James "Jim" Brogan wiped down a drinking glass behind the counter of his Irish Pub, 'Brogan's Red Lion Pub and Grill', waiting for the impending after-work rush. How many times has Jim turned on the tap, given food orders to his wife, Wanda, who worked in the kitchen, wiped down a glass, and half-listened to his drunk patron rant about how their boss, or something or other else in their lives is screwing them over? He honestly couldn't tell anymore, he'd ran this establishment for so long.

James Brogan looked at the Irish shield with the brogan family Crest engraved on it hanging on the wall. Having been in the family for centuries, his grandfather passed down to his father, and his father passed it down on to him.

The tavern proprietor walked out and flipped the sign from "closed" to "open".

A few moments after that, a man in a construction worker helmet walked into the Ale House.

"Get me a cold one, I had a shitty day!" Said the man.

"Let me guess, Harold, you got laid off?" The bartender said.

"The foreman broke his arm in an accident. The building project has been cancelled, so they let us all go." Said Harold.

"'The Home Repair Repository' isn't doing well financially. I suspect that they may file for bankruptcy. So if it makes you feel any better, the project would have probably been cancelled either way, anyway." The Bartender replied.

He didn't personally believe that himself, he just wanted to be supportive.

"The only thing that'll make me feel better is an ice cold beer." Replied the currently unemployed bricklayer.

The proprietor tapped the keg.

"My wife and son are working part time jobs, so at least I don't have to worry about getting by until a new construction project comes along." Harold said.

A woman walked into the bar, her hand wrapped tight in the hand of the man next to her.

"Hey, I brought in my girlfriend! This is Helen!" The man said.

"Congratulations, Robert!" Said Mr. Brogan.

"Hi, I'm Helen!" Said Robert's girlfriend.

"What'll it be?" Asked the proprietor.

"I'll have a Pale Ale!" Said the man.

"And I'll just have a glass of wine." Said the woman.

As the owner got their orders ready, Robert and Helen told each other about themselves.

"So, what do you do?" Asked the man.

"I'm a secretary. And what about you?" Asked the woman.

"I'm an accountant!" Answered Robert.

"My sister is a barista at a coffee shop downtown!"

James had served the couple when a thirsty looking man walked in.

"'Eeeyyy! Can I get a Beer and a Fish n Chips basket?" He asked.

"No problem, Shane! I'll tell Wanda!" Said the bartender.

Shane paid the money in advance.

"I just got a promotion at the Radio Station! I'm a full on DJ now!" Shane declared.

"Congrats!" The owner called out.

"Hey, Alley Cats! This is Shane Sanders, and you're chillin' with WK87.7! The number one source of Jazz and Blues for the Tri State Area!" Shane recited, flashing a cheesy smile.

The Bartender wiped a glass clean for the umpteenth time, knowing which way to run the cloth as if by muscle memory.

Wanda had just come out of the kitchen with a basket of fried cod, cole slaw, and shoestring fries.

"Here's your Fish n Chips basket, Shane! Enjoy!" She said.

"And here's your beer!" Jim said.

At that moment a Dad, a Mom, and a son no older than 14 walked in.

"Can we get three cheeseburgers? It's our son's birthday today!" Said the mom.

"I'll tell Wanda to get right on that!"

As he went to the kitchen, he looked at the family shield.

After the family paid for their burgers, a breaking news alert interrupted the basketball game that was on the TVs in the bar.

"This just in, the National Weather Service has reported that a Tropical Depression will make landfall in New England at midnight tonight."

The news showed a map of the impact zone and the group sighed when they realized they would be spared the worst of it.

"Just in case, we should probably close early tonight." Said the proprietor.

Wanda came out of the kitchen with a platter full of cheeseburgers and fries for the family's order.

At that moment, a heavyset man walked into the bar. "Get me a whiskey. Strongest whiskey ya got! My wife left me..." he grumbled.

"Sure thing, Frank."

James then poured the man a shot of 'TKO' brand Whiskey, the strongest whiskey he had on the shelf.

The barkeep and his wife closed up shop early for the night that night.

The next morning, the damage done to the pub was minimal, except for one thing: a piece of brick debris flew through the glass window in the pubs' facade, and hit the family Crest. The emblem now lay on the floor, broken into exactly three pieces.

The Barkeep and his wife contacted the insurance company, and due to the minor extent of the damage, the window was fixed in only a couple of days.

Jim called his mother to tell his folks that he was ok.

"James, honey! I'm glad you're safe, and

I'm glad you called, I enjoy our chats!" Said the owner's mother.

"Mom, I have some good news and bad news about the Red Lion. The good news is the bar itself is mostly unscathed, but the bad news is the family shield crest was broken in the storm by debris." James Brogan said.

"Oh, that thing? Your father's out of the house, so I'm only going to tell you this because he's not here...that shield is actually a replica of the original from the 70s. The original is in Ireland with your uncle at his family house!"

There was a pause, followed by "oh, I see. Well, thanks for telling me the truth. The bar should be open by the next few days."

"Your father is back. I have to let you go, dear!"

James "Jim" Brogan paused and turned to his wife. "Wanda honey, I'm going for a walk!"

"Where are you going, dear?"

"Just...to take a look at my life."

"I'll order carryout for dinner. That ok?"

August 14, 2021 19:21

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Michael Regan
17:12 Oct 16, 2021

A nice story line. I would have like to see a bit more detail. For example "the strongest whiskey he had on the shelf" - what brand is that. Also, I didn't see the significance of "an african american man walked in" - why was it important that he was "african american"


Marie McLaughlin
23:21 Oct 16, 2021

Thanks for the feedback. I'll be honest, I don't write on Reedsy anymore because I can't afford to spend $5-$25 every week...


Michael Regan
16:57 Oct 17, 2021

Have you tried just submitting the story without entering the contest? I read a few of your other stories. You have good story lines, you just need to polish up the presentation a bit. Hope you keep writing - even if it is not on Reedsy.


Marie McLaughlin
18:12 Oct 17, 2021

I just got put into a rough financial patch due to the pandemic, but I'll try again when I'm more financially Stable. And I plan on continuing to write, even if it's not here...


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Marie McLaughlin
03:37 Dec 28, 2022

I've made some changes to this story according to your input. Thank you.


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