If you could believe the first beer ever made was by accident. You’d be right. Historians have found that alcohol has been a part of human history for just as long if not longer than higher beings. And while humans do not commonly create great alcohol, their race does not determine quality.
A couple hundred centuries ago in Egypt. A farmer threw grain into a clay pot. Picking up the pot the farmer set it next to an old storage house. Leaned and twisted from age, the farmer avoided touching the walls in case it fell. Egypts rainy season has come around, leaving massive ponds of water. Flooding that came from the nile has receded but the humidity rose higher and higher making the already unbearable heat worse. Midday had arrived with the sun at its highest point, the farmer set himself in the shade. Fatigue began to force the farmers’ eyelids closed. Sleep took over his world and replaced it with blissful dreams.
Unknown to him a new storm rolled in from the east. Dark grey skies that would set in motion changes across the world. Heavy rain poured onto the storage house causing a creak and crack, awakening the farmer just in time to escape its cave in. Water poured down like falling stones. The farmer ran for his home not willing to risk drowning in the bullet rain storm.
Flooding had been quick, covering the entire field with water for three days. Grain washed away into the streams that would eventually become a river. Sorrow filled the farmer’s heart, at the loss of his farm. Searching for any signs of crop that survived, nothing was left except for the clay pot that had been forgotten. Its contents are filled with a mix of water and grain. A wood plank covered the top keeping out sunlight. The farmer pushed aside the plank to find that grain had become bloated. Bubbles rose from the bottom of the pot pushing up gases toward the farmers nose. His eyes watered from the smell. He scooped a portion of the grain before taking a bite. It tasted sour than sweet. Grimy texture plastered against his teeth, which he promptly spit out the mash. The pot tittered on existence at this point. It was a waste and the farmer was angry about it. Until a peculiar taste kicked a few taste buds in his tongue. His skin buzzed, tingled and a sudden feeling of happiness overwhelmed him. And that was all he needed before dragging the pot home. Hopefully to make more.
Drag marks led a path to the pot, a trail that no one will find or know about till after a historian looked into it.
Where the pot stood just three days before a little sprite of bright green floated to replace it. Watching unaware that it will control how the world will turn. But for now it pops away in a snap.
New York city 2015
Sounds of loud honks and shouts and machinery fills this place. Bright lights, shine all night and day, artificially.
On Bleaker street at three pm a neon sign buzzed as the A flickered on and off. It is attached to an old two story building with faded and chipped brick. Spray paint littered the side alley where trash had been left to be taken away.
This is the Happy moose. Inside matched the outside, old with a mix of cheap, new things. This bar had been open since one pm, and would stay open till two am. The happy moose isn’t popular but never unpopular. It’s a place of business that makes just enough and sometimes a little more.
Days were always the same for these employees. Thursdays were no different, an empty bar with stragglers that day drank till the office workers arrived.
Two elves sat on stools, spaced one seat apart. One high elf the other half. The high elf wearing a gray suit tailored made and trimmed mustache. The half elf’s beard is less tidy from his counterpart. Frayed scarf hung low on his neck. The half elf kept a face of annoyance that was revealed through a scowl. The half elf is James, the high elf is Victor.
Victor held a nervous face. These two elves have known each other since high school. Growing up, both have lived on opposite sides of the tracks. Which in turn gives them very different opinions. Yet somehow never stopped them from being friends. It also never stopped the two from arguing. Arguing specifically about the recent death of a human by a tiefling.
The bartender had half listen to the arguments. While he wouldn’t mind listening, he had to restock. He wore all black, with chestnut brown hair wrapped into a low ponytail. His name is Jackie and he is human. Jackie lived in New York state since he was a child. So when schooling ended for him, he took the plunge with his best friend into the city. Todd, Jackie’s half orc roommate, grabbed hold of his dream job as a writer while Jackie had not been so lucky. Lack of experience and knowledge made finding work terribly inconvenient. With guilt for not being able to pay bills, six months later, Jackie landed the job at the happy moose.
That was three years ago.
Finishing his list, Jackie left for the back storage. As he stepped through a low rumble of cooking equipment filled the room. The sound left relaxing vibrations in Jackies chest, far more enjoyable than being in between arguments. He passed the supervisor’s office and noticed its lack of management. Lindsay, Jackie’s supervisor, is the owner of the Happy moose. For five years the bar has survived through her brilliant decision making as well as dumb luck. And while Jackie never worked in a bar before, or worked in general. Lindsay still gave him a chance. But that could have been because she needed somebody to work on short notice. No matter how one looks at it, Linsay saved Jackie’s butt from a life of poverty and for that he is grateful. Jackie also hoped that his hard work sowed the seeds of friendship between them over the years.
