Prohibition has not been imposed in Quebec; consequently ‘bootlegging’ is non-existent. This makes Papa Charlie happy. He owns the only hotel in town, a good lucrative business which keeps him rewarded in profits and luxuries he can afford. The shining Alfa Romeo parked in the sun is his pride and joy.
In his earlier life, Papa Charlie had been a co-pilot for Air India and enjoyed the travelling and good salary. Eventually he gracefully made his final landing on terra firma.
Today is 11 November, Remembrance Day and Papa Charlie is been busy lubricating his customers. ‘Bravo’ he cries, as he throws another empty whisky bottle into the recycling bin. The echo of glass hitting glass reverberates around the saloon.
Papa Charlie, is a fit man, reaching over six feet tall. He claims his health and vigour is complimented by regularly playing golf and consuming an average of one kilo of lima beans per month.
He flexes his muscles and looks across the smoke hazed room. A grin adorns his face as he observes ‘yankee’ Mike and Juliet practicing their tango. Although they are both out of step, they elegantly trip over each other’s feet unaware of the presence of Oscar, the bar ‘romeo’, a typical ‘alpha male’ who is nearby, sexually gyrating his hips into slow foxtrot frolics.
Past the twirling and rotating bodies, Papa Charlie surveys his collection of ageing and tarnished posters hanging on the opposite wall. His favourite, ‘Zulu’ portrays the backs of the red coated British soldiers pointing their guns towards the warriors. The second poster has a more temperate flavour, depicting the foothills and rise to the glorious Sierra Nevada, the high mountain range of the Iberian Peninsula.
Suddenly the door swings open and a man appears, wearing a Delta Force uniform.
“You’re late Victor,” scolds Papa Charlie.
“I had to go to the dentist”, replies Victor in a muffled voice, “My mouth tastes awful.”
Papa Charlie scans Victor’s face and observes the swollen cheek. He notices something is different.
“I haven’t seen you wear those before,” he says pointing to a large pair of plastic spectacles Victor has balanced on his nose.
“What?” Says Victor.
He looks puzzled. He slowly lifts his hand up to his face and nose. “Oh blast,” he shouts, “X-ray goggles. Well bugger me, I never noticed I still had them on.”
Papa Charlie reaches for a bottle and two glasses.
“Come on Victor, you look as if you need a drink, I’ve got a good whisky just for you.”
“What’s that one then?” asks Victor.
‘Stag’s Breath.” came the reply.
(c) Jolie Marchant