[ two weeks prior, or, once upon a time in El Paso ]
Ben's coated in sweat and grime from a fourteen-hour day when he walks into the bar.
Just across the threshold, he pauses.
This is ...
It's certainly more surreal than usual.
Stepping over and around debris — and taking care to avoid knocking into see-through patrons — Ben picks his way across the bar proper. Amid the general mayhem, a tinny, crackling song plays from what has to be a phonograph, maybe hidden somewhere in the rafters.
"Now that is unsettlin'," Ben mutters to himself.
As if on an eerie-ass cue, the floor tilts beneath his boots.
He grunts, and catches his balance with the help of a nearby stool. Righting himself, he notices the glowing red gem hovering over the counter.
"All right, you've got me," he says to Bar. "Color me curious."
A moment later, his battered brown hat is gone, and he's sporting a rough-hewed pair of decidedly feline ears.
He holds back a sigh.
"That is what killed the cat, as the sayin' goes."