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When you run a pub, you expect some weird stories. But last night took the cake.
Last night a farmer came to visit.
“Why the long face, pal?”
“Oh boy. I’ve got a working farm, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the creatures on it. And one day I’ve got the radio on in the barn with me, and I notice one of my horses sort of bopping her head like this, and I think, ‘she’s listening!’ And so I being curiouser than a cat at times, start to experiment. I put on one station and then the other, and after a little while I figure out what the horse really likes is classical music. So I play the classical station whenever I’m in the barn for a couple of weeks and after a while the horse starts to get real into it. She’s knockin’ against the milk jugs with the cymbals, stomping her feet in time with the drums, practically a regular-one-horse-band. The only thing missing is the melody. So I get the bright idea that I should help her out with that. I go down to the town and find a luthier, and he comes out and measures her all over, and writes down all kinds of notes, and eventually he comes back with a special instrument — a violin that my horse can play. And it cost me a pretty penny!”
“And even though it cost so much, your horse didn’t take to it?”
“No, she did! That’s the problem. She taught herself right quick how to play it, and then she didn’t stop. She played that thing all day and all night. That horse was gifted as all get out. But then the other animals got to noticin’ how proud I was of my musical horse, always giving her extra oats and carrots, and they decided to get musical too. The cows made one of them xylophones out of old fence posts. The pigs got a whole percussion section going. And to top it all off my roosters wake me up each morning not by crowing like the good Lord intended, but by crooning in harmony! They’re even going to go on tour as a barbershop quartet!”
“Well,” you say, “I don’t know what else you expect when you set a
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Later on, a Londoner comes in and ordered a pint.
“And keep ‘em coming!” the youth says. “I need ‘em after the day I’ve ‘ad!”
“Cheer up!” you say. “It can’t be that bad.”
“Oh can’t it now? Well, ‘ear you me. This morning I woke up proper rich. I ‘ad millions in my bank account. I owned a thousand acres of forest. I owned a real pretty Van Gogh painting of some flowers and whatnot. I owned an oil well that was just about due to strike oil. I ‘ad a gravel mine on the site of an old volcano — mostly mugearite but some granite too. I own two smart little shops on the ‘igh street — a place that sells artisanal cheese and another place that’s a ‘undred year old ‘aberdashery.
“That is, I did until this morning. I woke up with a call from the fire marshal saying my ‘ole forest burned down. Well I ‘opped right out of bed and was going to rush down there, but before I got my shoes on my mobile goes off again. So I answer and this time it’s the ‘ealth inspector saying the rats’ve taken over my cheese shop so the government is going to shut it down. You may imagine I was pretty steaming at this point — but it gets worse!
“At breakfast my Texas fellows send me a note that there’s actually no oil in my field, not so much as on a spotty teen’s forehead. I’m a wee bit shaken so I decide to go to the bank and roll about in my cash, which usually cheers me right up. But as soon as I get to the door, I see a man ‘ammering up a big sign: ‘BANK FAILURE’. It turns out all my money’s gone too. And wouldn’t you know it, the granite I took for granted at my mine has run out as well, and even worse an art thief made my Van Gogh a Van Went!”
“Well,” you say, “at least at the end of the day, you’ve still got your
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You’re wiping down the bar when in walks a woman all in black — a Catholic nun, point of fact. She’s kind of jittery, bouncing her knee and drumming her fingers on the table.
“What’s got you so riled up?” you ask.
“Well,” she says. ”I’ve had a dream ever since I was a little girl to be an actress. I was in every school play. I could sing, dance, and act — the triple threat! But when I turned eighteen, I felt a calling from God to come and serve His church. So I took my vows, and now I’m a nun. I’ve served faithfully and kept my vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. But all this time there’s been a little voice in the back of my mind that wondered what if I had tried to be an actress. Would I have been able to make it go? After much prayer and no few tears, I spoke with my Mother Superior about it. She, blessed woman, thought it would be right for me to see if I could fulfill my vows while being an actress.”
“I have a dispensation to come out here and audition for parts, but I feel it would be disrespectful to present myself as anything other than a woman of the cloth, even on stage. I’m worried that I will never land a part so long as I am wearing my crucifix and wimple. That’s what got me so worried!”
