Sky-Whale Ale

a story
2019-09-07 18:54:27,
2019-09-11 06:09:11
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Leaving Home

Sky-Whale Ale Brewing Brothers Limited, the finest ale this side of the Prodigious canyon. That’s what the two brothers who ran the business would exclaim to passersby each day. 

They really believed in their product.

“You wouldn’t know your left arm from a chanka’s ash—”

Basil stumbled at the tail end of his insult. This lanky gentleman was upset at his stout brother Malcolm for getting him drunk, and was trying to argue that he was not the drunkest of the pair. 

They really believed in their product.

“Heh, I sure know the difference of… of between— hick— the special extra strong bottles I made for you and… and— and!” said Malcolm.

Malcolm, still in his shiny grey suit, gave his brother a dumb smile, pointed at his beer— of normal strength— and proceeded to drink some more.

Basil scowled. “I need some air.”

These hammered brothers stumbled out of their large caravan pitched behind their business. The stars above twinkled and danced brightly against the blackness.

Basil opened up a book and started writing in it.

Malcolm laughed. “No business when you’re drunk!”

“Why not?”

“Because you always yell at me about having to redo everything in the morning when you do.”

Basil stared intently at his pencil. Finally, he threw both the book and pencil on the ground. “Stop being right!”

“Wish you’d say that more.”

The two laughed and laid on the ground to look up at the night sky.

“Hey, why do we stay in Whitehaven?” asked Malcolm.

“Mal, where else would we go?”

“Somewhere,” he said with conviction, “Somewhere not here. I’m bored of here.”

“We’re not going out to the coast. Business is way too competitive out there, ” He opened his book again, as if to say that was the final word.

A storm brewed in Malcolm’s mind that brought the wildest smile to his face. He turned to face his brother, who was still ignoring him. He’d have none of that and snatched the book away from Basil.

The expression on Basil’s face went from startled, to confused, and finally to that of disapproval. 

“No,” Basil stood up to get back into the caravan.

Malcolm indignantly stood up, “Why not!?” 

“I’m not going to give up readily available water and my home for one of your schemes.”

“Hey, you basically said it yourself, brother!” he said, taking his brother under his wing. “The competition gets thinner the farther west you go. So, what we need is to explore the poor, thirsty towns of our wonderful Istoki desert!”

“I hate you,” said Basil.

“You want to hate me, but you can’t help but love me.”

“Ah, skret…”—he squeezed his eyes shut and breathed deeply—“No!”

“So we leave in the morning, then, eh?”

Basil groaned and fell back into his blankets in the caravan. Malcolm looked at the old wagon.

“Yep, we’ll do alright grandma, don’t you worry about us.”

The sun came up over the easterly horizon early. It’s golden rays bathed the world. 

Malcolm woke up just as the sunlight touched his eyes, eager for this new day. He took a shower out back, knowing it might be the last they could expect to take for some time. He did all this while his brother slept.

He unlocked the back door to the brewery, walked in and breathed in the smells of brewing. He got a glass of water, guzzled it down and refilled it for poor Basil. On his way back out, one of their employees came in.

“Mornin’ Jerry,” said Malcolm. He threw Jerry the keys.

“What’s this?” Jerry asked.

“Going on a business trip, you’re in charge.”

Back in the caravan Basil was just opening his eyes. He could feel his head throb. I’m going to murder that brother of mine…

“GOOD MORNING BROTHER!” shouted Malcolm.

Basil shot up and slammed his head. He grimaced at his brother.

“Quit pouting and help me load up the wagon.”

There were crates piled high with their top-notch beer, and a few of their so-so beers, too.

“What?” said Basil, peeking his head outside, “Are we leaving any for the shop here?”

“No, they’ll make more. You’ve got to bet it all to really win big,” said Malcolm.

Basil and Malcolm hitched up the second wagon to theirs and loaded it up.

As they packed, it caught the attention of a young woman. “Good morning, boys. Heading to the other side of town with all this?”

Malcolm threw a case aside and theatrically stuck up a single finger, “Oh no, miss. We’re going on a grand adventure! A... humanitarian effort, you see? To bring good Ale to the thirsty masses of the Istoki!”

“My, my!”

“Yes, ‘my, my’ indeed. Honestly though,” He grabbed his brother around the shoulders as Basil down from inside the wagon, “ it’s really ‘our, our’. Basil’s great plan, it was.”

Basil made some awkwardly shy noises while the lady “oo”d and “ah”d.

“Well, I wish you good luck on your mission!”

Malcolm excitedly cheered back, “No, no! Wish the thirsty masses a good drink!”

He turned to Basil, and watched him carry the last few cases onto the wagon. Basil turned to him after he’d finished. 

“What…?” Basil was annoyed to ask.

“What was that? I get a lady all warmed up and impressed and you weasel your way back to work!” Malcolm said.

“You chat her up, then!”

“I’m just trying to help you with your infinite shyness.”

“Get the skret in the drivers seat, and let’s just go.”

They nudged each other and burst out laughing.

Basil looked Malcolm, one eyebrow raised, “Humanitarian effort?”

The wagon pulled out of it’s spot and into the heat ahead. The wooden wheels crushed the sand below, and the bottles clanked with each bump.