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John Barleycorn Must Die!
by Mark on 2/7/2004 (6)

College poetry major Trevor Razor assaults the brewing industry, with nigh results.

'Twas not just another January night at The Red Lion pub, nay...the grey wintery clouds roiled in terrible mountains of tortured air beneath the sodden English sky. Grave brethren anguish through stale puffs of frozen breath, seeking solace and warmth within.

Trevor Razor, swaddled in black leather, unfurled his dragoon tunic, shedding cossack leggings like an ebony dragonfly in the haunted tavern light.

"'Tis surely the Night of Lucifer. My very bones ache, as if raked by the very devil himself, picked clean by ravens, bleached by icy winds and cast upon Stygian shores. To what do I owe thee, Abaddon, Beelzebub, Apollyon, Accuser of our Brethren? By any name, thine kingdom is nigh as bleak as this dreary night..."

Trevor's girlfriend Vanessa Gosling tossed a slice of lime, whacking him on the forehead.

"Blimey, Trevor! Sack it! I'm sick and bloody tired of you waxing bloody poetic! We can't even go out for a half-pint without you raving off like some bloody barmcake! Now sack it!"

Trevor, wiping lime juice from his brow, responded

"Betty Swallox! Why does thou torture me so? Am I not the source of thine soul?!"

A few pints of Guinness later, Trevor ranted anew. Quoting from the Jack London poem "John Barleycorn Must Die":

"There were three men come out of the west, their fortunes for to try And these three men made a solemn vow, John Barleycorn would die They've ploughed, they've sown, they've harrowed, thrown clods upon his head Till these three men were satisfied John Barleycorn was dead!

Vanessa, obviously embarressed, looked away from pub patrons glaring eyes.

"Trevor...this is getting a bit scrotty! You're making bad news of us! Every night you promise not get bevvied up, and every night it's bloody the same!"

Quaffing and shooshing, Trevor ranted on:

"There's beer all in the barrel and brandy in the glass But little Sir John, with his nut-brown bowl, proved the strongest man at last They've let him lie for a long long time till the rains from heaven did fall And little Sir John sprang up his head and so amazed them all They've let him stand till midsummer's day and he looks both pale and wan Then little Sir John's grown a long long beard and so become a man!"

A burly bartender sauntered confidently up to Trevors table.

"Belt up mate, you're acting a bit schizzo, right? If you go on acting scabby, we'll see you next tuesday, right?"

Tossing back another pint and brushing off the bartender with a Frenchman's wave, Trevor persisted:

"They've hired men with the sharp-edged scythes to cut him off at the knee They've rolled him and tied him around the waist, treated him most barbarously They've hired men with the sharp-edged forks to prick him to the heart And the loader has served him worse than that for he's bound him to the cart So they've wheeled him around and around the field till they've come unto a barn And here they've kept their solemn word concerning Barleycorn They've hired men with the crabtree sticks to split him skin from bone And the miller has served him worse than that for he's ground him between two stones!"

Pounding the table with clenched fists, beer and bottle came tumbling down with a splintering crash.

"John Barleycorn MUST DIE!"

The band stopped playing.

Seizing Trevor by the cuff, the bartender manhandled Trevor out the door, tossing him flat in the alley.

Vanessa picked him up, brushing muck from his brow.

"Well, you did it again, Love. I swear to it, mother told me to find a nice doctor, that she did!..."

Trevor rubbed his aching head.

"T-that's the last of it, Love. I promise..."

Disappearing into the night mist, but a scant moment passed before Trevor began quoting from th


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