The Beer Queendom...
In Part 2, The Queendom’s Master Beer Taster began preparations for the world’s greatest beer festival.
“Incoming ordinance! Take cover, comrades!” The moat dweller dropped his periscope and gulped down his beer. He could never tell when The Queen would strike and didn’t want to get caught with a half-filled glass. Last time he’d fallen off his throne, dropping one of his favorite weissbiers; he was still bruised from that spill. He put the periscope back to his un-patched eye but it looked blurry. Switching the patch to his other eye, he looked again. Much better. How did she manage these surprise attacks? Was it a turbo-charged Harry Potter broom, or was she tossing explosives from the castle parapet?
A huge explosion rent the air and bright points of light scattered across the sky. “She’s coming in for a close-up, comrades! Ready the beer cannon, full load of wheat!” While the moat dweller yelled his commands to an empty deck, the points of light gathered in the sky above, forming the outline of a pint glass. The moat dweller picked himself up off the deck, cursing. She wasn’t going to attack.
He knew what she was really after. She’d heard rumors about his ordering a new easy throne. A deluxe model, with Harrier Jet engines that allowed him to rise off the deck and get another beer with the flick of a switch. The idea that he would one-up her throne must be driving her crazy. He needed another beer. “Beer Bitch!”
Minutes later, a blonde bombshell strode onto the deck, carrying a tray. “My name iss Svetlana, honey,” the beer bitch said sweetly. “Vat kind uff bier for you zis time?”
“Right, Sweaty,” the moat dweller replied. “Get me a hefeweizen. Be sure to take it from the right side of the pile.” Svetlana stood motionless. “Pleeaasse…” As she turned, he added “And bring me paper and pen.”
Sweaty was some catch—direct from Russia and willing to work below minimum wage. She would also help populate the moat. Once he got the posters printed, men would flock to the Moat City. She’d be the feature model, a babe dressed in a skimpy red, white and blue outfit carrying a beer. Beer and babes had worked since advertising was invented. He’d slap a sickle and hammer on her ass for effect. No one could resist.
Another explosion rent the air, and the moat dweller fell off his chair. As he picked himself up, the fireworks formed a goblet-shaped glass. Then one group of lights turned gold and slowly poured into the goblet, like beer going into a glass. How did she do that?
He reminded himself not to let his guard down. He’d knock her out of the sky this time. He always wanted her to end up like one of those witches that crash into telephone poles every year around Halloween. Maybe she’d run into the boat’s main mast…Fool ourselves silly, spread destruction willy-nilly…the words rose from his subconscious and he searched around for his memo pad. “Sweaty!” …SUVs suck petroleum, paranoia no, no, no control…control-ium… Where was the thesaurus? …Freedom buried under rubble, World economics’ speculative bubble. Rising tides lift all boats, just make sure they count the votes…
”Here you are dear.” Svetlana held a wheat beer balanced nicely on her tray. The moat dweller took the paper and pencil off the tray while Svetlana laid the beer and glass on the small table beside him. “Something else?” she asked.
“Bring me a frog.” The curves of her body so nicely matched the curves of the bottle. Beauty and the beer, he thought as she sashayed away. He turned his attention to the note.
Deluxe easy throne available STOP Meet at Wheaties STOP Wednesday, 10 pm. STOP
He had always wondered why they put the word STOP in a message. Shouldn’t it be GO?
Svetlana returned and the moat dweller handed her the note. “Send this to the Master Taster. By frog.” Now that his postal service had been cut off, he had to resort to homing frogs to send messages.
“Make sure it has legs.” The last time the message never arrived. Mail order brides weren’t known for their brains.
A loud boom sounded overhead and the moat dweller flinched and grabbed his beer protectively. “Incoming ordinance, comrades, it’s a heavy bombardment! Sweaty, bring the beer cannon!”
“What happened to your beret?” the moat dweller asked. The Master Taster frowned. “Beer cellar still having drainage problems?” the moat dweller continued. “Don’t worry, there’s no dress code here. You can come to Wheaties with a wet beret.”
No dress code was a good thing, the Master Taster thought, or they wouldn’t let the moat dweller enter. A beer-stained tee shirt and unwashed jeans was his standard wear, topped by hair that hadn’t seen a comb in years. Or shampoo for that matter. You could take him out but you couldn’t dress him up.
Wheaties, on the other hand, was something to behold. After descending into a cellar below a cellar, they had entered a narrow, dimly lit room. Rock walls and a hard-packed dirt floor identified the bar as a former smugglers’ tunnel. Light came from lamps scattered in the small hollows chiseled out of the rock. A long bar stretched around the corner at a wide section of the tunnel.
But the beer was the most impressive part. Reserved for drinkers not satisfied with the offerings of Unidrink Corp, the bar boasted taps the Master Taster had never seen. “They know how to pick ‘em,” he Master Taster admitted, admiring the handles. Gumballhead, Hopscotch, Moonlight Pils… “What’s that one?” He pointed to a handle bearing a horse and shield.
“From Schönram,” the moat dweller boasted. “Ranger’s brewing a weissbier.”
The Master Taster ordered one, which the bartender poured and set in front of him. Without offering a lemon slice; that was class. He lifted the beer to his lips and drank. As he did so, his lower jaw dropped and beer disappeared into his mouth. He set the glass down, half empty.
“That’s why you’re the Master Taster,” the moat dweller said, unable to hide the note of envy in his voice. The Master Taster eyed the tap handles again. “You won’t see anything like this in The Queendom,” the moat dweller said. “Look at all those wheat beers. They also have bottled stuff from Hotel Weissbrau. Heavy Metal beers.” The Master Taster nodded, still impressed. “I’ve decided not to challenge your title,” the moat dweller said suddenly. The Master Taster remained silent, not wanting to get into another argument over his title. “I’ve got another name for myself,” the moat dweller continued.