A noisy clatter followed by a string of curses brought Jackie back from his thoughts. Rounding the corner he found a mess of bottles littering the floor. Lindsay looks irritated and disheveled. Her blonde hair, she wore braided for work, started to fall apart. The black uniform she made everyone wear, including herself, had dust sprinkled throughout her top. Lindsay grumbled further as she wrote on a list, possibly for liquor since she was rummaging through the alcohol storage.
Jackie stared past Lindsay, the closet had been emptied. Not a single bottle stood, or a drop lay being soaked into the wood shelving. Wide eyed with concern, Jackie thought it to be impossible since Lindsay owned the only key. The door looked undamaged, so forced entry isn’t an option unless the thief had amazing lock picking skills. Which would have been overkill for liquor.
“Damn, what happened Lindsay.” Jackie asked. His voice was a bit timid, out of fear that Lindsay’s already whistling temper would boil over. Lindsay’s burning gaze transfixed on to Jackie. She wanted desperately to shout and release the pent up anger. Jackie could see all the emotions running back and forth on the walls of her mind. Any reasonable person would be throwing papers and knocking over shelves. But Lindsay, with grace, took it all in her stride. Breathing in once, then twice, and a final deep third breath. She gained her composure, then snapped.
“I’ve finally done all the paperwork for our food suppliers yesterday, so I decided to check stock.” Lindsay said with spite, Throwing a rude finger in the direction of the door.
“ Then a weird blue light flashes, making me see dots, I check to find all of our alcohol gone. Poof. Nowhere in sight.” Her face became redder as she said each word. Lindsay almost shouted over the sound of the vibrating smoke hood, if it wasn’t for her lungs needing to breathe.
Eye twitching, Lindsay counted to ten.
“The only saving grace is Tom has been nice enough to do half off the normal order, and I will need you to go pick it up from the old Fashioned tomorrow.” Lindsay ordered.
Her former Valkyrie persona started to shine. When work must be done, Lindsay becomes too serious for her own good. Once she’s in that mode she will be like it for hours. Returning to her list Lindsay walked back into her office seemingly unaware that he was still there. Now with no reason to be there Jackie returned to behind the bar.
Most people have walked into a room and forgotten why. Most people have also walked in on arguments. It’s an awkward confusion that bombards your mind, while wondering why. Why did I walk in this room? In a very rueful voice.
Jackie, for a split second, saw the same blue light that Lindsay described. Like a flash from a camera, blinding Jackie, effectively making him wonder why he was here and why he stayed while a high elf and half elf argued. As quick as it happened, memories flooded back and Jackie continued walking.
Returning to Victor and James. They have been fighting over the death of a human. A tiefling officer had shot and killed a young seventeen year old human. The teenager was unarmed, but reported resisting arrest. Now humans have been shot and killed in the past before. But that wasn’t the reason for the outcry. In fact it was because of a recent discovery in New York City involving the police department, a string of murders have been occurring to humans for over a year. And no one knew it had been happening. Because of the murderer not being caught yet, James’ side believes it has to do with the cops. Victor’s side believes otherwise. The death of the child has just been a catalyst.
“The kid just stole a candy bar, The cop had no reason to shoot him.” James said
“The officer said that he was a suspected gang member.” Victor Responded.
With this little statement James would respond incredulously.
“Suspected, which means maybe Victor. The Kid was Killed on a possibility.”
That was when Jackie stepped in the mix, unsure what was happening. Victor, already red, decided to change the subject.
“Hey, Just the guy I wanted to see. You wouldn’t mind giving me a refill would you.” Victor nervously smiled.
Jackie nodded. Grabbing a bottle of scotch the high elf had ordered. Staring at the bottom, Jackie discovered it empty. He accidentally cursed aloud which Victor Noticed.
“Sorry, Mister we’re all out in front and back.” Jackie responded. Dangling the bottle in front of Victor.
An almost grateful relieving sigh left Victor. He had hoped a new subject would come up, and he took advantage of it. James showed some agreement.
“Well I guess it’s time to leave. I’ll pay for the rounds so far James.” Victor stated.
