the ballad

of coffee

unsung

(part

four:

heavy,

the oaken

crown)

 

three steady

raps of a

patient hand

against

whitewashed

barnwood

followed by a

rest thought

long enough

to bore away

all unwanted

company by

a gaunt blue

haired ghoul

not expecting

any. a furtive

slip down the

navy steel

stairs and a

sideways

look-see

through a

gap in the

wall above a

rust speckled

red and gray

tool chest.

a curious

stranger

stands on his

porch shifting

weight, he

speaks

through the

door,

 

what do

you want

vault dweller?

 

the dweller

moves over

to answer

through the

break in the

boards,

 

i come in

search of

nuka-carl

quantum,

second of

the three

ghoul bard

keepers of

the ballad

of coffee

unsung.

 

i don’t sing

that song

for free

mole rat.

lucky for you,

i’m in need of

favor. not far

south of here

you’ll find a

satellite array

run amok

with super

mutants,

i need a

transmitter

installed into

the three dish

receivers left

standing.

accept and i’ll

pass them

over. return

and i’ll tell

you what i

know,

 

nuka-carl

gruffs plainly.

 

the vault

dweller digs

through a

dirt colored

duffle bag,

holds up a

fine plus

copy of

grognak the

barbarian:

heavy, the

oaken crown.

 

the door

unlocks and

creaks open,

nuka-carl

from already

upstairs says,

 

bring the

kitchen chair,

we’ll speak in

the studio.

 

seated, the

vault dweller

hands over

the comic

which the

ghoul files

safely in

order with

his collection

of others

under a

tab marked:

grails,

toward the

back of

the drawer

in a seafoam

blue and

cream

high tech

metal desk

before he

begins.

 

my bit of the

ballad is brief,

but important

and to the

appropriate

ears

priceless.

he fled the

itinerant

trader when

they reached

the northern

common

-wealth to

seek

apprentice

-ship with a

shaman said

to reside in a

defunct

factory

that once

manufactured

nuka-cola in

the black hills

of

south dakota,

 

he then

hands the

dweller a

map and

points to

the door.