BtVS/Angel by Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Star Wars by Lucas Films. The commercials of GEICO, AFLAC, Taco Bell and Bob FM by some awesome marketing teams.

From Douglas Adams' 'Long Dark Teatime of the Soul' comes news of Odin's contract and the fate of those he'd signed it with.

These are the versions of the GEICO Gecko and the Cavemen last seen in my "So Easy".

Jones Soda is a real company. Yes, they do have the holiday special sodas and donate much of the proceeds from the often very weird flavors to charity.

Written for Methos' "Tales from the Barman" over at Twisting the Hellmouth. The original story / set of stories, found at TtHFanfic dot org slash Story-11757 has over a hundred contributing authors. It's a varied setting, the main constants being that Xander Harris has opened a bar, called Nights, on the Cleveland Hellmouth. The bar is a weirdness magnet, with dimensional portals in the closet, and numerous characters walking in, telling their story over food and drink, then leaving a memento for the wall.

Here's my corner of it.


A few days following the last major bout of chaos, Xander was setting up shop at Nights when the door rang in a clear tone. The amplifying enchantment had been installed after a resentful troop of drunken pixies egged the building.

Sighing, Xander opened the door and looked down.

"Thanks," said the small, green reptile. "Do you mind if I park my car inside? I'm afraid I left the chain and locks at home."

At his nod, the gecko retrieved a small, red convertible and parked it out of sight under a booth.

After he'd made sure the little creature was able to scale the furniture safely and served him a drink, Xander ducked behind a silence spell and placed a call to one of his friends.

"Hey, Willow, it's me... Remember when you were stood up for that blind date the first year of college? No, the one you'd made with the guy who voices the gecko in those commercials. Was the place packed? Yeah? Well, he's here and he's got a doozy of a reason why you didn't see him..."

##

Having confirmed that Willow would show up when she was able, Xander wandered over to casually eye the reptile. Yeah, he thought to himself. I can easily see how the little guy and Willow missed each other. Even wearing a carnation, you'd have trouble spotting him in a crowded bar, especially with the wrong kind of chairs and tables. Probably doesn't help his sightlines either, but, you'd think the fact he wasn't human would've come up during all those conversations they had over the phone...

"So," Xander asked as he polished a glass. "You new in town?"

"No, just sort of strolled in, for the convention," said the gecko. "You know, the one for advertising icons?"

"Ahh," Xander said, nodding as he turned to the kitchen. "Miranda, could you come out here? I need to pull the door off its hinges."

"Huh," said the gecko as he observed Xander and the red-headed Slayer go to work. "Strong, isn't she?"

The two humans grinned to each other as they fixed a replacement door in place - one with a catflap in the bottom.

Just in time too, as the place began filling up in earnest.

##

"SeƱor," came a voice from the other side of the bar. "May I have a drink please?"

"Sure," Xander said as he leaned over to get a better look. "May I please see some I.D.?"

"Right here," the Chihuahua said, standing on his hind legs to show the tag hanging from his collar.

Xander sighed. "Close enough."

##

"Hey, I was wondering if I could work here?"

"Um, you're a burrito," Xander said, frowning. "Can you carry drinks without hands?"

"Well," said the piece of food. "Maybe one at a time?"

"No, no thank you."

"Ah, just as well. I have a job anyway, but it only takes up a little bit of my time."

"You don't have feet, eyes or a mouth... I can't believe I'm asking this, but what do you do?"

"I do stunt-work in movies sometimes, but I'm part of the advertising convention because I'm a sock model."

Xander resisted the urge to bang his head into something hard.

##

A duck waddled in the door and hopped on the barstool to the left of the gecko. "Hey," he said. "Good to see you again."

"Cheers," the gecko said, raising his glass and draining the rest of it.

"Hey, barkeep, another glass for my friend here," said the duck. "Just put it on my tab."

"Tab?" Xander asked, frowning. "What tab? You're not a regular customer - you just walked in here."

"Fine then, just put it on my bill," the duck said, ignoring the assorted chuckles. "So anything new?"

"No, not really," said the gecko. "Though it seems this bar is a trifle odd... And I could swear that man with the bald spot in the booth over there was tailing me on the subway last week. So, how're things at... Shoot. I just can't place the name of your company. What was it again?"

The spokesman/duck opened his mouth but whatever he said was drowned out by someone screaming a bit further down the bar.

"Huh," muttered the gecko as he twisted around to get a better look. "I wonder what that hairy fellow is yelling about?"

##

A few minutes earlier...

Two cavemen walked in the bar and became very annoyed they were the hairiest ones there.

"Where is everybody? This is the bar, but no-one else is here to join in our protests for better cavemen representation in the media! Ha! That's been planned on my blog for weeks."

"Yeah and I can't believe that traitor! When we bumped into him outside the convention he said he'd changed his mind and came to join us as a show of solidarity, but I think he was just looking for that gecko's autograph!"

