From Kind of a D.R.A.G. by Kiernan Kelly
"Is it supposed to smell like burning feces?"
Ivanna Hump held her nose with two fingers as she peered at the machine, blinking her sparkly purple eyelashes. They were part of her trademark look, curving up over her brow until they tickled her forehead.
The large box was shimmying and shaking more than she did onstage when she lip-synced to Gloria Estefan's Congo during her homage to late twentieth century entertainers. Leaning against it, she felt as if she was practically dry humping the fucking thing. She tapped the gray metal with one long, red-lacquered fingernail. "Maybe you pushed the wrong button."
Betty Boob shook her head, her sleek, multi-colored, fiber optic bob swishing. "I know what I'm doing. I've seen the Boss do it a thousand times." She pointed to a funnel on the top of the machine, then to a slot, and finally, to a door on the side. "You pour the gooey stuff in here, the circuitry board goes in there, and slide the block of plasti-skin in here. Then you turn these dials, and press the green button. Snap! You're done."
"Huh. Seems like there should be more to it than that, don't you think? I'm a little worried. If you made a mistake, we'll be in trouble. Maybe we should unplug it and forget the whole thing."
"It's too late for that. Stop the process now and you'll end up with a machine gunked up with half-baked plasti-skin. Besides, what's the matter with you? Did you forget your big girl panties at home? Stop being such a dick. It'll be fine."
Unlike the rest of them, who were programmed to be ever polite and solicitous, Betty's encoding allowed her to be snippy when challenged. Part of her job as the club's Mistress of Ceremonies at Club Grinder was to deal with hecklers and nuisances. Ivanna didn't take it personally.
They weren’t supposed to be in the Boss' workshop, or fiddling with the D.R.A.G. machine. The Dynamic Remodeling Android Generator was an obscenely expensive piece of equipment, the only one on-planet and quite possibly in-galaxy, and the Boss would shit kittens if he knew two of his droid Drag Queens were tinkering with it without his permission.
They had no choice, though. It was the first night of the Boss' weeklong vacation off-planet --the very first time he'd left the club with only Max the downstairs bartender and the Queens in charge of the club, mind you -- and already they'd managed to break one of the club's best strippers. They had no one who could fill his spot, either. Without the stripper, the schedule would fall apart. They needed to replace him before the club opened that night, or suffer the consequences when the Boss returned.
Betty continued. "Besides, it's your fault we're in this mess."
"It was an accident! I thought it was a twist-off."
"And what did we learn?"
"Dicks don't twist off?"
From The Blue Moon Bar by Julia Talbot
The Blue Moon bar was rockin', especially for six in the evening, the cover band slamming out "Bad Moon Rising", the Coors tap running freely. The week leading up to the fully waxed moon always felt crazy, but Seamus Deane decided not to complain. He made about fifty percent of his tips in that one week during the month. Were-folk opened their senses to risk and their wallets to generosity during the changing.
"Seamus, I need you to get that fucking keg out here!"
Stilling, Seamus closed his eyes for a five count, trying to breathe deep and not hop the counter to murder his boss. Seamus didn't know what had crawled up Hugh Dailin's ass and died, but damn... The guy was always riding Seamus like a prize pony, but tonight felt doubly bad.
"Are we expecting a huge influx of Bass drinkers?" Seamus snapped. "We can go a week without pulling a single one of those."
"We have gone a week. I want it changed out."
Seamus glared at Hugh over the bar top. "You sick or broken or something?"
"I pay you to fucking do it." Hugh's lips curled in a snarl.
"Chris isn't here yet. I'll get it when he can watch the bar." He wasn't about to ask Hugh to tend bar while he struggled with a keg in the storeroom.
"I'll keep an eye out," Hugh said, coming around the pass-through. "I need coffee anyway."
Seamus turned his back, fighting not to roll his eyes. "Sure thing, Boss." He headed for the storeroom, putting his feet down hard. God knew he loved the Blue Moon, but he and Hugh constantly butted heads. The man was an amazing businessman, and knew how to run a bar, even with the difficult patrons they had. Seamus respected that. They just rubbed each other the wrong way.
Maybe the friction came from Hugh being a wolf. He wanted everyone to react like a lowly pack member.
Seamus knew better. Bears like him weren't so interested in pack behavior. For a bear, Seamus knew he was damned social, being a bartender. On his own time, he pretty much spent his days alone.
His shoulders rolled and he fought the urge to put a fist through a wall. Preferably a wall with Hugh on the other side so that a big chunk fell off and crashed right on top of the snarly fucker's head. Oh, that idea made him grin, and he was still smiling when he rolled the keg of Bass out to the kegroom and shoved it into place.
The dance floor was already packed, the bar lined up and he got to work. Bloody Mary, hair of the dog, sex on the beach. Vodka, tequila, beer. He worked mechanically, watching everything. Security wasn't on his list of job duties, but his sheer size meant he could keep people in line.
The pheromones started getting thick to the left of the bar, two wolves tag-teaming a pretty little female who was all over it. He nodded at Jess, the big wolf catching his eye and heading over.
The situation probably wasn't dangerous, but it had to be stopped before it got out of hand. This place was a powder keg tonight. Everyone looked itchy, like their skin didn't fucking fit.
"Goddamn it, Seamus, can't you get Chris in here on time?"
He turned his head slowly, staring at Hugh. "I am not his boss." He was about ten seconds away from pointing out, clearly, who Chris' boss was. And where to shove it.
Just as he opened his mouth, though, someone whacked Hugh over the head with a barstool. Bang.