The Beer Queendom...
This is the story of The Beer Queendom, a social utopia where good beer is plentiful and
justice rules. As with all human endeavors, utopia is a hard fought goal. The Queen is currently
battling a moat dweller who she banished from The Beer Queendom for demanding the inclusion
of wheat beers, and the effects of the Outer World's globally induced warming trend.
Preparations continue, nonetheless, for the world's greatest beer festival.
“So it's wheat beers in my Queendom in exchange for world peace.” The Queen put down the summary proposal Honeyman had given her and looked out over her Beer Queendom. A soft breeze blew the tops of the trees, which, with massive planting, helped lower the heat at ground level as well as sucked up a lot of the moisture that threatened flooding. Trees not parking lots-she had thought solutions that simple wouldn't be hard to institute in a utopia.
“It's the best way,” Honeyman replied.
“Will the Overlords go for it?” the Queen asked.
“You sound pretty confident.”
“Things aren't well in the Outer Realm,” Honeyman replied. “In addition to the flooding, they've had another epidemic of spontaneous explosions. Several thousand people a day. Even the mass hypnosis sessions are proving futile.”
“Overeating?” the Queen asked.
Honeyman nodded. “The obesity cages are full; they can't fit enough of them. It's a mess.”
“They never did manage to conquer that over-consumption thing,” she said, almost to herself.
“They're exploding before they can get a full life's work out of them.” Honeyman hesitated, then added, “The moat dweller said he would speak to the alien Freemason about targets as soon as you sign the contract.”
The Queen looked out over the parapet. Her Queendom had such minor problems when compared to the rest of the world. Only threat of invasion remained. And while she found dealing with the moat dweller abhorrent, the possibility that he could help her prevent an invasion made it necessary. It was the last obstacle. “What makes you think he can pull it off?”
“I trust him on this one.”
“Trust the moat dweller?” The Queen's voice betrayed her disbelief.
“On this one,” Honeyman repeated. “He's the only one who can communicate with the alien. Sometimes I think he is an alien.”
“He is a different species.”
“So everything looks in order,” Honeyman said, standing to go. He pulled a folder out of his briefcase. “Here are the treaties, in triplicate. Signed in blood, the only thing that the Overlords understand.”
The Queen took the folder.
“The moat dweller sent this as a peace offering.” Honeyman handed the Queen a bottle of Gumballhead. “It tastes best in hot weather. And goes well with pork.”
“I don't eat…” the Queen began, then held her ire. “Give it to the Master Taster and have him whip up a meal around it. Try tofu. Anything else?”
“Svetlana,” Honeyman said. “Her admission into The Beer Queedom is part of the deal.”
“That's Appendix 1.”
As the Queen leafed through the document, she said, “You do know she's a mail order bride?” Sometimes she wondered how she had ever fallen in love with this man so long ago. Just as quickly she remembered. It had been his slow, deliberate pace that attracted her. He had helped her relax. And being slow at some things was a benefit, she remembered, a twinge of excitement awakening in her.
Those had been idyllic years, despite the frustrations between them. He had taught her to slow down, to revel in the moment. And she had no doubt that those were the best years of his life.
It would never have worked in the long term, of course, and when the opportunity to create The Beer Queendom arose, they had been at a breaking point. She remembered with crystal clarity the moment she realized it was over. It was right after the Revolt of the Desk Murderers, when the bureaucrats pushing buttons that rained death on faraway people had refused to do the Overlords' bidding. She had been offered a piece of land at a fire-sale price and had leapt at the chance to create her utopia. That same day her relationship with Honeyman had ended. The romantic part, anyway. The sex had been great; maybe that's what she really missed.
“I love her,” Honeyman said.
“Who?” The Queen pulled out of her reverie.
“You don't even know her!” the Queen snapped. Then just as quickly regained her royal mien. “At least she'll be free of the moatdom. When will all this happen?”
“He says he can get the alien to begin the operation as soon as you'd like. I need to send a letter to the Outer Realm, informing them of our terms.”
“I'd like to see that letter,” the Queen said, more out of interest than to try to correct her lawyer's wording. Honeyman was known for using the word “please” often and she wanted to count how many times he could fit that word into a letter informing the Overlords that they were about to be destroyed by a hail of space junk unless they chose to cease and desist in their warmongering.
“And the anger management program?” the Queen asked.
“It's in there. For Overlords.”
“What about the Underground Railroad?”
“Anyone fleeing the Outer Realm will be granted safe haven at no consequence.”
“You're thorough,” the Queen replied, remembering another reason she had loved him. “What's the rest of this?”
“A few changes that need to be made in The Beer Queendom,” Honeyman replied. “All in deference to creating a social utopia.”
“No blood tests?” she asked, glancing at one of the appendices.
“Not mandatory,” her lawyer replied. “They're too intrusive.”
“They're for health reasons!” the Queen replied, trying to keep herself from exploding.
“That was the first thing they said in the Outer Realm, when they began mapping people's lives,” Honeyman replied.
The Queen set down the papers. “The last thing I want to do is map people!”
“The ability to give up control over people is the first law of a successful utopia,” Honeyman said. Then added, “The appendices are non-negotiable. They will be codified into law when you sign.”
As Honeyman was about to leave, the Queen decided to try one last time. “How about wheat beers on prescription. For a start.”
“They have to be treated like any other beer.”
The Queen looked at the imperial sundial as Border Collie arrived. It was eleven o'clock. “My brunch?” she asked impatiently.