“Thanks Victor, I should be on my way as well.” James responded. An obvious frown on James’ face remained when he stepped off the stool.
As soon as Victor paid they shook hands then left. Jackie sometimes hoped that when people would leave that they came to some form of great realization. Some great ideas that would make their life better for themselves or people around them. It was a kind of optimism that lifted Jackie through most days but at nature he is a pessimist. And that idea came crashing down. Because people like to complain more than dealing with the problem.
With that an empty bar stood waiting for whoever wanted a stiff drink.
Jackie always believed that calm before the storm. That kind of slow moment before large numbers of people come into a bar, make a ruckus, dirty the place, then leave. So taking any opportunity to relax is a fantastic idea. The bar had no customers needing attending, or restock of essentials. Jackie stepped outside into the cold winter air, enjoying the dry wind pushing around New York’s skyscrapers. Multiple cars passed by in bumper to bumper cruise control. There could have been many ways to improve the city traffic Jackie thought, but that’s not his business to deal with.
Putting a cigarette in his mouth and lighting it, Jackie took a drag before letting out smoke into the air. Jackie had started in highschool, the stick of cancer tasted horrible and it still did. Sadly, it became too much of a habit to quit now. Sunset was coming earlier in the winter, night lights becoming more apparent while the starry skyline rose. Street poles were covered in paper advertisements. Many events that passed hung below ragged while new events stayed pristine. A light breeze pushed through Jackie’s coat forcing a shiver out. Back against the wall he let out a sigh. The night would be long, he could feel it. Not terrible but boring as if the normal night wasn’t gonna happen the way it should. Constant flow of people, begging for attention. Most staying up all night as a river of alcohol flows into their stomach. Then those happy few who regurgitate all their beverages for the rest of the night. Jackie would never hope for more similar shifts, yet this pit in his stomach seem to swell the more he thought of anything other than the usual. It became worse when a couple walked by talking to each other. They said the troll market had finally started. Temporary market stalls would pop up to sell one of a kind goods that are sold once a year. Troll markets would attract almost half the city effectively stopping most businesses around the metropolitan area. To be more specific the night life.
There is a bright side, thankfully, the first wave of christmas markets brings a massive swell than when people have had their fill of shopping for family members. They go back to their normal schedules of drinking till one A.M. or till they pass out.
The Happy moose had been empty for about three hours now. Regulars and random customers alike had more than likely went to the troll market. So Jackie resided himself to cleaning. Tables wiped and dishes cleaned and lamps dusted and floors swept. He worked with an unknown vigor that finished his task quicker than desired.
Ring of a door matched a pads of heavy boots. Steady pace of long strides brought the stranger where Jackie stood. The person stood for a solid minute staring at Jackie, Who froze from the sudden arrival, The patron sat on a stool before saying in a low voice.
“Sin City, two parts brandy, one part sugar and ginger, one part benedictine.” The patron said.
The patron was wearing a hood, making it impossible to tell who it could have been. An aura of anger enveloped the man’s form. Its red mist filling the room with shapeless mass that became suffocating. Jackie wasn’t sure as to why the man came in so angry but decided against being slow in making the drink. With a quite cheers Jackie backed away and postured a busy attitude. Jackie met people like this most slow days. The kind of person who struts into bars angry and upset. They were the types who ticked away in their own loathing to the point of exploding was imminent.
This mystery man is exactly that.
A terrifying manifestation of hostility.
Direction of said explosion could go anywhere. Including towards Jackie. In fact it was a guarantee since he was the only one in the room.
Awkwardly, Jackie turned his back for a moment. That single moment where the world turned for a second and Jackie was unaware. The man downed his beverage, placing the glass back on the bar. He reached into his jacket pocket pulling out an old ivory handle. Smooth from years of use and a single silver button. With a press a sharp serrated blade flew from the handle giving off a steely gleam.
Sounds of carving peaked Jackie’s mind back to the man. The hooded man dug the blade further into the bar surface.
“Hey, what are you doing.” Jackie protested.
The man froze before raising his hooded head. A kind of darkness oozed from his face. Deep abyss that swallowed everything except for his burning red eyes. For a moment Jackie believed death had walked in angry at losing a soul and was ready to take anyone in the wrong place. He began to growl a deep rumble of a noise, close to the sound of a rabid animal. Standing on the stool, the man towered over Jackie. Brandishing the knife high with a vicious glint.