"Speak of the devil," the first caveman said, nodding over to the reptile seated at the bar. "Let's sit over here so we're in a good spot to glare while we discuss how to confront him."

"Sounds good to me," said the second caveman as they sat down to order. "I'll have an Absolut Mandrin cocktail please and, hmm, that burrito over there does smell good. What's the price?"

"Sorry, pal," answered the burrito. "I'm off-duty."

"AAAAAGGH!"

##

Having broken up numerous misunderstandings already, Xander drummed his fingers on the countertop, waiting impatiently for Willow to arrive. He was vaguely worried that the gecko would decide to leave too soon.

"So," he asked, swinging back to the reptile's side of the bar. "How's it going?"

"Oh, I'm getting along nicely enough. Just explaining the merits of GEICO's comprehensive plans to my new friend here."

"Aware of them now I am," Yoda said to the gecko. "Happy, will I be to join."

##

Faith and Illyria strolled into the bar. The blue god-king dropped a case - marked 'Jones Holiday Pack' - with several drink bottles in it onto the bar, while the dark-haired Slayer fished a small perfume bottle out from her bag.

"We've been to the marketing convention and we brought back souvenirs," Faith said, giving her arm a little spray of perfume. "Here, smell this."

"Huh," Xander said after leaning forward. "I can't really place it, but I guess it tingles nicely. What is it?"

"Well, like it says on the label, BOB FM."

"Oh, that's the company?"

"No, the radio station is authorizing Synaesthesia Corp to distill the product."

"What product?"

"The radio station," Faith said with a wide grin. "Can't you tell?"

Xander closed his eyes to think and connected synaesthesia with that Trivial Pursuit game and the ability/disorder involving hearing colors and tasting speech.

"Faith," Xander said, turning to look at her. "That is the weirdest thing I've heard in... nearly two days. Remind me to head over there tomorrow and buy some shampoo."

"Have one right here," she smiled, passing it over. "Let's face it, X. I know you."

"Hmph," said Xander as Illyria reached over for one of the sodas. "I... Wait. What did that label say?"

Illyria lifted up the case containing unopened bottles labeled Cranberry Soda, Mashed Potato & Butter Soda, Green Bean Casserole Soda, and Fruitcake Soda.

"You're kidding me."

"I do not kid," Illyria said as she popped the top on the one marked Turkey & Gravy Soda. "I am simply pleased that humanity has finally caught up with my refined tastes."

"Ewww..." Xander verbalized as she downed it one gulp. "I'm used to, well, I have a slug slime cocktail mix in the freezer ready for any sluagh to come by. But, for that to go mainstream?"

"Ahhh," Illyria breathed as she set the empty glass bottle on the counter and slid it over to Xander. "I would like you to add this to the Wall as an example of how quickly the mundane world at large is changing. Maybe someday soon they'll see us for what we are. Real and worthy of respect."

"Thank you," Xander said, taking the gift. "I'd be honored to put it in place as the symbol it is and hopefully I'll never have to smell it again."

"Good," Faith said. "Oh yeah, also of note was a quiet memorial service for two prominent advertising executives. You know, the ones Red was going on about?"

"Wait... No. Really? The ones Odin sold his soul to? Just so he could appear in commercials?"

"Yep. Plane crash in London. Apparently someone locked a fighter jet in a kitchen and it got angry enough to break through a wall and crush their car. They're calling it an act of god."

"Huh."

"Anyway. The contract's been rendered null and void and," she said, breaking off mid-sentence, recognizing the gleam in his eye. "Sorry, Xan. His son tore it to shreds. No chance of anyone bringing it in here. So," she said as she slid to her feet. "There's something I've been putting off doing since I came in here."

##

Faith strolled up to one of the cavemen, while his friend was at the counter ordering food.

"Hey," she said, grinning. "Couldn't help but notice you."

"Charmed," he said, surprising her by reaching out and taking her hand.

The light touch of his lips on her skin sent a thrill through her body.

"Wow," he breathed. "I've never met anyone before who smelled like music."

"Want to dance to it?" she asked with a smirk.

"Oh, I have moves," he said, grinning back.

"Heh. If we're going there I - Oh, wait! Is that the GEICO gecko over there? I have his motorcycle insurance. Oh," Faith said, turning back to the caveman and the expression on his face. "Yeah, that broke the mood. I'll just walk over and get his autograph."

"Figures," snarled the caveman as he sank to his seat and rested his head on his arms. "Why is it that the cute ones always fall to the Dark Side?"

"Too lightly, using those words you are," Yoda said firmly, hobbling up on his new apple-wood cane. "Do not."

"AAAAGH!" yelled the shocked caveman. "Yoda's real and he doesn't like me!"

##

"Oh great," murmured the gecko from his perch across the room. "Now the other hairy fellow is making a ruckus too. Hmph. Seems someone needs to give them a good talking to. Might as well be me..."