For the past several weeks I have been suffering from a tenacious and somewhat embarrassing bought of the plague. But, through the many unsavory mercury treatments along with some other rather dubious remedies, I feel myself on the mend with only slight bouts of delirium.

And since I’m once again able to remain standing and walk a reasonably straight line, I am anxious to see the progress Alley has made in the ancient art of brewing and distillation. I hear tell she has several fine casks of ale, wine and whiskey aging in her subterranean holding facility and nothing says healthy stroll about town like going on an excursion in search of spirits.

Not to reveal it’s secret cavernous entrance, we went to the basement hatch located on the side of her lot. Through the earthen tunnels I beheld a glorious sight, a bevy of beautifully handcrafted casks, each stacked neatly and filled with a feast for the palette. But, much to my chagrin, none of these would be ready for several months to come and the old whiskey would sit for many years in the aging process. Alley assuaged my fear by explained there would be plenty to go around for the next Yuletide Harvest Festival.

My jig of excitement sent me off balance and nearly caused a calamity as I bounced off one cask, tumbled into another and finally tripped on another, tumbling headlong to the floor. The cask remained impervious to my blunder and I was soon giving it a gentle pat and in a calming tone explained, “Fear not little one, Blake and I will look after you and never let any harm come to you. It was merely a misstep and won’t even happen again.”

With a shake of the head, Alley explained the ale needed to rest and we should take our leave.

“How about I teach you how to make your own, then you and Blake can spend your days watching over your own batch in the safety and comfort of your own basement?” Alley asked.
With a great tinge of excitement I said, “Oh, that would indeed be delightful! Your generosity knows no bounds!”

I was near overwhelmed when the mood was spoiled by a terrible commotion and clatter at the basement entry. The source revealed itself as a dark figure entered and told us to stand aside.

“I see you have crafted the famed vintage whiskey,” he said. “How fortuitous. It will save me having to make my own. Now stand aside so I may relieve you of that cask.”

“Now see here,” I exclaimed. “Is this some sort of whiskey robbery attempt?”

His reply was a resounding attack to my face which marred my nose quite severely and filled my eyes with tears. He shoved me aside as he made for the cask.

“You do realize that cask is well over several hundred pounds in weight and there is no possibility your scrawny little frame is capable of lifting such things,” Alley said calmly. “Plus, it hasn’t aged yet, it’s not fit for drinking. Come back in 25 years and try agin.”

“You dare insult me?” he said angrily.

“Take it how you will. Not only are you a blockhead, you’ll be crushed like the grapes that were under my feet. And quite possibly the same color when all is said and done,” Alley replied.

Taking a moment to consider, he finally said, “Very well, I shall have to run you through and make more suitable arrangements to relieve you of my quarry. It’s age is of no consequence to me!”

“I wouldn’t do that,” I said with a voice that was shockingly nasal and in no way instilled the proper level of threat and menace.

“And what do you plan to do?” he taunted. “You going to cry on me?”

“I’m not crying! I’m merely misty-eyed over here!” I protested. “But fair warning, Alley is going to fill you with regret,” I continued.

But he paid no heed and drew his weapon.

I tried to reiterate the dangers related to his ill-conceived attempt to abscond with Alley’s 25 year old whiskey, but the poor chap was struck down with a savage crack to the back of the head, a paralyzing assault to his knees and a shattering blow to his wrist and elbow.

I still reel at the memory of the cracking sound that filled the room. A series of deeds took place that forced me to avert my eyes. His cries for help were indeed pitiful and heart wrenching, but alas, he brought this misery upon himself. It’s a terrible misdeed to mangle my nose in such a fashion. But skulking into a whiskey with designs of thievery? That sort of behavior deserves no mercy.

The brutish stranger stood no chance, and now his horribly disfigured body is displayed as a warning to others who might hold the same foolhardy notions.

I gave you fair warning. I told you it was a bad idea. You chose not to listen and now I shall wipe my boots across your boney backside. Serves you right!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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