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Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

Reluctant I Writing

Rain poured down outside the tavern window. It was hard not to notice the moody weather as drops of water leaked in through holes in the dilapidated ceiling. Buckets were placed in the aisles to collect the overflow, causing drunken men and women to stumble as they hobbled past. In the background, the soft clinking of silverware could be heard beneath layers and layers of singing. 

In the back of the building, the bartender refilled taps with bubbling ale and spirits. It was fascinating to watch the lively woman effortlessly pop open the barrels and prime them for usage. She wore unassuming peasant robes with a silver fob watch hanging out of her pocket. Once in a while, she would offhandedly wipe the sweat from her brow with an old rag.

In hopes of winning a bet, a red-faced man approached the taps. The bartender discouraged him from having any more, but he was past being able to understand verbal cues. He popped the valve and began to drink directly from the nozzle. His equally-drunk buddies cheered him on from afar. He ended up emptying half of the barrel, marking his victory with a  guttural belch. Mere moments later, he passed on the floor. Beer continued to spill onto his face before he was dragged out by his swollen legs. The bartender sighed as she tallied up money behind the counter.

Just then, the waiter arrived with a steaming order of pretzels for the table. Their sweet aroma wafted across the entire tavern. He laid them down on the table and disappeared back to the kitchen. The pretzels’ flavor more than lived up to the smell, consisting of a soft and buttery base that melted in your mouth. The beer cheese dip was even more indulgent, with a creamy and silk-smooth consistency that begged to be devoured. Together, they were a truly irresistible pairing.

Just outside the building, a lone rider brought his horse into the stable. He could be seen tying through the window his steed to a post. As he came in from the rain, he lowered his tattered hood, revealing a mane of cascading hair. He pulled a bar stool up to the counter and sat. A few minutes later, the bartender brought him out a massive chicken drumstick. The two seemed to be familiar. As he devoured his meal, he listened to the live band strum away at their harps and lyres.

This rugged character drew the interest of the room, but he didn’t seem to notice. All eyes shifted his way as he ripped the meat from the bone. When he finished, he left the bartender a tip, plinking a golden coin down on the counter. As he made his way to the door, a plump man walked up to the counter. He swiped the coin before the bartender could collect it, snickering as he showed his toothless friends. Suddenly, a tall shadow made its way across the room, halting behind the pudgy man. It tapped his shoulder. When the drunk turned around, he was decked in the face by the lone rider, dropping the shimmering coin to the floor. The rider recollected his cash, dropping it once more on the counter. He gave the bartender a reassuring nod before riding back out into the rain. After having borne witness to such an outrageous series of events, it was decidedly time to leave. At the door, I took one last look over the tavern before stepping out into the storm. The sounds of laughing and singing momentarily escaped into the world before the door swung shut.

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