The Vestigial Man

Of all the shit-hole bars in all the world, she was drinking at mine.

I would’ve never guessed she was a time traveler.



The Vestigial Man Cover Yin and Yang e1431201586600 SHORT STORY

Of all the shit-hole bars in all the world, she was drinking at mine.

I would’ve never guessed she was a time traveler.

I am Gavin Thorn–a drunk, a lost soul, and a slob. I sit in my bar in the Arizona desert, withering away. But today is July 13, 2014, and everything is about to change.


A NOTE ON LENGTH: This is a 20 page short story.




Science Fiction / Space Opera






adj. adjective

(In Biology)  An organ or biological structure that once served a useful purpose, but has since evolved to a smaller and lesser state, no longer functioning as it once did.



She was the kind of woman that made men look like the fairer sex.  I could see the cut of her muscles through her tight leather clothes.  She reminded me of a barbarian woman from a Frank Frazetta painting.  Her musky perfume blew in my direction.  It smelled like incense.  It was a hot day and I bet if she took off those tight clothes she’d smell less of incense and more like a pork sandwich.  I just wanted to take her back to my place and give her a bath.

After a couple more bourbons, I adjusted my balls and made my way to the bar, where she was standing.  The curvature of her lower back and round, muscular ass ignited a primal urge within me.  I was ready to mount her right then and there, but restrained myself and bellied-up beside her.

“Nice tattoos,” I said.

They covered her forearms and crept out from under the collar of her leather shirt.  The ink was a glowing green hue, like something radioactive.  The pattern was geometric, like a maze or the pathways of a circuit board.

She turned to me.  Her eyes were the color of gunmetal.  She truly was a freak.  I liked her even more.

She spoke with some kind of Eastern European accent:  “How may I help you, mister?”

I got right to the point.  “I want to take you back to my place and give you a bath.”

I cringed, expecting a reply from her fist.

Surprisingly, she let the comment slide and made an expression as though she recognized me.

“Are you Gavin Thorn?”

“How do you know my name, darlin’?”

“Small town boy, Gavin Thorn, graduates University with honors.”  She pointed to an old newspaper article framed on the wall behind the bar.  “You’re the boy in the picture.”

“That was a lifetime ago.  Now I’m Gavin Thorn proprietor of this shit-hole tavern in the armpit of the Arizona desert.”

“My name’s Samantha Parker.”  She tilted her head and looked at me deeply.  “You have very sad eyes, Mr. Thorn.”

Why the hell would she say that?  I thought.

Even though she was probably right, I wasn’t gonna start gushing about my feelings and the alcoholocaust that’d been the last ten years of my life.

“These eyes aren’t sad, darlin’.  I’m just drunk.”

“How did you end up here?  It looks like you were headed places.”

“Things change.  Shit happens.  Life can drag you down.”

“Life’s what you make of it, Mr. Thorn.”

“Indeed.  And what do I make of you?”

“I’m just a traveler.  Seeing the sights.”

“There’s more to you, Samantha Parker.  What really brings you here?”

“I’m looking for someone.”

She started eyeballing a bunch of bikers playing pool.  As I waited for her attention to return to me, I noticed she was concealing something under her leather shirt, at her abdomen.  It was too big to be a gun.  Maybe it was a fanny pack or a money belt.  Whatever it was, she always kept one hand hovering over it, as if guarding it from thieves.

She looked back at me.  “You have a unique place here, Mr. Thorn.  I noticed you named it after a woman.  Who’s Karissa Lynn?”

“My dead wife.”

“I’m sorry.  You must have loved her greatly.”

“I did.  She died a long time ago.”

“What happened to her?”

“Something bad.”  I signaled Niki behind the bar.  “Tequila!”

Niki slid over two shot glasses and the bottle.  I poured Samantha Parker a shot and she slugged it back like a champ.  I had a feeling she could drink.


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© 2012-2021 VINCENT VALE. All Rights Reserved. SCIENCE FICTION