A Moment Of Your Time

More happened on the short drive from the offices of Violet & Crumbull to that quiet cul du sac in Rosebank Gardens than I can possibly relate. Although we all share the same minutes, we're each given unique moments, and for twenty minutes those moments whirred past the cracked window of the hired car like scents on the wind.

As the car slowed and came to a stop beneath the pub sign of purpure, two tapers in saltire and in chief an apis passant sable and striped or, which is to say, a purple sign showing a bee above two crossed candles, the din of time and choice faded. I leaned out the window, looking about, cocking my ear toward a strange silence emanating from where the door should have been.

The driver chose this time to share what some would have considered important information.

"Been closed seven years, gaff'."

I acted surprised. "Thank you. Might as well have a look around." I stepped out, handing him fifteen pounds. "Keep it." He smiled, exchanging the fifteen pounds for his business card. "Ta, gaff'! Simon's the name. Mobile's on't card - ring if you've need."

Seven years! That wasn't the half of it. The truth of the matter was, The Beeswax Taper, while indeed a licensed public house, was never open. Never: Prentice Lodge, publican, followed what he called "The Way of The Hermit."

At the time of Prentice's application to the local authority for status as a licensed premise, the law allowed a would-be publican to request opening hours of his choice. Prentice obtusely requested the hours of "none," stirring objections from those in the authority who suspected he was having a bit of fun at their expense. It might all have come to a bad end, as Prentice is a hermit by choice owing in no small part to his quick temper and lack of tact, but fortunately all worked out for the best: unable to demonstrate what harm no hours of operation might do the community, the authority granted Prentice his license, and The Beeswax Taper has been happily and uneventfully closed ever since.

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Excerpt from "A Moment Of Your Time"
Copyright © 2006-2007 Christopher J. Burke
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