Daniel and The Machine by Laura R. Matis

I wrote this in one of our meetings awhile back, and I’ve since polished it up a bit. Unfortunately, I no longer have the writing prompt that started this story, but I hope you all enjoy it. 🙂

– Laura


The sweat glistened and beaded down Daniel’s forehead. Squinting, concentrating hard on the flashing lights of the singing monster, he felt his attempt to pierce a hole through it with his eyes fail. His adversary’s rhythmic lights continued their dance. Daniel steadied his grip over the katana, determined to annihilate this treacherous beast once and for all. A classic battle of David versus Goliath.

To everyone else in the pub, however, Daniel was threatening the dusty old jukebox with his umbrella.

“What the bloody hell are you doing?” his best friend Jim exclaimed. Other pub patrons swiveled around in their stools to witness this bizarre event. Jim turned to the bartender.

“What did you give him?”

“Nothing I don’t give anyone else,” the old man replied in a tone indicating that this was nothing he hadn’t seen before.

Daniel remained focused. A crowd began to cheer him on. The cheers were strange, though, peppered with phrases like, “Put the umbrella down!” and “You break it, you buy it, asshole!”. Alas, he absorbed the applause, letting it fuel his victory. The beast glowed in response, flashing its lights of sorcery. Mocking him.

Ready to strike, he raised the katana over his head. A firm hand grabbed his midair and jerked the mighty katana away from him, saving the beast. It was his fellow warrior Jim! What was this traitorous move?

“Let’s put this down and get you a seat, okay buddy?” Jim gently offered.

What? Surrender? How could his most trusted comrade ask him to do such a thing?

Daniel launched his hand in the air, attempting to free himself from Jim’s grasp.



He barreled toward the jukebox and bought his umbrella down hard on the glass. It bounced off the surface and smacked him in the nose. He dropped the umbrella, cupping his hands over his face as blood dripped through his fingers. The beast continued to blink at him, unphased. He reached again for his katana. It was gone!

“Daniel,” Jim’s voice broke through his confused fog. “We’re being kicked out.”

He looked at his friend, dazed.


“We have to leave, Daniel.”

“No! We will not retreat!”

Searching for his weapon, he struggled to free himself from Jim’s firm grasp. Jim let out a long, frustrated sigh, hiding the offending umbrella behind his back with one hand while trying to wrangle his intoxicated friend with the other.

“They’re going to call the police,” Jim reasoned. “If the police come, they will arrest you.”

Daniel blinked. He knew this was bad.

“Try explaining that one to your fiancé.” Jim added.

A jolt of panic thrust Daniel back into reality.


What would she say if he landed in jail the day before their wedding?

Worse, what would she do?

In his haze, he realized what he had done and slurred apologies spilled out of his mouth. His body half-slung over Jim’s shoulder, the pair shuffled through the exit and down the dimly lit road.