Chapter 7

No Crying Over Spilt Ponies


It was an evening to be remembered.  Thanks to the celebration of Jam Jar's plucky rescue of the Stubbie boy, Paunch, The Overburdened Pony was choked with revelers.  The crowd rocked to the droning dulcimers of Snowy Wight and her Several Dwarfs Band.  Snowy was on fire and many of her fans were so overcome that upon reaching out to touch her they found the thrill completely drained them of emotion.  Swooning,  they promptly collapsed to the dance floor.

Jam, Mary, and Pipsqueak sat themselves down at a long table with many of the locals,  each ordering two full entrees for dinner and one for the road.   Drinks were on the house for the friends of Jam Jar and continuously flowed in the form of can after can of a heavily hopped lager called Old Trollshaw.  They were now secure in Stubbie bliss and not even the foulest of hack writers could edit their mood. 

Dorfo was busy trying to secure lodging for his crew, talking to the proprietor Barleywine Butter-Rum who was undeniably drunk.  “We will be needing a room for four Stubbies.  My name is Mr. Underpants and the room should have been prepaid for by my friend Gambloss,” said a stern Dorfo.

“Gambloss,” mused Butter-Rum, “Yes, I did talk to him a while back.  He told me something about Landfill Stubbies that I might remember when I sober up.  You are a Landfill Stubbie, are you not?  Yes, I can smell it on you.  Now, speaking of Underpants, we have some of the oldest Underpants this side of the Old Forage here at the inn today.  Maybe you know them.  They're right by the fireplace next to that seedy looking man and his hairy giant friend that are staring at you.”

“My name isn't --” Dorfo caught himself,  “and I'm not related … and speaking of smells you reek … or never mind.  Just show me to a room.”

Butter-Rum thought hard and replied, “I don't believe we have any rooms available for tonight unless you want to bunk with four other Stubbies that are here for the rest of the week?  You can have it at half price.”

“It will have to do.  Just charge me the half-price rate and show it full price on the bill.   It'll be payback to Gambloss for all the trouble he's caused me in the last few days,” snickered the conniving Stubbie.

Dorfo left the innkeeper and headed off to join his friends at their table.  When he arrived he ordered a can of beer for himself and each of his companions as well as a large fruitcake.  Snowy Wight had finished her set and now the room reverberated with raucous conversation and spontaneous outbursts of song.  When the beer arrived Mary couldn't contain his incredulity.  “Look, Pipsqueak,” he roared, “I've never seen anything like this!  It comes in six-packs!”  He then climbed up on the table and pulled a can from the plastic rings and began dancing and singing about the merits of this newly discovered invention.  Not being able to resist a good song, Pipsqueak and Jam joined Mary and soon the three were making a spectacle of themselves to all the patrons.   Dorfo was at first not amused.  They were supposed to be keeping a low profile, but he eventually succumbed to his  thirst.  He climbed onto the table, grabbed a shaken can   from Mary, aimed it at Jam, and popped the top.  Beer sprayed all over Jam and many of the others in the area.  “Now this is a party!” shouted Jam Jar as he danced himself off the table.  Mary and Pipsqueak got down from the table to make sure no one could get their hands on the last ales, leaving Dorfo alone singing 'If I were a Rich Man' and becoming progressively more self-conscious.  He began fumbling in his pocket for the onion ring.  Once he got hold of the ring he pulled it out and brushed as much lint off as  possible in preparation for taking just one little nibble when suddenly the door crashed open to a shout of, “Bigfoots!  Run for your lives”! 

Jogger raced inside, upending Dorfo's table, which sent him flying into the corner just as the onion ring had crossed his lips.  Gasps came from the clientele who were stunned to see not only that the Stubbie disappeared but more importantly their drinks had flown to the floor.

To Jogger's dismay none of the crowd ran for the exits.   Instead they all chased after the ranger.  Once they had him corralled they dragged him to the floor and hogtied him so he couldn't get away.  Butter-Rum then marched several Stubbies before Jogger, who was intermittently being pelted with empty beer cans and cocktail weenies, and angrily barked, “Take a look at the menaces you called bigfoots.  They're nothing but a harmless bunch of Stubbies visiting my establishment and trying to have a good time.”

“You mean there's no bigfoots in here at all?  What about that one that disappeared from the table?  He was using magic to escape.  That's what they do, you know.  They use magic and that's why no one has ever found one.  He had a ring.  I saw it.”

“Fool,” Butter-Rum shot back, “That's Mr. Underpants from the Landfill that you knocked into the corner over there.  I'm sure he's seeing stars right now!  Now if you'll promise to behave and buy a round for the house we'll untie you.”

“Oh, all right,” Jogger whimpered, “I'm sorry I busted up the place but just look at those feet and tell me that you've never been fooled.  Now, drinks are on me!”

Butter-Rum untied Jogger, who retreated from the common room to the area of the sleeping quarters.  On his way he caught of glimpse of a hairy nine-foot-tall creature stealing off to the hallway that lead to the private rooms.

Copyright 2013, John Keefe

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