“I’m The Beer Messiah.”
“Not only do I know beer, I can predict what’s coming next,” the moat dweller explained.
“Doesn’t that sound a little too religious?” The Master Taster asked, while scanning the row of tap handles. Then changed the subject. “Where’s your eye patch?”
“The eye seems to be working today.” The moat dweller followed the Master Taster’s gaze to the impressive row of tap handles. “They have cask.” He pointed to the far end of the bar. “From Blokester Beverage.”
“They got you beer?” the Master Taster said. “I ordered two dozen firkins for the beer festival…”
“Can you get me tickets?” the moat dweller asked.
“I’m not in charge of tickets,”
“You’re in charge of the beer. You should be able to get me a few tickets. No one will know.”
“I’ll ask,” the Master Taster replied. He finished the Schönram Weissbier and ordered another. He didn’t have this in his secret wheat beer stash.
“You still having trouble getting beers?” the moat dweller asked.
“No dice on the wheat beers,” the Master Taster replied. He changed the subject. “What about the easy throne?”
“I’m getting delivery soon,” the moat dweller responded.
“Do you have the beer?” the moat dweller replied.
“A pallet of Hanssens Kriek.”
“And two tickets to the beer festival,” the moat dweller added.
“That’s not the original deal,” said the Master Taster, nodding thanks to the bartender.
“It took more money than I thought,” the moat dweller said. “The tickets will help grease palms.” After a short silence, he added, “Tell you what. I’ll throw in a Russian mail order bride. Two month rental.”
“What am I going to do with a Russian mail order bride?”
“Dangle her in front of Honeyman for some free legal advice. I have an extra due at the end of the month. They had a two for one special.”
The bartender stepped in front of the moat dweller. “I’ll have the usual.” Moments later the bartender arrived with a Crooked Tree IPA.
The Master Taster looked at the cloudy orange pint of beer in front of the moat dweller. “Brewed in Michigan.” The moat dweller lifted the beer to his lips, allowing the aroma of hops to flow through his nostrils. This one was hopped up but light on the palate, allowing him to drink a lot. “Good,” he said, imitating the Master Taster’s understated manner.
“Who’s doing the job?” the Master Taster asked.
“The throne. Who’s making the throne?”
The moat dweller didn’t reply at first, instead took a long drink of his beer.
“ I hope it’s not the outfit you had do my bathroom,” the Master Taster said.
“Happy Hour Construction is on vacation.”
“Again? I guess that’s a good thing.” On the previous job they had done for the Master Taster, they had been so busy sampling beer that they’d dry-walled over his bathroom window. When he called it to their attention they claimed that he’d never said anything about having a window.
“Where are you getting the easy throne?” the Master Taster asked again.
“I have a connection with MTV. We got a spot on that new show, Pimp My Throne. What about those tickets?”
“I’m not sure about the tickets,” the Master Taster said. “The Queen says she’s getting me a new throne anyway.”
“Right,” the moat dweller replied. “You filled out a request that’s buried under the pile of requests on her desk while she sits on her parapet dining. I see her up there.” He was right, of course. The Queen would get around to it when she got around to it. And expect him to be grateful. “This is the mother of all thrones,” the moat dweller bragged. “It’ll have all the trimmings.”
“None of the details had yet been worked out yet, but…”
“No, we agreed on the basics. A heated, vibrating seat, a swivel switch and motorized base so you can travel between the house and beer cellar.”
“Built in and pre-programmed with the Travel Channel and all Red Sox games. And it’ll work on all your TVs. In the house and the beer cellar.
“And moisture proof,” the moat dweller added proudly. He lowered his voice. “You hear the latest on 9/11?” The Master Taster shook his head, turning to signal the bartender. This was going to be a long story. “I know where the remains of the planes are,” the moat dweller said.
“They shot them down over the Arctic.”
“The military, the secret wing.”
“Where did you find this out?”
“Find what out?” the moat dweller asked.
“Cheney.” The moat dweller saw the look of disbelief on the Master Taster’s face and added, “He drinks here. See that popgun game in the back? It’s one of those where you shoot the animals as they move across the screen. It’s his favorite game. He puts the faces of his enemies on the targets and shoots them. One day he hit Michael Moore the first time through and he was so happy he got careless. Bragged that his boys had shot down the planes. He even told me the coordinates.”
“Did you check it out?”
“Not yet. I’m planning to visit the crash site as soon as the weather changes.” Seeing the continued look of disbelief on the Master Taster’s face, he added, “Queenie knows, ask her.”
“That’s right. Former CIA. She knows where the bodies are buried. That’s why she started her beer palace early.” The moat dweller grimaced. Then smiled. “Too much catfish,” he said as a rancid stench filled the area.
The Master Taster backed away quickly. The moat dweller farted like he was marking his territory. He was off on another of his conspiracy theory rants anyway. It was time to go.
“How do I get a taxi?”
“Forget it, they have this place monitored. Taxis won’t stop here.”
“How am I getting back?”
“I know a shortcut. It’s a little hairy, but bypasses the cops.” As he spoke, the moat dweller signaled the bartender, who returned and set the bill on the bar. “Damn, I forgot my wallet. Can you cover this?” As they left, the moat dweller grabbed a couple of the dollars that the Master Taster had left as a tip.
Next issue, danger at Death Point and The Queen fights global warming….
By los Testigos de Cerveza