She put it from her mind, pasted her friendly barmaid smile on her face and crossed the room to the centaurs. Both of them were built like draft horses but with thick, barreled human torsos. One wore a buttoned tuxedo shirt. His rolled-up sleeves revealed muscular forearms.  He also wore a loose bow tie and an open red vest. The other was dressed in half of a rumpled police uniform. She wondered what the one dressed like a wedding caterer did for a living. 

“Howdy, Fellas! Y’all order these?”

“Howdy? Who do you think you are? Will Rogers?” The uniformed centaur asked. 

“Well, I am from that part of the country.” Celeste deflected as she sat the drinks on the table. “What about you two? You’re obviously with the police.” She pointed to the uniform. “But what about you? Are you a waiter?” She addressed the other centaur. 

The cop centaur brayed in laughter. “Do you hear that, Ed? The kid wants to know if you’re a waiter!” 

Celeste sighed to herself. She was getting really tired of people calling her kid

“I work for the Mid-Central Park Carriage Company.” The Centaur Ed clipped his words as he frowned into his pitcher. 

“Sorry!” She winced. There went her tip. “Are you the mascot, or something?”

He glared at her. “How about you go bother someone else?”

She held up her hands and backed away.  

Lucky was standing in nearly the same spot at the counter that he had been at this morning when she’d met him, polishing the counter again. He craned his neck to see over her shoulder at the centaurs. 

“I don’t think I made a good impression,” she reported. 

“I”ll say. What happened?” 

“I asked the not-cop one what he did for a living.”

“That’s Edward Pinado. But everyone calls him Mr. Ed. It stopped being funny after the first time, but there you go. He owns a carriage company in Mid-Central Park.  They’re sub-contracted through the parks department.”

Celeste groaned, slapping a hand over her eyes. “I asked if he was the company mascot.”

“His hooves are the size of sewer grates. You’re lucky he didn’t kick you all the way back to Arkansas. 

“Yes, thank you! So helpful!”

Lucky patted her shoulder in reassurance. “You can apologize later when he’s relaxed a little. Ed is always uptight at the start of the night. Centaurs wear glamour when they work. It makes them look like men on horseback, but it gives them a killer migraine.”

“No wonder he was grumpy,” Celeste said. 

Then the bell rang as another patron walked through the door – this one, a leprechaun. 

“Turn right back around and walk out of here, Seamus!” Lucky yelled at the leprechaun. 

It looked left and right, then pointed at itself as if to say ‘who, me?’

“Yeah, you!” Lucky stabbed the air with his pointer finger, as if he were mentally stabbing the fae creature through the heart. “Every time you come in here, you try to pass me a counterfeit bill. Find some other bar to pedal your fairie money at!” 

The leprechaun Seamus replied with a lewd gesture, then turned and slammed the door as he left. 

The rest of the night passed uneventfully in a blur of serving patrons and cleaning up after them. Before Celeste knew it, she was elbow-deep in a sink of dirty glassware as Lucky proclaimed last call. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched Ed down his last swallow of drink and then put a battered tophat on his head at an angle.  

“The new girl is a sweet kid, Lucky,” Ed slurred. “Even if she don’t know nothing bout us.” He stumbled to his feet, leaning heavily on his centaur cop friend, and pointed at Celeste. 

“If this old wolf don’t hire you, you can come work for me!” 

Lucky put his shoulder under Ed’s other arm until he got his knees fully under himself and rose to his full height. The tophat fell off, and his head brushed the ceiling beams. 

The werewolf picked up the hat and handed it back to Ed. “How’s she going to work for you, Ed?” He asked, a half-smile on his face. “She can’t pull a carriage, and I don’t think you want to buy a horse.”

Ed blinked in confusion. “Oh, y’r right. That won’t work.”

“Don’t worry about her.” Lucky took Ed’s forearm and steered him around the tables and toward the exit. “I think she’ll work out just fine.” 

The centaur weaved unsteadily on his feet, knocking chairs askew as he moved to the exit.  

“Let me call you a Trailer.” 

“Thank you,” Ed hiccuped. He paused on the threshold of the door while Lucky fished his phone from his pocket. “Good kid,” he muttered again. 

Then Lucky took him outside. 

Celeste finished the glasses, waving to various patrons as they left. Then she picked up a serving tray and went from table to table gathering up trash, empty bottles and dirty glasses, while pocketing the cash left for tips.  

To her satisfaction, she’d been left more than Lucky predicted. Though not as much as it could have been, she had faith that the tips would grow as people got to know her. 

After a while, Lucky returned, closing and locking the door behind him and turning off the light. 

“What’s Trailer?” Celeste asked. 

“It’s like Uber for Centaurs.” 

“And I’ll work out just fine, huh?” She grinned at him from where she stood drying the last of the glasses and putting them away. 

He smirked at her. “Yeah, kid. You did fine.” He opened his mouth to say more, but a loud, gurgling sound interrupted him. He looked at Celeste with concern. 

“That’s the sound I heard when I was down in the basement earlier,” Celeste said. “It was coming from behind that locked door.”

“It better not be the sewer backing up,” He growled as he turned toward the door to the back. 

“That seems like a health code violation,” Celeste put down her drying rag and followed him. “Wouldn’t you be shut down for something like that? 

“The sewer tunnels are a long way from the basement,” Lucky said as he wrenched open the door to the basement and stepped inside. “There hasn’t been a backup since the storm in ‘38. And the sewer was backing up into the streets then. A real pain in the—“

Celeste stood on her toes to look over his shoulder. The basement looked like the aftermath of an earthquake, not a backed up sewer. The shelves had tipped like dominoes, spilling their contents across the floor. Some of the cases of liquor had split open.  A few bottles were broken.  

Lucky turned to her, a suspicious look on his face. 

She put her hands up. “This wasn’t me!” 

“How do you know?” He growled. 

“I was upstairs! Whatever caused this, it was out of my personal bad karma radius! And besides, if it had been me, it would have been so much worse!” 

“So what happened?” Lucky asked. He vaulted over the rail and dropped to the basement floor as casually as a child jumping through mud puddles. 

Celeste hurried down the steps. Under the stairs, she could see that the door had been violently pushed out from the tunnel side. 

“Something really wanted to get in here.” 

“Yeah,” Lucky picked up a big green bottle of champagne. Bubbly liquid spilled out of the top. “Most of these bottles are fine. They make ‘em sturdy. But a few of these,” he looked in disgust at the drink. “It takes a lot to get them to pop their corks. Especially because they wire them on.”

“The door must have knocked the shelves over when it blew inward,” she said. What could do that?”

Lucky’s eyes narrowed. “Seamus!”

“The leprechaun from earlier?” Celeste wondered. “You think this was revenge for throwing him out?”

“He is a fae,” Lucky said. “This is in line with the kind of petty revenge those guys like to play.”

Celeste didn’t know a lot about fairies. Things in France and the British Isles were tense right now due to The Changeling Accords, and there was some talk of war. But countries on this side of the ocean were doing their best to stay out of it. 

She knew that the good fairies were supposed to be seelie and the bad fairies were supposed to be unseelie, but both liked to pull pranks. So Lucky had a point; something like this could be the work of the leprechaun from earlier. 

“What are we going to do?” She asked Lucky. “We?” He gave her a sideways look. 

“Yeah, we,” Celeste said. “I work here now. This is my problem, too.”

The werewolf grinned, crinkling the corner of his eye. “Alright, then. Go get a broom and start sweeping up the glass. I’m going to put that door back on.”

His face took on a hungry expression. “Tomorrow, we’ll go have a talk with Seamus.”