March 18 , 2018

The Wee Man This Time

 

So anyway, Mr. Howitzer got over his dismay at losing the lucrative property on Otis that had housed Marlene and Andre's Household for so many years. He was not concerned that most of the former inhabitants had disappeared -- that just meant he had fewer issues with retaining the security deposit as well as last month's rent. No, Mr. Howitzer had in mind a plan to build up a nine story condo complex where the cottage once stood. He felt that getting around the City height restrictions with a variance should be a piece of cake with the present Council composed as it was, of ne'er do wells.

He still remained peeved about the loss of his yacht, the Indomitable, which had vanished one dark and stormy night. If he had known the truth, that the corrupt DePuglia brothers had not built their dry dock scaffold high enough above the tide mark to compensate for a neep tide plus a storm swell along with their usual cutting of corners he would have been even more furious.

The day after the storms other boats properly dry-docked all around the place had survived quite well. The Harbormaster had only one pithy thing to say about it: "Cheap-ass SOB! Serves him right!"

This Saturday being St. Patrick's Day, a day more celebrated outside of the Old Sod than within, and often for good reasons, the Old Same Place Bar made ready for a gangbuster weekend.

All the gang was there, save for some conspicuous absences. The talk around the bar was about what had happened to any number of people who had disappeared on the Night of Fire. Denby had not been seen for three weeks now. Nor had the Editor.

Midweek a violent dockwalloper had set in with hail and wind and all sorts of mischief. Hard ice pellets had pounded the docks for hours and the Bann Se had wailed about the chimney as they are wont to do when someone is about to die, for the Se come from Tir nan Og, the fairyland where time and all appearances are sent in a whirlwind. Late at night Dawn heard the Bann Se and she prodded the slumbering Padraic.

"Some-what is about to happen!" said Dawn.

"If you keep poking me, some-what will happen for sure," Padraic said.

"I don't mean that," Dawn said. "But somat is aboot ta happen."

"Sure enough," Padraic said out of his somnolence."Go back to sleep."

Along came time for the annual celebration of the Irish and the wearing of the Green by wannabees and the usual fol de rol about coffee mixed with the Water of Life, which they never do back on the Old Sod. All the tables out in the round had candles to light the night.

And all the usual crowd was in the Old Same Place Bar with a cheerful clatter and chatter within, when Suzie realized after serving Eugene on his usual stool she never would see Denby or the Editor again and she never would pass her exams to get out of there and was stuck there in that bar working the night shift until dawn for ages to come and it was clear she could not go on as before and she started to cry.

Then the door was open and the wind appeared. The candles blew and then disappeared. The curtains flew and then he appeared... Saying don't be afraid. . .

The Wee Man had returned after long absence.

He strode up to the bar and climbed up upon the stool and ordered a Guinness and a shot and a Fat Tire while waiting for the Guinness to stack.

This is the proper way to order a Guinness for a Guinness is good for you and it takes time for a Guinness to properly stack in the glass when done right.

When the Wee Man had his glass at last he made his pronouncements, swiping his sleeve across his frothy mustache.

What did he look like? For a start he wore a twill newsboy cap on a head of bright red hair. Red, too was his full beard and cobalt blue his eyes. He wore a green checked waistcoat which sported a gold chain that went into the side pocket and green checked pants. And on his feet a set of green suede brogans with tassels and toe tips that curled up and about in a merry way.

Dear friends it seems there are fewer here around the bar than in years past. We cannot account for that for time must have its math which consists largely of subtractions. I have this to say.

When things go wrong and will not come right
Though you do the best you can
When life looks black as the hour of night
A pint of plain is your only man

When money's tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran
When all you have is a heap of debt
A pint of plain is your only man

When health is bad and your heart feels strange
And your face is pale and wan
When doctors say you need a change
A pint of plain is your only man

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan
When hunger grows as your meals are rare
A pint of plain is your only man

In time of trouble and lousey strife
You have still got a darling plan
You still can turn to a brighter life
A pint of plain is your only man

"Naow!" exclaimed the Wee Man. "Where be my friends, the daft musician and the darlint rodent named Festus and the Editor and all those I have loved over the years where are they now? I do not see them here!"

It came to Padraic to explain that they were gone to the far north and would not come here again for fear of the Angry Elf gang and fire and the shards of broken glass left after the Night of Fire.

"I see you have not taken care of your own full well," said the Wee Man. "It was said, 'Wnen I was hungry, you gave me food. When I was naked you gave me clothing. When I was in need, you provided', yet this scripture you have not followed so I ask of you when the time came to stand up and be counted what did you do?"

When the Wee Man struck the table lightning bolts flew out across the room.

"Good heavens and bananas!" said Larry Larch, he of the almost nonprofit Pushy People Anonymous organization (PPA). "Who or what are you?"

