Flash Fiction Friday: A Minnesota Mystery
This week's Flash Fiction Friday entry, starter sentence in blue:

"The strange man dressed as Carmen Miranda walked into the bar and demanded to know who had taken his pet iguana." In any other bar in the United States, this might have been noteworthy, perhaps even extraordinary. But here, at Pete's, this same guy has walked into the bar every night for the past 3 and a half years, at PRECISELY 8:37, and demanded an answer to that very same question.

Night after night, month after month, year after year the man had mysteriously appeared. Despite the bar being located in the relatively small city of Duluth, Minnesota, where it was difficult to remain anonymous, no one knew the guy at all. Why he chose this small local tavern was beyond anyone's speculation. Where he came from was utterly unknown. Whether the hypothetical iguana ever existed in the first place was the subject of debate. Yet because he was such an entertaining diversion and quickly becoming a local legend, he always drank for free.

While he never varied from his 8:37 arrival time (making the necessary adjustments for Daylight Savings Time), he had never once duplicated a costume. He didn't stick to a particular theme. He didn't always cross-dress. He didn't even stick to a particular species to represent. In fact, the very first time he entered the bar, he was dressed as the beloved pet Iguana he had christened "Clunky." Confused customers mistook him for an insurance company mascot until he explained himself.

The man (who only identified himself as "Clunky's dad) had appeared as Batman, a jar of peanut butter, the Jolly Green Giant, Penelope Pitstop, Millard Fillmore (he had to explain that one), a bulb of garlic, Elizabeth Taylor (as she appeared in "National Velvet"), a pine cone, and once appeared in nothing but his underwear and a moose head. They didn't know it was him until they heard a muffled "Ooo tuk ny et iwanna" from inside the moose's head.

Pete's would become very crowded every night around 8:30, as patrons flocked to see what the man would be wearing next. As he'd come through the door, he'd be greeted with applause and free drinks. He'd stay until 10:30 or 11, and then he'd disappear into the night. People tried to follow him home, to learn who he was or where he lived, but no one had ever been successful. They could only assume he lived nearby, because he always arrived and departed on foot. But it was a near impossibility that someone could be living nearby undetected, considering the small, tight-knit community surrounding Pete's.

Soon enough, the bar's patrons decided that some mysteries were never meant to be solved, and they simply accepted and reveled in the stranger's nightly appearances.

Until the night he failed to show up.

He simply stopped coming. Unsure of what to do, Pete presided over a tear-filled memorial service for the man, and everyone raised a glass to their strange and mysterious friend, whom they assumed had met a tragic end.

The truth was much less dramatic. The truth is, he had simply found his pet iguana. He and Clunky were last seen bicycling toward the great state of Wisconsin, but without any of his outrageous costumes, no one recognized him.
Name: Übermilf
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