In a neighborhood pub in the shadow of the Nations Capitol an unassuming bartender stood post behind the bar. In one hand was a dishtowel and in the other was the same pint glass he had been polishing for the last hour.
The bar had a supply of clean glasses that could survive several friday nights of fraternity parties but it was what people expected of bartenders.He was all about service.
It was at times like these his imagination tended to escape the shadows of the murky pub and explore the boundaries of reality.
The bartender glanced up at the clock on the wall and noticed that it was about time for a visit from the bearded one. Right on cue the door opened and a shaft of afternoon light barged its way in outlining the man he only knew as the bearded one. When the door had closed and the sunburnt silhouette had faded from his retina he found the bearded man standing in front of him while he waited for his next conspiratorial proclamation.
“My sources say the penny ruse is run amok and the stage is set for Cabal phase 2. I shan’t stay for a beer. I must be off,” said the bearded one and in the blink of an eye he was gone.
Oh I think you already are, thought the bartender.
Mr. Panama will be happy to hear the news. There was no telling when he would show up. Mr. Panama prided himself on his unpredictability.
Mr. Panama often said that he did not live his life in patterns so as to be impossible to follow. The bartender thought Mr Panama lived in a multitude of dimensions but reality wasn’t one of them.
The bartender returned the glass to the shelf and started on another one.
The sound of throat clearing caught his attention and he turned around and low and behold Mr Panama had silently appeared sitting at the bar. I hate when he does that, he thought.
“Has the bearded on been here today,” asked Mr. Panama.
“That would be a yes,” replied the bartender.
“Did he have recent news pertaining to our mutual venture,“ asked Mr. Panama.
“Oh the cabal?”
“Ix nay on the abal cay”, whispered the panama wearing one.
“Oh I’m sorry. Yes, he said something to the effect of “the penny ruse is run amok and the stage is set for Cabal phase 2. I shan’t stay for a beer. I must be off.””
“Very well but I’m confused about the beer part.”
“Well, he couldn’t stay for a beer. I should have left that bit out.”
“Yes, well it sounds like he believes the true goal is really the misdirection. “
“Oh, that’s bad.”
“Au contraire, that is good.”
“Yes. Remember that our main goal really is to keep the penny in circulation.”
“Oh, that is not the diversion?”
“No. The beauty of the plan is that the diversion is the goal.”
“But isn’t Mr. Beard part of the conspiracy?”
“Well yes and no.”
“Oh. Well, who’s on first?”
“Pardon?” replied Mr. Panama.
“Sorry, I’m just a little confused.”
“Mr. Beard is part of the plan. He plays the role of the unwitting conspirator.”
“Oh. Yes, of course.”
And I must be playing the role of the unwitting bartender, he thought as he returned the newly polished glass to the shelf.
“Now that that is settled. I shan’t stay. I must be off,” said Mr. Panama
The barmen turned around and noticed that the man had left without a sound. Even the squeaky door was silent.
The barman shook his head and thought “Who’s On First” was much easier to follow. How did I get involved with this charade? I think they both must be off.