Friday, 13 April 2012

Godwene's pub

Godwene was quiet.  It was a fairy god-folk village, so it was hardly ever rowdy anyway.  Even at New Year most of the god-folk would be out in the human realm at parties and celebrations, enjoying the free drinks and social gossip, possibly waving the odd wand (or their wand oddly, depending on how much they'd had to drink) and granting blessings or conveying curses.  Only a few remained in the villages, and although Godwene had an excellent pub it also had the greatest number of socialite god-folk, and so things were usually fairly subdued.  Despite this though, Godwene was quiet.
Tom Shandy, proprietor of the Green Man pub, carefully closed the pub door and considered slipping a bar across it.  There was a good solid length of oak timber propped in the corner that both served as a bar for the door and  a decent threat to drunks.  He'd never actually seen a rowdy drunk himself, though his father had had a tale of one nearly three hundred years earlier, back when Godwene was a little busier and had more young god-folk in it.  He'd actually picked the beam up before he set it back down again, with just a quiet grunt to reveal how heavy it was, and decided that the pub was probably the only place a god-folk would consider sanctuary.  He probably shouldn't bar the door, at least not just yet, he decided.  It was just the quiet outside getting to him.  Even the ducks at the duckpond round the corner weren't quacking, they were just sitting quietly on the grass by the water and appeared to be waiting for something to happen.
He walked the length of the bar, checking that it was shiny, polished, and perfectly clean, then walked behind it and carefully checked through the glasses, making sure they were all in the right places and the right way up.  Then he looked thoughtfully at the liquors and wondered if he mightn't have a drop of something while he waited for whatever was trying to happen to resolve itself.  As he decided that the only stuff he'd drink was too expensive for him to waste on himself, a pair of glowing green eyes floated through the wall of the pub and hovered over the bar.  He saw them appear in the mirror behind the bar, and concentrated on pretending that he'd not seen them come in at all.
"Where is he?" said a voice that seemed to come from somewhere behind the eyes, though the exact direction was uncertain.
"Good evening, sir!" said Tom sounding a lot more cheerful than he felt.  He turned round and acted as though floating eyes were an everyday happenstance in his pub.  "Can I get you a drink?"
"Can you see a mouth?  Where is he?"  The voice sounded bored.
"It's traditional to pay for a barman's information with a drink," said Tom.  "It's well known that alcohol brings memories back."
"Then why do people drink it to forget?  I have no pockets, no hands.  How could I pay for your drink?"
"No money, sir?  Then I'll have to ask you to leave," said Tom.  He let a note of indignation creep into his voice, which he felt sincerely.  There was nothing worse than a moocher in his pub.
"Where is he?  You might as well tell us now, we'll find out anyway."
"He could refer to a lot of people," said Tom, licking his lips as though he were thirsty.  "And I believe you said you didn't have the money to help me decide which he might be most relevant."
"Fine," said the voice.  "Let me leave you with your seven-day horoscope predictions.  Beware the colour puce.  Dogs will be attracted to you on Wednesday.  Harbouring people can be bad for your health, and on Thursday there is a high chance of fire.  Wrap up well."  The eyes floated back out of the pub through the nearest wall.
"What kind of horoscope is that?" asked Tom Shandy to the empty room, though in the silence of his head he knew that the answer was "One that someone will be working very hard to ensure comes true."
"I hope I'm doing the right thing," he muttered to himself, reaching for the seventy-year old malt.

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