^^See post title.
NARUTO is a manga series by Kishimoto that was pretty cool back in 2005 when I wrote this.
Title: The One Where Kankuro Gets Drunk in a Bar
Characters: Kankuro, original
Note: What it says on the tin
"Ninja aren’t even…aren’t even ninja these days. Ya know wha I mean? All these kids dressin’ in bright colors, too goddamn cool to wear black. An’ they spend all their time inventin’ techniques like bein a ninja’s all about how differen’ you are, how unique and special
you are. Fer cryin’ out loud! Wha about the techniques of the ancestors? Wha about the goddamn tradition?"
The bartender nodded and slid another shot across to his best customer. "Right you are, sir. No use changing things that work, that’s what my mother used to-"
SLAM. The empty shot glass left rings of condensation on the counter. He wordlessly reached out to refill it.
"An’ then they gotta show off, gotta pull out the flashy moves. Family jutsu, they say. Nothin’ wrong with family pride, but ya know….ya know…. crap. You got another one fer me? "
“"ight. So, you’re a ninja. Well, no, you're a civilian, I’m a ninja. Get it?" The elbow came just a little bit too fast.
"Good one, sir," he wheezed, clutching his side.
"Thank you. But these ninja, ya know, from th'other villages, they got pride sure 'nough. but they dun remember wha the pride’s for
. It’s not fer you
, not fer wha you
can do, it’s fer the village. Pride in doin’ your job an’ not getting’ killed.
"These kids, it's like...ninja means endure, you know? Not 'glory' or 'superpowers' or whatever the hell kids think it means these days." He knocked back the shot without pausing to breathe. "Not that I'm in any position ta talk, haha...." He started to slide out of his chair, but caught himself on one arm.
The bartender was beginning to develop a horrible suspicion. "May I ask you a question?" he said.
"Long's you pour me 'nother beer."
At least it wasn't another shot. He could work with beer... discretely, he left the glass half-empty and topped it off with the soda gun while adding the ice. The ninja in front of him didn't notice, too far gone already. That was a bad sign. The bartender wasn't worried about payment -- a shinobi's line of credit was always good -- but an out-of-control ninja was trouble. Big trouble. Sure, the village always paid the damages (and a hefty compensation besides, if you promised to keep your mouth shut), but when individuals trained from a young age in mystical killing arts forgot themselves...well. Property damage was the least of it.
"What's your age and rank?" And where is your superior, and how fast can he or she be here if things get out of hand?
"Huuuuh? I'm Chuunin from Sand, age sixteen. But if you think I'm gonna tell you where the village is ...hey, is this really beer? It tastes weird."
A very bad sign.
"Only sixteen? In that case-" You aren't old enough to drink in this bar. He bit back those words in the interest of keeping his head attached to his body. "Wouldn't that make you a kid, too? Sir."
"Heh. 'm like an old man, though. Jus' ask my sister."
"Ah." The hooded cloak and face paint had been throwing him off, but now that he knew, he saw the signs of inexperience everywhere. Starting with the fact that had he not been a simple bartender, he could have poisoned the ki -- chuunin's beer just then. (Better not to think of them as kids, no matter how old they were.)
The chuunin looked like he was about to fall asleep, but at the last moment, he rallied. "There are three basic rules!" he said. "One, no suicide attacks! Yer worth more to yer village alive. Two, no head-on attacks! Much, much better ta do it safely from tha shadows. Three...have I said 'no suicide attacks' yet?"
Just then the door swung open. A man -- he assumed, it was hard to tell under the facepaint -- dressed in the same hooded black robe as his customer magically appeared at the counter.
"Captain, sir, it's your brother. Mist-"
His patron stood, alert in an instant. "I'm on it," he said. He didn't sound drunk at all. The bartender stared, disbelieving. Then, just like that, both ninja vanished. A single slip of paper fluttered from the air where they had been, to rest on the counter. He stared at it blankly for a moment before he picked it up. There was an address printed on the front and on the back, a hastily scrawled, "Send bill here -- duty calls."
Four, always support your own.