A Beer (or Two) and a Story (or Two)

I like reading. I like beer. Sometimes I like both at once, usually when I go out ‘solo’ after work for a quick dinner and drink (or two) rather than go home and rustle up my own food. I thought it might be fun to start blogging every now and then about some of the more entertaining stories I’ve read in this situation, so here goes episode 1 of ??…

The Venue: MacNivens Restaurant & Bar, visited on 7/25/17; picture below from Yelp.com. I once toyed with the idea of founding a “Sir Walter Scott Book Club” that would meet here (since, after all, it’s a Scottish Restaurant) but I found it hard to recruit members…


The Beer: Natural Liberty – an American Pale Lager by Black Acre Brewing Company

Did I Eat Anything? Yes, the Poached Salmon Salad, which was, as I like to say, “MacNivenscent!” 🙂

The Story: Ray Bradbury’s “The Dragon”

(photos from Indianapolis Monthly and Google images)

Disclaimer: I actually read two stories and had two different beers on this outing, the other story being Bradbury’s “The Exiles” and the other beer being Confessional IPA from St. Joseph Brewing Co. I’d read the story before (even blogged about it here) so I won’t include it in this post, and though Confessional IPA is a decent brew, it is imho inferior to “Nat Lib,” which is one of my favorite local beers.

The Story

I’m in the process of cleaning up the unread “orphan stories” that I didn’t finish as part of my #24in48 Readathon plans, and the next card I drew was the four of Clubs, to which I had assigned the story “The Dragon” from my copy of Bradbury Stories: 100 of his Most Celebrated Tales. It was originally published in 1955 in Esquire Magazine.


***Spoilers follow*** It’s a very short story, which I didn’t realize when I started it, having just “jumped” to its location on my Kindle reader. Two intrepid men (I’m assuming they’re knights since they have armor and lances) are somewhere on the moor, seeking a dragon which has apparently been causing havoc in the countryside, eating “men traveling alone between our town and the next.” We learn something of what the men are up against:

“This dragon, they say his eyes are fire. His breath a white gas; you can see him burn across the dark lands. He runs with sulfur and thunder and kindles the grass. Sheep panic and die insane. Women deliver forth monsters. The dragon’s fury is such that tower walls shake back to dust. His victims, at sunrise, are strewn hither thither on the hills. How many knights, I ask, have gone for this monster and failed, even as we shall fail?”

Though the men in this story know the time period (or think they do) in which it is set – “900 years after the Nativity” – there is something special about Time on the moors…

“On this moor is no Time, is only Forever. I feel if I ran back on the road the town would be gone, the people yet unborn, things changed, the castles unquarried from the rocks, the timbers still uncut from the forests; don’t ask how I know; the moor knows and tells me.”

This story wouldn’t deliver the goods if these two brave souls didn’t indeed encounter the dragon they seek, but is it one of their time, or another? Will they vanquish it, or will their bodies be left strewn in its wake, as countless others have been?

I really enjoyed this story and was once again amazed at how some authors can tell such a great story in so few pages.

What about YOU? Do you sometimes find yourself “sitting at the bar” and reading? e-Readers and their associated apps have made this commonplace for me anymore…


  1. Dale said,

    July 28, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Bradbury can definitely pack a lot into a few pages. It’s amazing! Lately, I read more on my front porch than anywhere else – with varying beverages. And with the winters we’ve had the last few years, I can read out there almost all year long.


    • Jay said,

      August 1, 2017 at 8:14 am

      I used to love reading on the porch at my Granddad’s house when we visited them. We didn’t have a reading-friendly porch in the house I grew up in, but I sometimes read up in our Scarlet Oak tree(!) I haven’t done much outdoor reading lately now that I think of it. I’ll have to make that another series of posts… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dale said,

        August 1, 2017 at 9:19 am

        I moved more into the city a few years ago and now I have a porch that is reading-friendly, even if its raining. And there is more “nature” in the city than there was in the suburbs.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Randall said,

    July 29, 2017 at 9:35 am

    I have this fantasy of sitting outside, maybe under a shade tree, reading the afternoon away. But in South Mississippi that just does not happen in July, or really anytime. If the heat doesn’t get you, the bugs will. So I have a big comfy leather chair in my home library that gets to see most of my reading action. If I don’t fall asleep in it, that is….. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      August 1, 2017 at 8:15 am

      I struggle with falling asleep while reading in Big Comfy Chairs as well. I “don’t do humidity” so reading outdoors in Mississippi would be a challenge for me. 🙂


  3. Linda Lamb said,

    July 29, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Jay, too bad your Scottish plan didn’t work out; that place looks neat! I similarly keep track of books I read in airports & airplanes. Just made a trip back to Michigan and read Erik Larsen’s “Thunderstruck” on the way there. On the way back, read mediocre chick lit (“The Things We Wish Were True”) while a nagging inner voice asked, “WHEN will you get your s*** together and read ‘Hillbilly Elegy’?!?!?!”


    • Jay said,

      August 1, 2017 at 8:19 am

      The picture actually only shows half the place – the “bar” half. I often go there before Colts home games, as it is far enough away from the stadium that it’s not insanely crowded like many places. I have read Sir Walter Scott there myself while sitting at the bar.

      Hillbilly Elegy is on my book club’s schedule for, I think, October. I’m really looking forward to it. I have dozens of cousins in the mountains of WV (though they are NOT hillbillies, and don’t ever let my Mom hear you use that word!) 🙂

      I’ve been meaning to read Larsen again, but haven’t gotten to him yet. A couple book clubs read his Devil in the White City.


      • Linda H. Lamb said,

        August 1, 2017 at 10:22 am

        I guess “hillbilly elegy” just rolls off the tongue better than “redneck elegy.” 🙂 I’ve downloaded it to Kindle, and hopefully will get to it BEFORE my next plane trip! “Thunderstruck” is no “Devil/White City,” but I still had to admire Larsen’s research and technique.

        Liked by 1 person

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