Mugging the Monster

rating: +75+x

Dr. Cimmerian stopped as he reached the Applebee's bar.

His mind raced. The restaurant door was eight and a half meters away. It would take him maybe three — four? — seconds to cross the distance at a dead sprint if the floor was clear.

The floor was not clear.

A mass of people stood between him and the nearest exit. Some clad in costumes, some like Cimmerian; straight from work in their lab-coats. After last year's mixup, the rule came down: No SCP cosplay. But there, right across the room, was a sexy plague doctor. Well — he hoped it was a sexy plague doctor. Dr. Foster had asked him to come, then fucked off as soon as they arrived.

A pretty researcher from the 20th floor dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz sat alone at the bar. He glanced over to her nervously. She smiled back.

Yeah. This was going to be just like last Halloween: a disaster. He could feel it. The pulsing sound of music began to hammer into his head. A headache was all this basically amounted to. But if he was gonna have a headache tomorrow, he might as well have it for a good reason.

"Hey." He got the bartender's attention. "Can I get a seven and seven?"

She nodded and started pouring his drink. He turned back around and caught Dorothy eyeing him from the side.

"What's in that?" Dorothy'd said with a slight squint.

"Seven-up and whiskey."

She blinked, smirked, and nodded. "Nice."

"It does the job." The bartender set the drink down in front of him and he took a long drag from the straw. Trying his best to look cool while doing so and, given the straw, failing.

"So you're the ethics guy?"

"I am. You work on the 20th, right?"

She put her right hand out. "Yes. I'm Megan."

He shook her hand and finally sat down at the bar. "Jeremiah. My friends and you can call me Jerry."

"We're not friends?" she pouted a little.

"We'll see." He immediately undercut the line by drinking from a straw again.

He got to know her a little bit better as the night progressed. She was a biologist with an expertise in pinnipeds. She hadn't said but he figured that put her on the 3213 team. Which was nice. He'd dated people at the site before who had… issues due to the seriousness of their jobs. It was nice to have a conversation with someone who didn't have that much baggage. She just needed to make sure the seals didn't kill Carl and she could go home with a clean conscience.

He told a joke. She laughed. She fired back. He laughed. It was fun, different — almost relaxing. The pulsing music and the dancing people seemed to fall away for an hour or two. The two of them didn't notice as most of the partiers left and the party wound down. She was still nursing her first drink. When he ordered his fifth, the bartender gave him that "get the fuck out" look. Cimmerian stood up.

He was a little wobbly, too drunk to drive, but not much worse. "I'll call an Uber. Are you alright or do you need one too?"

Megan looked disappointed, but shook her head. "I barely touched mine. I can actually get you home if you want. You're offsite right?"

He told her where his apartment was as they walked out into the dimly lit parking lot. It was about 1 AM; there were still monsters milling about. As they got to her car, she pulled out her keys and unlocked the door.

A man in a zombie mask walked far too close and pulled something from the back of his pants.

Cimmerian pulled a Colt 1911 out of his shoulder holster and Megan pulled a Walther PPK out of a thigh holster under her blue dress.

All three stood in silence. The zombie's pistol was still aimed at the ground; he hadn't even lifted it before theirs were pointed at his face.

He dropped it and ran.

The two of them stood there for another few seconds before putting their own weapons away. They laughed and got into the car, leaving the zombie's gun on the pavement. They both already had one, after all.

Megan cocked her head to the side. "Your place or mine?"

"Mine is fine."

She put the car into drive.

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