Press "Enter" to skip to content

A Formal Complaint

Having been rebuffed by the office of Underby umpteen times, Bologna decided to forge formal complaints with the Bucket of Blood, knowing that fink of a public servant was the owner of the rancid establishment. To give off a more serious and sombre atmosphere, he donned a derby and wore spats. The fur coat added something, but he wasn’t certain precisely what. On the other hand, it exuded a certain regality, so he was altogether pleased with the ensemble when he made his way to the bar. 

Dot Hook, the bald barmaiden, was tending the bar that evening while that brute Medusa Jones lurked in the background, grumbling over a clipboard. Bologna knocked once on the bartop to announce his presence. Rufus the Drunk awoke with a start from the other end of the bar and snorted. Bologna called out: “Ahoy-hoy there Miss Hook, I would have a word with you when you are not otherwise occupied. Engaged, even.”

Dot narrowed their eyes then made their way to Bologna’s end of the bar. “What’ll you have, Lunchmeat?” they asked with a sarcastic sneer. 

“I’ll have you know I am here to issue a formal complaint.” he said. “And, I’d like a martini.”

Dot sighed, rolling their eyes. “You know we only serve Foggy Dew.”

He gestured at the chalkboard behind him. “Sign says Canal Water.” 

The barmaiden nodded. 

“Is that a euphemism?” he asked

“It’s a description. Consider it an alternative. It’s that, or Foggy Dew.”

“I stopped drinking the Dew after that week of blindness.” he stated flatly. “A world without mine own reflection is too cruel to contemplate. Harsh, even.”

Deuce snerked, but kept her eyes glued on the clipboard. Dot stared at Bologna with something bordering on thinly veiled hostility. “Then… I suppose you’re out of luck.”

Bologna smiled. “I perhaps could make an exception this one time.”

“No, you couldn’t.” Dot said.

“Eh? No? Why not?”

“Because we are close to all out, and I would sooner save what we have for loyal customers. Like Rufus and Otis here.” she indicated two rubbydubs at the end of the bar. One looked vaguely familiar to Bologna. He looked back to Dot. The less familiar looking one went into a seizure and tumbled from his stool to the floor. This was largely ignored by those around them.

Bologna began to rant: “Now listen here, my marks are as good as anyone else’s. Better actually, I put more work into mine.” He licked his lips, deciding perhaps that had been a bridge too far. He decided to abruptly change the subject to thereby bamboozle them. As his good father had always told him: bullshit baffles brains. “As for the formal complaint I wish to declare, it begins thusly…”

Deuce looked up from the clipboard. “Hunk will show ya where ya can file that.” she said, then motioned to the hulking bouncer who had been menacing a couple near the back. He suddenly loomed behind the Count. 

Bologna held up one finger in protest, then suddenly found himself sprawled on the other side of Lower Abney. From upside down he saw Hunk brush his hands on his trousers, then march back down the iron staircase in to the Bucket of Blood. “That’s unkind.” Bologna muttered as he unwound himself. He stood up and replaced the broken cigarette in his holder and peered down the street. A short person was pulling a wagon from the monument end of the street. “What’s this now?” he asked himself. 

The wagon was full of bottles clinking. The short person was a child, and looked vaguely familiar. “Say there lad!” Bologna called out. The youth skidded to a halt, lighting a cigar. Bologna sniffed the air as the bottles clattered together, and then it all clicked. “This is Foggy Dew…” he whispered.

“What’s it to ya?” the child asked.

You brew this?” he asked.

“Yup, in my junkyard.”

Bologna made a face. “You own a junkyard?”

“I got a lot going on, mister. I keep pretty busy.”

The Count looked around. “You ever hear of that adult attache for the child urchins?”

“Attache?” the child asked.

“Liaison, even.”

“Oh. That.”

“It was my idea you know.”

“That was a bust, is what it was.”

Bologna straightened up. “Well, that.” he said, flicking an ash from his cigarette. “That is because it was not handled correctly. This girl Trish, she botched the entire thing, if I may be so bold.”

The child shrugged. “Never hearda her.”

“Well, I am not overly surprised to hear that, I have to say I suspect she is an abject failure in all things. As I mentioned previously, she made a complete botch of the entire liaison program, which as I mentioned was my idea, and further that it was improperly implemented. Are we straight thus far? Clear, even?”


“Perfecto. That’s Italian. You see, it was never intended to be open to other contestants. I mean, it was my idea, why would I concoct a sche-ehhh-er plan for someone else? Rubbish. I offered my services and next thing you know these other two are working for the rotten little…” He licked his lips. “Precious little … whatever.”

“Yer ramblin, mister.”

“You sell this concoction to the Bucket of Blood alone?”

“Yeah, I work alone. I brew it alone, I sell it alone.”

“I mean, you only sell it to the Bucket of Blood.”

“Oh. Yeah. It’s an exclusive contract.”

“What is the benefit of that for you?”

“It’s exclusive. Miss Deuce says exclusive is good. People pay big money for exclusive.”

“And DO you get paid big money?”

“Compared to what?”

“Precisely. This is why you need an adult liaison, because children are notoriously stupid. I could be selling this swill all over town. It may give people the delirium tremens, but with a fancy label and a little razzle dazzle, it could be a certified hit.”

The child looked at him. “Pass.”

Bologna took the cigarette holder from his clenched teeth and wiped a gloved hand down his face. “You miserable little……….” and muttered off into inaudibility. As the child pulled their wagon to the the top of the Bucket of Blood steps, Medusa Jones and Hunk appeared to assist in offloading the Dew. 

