The Poetry Slam, Part 1


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

“HYU DO??”

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.”


“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 . . .”





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