Kathy walked into TheCorkScrew. During the day it had masqueraded as a cafe with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks, and any alcohol you felt like adding. At night the old place truly came alive as the beloved town bar where everyone met to have fun and catch up.
However, the building no longer met fire code regulations. It hadn’t when she started working here as a bartender when she was sixteen, having procured a fake ID. But twenty-five years later the place was so terrible it had to be torn down; even renovations couldn’t save The CorkScrew.
At the front of the bar were bottles from years gone by. For some reason one could still get an ancient bottle of 7Up to mix with lime juice and Vodka. There was original Coca Cola and original Pepsi, whatever you preferred to have with your Rye or Rum.
Kathy along with neighbors, patrons, and friends — some she’d known all her life — had come to the bar one last time to watch as The CorkScrew was boarded-up. Oddly enough, even the rats seemed to be leaving the building, which only made Kathy cry harder.
Phallon watched the fish swim in the pond his Grandpa had installed in his backyard. He enjoyed visiting his Grandpa each Saturday. Grandpa had put the pond in because young Phallon loved the fish so much as a toddler; ‘fishes’ had been his first word.
Now he sat with Grandpa who asked him about school and of course the girls in his school. Uncomfortable, Phallon wished Grandpa didn’t ask him about that.
Grandpa simply laughed,”Phallon, I’m only teasing you. It’s good you have friends who are girls and that there are girls you like. This Jennifer, have you asked her out?”
Phallon’s face turned red, “Yeah we’ve gone to a movie together and bowling. I want her to be my girlfriend but her parents say she’s too young to have a boyfriend.”
Grandpa nodded a smile on his face, “You’ll find the right one when you’re older. When I saw your Grandma the first time, my heart lept out of my chest. I wonder if I will ever meet that right girl of yours and see you marry her?”
Phallon felt uncomfortable again, “Why wouldn’t you be there Grandpa? You’re only eighty-one?”
Grandpa patted Phallon’s hand then squeezed it, “You know, my boy, I’ve been sick a long time. It’s a battle I’ve mostly conquered, but my strength is waning these days.When you get married someday, think of your old Grandpa, okay?” Phallon nodded feeling a lump in his throat.
Two-years later Grandpa succumbed. Phallon was sixteen and felt raw inside. He returned to the fish pond in Grandpa’s back yard. He noticed the fishes were floating and the reality of life made tears wet his cheeks. In the mess of the last two weeks including Grandpa’s funeral, no one had remembered to feed the fish.
“More old buildings,” Emily complained.”Kill me know, who cares? You’re throwing shade on my life.”
“Emily,” her mother warned, “I’ve had it up to here with your behaviour on our vacation. You’re sixteen-years-old and this is probably one of the last vacations you’ll take with your family, so suck it up. At least for Trudy.”
Trudy grinned at Emily adoringly. She loved her big sister.
“Greetings visitors,” A man dressed from the sixteen-hundreds approached the family.” How dost thou like our village?”
“I hate it,” cried Emily. “If I had superpowers, I’d burn it down.”
“Art thou a witch?” The man asked Emily.
“More like a b#%*h,” her mom said. “Sorry that just popped out.”
“Worry not,” said the man winking at Emily’s Mom, “We have ways of dealing with either. We call it a ducking chair. If you survive being drowned girl, than we will know you’re not a witch.”
“What?” Emily shrieked as two me grabbed her from behind. Taking down the chair they fastened her in to it. The man whispered to Emily’s mother who only grinned.
“Have thou anything to say?” the man asked. “Before we drown thee?”
“I hate you, I hate you all.” Then the chair was dunked in the water.
Emily was scared. It had been a couple of minutes and her lungs were bursting, when the chair was pulled up out if the water.
“Has thou anything to say now?” Asked the man.
“No nothing,” she screamed, choking up water.
“Very well,” said the man shaking his head. The chair started to move into the water, but she shrieked.
“Okay. I give up. I’m sorry I don’t mean to make this vacation so miserable. I just want to be with my friends this summer. And I hate all the historical stuff we’re seeing, it’s all the same after a while. I don’t mean to be a b$&@h but I have a boyfriend I haven’t seen in four-weeks, and I’m missing all the summer fun my friends are having. I’m afraid my friend Ruth, will seduce my boyfriend.”
“Ah so the truth comes out. Very well. Thou can go free, but respect thou mother as God himself said.” The man said.
Emily was unbuckled from the chair and soaking wet ran to hug her Mom and Trudy. “I’m so sorry,” she said again.
Overtop of Emily’s head, Emily’s mother smiled her thanks to the actor working in the village. He nodded and grinned.