the ballad

of coffee

unsung

(part two:

brew city

origins)

 

his mother

was a

slave and

a whore.

she

belonged

to a

destitute

barkeep,

confined

to the

patchwork

walls of

the third

ward

district of

the great

brew city.

 

his father,

a lone ghoul

wanderer, a

patron of his

mother

merely once

while passing

through town

on his way to

the capitol

wasteland.

 

why brew

city?

forty-two

fully

functional

breweries

in

ninety-six

square

miles

before

the

bombs

is why.

 

tommy swigs

his dirty

wastelander

and shifts his

weight in an

airplane seat

sat at a single

wooden table

in a backroom

office the size

of a closet, lit

with an

orange bulb

all but bare

save the dust.

 

the vault

dweller listens

intently from a

folding chair

opposite the

yarn spinning

bard of

bedford’s end.

 

the ghoul

continues,

 

the barkeep

kept her on

the menu to

the moment

immediately

before and

after labor.

she held him

long enough

to name him

before being

put back to

work. coffee

for his color

and her love

of it. unsung

for his father,

another

nameless

stranger, but

her hero for

his seed.

she raised

him absent

of any real

indiscretion

to the age

of six, when

the barkeep

sold him to

a riverwest

creep who

ran a

caravan

that circled

shorewood.

four years

later the

itinerant

trader left

the

industrial

rust cloud

open skies

of the great

midwest

for the

mountains

of the

northern

common

-wealth.

and while

that’s as

much of

the ballad

that i can

bestow, the

pristine tin

you brought

also buys

you a

question

and

subsequent

bard location.

 

the vault

dweller leans

forward in the

folding chair,

narrows eyes

says,

 

ghouls are

sterile.

 

not really

a question

kid, but the

answer is

a simple

textbook

legend

miracle.

 

not really

my question

cram. what

will grease

the gums of

the next

ghoul bard?

 

tommy

smiles,

 

nuka-carl

quantum,

built a

modest

operation

out on

finch farm,

loves

grognak.

talk to

betty at

sunshine

tidings

co-op.