe it, Ack," Rhonda flashed that big gaudy rock. "I'm married."
The women looked shocked. Sof'ia shook her head. "The woman who could double as hardware gets hitched and I can't even find one old coot to swap dentures with."
"He's a Jawa," Rhonda explained.
The old woman blinked. "He's yours... I don't want to date anyone shorter than I am."
"So," Blanjhe asked, "What's under his robe?"
This conversation was creeping me out. "Uh."
"Well, let's just say that JJ's shortness is made up in some other big ways."
Laugh-track. Bloody buggery laugh-track.
I wondered if Tahl went to places like this when we were married, as I was trying to keep my mind off the current convo topic.
"...think Polish sausage..."
Meditate! I'd needed something desperate to run screaming from the horrid things that were trying to form in my imagination. I exhaled and began to settle into my trance.
"...studly Jawa stamina..."
Mantra! Peace! Uh, the Code of Jedi stamina... No! The Ethical Under the Robe Sausage of Serenity... Oh WOW... NO... All I could see is a giant hot dog wearing JJ's robe. Dancing. Singing that Banana Phone song.
"Uh..." I interrupted Rhonda. "I need to go. Now. Jedi... things... Lightsabre handling... Man things... BUT, uh! No, I need to watch wrestling and, uh, drink beer. Eat, like, Brownies..."
"Brownies, huh?" Sof'ia asked. "I bet I eat the same kind of brownies for my glaucoma."
I laughed like a goon with the laugh-track. I was freaking out. I needed brownies. I needed Scooby Doo. I needed out of there.
Rhonda got the hint. "I think me and Qui need to get back. My Schmoopie should be rested up now. He's so grumpy when he hasn't had enough sleep and booze."
They all hugged Rhonda and gave those, like, womany good luck comments. I waved and was out the door and strapped into the speeder but quick.
It too Rhonda a minute, but she got in and started off as soon as she turned the platinum key. "What did you think, Qui?"
"I think I need some male bonding. At least there we hardly ever break into song."