“We have an issue with the moat dweller,” Border Collie replied.
“After my meal,” the Queen said.
“He's barricaded himself in the beer cellar.”
“Who let him in?”
“He claimed he needed to inspect it before he would store wheat beers there.”
“I want him out. Now.”
“He refuses to leave.”
“Send in the Clown Guard to remove him.”
“He says you can't enter, it's a holy site. His demands aren't great.”
“Does he even know what he wants?” the Queen asked.
“An official title.”
“He wants to be The Beer Messiah.”
The Queen stifled a laugh. “Where did he come up with that one?”
“Says it came to him in a dream, like with all great prophets.”
“Is that all?” the Queen asked.
“That's all,” Border Collie replied.
“Talk to the royal printer. Tell him to use those leftover elementary school awards we used for Beer School graduates.” She knew they would come in handy some day.
“He also set up that music booth he had at Beer Carnival,” Border Collie said. “And started filling bottles.”
“If he touches the Hanssens, he's a goner,” the Queen snapped. “Where is the Master Taster?”
“He's been taken hostage.”
“Hostage? They're in this together! Get me Honeyman.”
“I tried. He refuses to come. Says he's done his job and this one is up to you.” Border Collie lowered her voice. “Truth is, he hasn't left the bedroom since Svetlana moved in.”
“Turn on the live cam. Wide view.”
“On your lawyer?” Border Collie asked, surprised.
“On the beer cellar!” the Queen commanded.
Inside the beer cellar a party was raging. The main room had been trashed, resembling something on the moat boat, not The Beer Queendom. In the middle of the room sat the Master Taster on his new Easy Throne. Gone were his baggy blue shorts, replaced by a stylish pair of cotton slacks purchased at Congo Square. The baggy blues, while useful in ghetto pickup games, weren't regal enough for someone with the title of Master. Accompanying his new look was a multi-colored beret and a silk, black shirt that hung open at his chest.
As if to hammer home his beer mastery, the Master Taster was surrounded by sycophants, wannabe beer drinkers who treated each word that emerged from his mouth like a pearl of wisdom. They had even managed to imitate his lip-smacking technique, as if the noise meant they had crossed another threshold in their quest for beer knowledge. Surrounded, the Master Taster sat comfortably in his Easy Throne drinking IPAs and watching old Boston Red Sox games. His favorite game was the miraculous 2004 World Series playoff comeback against the New York Yankees. Each time the Red Sox won the game, the Master Taster would yell at the television and demand another IPA, as if not drinking one would jinx his team into losing. The beer was brought to him by one of the many sycophants. The Master Taster had pulled out all the stops.
Not to be outdone, the moat dweller had occupied a corner of the beer cellar out of range of the flying empty IPA bottles. He had set up his Blow Music station, a table of partially filled bottles on a tacky, plastic, flowered tablecloth. The moat dweller's dress was just as tacky, consisting of tight black leotards covered with feathers plucked from his moat ducks. Each time the Master Taster hollered and drank an IPA, the moat dweller would blow loudly on a bottle. Then drink it.
As the party roared on, the moat dweller dripped sweat and loose feathers began to flutter around the room. His hair was kept in place by a Beer Messiah headband, but the faux handlebar moustache, the most exotic part of his costume, was drooping so that each time he blew, he had to be careful that one of the moustache ends didn't fall into the bottle.
Next to the moat dweller, dressed in bikinis, two new Russian mail order brides crooned a Chechnyan love chant while they danced in jerky motions that only white people could perform.
“Try this beer!” the moat dweller yelled, picking up one of the bottles and drinking. “It's the best brown ale on the planet!” He held a bottle of Dark Corner out to the Master Taster.
“I'll tell you if the beer is good!” the Master Taster yelled across the room. “I'm the Master Taster!”
“WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING?”
The voice boomed through the loudspeaker. The Master Taster and the moat dweller both looked up at the live cam..
“We're taking a break from cleaning the beer cellar!” the moat dweller yelled back. Then picked up a half empty bottle and blew a long, loud tone of defiance.
“WHY WASN'T I INVITED?!” the Queen demanded.
And so passed the days in The Beer Queendom, time drifting languidly while the planet boiled away. The Queen resumed her several meals a day, planned and prepared by her Master Taster and taken on the parapet overlooking her utopia. The moat dweller, while visiting the beer cellar occasionally to verify that wheat beers were still being served, found his home in the moat more comfortable. Pale ales proliferated.
Whether it was actual space junk targeting the warmongers or its irrelevance to their conquests, The Beer Queendom was not invaded. Instead, it continued to prosper. Its citizens lived lives of peace and contemplation and disputes were resolved according to the You-Get-More-With-Honey-Than-Vinegar Social Compact, otherwise known as The Honeyman Doctrine. Strict and impartial adherence to the law, and the occasional exiling to the moat of any misfit kept the society peaceful. Tragedy became comedy, and misery became joy. Passion ruled love, and jealousy was banned. Economically, the Outer Realm-induced cycles of boom and bust, betrayal and war, faded into half-forgotten nightmares. And would remain so thanks to Honeyman, who adroitly balanced the disputes between the Queen and the moat dweller, and their protection from the Outer World. Svetlana moved permanently to Honeyman's luxurious new quarters and the Queen's lawyer, at long last, found love.
By los Testigos de Cerveza
Copyright 2006, Rocky Mountain Brewing News