"Garn," Alys Brangwin told the bartender as he brought her a foaming mug of Zema's Best, "there are no good men these days."
"Now, Alys, that's a little harsh, don't you think?"
It was perhaps unfortunate for Garn that Joss Howland chose that moment to stroll into the bar. Joss was big and handsome, a well-muscled slab of beefcake whose looks regularly attracted a crowd of women. That crowd usually thinned out considerably when he opened his mouth.
"Witness Exhibit A," Alys noted.
Howland spotted her at the bar at once and strolled over in her direction.
"Hey, Garn! A double Nafoi for me and give the lady another of whatever she's drinking."
"Joss, I haven't started this one yet," Alys pointed out. "Though if you're going to stick around, I just might need the extra drink."
Alys wasn't sure if the insult hadn't penetrated Howland's dim wit or had just bounced off the armor of his immense ego, but it definitely didn't slow him down.
"So, Alys, tired of playing hard-to-get?"
"Who's playing?" grumbled Motavia's most celebrated hunter.
"See, there's even an open seat next to you. It's got to be fate. We're destined to be together."
He hopped up onto the stool. Garn came back with Howland's Nafoi, so named because it was served flaming.
"Here you are. Hey, Joss, I wouldn't--"
"Yo, Garn," Howland interrupted, "you're a good bartender, but beat it, okay? I'm trying to talk to Alys, here."
"Hey, don't make me repeat myself."
Garn shrugged. "Suit yourself"
"Now, Alys, as I was saying..."
"Don't let your drink burn out."
"Huh? Oh, yeah." Howland picked up his cup, blew out the flames, and threw the drink back in one "manly" swig. Unfortunately for him, the sudden jerking motion caused the seat to slide right off its stand, spilling Joss onto the very hard floor.
"Hey, Garn!" yelled one of the patrons. "Aren't you ever going to fix that stool?"
Alys looked down at the stunned hunter.
"It's got to be fate," she said. "You're destined to fall short."