Actually, I am not good at remembering jokes, terrible in fact. So, the only thing I remember of the one that inspired this short science fiction story is the punchline. The story is just written with that in mind, a deliberate path to a set ending. I hope you like it.
* * *
Duos was on shore leave and ready for some action. The deep space engines on the cargo hauler he worked on had developed a problem and the journey had taken longer than usual. He knew exactly where to go, had money to spend and a whole week to enjoy it.
He made his way through arrivals and customs and headed straight for the subway which would take him to the entertainment district. This area was divided into sections according to what each of the many alien races needed to survive. Some biomes were water, salt or fresh, some high pressure, some low. Some had certain gases or special lighting. Luckily for Duos, he was from a race which could tolerate a wide range of conditions.
At the end of the street stood ‘Drake’s Den’ a wild club which attracted all kinds of races, mostly air-breathing upright bipeds, much like himself. The place was open 28 hours a day, nine days a week and was always busy. A slight tingle travelled up from his feet to the top of his head as he approached the entrance. He’d just been scanned by the club’s automated security. The door would have slammed shut in his face if it had found anything it didn’t like. Inside, another scan took payment for entry from his credit chip implant and he was in.
Heading to the bar, he first bought himself a drink and then headed over to a vacant seat against the rear wall. Once he was settled, he looked around. Most of the clientele were mingling in the centre of the huge room and around the bar area. As he’d expected, many of them were human. They were big drinkers and liked to party hard. Scattered around were some other races, larger and smaller than himself but all following the same pattern; two arms, two legs, an upright trunk with a head on top.
As it turned out, as well as being able to breathe the same gases, they could also eat and drink the same intoxicants. They didn’t all react the same way to either the atmosphere or the drugs, but it didn’t do them any harm, in the short term. In addition, they seemed to react in a similar way to the music: a driving bass beat with few lyrics.
Duos began to look around. He was here for a specific reason, but he couldn’t compete with the larger humans and other races. At least, not when it came to being strong and agile and covered in muscles. But he had some moves he knew would give him a fighting chance. So, he drank and sat and waited for the right moment.
Some of the humans came and sat near him, glancing at him and then quickly looking away. They sat and talked, carried on drinking, and occasionally shrieked with laughter. Duos finished his drink and decided to make a move. As well as being able to co-exist in similar conditions, the races in Drake’s had another thing in common; they were sexually compatible. He watched the group near him as the males stood and walked away, leaving three females sitting together. He was smaller than them, something he knew they didn’t like, and less muscular than the males. In theory, he didn’t really have much of a chance.
There was one party piece he had, which often worked. When one of the females glanced his way, he performed his little trick and waited for a reaction. The female gasped and nudged the others and they all turned to watch him as he did it again. They smiled and soon came over to his table.
The rest of the week passed in a blur of drink and sex with various races. Back on the ship, Duos lay in his bunk totally exhausted. His jaw ached the worst, but it was completely worth it. He smiled to himself and thought how lucky he was to be able to lick his own eyebrows.