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By Meagan Friedman

2013 Writers Contest – 3rd place

First timers, two of them, walked in as I wiped down the bar. The bouncer nodded and flashed two fingers at me, letting me know they’d both paid. He’d have memorized their IDs, so he could let them in as many nights as they needed to make their decision. One guy came in for a year before he ordered the drink that killed him.

I pulled out two leather bound journals and set them on the bar. I knew it was going to be a long night when they both saddled up at the bar instead of heading back to a table. Great, they wanted the whole spiel.

“Welcome,” I said.

“Thanks. Two drinks,” the blonde guy said. “One for me, and I bought his too.”

Buying two drinks cost more than some people made in a year. I mentally shrugged off my surprise. If this guy had the cash to ruin his life and his best pal’s, it didn’t matter to me.

“This is the glass menu. Brief biographies are provided of the previous user. Beverage of your choice is on the house, though water is suggested for best results,” I said. Both nodded, but Clueless still looked confused. Both were about to get a demonstration.

“I’ve decided,” said a woman in back. A smattering of applause greeted her as she brought her journal to me.

“I’ll have a half Aphrodite’s glass, half Hera’s please. Served in Aphrodite’s,” she said.

“Water or something stronger?” I set out the glasses labelled “Hera” and “Aphrodite”.

“Red wine? Seems more poetic,” she said with a shrug. I nodded and opened a bottle. Using a jigger, one half shot went into Hera’s glass. I swirled it around for effect, then poured it carefully into Aphrodite’s. After filling the small glass up, I reverently placed it in front of the woman. I think her name was Amanda. I often wondered if they adopted new names when they left, to go with their new attributes. I only got my answer on the few occasions they made the news.

Amanda squared her shoulders and drank. Before she’d even set the glass back down, the transformation had begun. Her face converted from plain to airbrushed perfection. Her straight dishwater blonde hair changed to golden waves. I watched the other patrons sit up straighter, trying to make themselves presentable for the pseudo-goddess now among them. She smiled at her reflection over the bar, nodded to me and turned to leave. The bouncer would successfully separate her from the patrons that followed her out of the bar, but after that she was on her own.

The two guys at the end of the bar were gaping.

“What’d you say the name of this place was?” Jerky finally asked.

“Olympus’s Dishwasher. Now do your research. I told you I’d buy you a drink that’ll change your life, now you just gotta decide whose glass to use.”