Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Case Of The Still-Cold Yuengling Bottle

I was present when justice was served.

Last Sunday evening at 6 pm--this detail is important--I witnessed the evidence of a crime, the prosecution, and eventual verdict of malfeasance on a grand scale. I had entered a local restaurant/bar--appropriately named Nite Courts--to pick up an order I had called in half an hour before. Normally, this is a smooth transaction, the only issue being that if the food was not quite ready I had to mingle silently and uncomfortably with the locals who apparently had no problem drinking the same beer for an hour and watching back-to-back episodes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in the late afternoon as if this is what sane people did.

This day, however, was different. Upon approaching the door to the bar--where takeout food was picked up and paid for--I saw the barmaid run outside with a cross look on her face, pick up a beer bottle that was in the parking lot, and march back in. As I entered, I heard the following cross-examination. Picture a young but angry girl and a slurring drunk, all (which I hasten to repeat) happening on Sunday at six:

Barmaid: Don't throw bottles outside again.
Patron: Whaaat?
Barmaid: Don't you ever go outside and throw bottles in our parking lot. I will kick you out.
Patron: That wasn't me!
Barmaid: Of course it was you! DON'T do it again!
Patron: No, I took that beer and me and Smitty* went up to the ball field and I drank it there and threw it in the trash there.
Barmaid: You mean to tell me you took this bottle, the only bottle of Yuengling I have sold this afternoon, had your friend who was waiting outside for you drive you to the ball field for the express purpose of drinking it, then immediately drive back here? All in five minutes?
Patron: All I knows is that it wasn't me.
Barmaid: The bottle I just threw away was still cold. The only person who could have done it is you.
Patron: It wasn't me!
Barmaid: Fine, then. You can stay but I'm not serving you any more today.
[Thoughtful pause.]
Patron: Okay, it was me.
Barmaid: [Death glare]

Even if he could have gotten away with the details of the offense--the evidence could have been spun as circumstantial--the cover story was just full of holes. The ball field was clearly a five minute drive one way, and even the fastest driver and unrepentant chugger could not have pulled it off in the time frame given. And the ball field? Nothing sounds better than having a slurring drunk go to a place where Little Leaguers play ball to suck down a cold one. And the mysterious friend? "Hey, hoss, I need you to hang out in the parking lot but don't come in and let anyone see you 'cuz I may need to get my buzz on watching a place where small children play T-ball. Thanks a mill, bro."

But it warmed my heart to see street justice prevail. Though it did not warm my heart as much as the grilled chicken sandwich and cheesy breadsticks did, though.

*I don't remember the guy's name, but it was one of those cliche barfly names, like Stretch or Paddy or Shorty.

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