Bologna stalked off toward the east end of town, vowing that all his drinking would be forever on that side of the city. “Gangplank – ho!” he called out.

Spread the love


  1. Beryl Strifeclaw Beryl Strifeclaw December 5, 2019

    Beryl was sitting within the Gangplank window as she often did when she wanted good company, distraction, and to be left in relative peace. It was a quiet evening compared to some when Count Bologna entered the building. He had quite a few things to say in a grandiose manner before he sat near Beryl’s perch. She leaned down from above to greet him, “Hello, sir. How have you been?”

    “Salutations,” he replied as he removed his helmet for comfort. He waved his arms grandeously. “Simply peachy. I am getting into politics! Yourself?”

    “Despite a few rumors to suggest otherwise,” Beryl purred as she rolled off the side of the window and took a seat across from the Count. “I am doing wonderfully as I was the last time we spoke.”

    “Consistency is a noble pursuit.” The Count studied her a moment as if searching his memory. “You know…I am not want to spreading gossip…however…….the children speak rather ill of you as of late.”

    Beryl shook her head dismissively, it was only a matter of time until word reached the Plank after all, “I am not surprised.”

    “No? I would be crushed in your place.” The Count seemed almost disappointed as he turned his attention to the staff trying to catch their attention. “You felines are always so stoic.”

    “Why should I care what children think.” She stated calmly. Cyan’s best efforts could not erase everything that happened. “Even if they are calling me a murderer. And a hero.”

    “Well, true…they are rather-Murderer is it?” Count Bologna sat up straighter in his chair. Clearly he had not heard everything. “And…hero? Interesting combination.”

    “You’ll find their word is quite inconsistent,” she replied cryptically.

    The two began to share their thoughts on the urchins and their ridiculous methods for some time. Beryl even paid for the Counts drink she was having such an enjoyable conversation. The Count enjoyed relating how much he detested Cyrus and Petra, though he got both names wrong. The feline mentioned how Zaida tried to shoot her with a slingshot to ‘wake her up’. She had not allowed that, though she thought it best not to mention the incident in the attic. She knew he might be playing on what he’d heard about her, but if so he was a good actor. That alone was worth the drink.

    “I recently discovered they did not hire me as their attache. It was my idea! Rotten little bastards!” The count seethed as Beryl let out a chuckle she could not restrain. “That is unkind.”

    “I do not mean it that way,” she assured him and raised her glass to him. She spoke wistfully, “Ah, what a different world we would both live in if they had made the right choice, yes?”

    “That Trish…” Bologna continued to gripe into his cup. “She did some deal behind my back I suspect. I’ll show them. Especially her and that annoying French accent.”

    Trish? She had not known a Trish involved with the adult liaisons, but with a french accent, “Do you mean Myrtil?”

    The Count wiggled his little finger into his ear, “I don’t think that’s a real name.”

    “I confess I had not considered that fact.” Still, the relish the man spoke with about giving them their comeuppance. She lowered her voice slightly and leaned closer, “So, how exactly will you show them. Consider me…intrigued.”

    “Show them?” The Count seemed at a loss, though it was clear to her he wanted it. “I hadn’t given that much thought yet. Something humiliating. Any ideas?

    Beryl tilted her head and thought for a moment. She didn’t feel cold at all, in fact she was quite enjoying the ideas swirling in her mind. The Count looked about for others, especially the ‘busboy’ and ‘bouncer’. He was in luck that their conversation seemed ignored while the staff dealt with other patrons.

    “The busboy is getting to big for his britches, and that bouncer is just a ruffian. I’ll show them all.”

    Beryl lifted her glass and looked to him, “If you wanted to become a thorn in their side then the Free Press, with your new political position…” She let him imagine the possibilities on his own. “In fact, it is a surprise to me you’ve never had Mr. Penrose run a few things for you to get the attention of certain individuals.”

    “The Free Press, eh?” He seemed intrigued by the idea, but also somewhat reluctant. “Yes, I could throw my weight around, though that man seems not to like me since he suspected I cheated at the Pankcake Toss Race. Which I did NOT!”

    Her response was simple, “Publish anonymously.”

    “But-Oh.” The Count tapped his chin at the possibilities. “That’s a thought. He’s a glutton for stories.”

    Beryl slowly finished her wine, though it wasn’t the drink that she was enjoying anymore. The Count had a moment of inspiration and she could only laugh.

    “Not long ago, your story would have even been true. In fact I have a present for you if you meet me outside in ten minutes.” She left the Count to his scheming, tipped the staff, and made her way to the station.

    She collected the item from the Station safe-house easily enough despite many misgivings, Tepics rumors had done something for her after all, and waited near the entrance. The Count emerged as the first flurries of snow began to fall around them.

    “I might know a couple rotten apples willing to make some scratch to do a job for me. Capitol idea of yours, Miss Beryl. We shall show those kids.”

    “This should lead some credence to your plot then.” She passed him the mask the urchins wore when they had to steal everything after the Man in Blue attacked. “This was commissioned by ‘Trish’, as you know her. They were to do exactly the kind of things you were talking about. You could easily take that one and have more crafted. I hardly have any need for it now.”

    “ Indeed.” The Count looked very pleased at this newest development. “Yule has come early, thank you. I… have something for you too… it’s just, back at home…”

    Beryl Strifeclaw almost laughed again, it was clear he didn’t know anything about her, “Believe me, Count Bologna. I will be happy enough if you have a good time with whatever you may be plotting.”

    The man took off into the night, and she made her way home as the snow storm grew in ferocity. Later, she wondered if she would regret getting caught up in his revenge. As it stood now, she was content to let the matter play out.

Leave a Reply