Anger Not Those Wild Wyldewood Boys...
Copyright© 2009 by Stultus
Action/Adventure Sex Story: Chapter 2 - An Army veteran returning home discovers the mess that his younger brother has made of his marriage, and the extreme lengths that some of his other relatives will go to preserve their historic family secrets. An unusual story of a close knit mountain community and the terrible fallout that an adulterous wife creates, and the unconventional and forbidden love affair that results. Starts slow... lots of sex in the final three Chapters. Story will be continued in a Sequel.
There is no simple way to describe the holy and sacred ground that is Joe's Bullpen, the finest watering hole and saloon in the entire Wildewood. Built in 1859, it really ought to be listed as a registered state historical landmark, but Joe so far has refused to file the application. That would definitely "invite tourists and floods of other riff-raff", he mutters each time the subject comes up. It's a shrine to those sacred Wilde institutions of 19th century railroad robbery, more modern (and non-criminal) railroad history, historic mining relics, and mementos of generations of Wilde family veterans of the US Military. Well, and also to St. Louis Cardinals baseball history. Actually, it's mostly entirely now Cardinals memorabilia these days with nearly everything else somewhat shunted off behind the counters or elsewhere packed off to the private museum rooms upstairs.
It really has to be seen to be believed. There is hardly anyplace to comfortably sit, a surly host, limited selection of refreshments, a surly host, unspeakable food, a surly host, no jukebox and certainly no big screen television sets EVER. Did I mention the surly host? During baseball season Joe might sometimes put a tired old B&W TV up on the counter turned to the Cardinals game, but he normally prefers to listen to the radio play-by-play. Joe is a firm believer that bars are places to either talk important business with friends and get a drink, not to just hang out in to pass the time like common riff-raff.
Joe has a great and powerful dislike of anything that might encourage riff-raff to hang out in his place. That's one of the main reasons he refuses to serve any of the Budweiser or Miller beer brand products in his saloon. "Draws riff-raff like flies!" he always says.
Everything on tap is either locally brewed or comes from a regional microbrewery that meets Joe's exacting beer snob standards. There is a slightly wider selection of semi-obscure national and imported bottled beers, but most folks call for a pint of the local "Old Ordinary". If no one is around and you catch him unawares, you might find Joe sipping a Mexican Negra Modelo, or if he's really in the mood to slum in the depths of mundane sordid depravity, a Dos Equis Amber. He draws the line at being caught drinking a Corona, calling it the 'Mexican beer for riff-raff'', but he keeps a few hidden in the back of a cooler for the rest of us who think slightly otherwise, and he'll serve them all wrapped up in a napkin to hide the label and disguise our shame.
Don't ever even consider asking for a 'light beer'. Just don't do it — trust me.
Joe in his misspent youth had been a minor leaguer with the Cards farm system in the 1940's and had a long cup of coffee or two in the Majors during WW-II, while he was still a teenager and rated as a 4-F for the war due to flat feet, incurable chronic acne and horrific eyesight. In those days during 1944-45, the good Major League baseball talent was mostly all off in the Army and baseball was full of young kids and old men. Joe, a very unpromising young thrower toiling in the minors found himself called up to the Cardinals and pitched for parts of two very forgettable seasons. After the War, when the veteran players returned home, Joe went back to the minors to stay and had a long and very undistinguished career sulking about there in obscurity. If you want to really piss Joe off, ask him how well he pitched against Mickey Mantle in 1949 when they faced off in the minors for the first and only time (he gave up two home runs and a double). Joe remembers (and tells) the story a bit differently ... but the newspaper clippings from the local paper are undoubtedly the more accurate version of the true events.
Like a true baseball park it symbolizes, there are two entrances onto the saloon. The home team, Wilde's and other kin, enter via a small private door on the right side of the building from the pathway. Visitors, the unwelcome guests that they are, come in through a main public front door with a loud mounted cowbell on the left side of the building. How you enter the bar helps to define your status, but you start off at pretty much at the exact same spot once you walk inside — Home. Between the two entrances there is a large stone fireplace in the corner that is original to the building that some say was built by August Wilde, the eldest son of James Wyldea long time County Sheriff and a legend in his own right who supposedly conducted nearly all of his business here in this saloon. As you face forward right after entering there are four large old leather chairs that each face the fireplace "Home". This is the infield area, made more realistic by a mangy old bug-eaten brown square carpet that covers this area and a large ancient and scarred up round table (the pitcher's mound) for the riff-raff to sit around.
