Snowfall and Schnapps
By Jeff Baker
The three of them trudged down the road in the snow toward the lights of town.
“Hey! Let’s go in here!” Snooker said. “Never gone in here before!”
“Yeah! Look at the sign, they have beer!” Stinky said.
“Guys, Sugarplumb’s is just a block away,” Scooter said. “Let’s not…”
But Snooker and Stinky had rushed in through the door. Scooter sighed and followed them in. That’s what they got for taking a shortcut. Stinky and Snooker had already sat down at a booth. Scooter joined them. Stinky was looking at a menu. Snooker was waving for the bartender. Scooter looked around, his eyes adjusting to the dark bar.
“Well guys, what’ll it be?”
The bartender who had walked over to their table was tall, lean and wore the traditional red, with a white and red fur cap, scruffy beard and a big grin.
“We’ll have three beers,” Snooker said.
“And some chips and dip,” Stinky added.
“All right,” the bartender said. “You guys just get off work?”
“Yup! Another long day!” Stinky said.
“I know! Thanksgiving’s next week! The big push comes right after that,” the bartender said.
“Company town,” Scooter said. “You must do a booming business this time of year.”
“Sure do,” the bartender said. “Place is going to get busy after a while. But I know how it goes. I used to work for the old man myself! This is a lot less stressful, plus I’m my own boss.”
The bartender left and Scooter glanced around the bar. Wood paneling, video games and thin wood branches hanging on the walls.
“Uh, guys, this might not be our kind of place,” Scooter said.
“Who cares,” Snooker said. “Here comes our beer!”
“Here you go, guys,” the bartender said setting down the three bottles. “Enjoy! I like schnapps myself. Your chips are warming up. I’ll be back in a minute.”
Snooker and Stinky clinked their bottles and drank. Scooter sipped his, trying to remember where he’d seen the man before. In another minute the bartender was back with a basket of chips and small bowl of dip.
“Do you just want one switch apiece or should I bring the bag?” The Bartender asked.
“Switch?” Snooker asked?
“If you’re first-timers, I’d recommend one of the smaller ones, not like the ones we have hanging on the wall here,” the bartender said as he walked away.
“Guys, finish your beer,” Scooter said grabbing his wallet. “We’re paying and getting out of here. I remember where I know this guy from.”
Stinky, Scooter and Snooker walked into as the snow swirled around them.
“Krampus?!” Stinky said. “Why didn’t you tell us the guy was Krampus??!!”
“I didn’t know!” Scooter said. “He and the right jolly old boss came to a parting of the ways years ago.”
“I could use a beer now,” Snooker said. “And some chips!”
“Hey we’re only a block from Sugarplumb’s,” Stinky said. “I can taste the beer now!”
“But no schnapps,” Scooter said.
“Right,” Stinky said.
This one came from seeing a number of calls for Christmas-themed fantasies over the years that said “we see too many Krampus stories.” I’d never written one.