A Baxter Inn
I was in Sydney for a conference today, and I made the poorly-reasoned decision to attend the networking drinks afterwards. I spoke to no one, drank a beer quickly, then fled downstairs to write by a phone charger.
I still had over an hour to kill before I needed to leave the city. I opened Maps to plot my route to the train station, and that’s when I saw, a few hundred metres away, a pub named The Baxter Inn.
Only a few people would recognise this significant of this. Why Google’s unfeeling brain felt the urge to present me with it, I can guess. It probably has something to do with one of the heavily-used tags in my Keep notes, plus the time of afternoon. I clicked on the details and learned that the venue offered an amazing selection of whiskeys and gins. I wondered if this also included the most exotic of dark, spiced rums.
I was already walking. I was about to find out.
I turned down a narrow alley off Clarence Street, which widened into an old loading dock shrouded in the shadows of skyscrapers. In the corner was a speakeasy, bottles of liquour visible through the windows.
I stepped through the low doorway and approached the bar where a young man with a hipster haircut and a trimmed moustache watched me approach with a friendly smile.
“I’m looking for a dark, spiced rum,” I said. “What do you recommend?”
He glanced over his shoulder at the long shelves of whisky bottles. “We only have one, actually.”
“What is it?”
“Oh,” I said.
I had nowhere else to go, and the itch to write more, so I ordered a dark, spiced Bacardi (which wasn’t actually that bad). I sat in the corner of the bar, working on a short story by candlelight, learning how to sip while negotiating the single, giant ice-cube that floated in my cup. I wrote a couple of pages, felt good about it, noticed on a coaster that the name of the place was not actually The Baxter Inn. I’d gone and bloody stepped into the wrong speakeasy-down-a-laneway-on-Clarence-street and some delicious, spiced rum was in a bottle waiting for me somewhere else. Or maybe The Baxter Inn didn’t exist, or it did but it was in a different universe to the one I was in. That could make sense.
Not getting enough emails? Want to receive updates and publishing news in your inbox? Sign up to the bradism mailing list. You'll also receive an ebook, free!