“Aw, don’t be too down,” you say, “it can’t be that hard to find a
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The next customer to come in is covered in bandages and looks a bit stunned.
“Scotch on the rocks, please,” they say, a bit muffled because of the gauze.
“Let me make that a double,” you say, “on the house if you tell me what happened.”
“Where to start?” says the stranger. “Well, I was taking out the trash this morning when a big ol’ grizzly lumbers up to me.”
“Oh no, that’s where you got the cuts?”
“No, not at all! The grizzly didn’t hurt me. In fact, he was pretty polite. He tapped me gently on the shoulder and asked in plain English: ‘Mind if I paw through your garbage?’ I was flabbergasted. What has our country come to with an educated creature like him eating garbage?”
“So of course I tell him: ‘No you may not, because I am going to take you to a proper breakfast.’ The two of us go down to IHOP and have a great big stack of pancakes and he tells me his life story. ‘My dad wasn’t ever around,’ he snuffled, ‘and my mom was killed by hunters.’ Well, I started to just tear up at that. ‘That’s terrible,’ I told him. ‘How about I adopt you?’ I decided right then and there that I was going to make a difference in this grizzly’s life. So the two of us walk into the courthouse and sign some papers, and when we walk out the grizzly is my legally adopted son.
“After that, well, we had the best afternoon I’ve had in my life. We went to the park and I taught him how to play catch. We bonded! I took him to the ball game and we heckled the Yankees together. It was positively idyllic. Right around sunset, the grizzly asks me to teach him how to ride a bike. I tell you, I was so proud. I was just screwing on a pair of training wheels when all of sudden we’re surrounded by these dudes pointing weapons at us, yelling at me to get down. And the grizzly starts to run away, but they shoot it with a tranq dart.
“They apologize to me for the inconvenience and tell me the grizzly is actually a teenage runaway from the local wildlife refuge. He was angry that his mom grounded him so he ran off. The whole sob story he gave me was made up.”
“Then... what about all those cuts?”
“These? I got them from a holly bush. I was trying to make a memorial topiary of the grizzly I thought was my son. Let me tell you: topiary is best left to the professionals...”
“Wow,” you say, “I’m sure you’ll be telling your grandkids about your
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Someone you’ve never seen before strides right toward you with a great big grin.
“Finally, a happy face,” you say.
“And why shouldn’t I be happy?” says the person, whom you are increasingly clear is about to try to sell you something. “I’ve got it all figured out. It used to be I’d work two jobs just to get by. And tonight, instead of scrubbing stores or stocking shelves, I’m sitting here with you, my fine barkeep. And do you want to know why?”
“No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me,” you sigh.
“It’s because of the magical power of a little old thing called entrepreneurship. And now it’s accessible to the masses because I’m starting to franchise! Buddy, I have been working on a compact little system of microbrewing. It’s so easy, anybody can do it! Just set the vats going, use my patent-pending app for generating hipster-approved labels, and you’re good to go! Sell the bottles over the internet and you never even have to lift a finger. The brewskis practically sell themselves.”
“Cool story bro, but it looks like the table over there wants a couple of pints,” you say as you start to walk away.
“Oh come on! While you’re working your butt off, my pilsners and lagers are out there making a living for me! Don’t you want to buy this informative booklet with everything you need to know about brewing, only $19.95 —”
“Sorry pal, but that table has cash in hand — my taps are making me money without any fancy microbrew set up. But hey, you and I have one thing in common: our
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The strangest thing happens just before closing. A mist drifts in through the door and kind of settles on a bar stool.
“Hiya,” it says.
“What the hell are you?” you ask.
“Name’s Karl. From, uh, San Francisco, dig? Hey man, what’s a weather condition gotta do to get a beverage here?”
“What’s your drink?” you ask, though you think you might know the answer.
“White Russian, thanks.”
You hand it to him.
“Terrific. Life’s been pretty, uh, complicated recently. Fortunately I’ve been adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regimen to keep my mind, you know, limber. Mind if I smoke a jay?”
“Yes, I mind! There’s no smoking in pubs or restaurants, you should know that. Aren’t you a law-abiding citizen?”
“Bummer. Well, I abide.”
“Wow,” you say, suitably impressed. “You really are the
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