So a couple of weeks back my writer friend K. Patrick Glover, who no doubt read a call-out for beer-inspired art I put out on twitter, sent me an e-mail with a story inspired by the wondrous drink which he thought would be right up this site’s alley. Well, he was right of course, so here it is. Thanks, Kevin!
THE CEREMONY OF INNOCENCE
By K. PATRICK GLOVER
For the late Robert B. Parker, the best there ever was.
I had come toBostonlooking for a runaway and I had found her. Unfortunately, she had no interest in returning toMichiganand after listening to her story, I had no interest in telling her parents her whereabouts.
Which meant that this little trip would not only be missing a payday, but that all expenses would be coming out of my own pocket. A reality which led me to one, inescapable conclusion; it was time for a beer.
I settled on a nice Irish looking pub that was only a block from my hotel. It was decorated in dark wood and lacked the endless television screens that littered most of the bars back inBenzieCounty.
Being mid-afternoon, the place was mostly barren. There were a few businessmen littered about, a couple of college kids skipping classes and a big guy who looked mostly like a thug sitting at the bar.
I grabbed a stool next to him, feeling more at home with thugs than business men or college kids. The bartender came over and asked to take my order. He was an older man, in formal wear, like a proper bartender. I felt like I was in an old movie, but I wasn’t sure of my lines.
“What have you got on draft?” I asked.
“Wicked, Intensity, Shock Ale, Darkest Night, Phantom and Shatter.”
I stared at him in shock and the big man next to me laughed. “It’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t tell the difference between the name of a beer and the title of the latest Dean Koontz book.” He said. “Darren, give the man a bottle of Sam Adams.”
I looked over at the man and said, “Thank you.”
“No problem. Tastes better from the bottle, anyway.”
I offered him my hand. “Nick Kellerman. I’m a private eye fromMichigan.”
“No shit.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a business card. “What are the odds?”
It seemed my companion was also a private detective. “Nice card.”
“The silhouette of the guy with the gun is a nice touch. Very James Bond.”
“I thought about adding master sleuth under my name, but it seemed a bit much.”
“Probably would have depended on the font. You can get away with a lot if you’ve got a good font.”
“This is true.” He took a sip of his beer and ordered another one. “What brings you toBoston?”
“Dead end case. I’m heading back tomorrow.”
I realized my beer was gone and signaled the bartender for another.
“You like Sam Adams?” my new friend asked.
“Yeah. It’s a solid beer, lots of flavor.”
He grinned and ordered another. “I’ve been drinking Sam off and on for over 40 years. I’ll get on various kicks, you know? Spend a month drinking Rolling Rock or Amstel. But I always come back to Samuel Adams. Tastes like home.”
“I know what you mean. I drink a lot of Labatt’s back inMichigan. Crisp, clean. It’s a good, everyday beer. It’s no Sam Adams, though.”
We sat there and drank for some time, exchanging stories about cases, discovering that we had some friends in common inNew YorkandPhiladelphia. He told me about his long time girlfriend, Susan. I told him about Sasha.
In the end, we exchanged information and declarations. If you ever need help with a case in, etc, etc. I’m not sure that I’ll ever need a hand inBoston. After all, I rarely leaveMichiganthese days. But if I do, I know who to call.
And I doubt if he’ll ever really need a hand inNorthern Michigan, but if he does, I’ll be glad to help out. Because we shared a night locked in an ancient ceremony, trading stories and beer and becoming, if not comrades-in-arms, then comrades in fineBostonlager.