The Phantom of Black Leaf and Earl

a story
2012-03-26 07:29:00,
2016-03-01 16:38:29
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      Murdock Allenthrope was an altogether mess of a man.

      His family had abandoned him as an infant, he'd found them again as a teenager, and they'd abandoned him again as an adult. The family was too face and pomp to have to deal with common blagards like him.

      He worked his ten hour shifts down at the Gearford Mills each day and came home to a small apartment worn and useless. He had been looking forward to a free weekend; the workers' union finally forced the company to stop the working weekend policy for labourers.

      So here was a Mellday and Murdock hardly knew what to make of the time. His bed was rather tempting to return to, but he didn't want to feel the time was wasted. So, he left the flat with a cap and a jacket and headed down to find any establishment to patron.

      Among his compatriots in the street were other workers rediscovering what a Mellday might hold for them. A bright day that would be sunny if it weren't for a few easterly clouds. Children were playing knucklebones on the sidewalk, couples were strolling gaily, and a few bobbies casually watched the populous.

      Murdock was absolutely baffled to see such happy faces about. He almost couldn't stand it. It caused him to duck down an alleyway to find a grungier part of town. He was used to work and unhappy faces.

      A few twists and turns down the blocks of lower Geaford landed him at an establishment known as Black Leaf and Earl . They specialized in strange sandwiches and harsh tea, precisely what he was in the mood for.

      The gentleman at the counter had an unreasonably large mutton chops and razzled hair. A few old ladies, many working stiffs, and one lone high society gentlemen type sat in the establishment. It was a strange site to see.

      What sort of shop ushered in such a diverse crowd?

      He ordered an Upright Sunwollup Tea and a Chaddington. He had absolutely no way of knowing what these were. The shop keep wasn't interested in divulging either ingredients or flavours, as if these were state secrets no one would discover in a thousand years.

      He found a table back by a bookcase which housed strange books on all sorts of subjects from travel to chemistry and theories on the origins of weather.

      The first sip was a confusing, uncertain event.

      He took a second sip.


      It felt as though someone had punched his mouth with a gallon of sunny days and the particular joy you get from mischief. 
      This was the most fantastic cup of tea he'd ever... well, experienced. You couldn't call it drinking. He sat thinking that perhaps this tea was responsible for the origin of weather.

      And what about the sandwich, a Chaddington? There was the typical thoroughfare: pickles, lettuce and shavings from some kind of root. However, the meat was an absolute mystery, and the bread looked a strange shade of golden blue worth the investigation of the department of health and safety.

      He took a bite.

      It was a strong, but balanced cacophony of flavour, soaked up by the bread before swallowing so as not to leave any particular taste when you'd finished chewing.

      He sat here with his mind-blowing tea and satisfyingly light sandwich and thought to himself... is this what I've been missing on Melldays? He decided he ought to frequent this place most Melldays in an attempt to try every tea and sandwich combination.

      He began skimming the origins of weather and moved on to some of the stranger books, all the while being taken aback by tea after tea, sandwich after sandwich.

      The shopkeeper was closing up around three in the afternoon, too preoccupied to notice Murdock in the back still reading about the world of skuttlekovy, and why trying to mate with one is generally a Bad Idea.

      After about ten minutes, there came a large explosion from the back.