Thursday, August 16, 2012

Koroviev Utters a Curse . . .

Maudite Teaser

The clownish character Koroviev, on loan from Mikhail Bulgakov in my soon-to-be published story "The Bottomless Bottle of Beer," grows desperate for a drink on his way guiding a gaggle of individuals to a mysterious place called Our Back's Ratskeller and requests forbearance from those he's leading while he slakes his thirst. His request granted, he heads into a local pub called the Witch's Brew:
"Consider me a thirsty desperado," Koroviev replied, heading for the tavern door and leading us within. The interior was dimly lit by whale oil lamps, but more patrons than one might expect were present despite the early hour. To the left of the bar at a table in the corner sat a covey of women, thirteen in all, clustered around a kettle of some sort of intoxicating drink, for they all looked flushed and happy, and they smiled at Koroviev, who bowed, but headed straight for the bar to order his drink from an ancient, deeply wrinkled crone he greeted as "Old Nancy." I followed out of curiosity and a repressed craving for some of the Shoggoth's in my bag, watching intently as he asked for a pint of Maudite on tap. Noting my interest, he volunteered, "A hoppy French-Canadian beer, concocted by Unibroue, oddly, for they brew more than one beer."

"You misunderstand, Koroviev," objected a husky voice from a shadowy corner. "The brewery's name expresses their motto, 'Drink less, drink better.' They brew several beers, but you need drink only one for satisfaction."

"Not true, Behemoth," retorted Koroviev. "My thirst is insatiable."

Surprised that the unseen voice had been addressed as "Behemoth," I focused on the dark corner, but could only make out something like a faded smile, which purred cuttingly, "You are then the exception that proves the rule."

"I appreciate the exceptional compliment, Behemoth," he replied, "but I adhere to logic like a barnacle to a ship. I may be exceptional, but I must take exception. The proverbial folk wisdom is once again wrong. An exception, without exception, disproves the rule!"

"Koroviev," came the soft hiss, "you continue to misunderstand. Generalizations are only generally true. By being an exception, you prove that a rule exists. I speak of inductive logic. I believe that you, Koroviev, are thinking of deductive logic, where an exception might very well disprove a rule."

"An excellent response, Behemoth," conceded Koroviev. "Might I interest you in a Maudite?"
Behemoth proves himself interested, and events take their course from there as the story's climax approaches, but you will need to obtain a copy of Emanations II when it comes out in a couple of months to discover what transpires (other than perspiration) . . .

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