It was a dreary, booze-soaked night, and I sat hunched over the sticky ledge of the local tavern’s bar. The overhead lights were dim, glowing stained-glass orbs. The stool beneath me threatened my ass with splinters every time I shifted. But comfort was of little concern to me. I was on a mission. I leaned forward and slammed my pint glass down on cherry wood.
“Barkeep, your King is dissatisfied!” I roared.
The bartender, a portly fellow with the jowls of a leprous bulldog, approached me slowly. “What did you say, dude?”
I pointed a finger at his bulbous nose. “As King, I should remind you that his Highness prefers to be referred to as Sire, or at the very least, King Brandon. But alas, I am in a hurry and have not the time to chastise a fat man in a sweater vest. I have already told you that I am on a holy quest, for an ale most righteous. I must find it this evening. And you, you must help me.”
I paused here to hiccup, and fought back the regurgitative tide.
“Good gods, man. Do not just stand there, gaping, like an inbred walrus. Bring your liege a better ale! No, a dozen better ales!”
“Alright, dickhead. I’ve had about enough of you. Hey, Donny!” At this, the fellow motioned for the doorman and I soon felt the rough hands of a commoner take me by the shoulders. I attempted to struggle free, but the lummox had taken me by surprise, and I found it near impossible to find my balance.
“Unhand me, fiend! I am your King and am on a mission from God himself to find the Holy Ale!”
The barnlike brute laughed as he tossed me into the gutter. “Congratulations, man. You just got 86’ed from an Applebee’s.”
My thoughts were muddled with liquor and rage, but I knew better than to challenge the beastly doorkeeper to a duel. Even though I wanted nothing more than to lop off his head, I was in no fit state for combat. Also, it appeared that I had forgotten my sword back at the castle.
I stumbled backward, and a passing carriage zoomed by, honking its horn.
“Get outta the street, you drunk idiot!”
I did not understand his garbled shouts, but I believe the carriage driver had saluted me. I found it odd that he should use only one finger, but nonetheless I offered a regal nod of recognition. Without casting another look back at that horse piss-serving hellhole, I continued down the busy street, determined to continue my quest. I passed a beggar man in tattered rags who reeked of either cheap wine or urine. I can never discern the difference. I shook my head and offered the destitute fellow a piece of silver.
“Hey thanks, buddy.”
My city was awash with the glow of street lamps and billboards, and I ambled along though the crowds, looking for a worthy knight. A man called out to me from the shadows.
“Coke, you want some coke? Maybe a little weed, man? I got what you need.”
He was an enterprising youth, with a strong build and a square jaw. I lifted a hand.
“You, good sir. I am enlisting you as my knight in the search for the Holy Ale. Together, we shall have great adventures and seek out that elusive elixir that is fit to be the Almighty’s mouthwash. ” I stretched out my hand to the young man. “I shall call you Sir Galaheezy.”
“Are you outta your damn mind, fool? Unless you got money to spend, you best keep steppin.’ There’s a liquor store right next door, you crazy ass cracker.”
I cast a woozy stare past the sidewalk entrepreneur and felt my heart alight with joy. There, indeed, stood Mr. Kim’s Liquors, shining like a neon beacon of hope.
Once inside the shop, I knew the task of locating the holiest of holies would not be simple. There, under abrasive halogen lights, the icy coolers were packed with a hundred false options, including everything from Mexican lager to Irish stout. How was I ever to find the Holy Ale? Before despair could lay its hooks in me, an idea was supplied to me by the heavens. The Holiest of all Spirits would undoubtedly be protected, and indestructible. Therefore, I needed only to weed out the imposters. And so I pulled shelf upon shelf out of the cooler cases, as unworthy brews shattered all about my feet. I tried not to weep for the lost nectar, but could not help it.
Mr. Kim, undoubtedly still loyal to the Emperor of his heathen lands, threatened me with a musket, and his raggedy looking Rottweiller. I was forced to retreat inside the freezer case. Once inside the frozen box, however, I found myself awash in golden light, reflected down from the perfectly painted cardboard box. There, at last, my journey had ended. My quest was fulfilled.
I had reached the Holy Ale. Its radiant red and blue glow transfixed my stare like the bountiful bosoms of the most voluptuous angel.
“Blessed art thou!” I cried, tearing open the box that concealed those bottles of deep amber glory. I wrenched off a cap with my teeth, and just before the rim of the bottle reached my lips, the constables kicked down the door and punched me in the kidneys. Apparently that flashing red and blue glow had been coming from them.
The bottle smashed to pieces, and I felt my heart break along with it as I was dragged away.
“No, goddammit!” I shouted. “Let go of me! This is bullshit! I didn’t even take my pants off this time!”
(Don't look at me. You read it.)
Beer: 312 (Goose Island)
Music: The Fratellis