The 'outfield' is an area right before the bar covered with a nasty bright green 1960's era carpet and three slightly larger circular tables. This is where most of the irregular customers and locals who aren't quite family sit to drink. Family usually sits up at the bar or in a quiet screened-in outdoor patio area outside the door on the right wall, behind the bar, next to the natural disaster that is the kitchen.
Behind the bar in right field, on both sides of the outside patio doorway are mirrored display cases with minor items of Wilde family military history, mostly concerning Wilde family veterans. Wildes' have served with distinction in the US Military since the Spanish-American War, and Joe has the uniforms, hats, helmets, pistols and photos to prove it. Modern military unit patches and ballcaps from hundreds of Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force vets are mounted all over the right wall. A couple of them used to be mine.
The center field back bar features a superb display of St. Louis Cardinals baseball history, including signed cards, photos, bats and balls of nearly every era of their long history. Many items Joe obtained in person over the years but most frankly came from eBay. Still, it's an extremely impressive collection. In the few remaining unused spaces, Joe manages to stash a liquor bottle or two. Just the bare necessities. Don't be asking Joe for some fancy mixed drink — he'll just give you a beady-eyed stare and fetch you instead a Corona, muttering something about being all out of Budweiser to serve the riff-raff.
Behind the bar in left field this final display contains more important Wilde family historical artifacts from the Civil War and Reconstruction, and historical artifacts from local mining or railroad history. The really good stuff is all locked away upstairs, but there's more than a few innocent items here that have less than innocent histories. Here in left field is the real place where 'coup' is counted. If you have to ask what a certain photo, gun, badge, hat or railway lantern means ... then you're not important enough in the family to need to know ... or even to be drinking in that part of the bar. No bets that Joe will put you back into your place ... lightning fast.
Behind the bar in left-center field there is a swinging door that leads into the kitchen. Some folks enjoy the bar chow here, but then again some folks enjoy major dental work or having needles poked into their private parts too. It's the only food I've ever eaten that makes me nostalgic for Army chow hall grub. Unlike the house tap beer, which is a microbrew especially chosen by Joe and always exceeds expectations, but sometimes if it's hot outside I'll order a Corona just to piss him off.
Just past the left edge of the bar there is a locked door and staircase leading to some rooms upstairs. Joe has a room with a bed up there, there's another guest bedroom, and a large securely locked family meeting and museum trophy room that I've only seen the inside of once or twice. It's got a lock on it that my teenaged lockpick kit never could bypass. The family Elders hold their really private secret meetings somewhere else, but Joe will regularly sponsor some confidential meetings with other more senior family members up here to discuss various family issues and potential problems.
More military unit badges can be found tacked or stapled onto every other part of bare wall remaining showing in an ad hoc manner. Joe never served in either WW-II or Korea, but he has a great respect for anyone who did serve their country. Most Wildewood County folks feel the same way. We're pretty apolitical about most things and we love to hate the IRS, DEA, ATF and any other government branch that might interfere in our liberties. The Fourth of July and Veteran's Day are big holidays around here. A lot of Wildewood boys (and now girls) are in all branches of the military, and everyone is extremely proud of them, but occasionally less than pleased with their Commander-in-Chief (regardless of political party) putting them into harms way or onto the sharp edge of things. I was very lucky — others have been less so.
The bar counter itself is a 19th century masterpiece of locally carved quarter-cut golden oak with antique beautifully polished heavy brass foot rails and other fixtures. The bar top has been carefully polished to a flawless shine and is now covered with a clear glass countertop that protects the thousands of St. Louis Cardinals baseball cards mounted underneath. Ever want to see a rare T-206 Bill O'Hara? It's right there on the 3rd base line side, next to the 1934 Goudey Dizzy Dean and the 1959 Topps Bob Gibson rookie cards.
Out in the back behind Joe's, there's a stream that fills into a bit of a pond, which is pretty much the local teenaged hangout for swimming, fishing and private moments with a boyfriend or girlfriend (mostly) out of the sight of prying adult eyes. If you're sitting out in the back screened in porch you can often hear the kids at play. When he needs to run a message, Joe sends one of the cooks down to shanghai one of the teens to act as runners to distribute the more important family messages. There is no regular telephone or pay-phone in the saloon. Joe has a cell-phone that he rarely uses — and never for anything important. If you need to contact someone you leave a message on a bulletin board next to the front door, or tell Joe. If it is important, Joe will send a runner. The walls and skies have ears, Joe says.
Now most strangers unfamiliar with Wilde traditions and customs would just walk straight up to the bar, probably in the middle of center field to ask the tapster for their drink. This is dead wrong and definitely pinpoints them as visitors (and probably riff-raff) who then as a result usually then get shunted off to one of the infield or outfield chairs to await their service. Tradition and family status dictate where you are served.