"What am I?" said the Wee Man, reflecting. "Well I have been myself all day."

"Well I most humbly apologize sir," Larry said.

"Apology accepted," said the Wee Man. "What then are you, pray tell?"

"Me?" said Larry Larch. "I am the proprietor of the East Bay chapter of the PPA. We take on known cases of pushy people hopelessly addicted to obnoxiousness and attempt to cure them."

"O!" said the Wee Man. "And just how do you do that?"

"Group therapy and a service animal."

"A service animal indeed!?"

"Yes. A service animal. Usually a dog. Sometimes a badger. On rare occasions, a ferret."

"And what does the service animal do for the afflicted? Teach them warmth and compassion?"

"O goodness no! That is impossible. We seek to retrain behavior that will gently guide the obnoxious soul back within the boundaries of conventional, polite society. The service animal watches for bad behavior and if perceived -- things like browbeating, over-assertion of parking places, asserting ridiculous opinions about minorities, talking loudly in restaurants -- the animal bites them."

"Well," said the Wee Man. "As I see you pursue an honorable trade and are besides a bit daft, I shall not kill you."

The Wee Man downed his shot of Jamison's with satisfaction and produced a small derringer pistol which he discharged into the ceiling without so much as looking before putting the weapon away into his waistcoat. A bit of faery dust rained down and everyone remained quiet.

As to what the Wee Man really was, besides himself all day, which most of us can claim at nearly the same rate, the matter was open to speculation and never-ending discussion. Some say he came from the Spanish Armada that sank off the coast and others say he was of the legendary Firbolg that harried the ancient Romans loose from the Emerald Isle thousands of years before. Some say despite his stature he was related to the mythic giant Finn ni Cuchulain, Finn McCool, whose body extended the length of Howth, and that his apparent manifest physical size was merely a kind of trick, and some say that he was of the tribe of the Bann Sé that howl about the chimneys at night and therefore a sort of faery, but with some disreputable attributions, including cigar smoking and farting.

A faery fart is something about which to contemplate at a later time.
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The door opened and two of the Angry Elf gang slunk into the bar. It was the Cackler and Bryan Gump. Gump traded in stolen bank account numbers from his fake print shop in Oaktown while the Cackler engaged mostly in minor acts of terrorism -- usually blowing up cars and setting them on fire in front of certain recalcitrant businesses.
He was fond of kicking housecats across the room like footballs wherever he went. Both he and Gump were quite odious.

"What have we here?" said the Cackler.

"A weed not quite grown," said Bryan.

The gang members had become quite emboldened since the Night of Fire, for they had gotten away yet again with so much evil and many of their enemies had left town.

"Well, lets encourage the weed to grow!" said the Cackler, who took up a water pitcher and made as if to pour it on the head of the Wee Man. As was his nature, he lacked the courage to actually perform the act, but threatened to do so.

To his astonishment the pitcher rose up despite his strength and poured the contents upon his head, then magically refilled to dump on the head of Bryan Gump before refilling again somehow to repeat the action on the Cackler to the astonishment of everybody. A small terrier dog that was with Larry Larch went over and bit both men upon the ankles.

Meanwhile the Wee Man calmly sipped his Guinness for Guinness is good for you.

The two drenched gang members left the bar, pursued by the inexhaustible pitcher.

Having finished his Guinness the Wee Man stood up upon the bar, saying, ""Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the hell, whither thou hasten."

"That was Ecclesiastes," said Suzie aloud. "Verse 9:10."

"Young lady, this year I predict you shall finally find a man worth your time," and the Wee Man pointed at her.

"O nuts!" Suzie said. "All the men that is are not worth a load of rock salt."

"We shall see!" said the Wee Man. "You have been unlucky in love, and we could talk about it at length, but I must now return to Tir nan Og." And with that the Wee Man clapped his hands and there was a flash and the lights went out. When the lights came back on with Padraic throwing the breaker switch the Wee Man had disappeared.

"O heavens!" Dawn said looking past her waistband. "The Wee Man has done it yet again!"

Padraic strode off to the restroom with a red face and Suzie sat down on her stool abruptly crossing her legs and placed her anthropology book on her lap.

The Man from Minot whispered in the ear of a fetching gal sitting at the tables and the two of them went out giggling. "Cant wait to get them off ya," someone heard the gal say.

Larry's terrier ran around in circles -- it was wearing a charming set of mini-boxers.

When Padraic came back he said, "The man's a sodding pervert!"

"Are ya meaning to go around the rest of the night commando, so to speak, Padraic?" said Dawn coyly.

"Humph!" was all Padraic said.

Once again, the Wee Man had transformed everyone's knickers into unmentionables the nature of which matched each person's secret disposition. Or fantasy.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay, as it also traversed the Island to die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.

 

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