A Tale of Two Taverns…
by Sergio Palumbo
The night had been very gratifying, bringing many customers into
O’Sasey’s Tavern. People had eagerly spent their money, buying many
bottles of ale and wine, along with mixed drinks. This outpouring of
cash was much appreciated by the bar owners because their operating
costs were very high, especially considering the hard economic times of
the entire area. There simply hadn’t been many chances to make a profit
They told themselves that things would be much easier if only they
didn’t have so many competitors nearby. O’Maseys Inn, for instance, was
just 90 feet from their front door, on the same side of the street in
the small village of Ballydehob, Irish Republic. O’Maseys was nice,
given the complementary cuisine offered and the variety of drinks they
served – but it wasn’t much different from what O’Saseys Tavern
There was a fierce rivalry between the two venues and each one never
hesitated to use any excuse to lower its prices from time to time. Each
tavern wanted to attract customers, especially during the weekends, so
they displayed their finest, most renowned bottles above the bar. Aside
from obvious ploys, what mattered most was the quality of their
alcohol, and their cellars were very well stocked. Each one had many
great French and Italian wines along with the best Irish, British,
Czech and Belgian beers and liquors available.
One of the two tall, fair-haired owners of O’Saseys, named Daithi,
couldn’t help noticing that the bottled ales were selling very well and
the shelf was starting to empty. So he decided to go downstairs and get
more. Actually, the young man didn’t like to go down there because
there were strange noises that could be heard past the stairs after
sunset now and then. At times he felt that the cellar contained
something evil, but the need for more alcohol was undeniable, so he
went down the stairs.
Great was his surprise that night, when, as soon as Daithi opened the
wooden door and went inside, he saw something unexpected. A few empty
bottles had been turned upside down, many of them were damaged and
there were several little creatures singing and running around.
The man immediately understood what they really were and his heart
Those Irish fairies resembled tiny hairy creatures that went out
drinking after finishing their daily chants along the hidden pathways
in the moorland. And the little monster he had first seen and his
orange-faced little fellows were getting drunk merrily. The tavern
owner knew they were bad news, as any venue like his that was chosen by
such fabled beings was doomed to certain ruin.
Legends said that if you treated Clurichauns well they would protect
your inn, but if mistreated, they would cause trouble to your home and
destroy your wine bottles. Well, the few they hadn’t emptied already
while having their fun…
So, the man slowly went back upstairs and he looked over the people who
crowded the place. His eyes searched for his partner on the other side
of the room and when he found him, he simply thought ‘We’re lost!’ This
was because Daithi knew that, due to that sad occurrence, their
business was going to suffer very soon.
The evening of the next day, Monday, when not many customers were in,
the two owners held a secret meeting between themselves and then they
immediately headed for the old cellar. As the door opened wide and the
hairy little creatures saw the humans coming in with unfaltering
expressions, they thought the two had probably decided to unite and
fight against them. But things didn’t go that way.
“We’re here to propose a deal today, my guests…” Daithi said, and a
deep silence fell in the room. Then, the one who looked like the leader
of the group of Clurichauns spoke in a funny muttering voice: “Go ahead
and show us your cards, monkeys…”
The next few days were much better, sure thing. As a consequence of the
agreement made between the owners of O’Sasey’s Tavern and the
Clurichauns, no more bottles were emptied in their cellar, nor did
those creatures go back down there. The two had convinced the little
monsters to turn their attention to their competitor’s inn instead.
They had told them how to easily get inside the basement using old
ducts - whose layouts had been given to them by a friend of Daithi who
worked for the City Council.
So, things went well for awhile, but the peace didn’t last for too
long, unfortunately… One night Daithi went to his wine-cellar and found
some of their bottles emptied again, and he sadly understood.
Those damn’ creatures had drunk their alcohol and the wines of their
competitors, too, once they had been told how to safely get to them.
Because two wine-cellars for free were better than one, undoubtedly…
To save their businesses, another secret meeting was held. This time
the two sides – the owners of O’Sasey’s Tavern and of O’Masey’s Inn -
sat at the same table in order to find a solution that could satisfy
them both. And they did, finally!
“Maybe we should change what we sell for a while…” Daithi said.
“What do you mean?” the old proprietor of the other venue asked.
So Daithi explained his plan. And the others nodded.
So, next weekend, when the creatures entered the tavern’s cellar, they
went directly for the usual bottles on the shelves along the wall, but
what they saw made them deeply dejected!
There was no more wine, but only a lot of bottles of tasteless water -
Water everywhere, and nothing else!
So, the Clurichauns went away in a hurry and never were back. Because,
as barkeeps knew, nothing was better to make unwanted drunken customers
go away than trying to get them to sip water for their own good…
© 2014 Sergio Palumbo
Palumbo is a regular participant in out flash fiction contest and has
won many times in the past. He is a regular to our forum and a favorit
personality around these parts. Look for the threads of his multiple
projects that are usually announced in the forum.
E-mail: Sergio Palumbo
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