Author’s note: I wrote this as part of my Flash Fiction Challenge.

“We was all in the tavern, you see—oye, don’t gimme that look, you know I come here whenever I can! Anyway, ‘twas the usual collection of sellswords, cutpurses, scoundrels, thugs, an’ assassins… until the door swung open an’ in stepped this catfolk. He was wearin’ some bright yellow suit that was tight to the skin. All the chatter in the place stopped—not like catfolk is common ‘round these parts. Then the cat speaks… an’ he says,

“ ‘Scuse me, dahlins, I’m lookin’ for the Crimson Hand.’

“You and me both know the Crimson Hand’s rep and nobody goes lookin’ for those folks unless they’s either crazy or crazy tough. But that didn’t stop ol’ Steecs.

“You remember Steecs, yeah? Just goblins being goblins, ya know? Well, Steecs jumps on the bar an’ pipes up with,

“ ‘Hey kitty kitty, if ya want milk, head for the barn!’ And the whole place busts up laughin’, but that’s how it all started.

“The cat moved so fast, like a yellow blur. He grabs a pint glass offa the table closest an’ wings it at Steecs, catchin’ him right between the eyes, an’ ol’ Steecs keels over. That had some of the heavies who run with Steecs reachin’ for their guns. I’ll be damned if the catfolk whips out this massive revolver. It gleamed in the light, like it was made o’ pure silver.

“He was the fastest draw I ever seen. One second he’s empty handed, the next the shooter’s in his hand an’ he’s squeezin’ off rapid-fire, an’ not only is he fast he’s accurate, hittin’ those thugs in their gun hands.

“But now the rest o’ the place has come to on what’s happenin’, ‘cept the catfolk’s gone empty, see? No bother to him. He’s got this hat, this wide-brimmed green number with some outrageous yellow feather in it, an’ he spins it off his head on the hat rack by the door—you know the one—an’ turns an’ uncorks this flyin’ kick to that troll, Razi, the one what does muscle work sometimes for the syndicate? An’ there’s this crunch an’ big Razi just drops like a felled tree. Now the cat is all over the place, punchin’ kickin’ an’ head-buttin’ an’ leavin’ bodies sprawled all over the place. An’ nobody can match this furry fury, an’ finally I see my opening!

“There’s only a few fellas left standin’ by now even though maybe a minute’s passed since he came through the door, an’ I pick up my dagger an’ fling it at him while his back’s turned. An’ gettaloadathis, he reaches out without lookin’ and grabs my dagger outta midair. With one hand, he’s punchin’ the teeth outta one of them duergar that mess around town, and with the other he takes that dagger an’ wings it back at me, hilt first, an’ it catches me right in the eye! Next thing I know he’s right on top ‘o me an’ he uncorks this punch to the jaw that drops me. Imagine bein’ hit with somethin’ incredibly hard, but also soft from his fur, like a velvet brick.

“When I come to, the catfolk was gone, an’ everyone else in the bar had been laid low.”

The man behind the bar looked at the speaker, his eyes narrowing.

“I was just trying to be polite. … And I think you’ve had enough.”

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