(io9 short)

“Bob,” the creature composed of flame greeted the hulking mass of muscle and sinew wrapped in smooth fur with a nod. It sat down with a fwump as part of it’s suit extinguished on the subway seat.

“Qhhqt.” A soft, deep voice replied from within the lower part of the creature’s shaggy head. “Qhhqt?”

“Oh you know,” the flaming suit replied. “The usual. Chandra screwed up my coffee, the bodega was out of fresh oranges, and my wife…Ooh my wife.”


“I know, right? You’d think a budget was an alien concept, but noooo. Seven jeans are exempt from my paltry planning. Don’t ever get married Bob.”


“You say that now, I mean I did too when I was your age…look, don’t get me wrong. I love her and she loves me, but marriage is tough man. Love’s the thing, don’t need a ring for love, you know?”

There was a cough. The girl shifted in her seat between them. She had done very well to avoid attention so far, and she cursed the frog in her throat with a thousand damnations.

“Why hello there,” the flame smiled at her. “Bob, is she with you?”


“I didn’t think so.” The flame took a sip of coffee. His breath steamed as he exhaled. “God that’s awful. So where to, young miss?”

The train slowed to a jolting stop, cutting him off. The doors opened and some of the passengers decamped, while others slipped in. The crowd getting on was bigger, so Bob and the flame scootched a little closer on either side of her.

“Don’t mind me,” the flame continued. He threw his arm straight up. “I’m sure.”


“Oh shut up, I know.”

The girl smiled as the train jostled along. Bob and the flame seemed alright. Bob discreetly harrumphed a hairball and straightened his Windsor. The flame continued to drink his god awful coffee.

An announcer came over the intercom, “East Point, College Park.”

As the train slid into the next station, the girl stood up. She adjusted her should bag, and turned to her seat-mates.

“You guys are on here everyday?” She asked.

“Qhhqt.” Bob replied.

“Twice on Sunday,” added the flame.

She nodded, pleased. “Save me a seat then.” With a snap of her fingers, Bob’s fur exploded in a puff of static electricity, and the flame went out. What was left was a man shape in a suit with all of the consistency of the embers of a fire, and a furball in Armani.

“I like her,” the flame chuckled. He shrugged and took a sip of coffee. “Achh, what do you think?”


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