Tuesday I got a call to set up a private party in the Theater. It was a group I knew well, but they hadn’t met in a while and were anxious to 1) try out the new space, and 2) take part in an old ritual that I happen to carry the primary ingredient for.
I put a “closed for private party sign” up in the door so that the group could have the place to themselves. Mind you, they’re not shy or dangerous, but they can be a little overwhelming.
Ret came up to the door unexpectedly and knocked. I let her in. “Hey, this is your day off, remember?”
“I remember, but you were kinda mysterious about why I didn’t have to work tonight. So I came by to see what this group is about.”
“Uh, that may not have been the best idea. I can tell you all about th– ”
Uh, oh. Too late. The first guests were coming through the now-unlocked door.
“Hello, sveethots!” “Ooooo, nize plaze!” “Hey, vatch my hat, doomkoff! I joost had it blocked!” “Ja, nize plaze! Hooboy, iss verra nize!”
“Thanks, folks. C’mon in and make yourself comfortable. Tone it down a bit, okay? I’ve got Jägerbrew on tap.”
There was a chorus of
followed a general rout to the bar.
“C’mon, Ret. As long as you’re here, come help me pour and serve.”
Ret and I got behind the bar. I told her to set up several beer trays and get the metal cups I had stored in the corner cupboard.
Ret looked at me. “Metal cups for beer? Are you kidding?”
I had to speak up over the noise. “No, I’m not. Glass is too fragile for Jägerbrew.”
She looked at me like I’d lost my marbles. “Too fragile for a beer??”
“Jägerbrew isn’t just any beer. Remember that tap?” I pointed at the tap with the piece of gnarled wood for a pull, and a lock pin worked into the tap.
“Yeah, I remember. I don’t understand. You didn’t tell me you knew any Jägermonsters!”
“Oh, yeah. We go back a ways. Help me get pouring, and oh! stay clear while I open the tap.” I had kicked a metal pail onto the floor below the tap and then opened it up.
The smell of potent alcohol poured out, along with a torrent of spewing, fuming brew into the bucket. It looked like there might be something swimming around in it.
I closed the tap. “There, now we can pour it safely.”
With an incredulous look Ret started handing me metal cups, and I filled a dozen of them, being very careful not to get any on my hands. “If this stuff splashes on you, go wash it off in the sink quickly.”
“WHAT THE HELL IS THIS STUFF??”
“It’s Jägerbrew, like I said.”
“What kind of beer is it?”
“It’s not exactly a beer, precisely. More of a . . . well, it’s their preferred drink. You won’t believe how hard it is to get this stuff. The Jäger will go a loooong way to get it.”
There was a chorus of
“Hoy!” “Ve’s thursty!” “Hyu two gun gab all night??”
“Sorry, folks, here you go. We got more on the way. Ret, do a quick count on how many we need.”
She counted the crowd. “Looks like 20 . . . 22.”
“That sounds right. Pour another round, and remember . . .”