Story by Big M.
Granny was a tad busy, what with Merv having gone off into town to look for ink for his antique dot matrix printer. He had asked all of the patrons about it, and they were split between getting a new inkjet versus a new LASER printer. They were united in thinking that the dot matrix was done.
Anyhoo, Granny was busy washing and cutting up rough looking, dirty Robertson potatoes, frying eggs, and making her own brand of salsa, as well as listening out for the bar. At least the Bowling Ladies were pretty self sufficient, and, if they weren’t, Hedgie has dropped in to fill the urn, make tea, and pour glasses (many glasses!) of Sherry.
Manne was nowhere to be seen, as usual. He was supposed to be the acting cellarman, but was frequently anywhere but in the cellar. He had developed quite a
penchant for watching Redtube on his iPhone, a habit that was decidedly antisocial!
Janet had dropped the twins at preschool, then gone on the Hearing Clinic to get her hearing aids tuned up, which may explain all of the shouting for the last couple of days.
It was far too early for Foodge, Barrister at Large, to be anywhere outside Granny’s boudoir, particularly mid-winter. Besides, he had been up late working on a case (of South Seas Islands Scotch).
The nurses hadn’t finished night shift, yet, so the place was relatively quiet. Granny didn’t mind being alone. It gave her a chance to ruminate, in fact, yesterday’s spice jar mix up reminded her of a fat, slow moving little boy who had come into her life quite by chance. She was a young woman, just given up her career as a professional
boxer, and had taken over the licence of one of the most beautiful, in her mind, buildings in Sydney, the Window Dressers Arms, Pig and Whistle. She loved every aspect of the place, from its tiled façade to its tall, proud chimney pots, and everything in between. Anyway, there was this pudgy little kid used to hang around the car park, waiting for his mum to finish drinking, or philandering, or usually, both. One afternoon said kid turned up with blood running down his shirt, and a rapidly evolving black eye. Granny rushed him into the kitchen, applied ice, gave him a pink drink, and asked him what had happened.
Well, the reader knows the story, the kid’s name was Merv, and he was bullied at school, and his mum didn’t care, and he knew that Granny had been a boxer, and could she teach him to fight? Of course she did, but it entailed training with Granny, which meant meeting her at sparra’s fart, running to the gym, where they lifted weights, threw medicine balls, skipped and boxed. There were mornings when she didn’t pay him much heed, but coached other boxers, but the kid kept his ears open, and was amazed at how much he learned.
The gentle reader knows the rest, how the bullies got beaten up, and how the fat kid hit puberty and suddenly grew muscle and lost fat, continued to train, becoming a professional boxer himself. Unfortunately Merv’s mum never spent much time with him,
so when she announced that she was marrying a ‘rich cow cocky’ and moving to the country, the teenage boy didn’t mind, instead asking Granny for a room at the pub. Merv never looked back.
Granny’s reverie was interrupted by the sound of a banging at the front door, the beer truck. “Manne, Manne, where are you?”
No response, so she marched through the cellar, to fling open the cellar doors nearly knocking over an unwitting pedestrian, then lining up an old wooden ramp to guide the kegs in. “Where’s Manne?” Asked the driver, who was already positioned to deliver the first keg?
“Buggered if I know!” Retorted Granny through gritted teeth, as she rolled the first keg of Wretched Pilsener into place. “Probably watchin’ nudies on his phone.”
The driver let out a hearty laugh. “Fuckin’ wanker!” He grinned.
The cellar was quickly filled with full kegs; the empties were already out the back,
waiting to be picked up. “Still brewin’ yer own beer?” The driver had been instructed to find out, in case Granny was buying from a rival brewer.
“Yep.” Granny nodded to rows of old kegs. “Still do me own Best, Bitter, plus some seasonal IPAs an’ such.”
“Hello, looks like some patrons.” The driver nodded to the nurses as he helped Granny close the cellar doors.
Granny soon found herself in the Main Bar surrounded by cheery nurses who all enjoyed a post night shift beverage with bum nuts, wedges and salsa, whilst the Bowling Ladies had finished their planning meeting, and had sent Beryl in with a breakfast order. “No rush, dear, whenever.”
There was a sudden hush as everyone turned to see a visibly pale Manne standing behind the bar, his mouth moving, but nothing sensible coming out. He pushed his iPhone into Granny’s hands, her eyes widening as she stared into the screen.
To be continued…