Random Scribbles · writing

The Walkers

The Walker boys were twins, fraternal twins, they didn’t look much alike. When they were born; their daddy, John Walker, accused their mama, Miriam Walker, of infidelity because one of the boys was pudgy and fair skinned with thick curly red hair. The other was seriously underweight with a thatch of thin dark hair. John took his suspicions to the doctor, and the doctor set him straight, but to make sure no one else in town got the wrong idea he named both boys John Walker Jr. Difficulties in delivery prompted the doctor to also inform the Walkers that Miriam was unlikely to ever bear more children.

John Walker Sr. was a brewer, a beer maker but not a very good one. When his boys were born, he delivered a free beer to everyone in town. He even pulled his truck in front of the school and was handing out free beers to the third graders until Mr. Dancer, the headmaster, put a stop to it. Most of the beers that he handed out that week were poured down the sinks; but the bottles, all but one, were taken back to the brewery for the two cent bounty Walker Beers paid for return of the glass. It was assumed that the lost bottle found its way onto the train and was probably tossed from a window somewhere between here and Lordsburg.

Walker Beers really had only one good customer, The Bucket. The Bucket had been operated for as long as anyone could remember by Miss Terry. It was a rundown place not far from the train station. She had a couple of working girls there who, when they weren’t entertaining customers, would serve bad beer and watered down whiskey in the bar. The clientele was mostly travelers who would come in when the train stopped and order a beer. Nothing could knock the dust down in a traveler’s throat better than a nice cold beer. They wouldn’t find nice beer at The Bucket though, Miss Terry would always serve them a Walker Beer first. Most of her customers would then order a whiskey to wash the taste of the Walker Beer out of their mouths. So she sold two drinks, instead of just one.

Meanwhile the boys grew up. Birthdays came and went, presents were opened and cakes were consumed. Nicknames developed and one was called Ginger; his brother went by John.

About the time when the boys started school, Miss Terry passed and The Bucket went out of business which sent the brewery into a spiral of decline; coincidentally, at that same time Miriam found herself with child again. John Sr. and Miriam were ecstatic and looked forward to having another boy toddling around the house. That never happened. On the day before Christmas, that year, Miriam gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. This possibility had never occurred to the Walkers and they were stumped for a name to give their new daughter. When John Sr. had to fill in the birth certificate he simply wrote Miriam Walker Junior in the space for her name. This approach had, after all, worked when his boys were born.

He told his wife that he had named the baby Olivia and no one checked the birth certificate till she started school. The school administrators insisted she go by her proper name and tried to call her Miriam but her mother objected. A compromise was reached and everyone called her Junior.

Years passed and the boys announced a desire to go into the family business, but not the business of beer. The Walker name could never be associated with good beer so the boys decided to learn the whiskey business. They worked their way east, to the coast, and then signed onto a freighter as able bodied seamen. When they reached land in Scotland they managed to be taken on as apprentices with a whiskey maker in the highlands. They learned the trade and after seven years, each with his own recipe, John and Ginger made their way back to the states to find that their parents had passed on and Junior had run off with a traveling salesman that she met on the train.

They set up shop in the old brewery that their father had used. Each brother refused to compromise, or merge, his recipe so they both distilled their own, two separate batches, in the same building. Together, yet separate – black and red.