Everyone has their own specific status within the family and apparently Joe is the semi-official score keeper. When in doubt, he'll show you exactly in what esteem the family currently holds you by where he places your drink. If he serves it at one of the infield or outfield tables, you have no status at all (or a valuation score severely in the negative). Far right field corner, you're family ... but barely. In this corner under the glass countertop you get to look at the baseball cards of scrubs and bench players. Far left field corner, you're darned near an Elder; your shit doesn't stink and you can drink Joe's finest in the company of Hall of Fame caliber ball players. Mid-center field, shows that you've been a good boy and that the family thinks well of you and you might someday be promotion material to become perhaps a respected senior member of the clan. At least you can also look at the cards of position players that you've actually maybe heard of. Most folks get their brew served to them about in mid-right center field, near or on top of Ozzie Canseco or Joe Garagiola, showing that they're respected and doing more or less what is expected of them.
In final summation, to explain the saloon in strict military terms, the far right side of the bar is for junior enlisted folks, the middle area for career NCO's and the right hand side is for the officers. Crude and simplistic, but a basically accurate generalization. This sounds silly, but it's very much a part of family tradition. Everyone knows quietly and without any fuss or drama exactly where they stand in the family hierarchy.
Some folks try to nudge the system by gradually shifting their way left, just a step or baseball card or two at a time, taking weeks or months to move their way a few feet left down the bar, but it never works. Joe knows the true score and if you try to push him he'll push you right back a good ways further back down the right side. Ambition is respected amongst the Wilde's, but you've got to have more than talk or a sliding beer glass to back it up.
My own exact status has been a bit hazy since I returned after my Army retirement. I'd been away from home for twenty years until just a few months ago so most folks didn't really know or remember me all that well. I'd been a good kid, a bit dense and far too curious at times, but never got caught in any trouble ... unlike my younger brother Ned. My father was not an Elder, but was respected and senior enough to have a say or two in a good deal of the family business arrangements, and that was definitely a plus. I'd had a good solid military career and done at least a few worthwhile things in my life, also a plus. There was no reason at all not to keep my head up high and keep my hopes up for the future.
Entering Joe's, I hailed him behind the bar ordering a pint of the house dark lager and let Joe decide once again where to serve me. I'd been conducting a bit of an experiment lately to see each night where my beer glass gets initially placed down. I started off originally a few months ago pretty much in dead right-center on top of Gary Gaetti (about as average as a ballplayer can be), but I've been drifting slowly leftwards ever since at the rate of about two baseball cards each week. Today I was very definitely nearing center field territory, right on top of Ron Gant's card. I was just barely on the right hand side of the bar still, but very much in NCO territory now. Very interesting. Just for comparison, Ned gets his beer just about as far to the right edge as the bar goes, right on top of Tino Martinez and Garry Templeton's cards ... the most hated Cardinal players ever apparently.
Making sure that we had no guests, visitors or any unwelcome ears, I leaned over across the bar and began a quiet conversation with Joe.
"Has anything been decided yet about what to do about the situation with Ned's wife Carrie, other than apparently everyone wants to measure her for a new pair of shoes?" These would most definitely be of the cement overshoe variety. We're definitely in the cement business and have lots of it readily on hand ready for those urgent last minute late night fishing trips up to one of the deeper and remoter mountain lakes. Or so I have allegedly heard. Still, I'd just as soon not be a willing participant in that sort of party. I was pretty sure that there had to be some reasonable - but equally permanent alternatives.
"Nope, not as of yet Daniel." Joe admitted, but added as an afterthought, "But something does need to be done ... and pretty doggone soon too - like yesterday. Did you have a thought or two on this?" Uck, I hate when he calls me Daniel, nearly everyone else for decades has just called me Dan.
"Part of a thought anyway ... but I need to know what the Elders are thinking, and what they're willing to consider for alternatives. Most of what I've been hearing sounds pretty bad. Way too many complications and intrusions into family privacy ... but I'm not sure how other folks are seeing it. Much better to talk it around and get a consensus before anyone steps way out of line and does something that's going to be hard to fix afterwards. I'm not really in the mood for a late night fishing trip to do some anchor losing."
Joe grunted an agreement and left me to my beer for awhile. Things work usually pretty slow around here and I wasn't expecting anything to suddenly start happening. Family business doesn't get discussed over the telephone much (never if it's really confidential), and getting the word around for setting up a meeting of interested parties usually takes a few days, unless Joe sends out a flurry of runners to summon people.
I finished my beer and left soon afterwards and I'm sure Joe was staring a hole into my back wondering what I was up to as I left.