The Bottle

Gregory loaded the last crate on to the trailer and mopped his brow which was wringing with sweat, he hated yard work on days like these and thought enviously about the guys working in the warehouse. The bottles of ale looked very tempting, how nice would it be to crack one open and quench his thirst with a Pale Ale? Very, but losing his job for the sake of a bottle of beer would be a fool-hardy action. He became aware that there was someone else in the yard and he turned to find that doctor who was with the policeman standing at the gate.

“Afternoon Gregory,” he said. “You must be sweating cobs loading all the vans in this heat.”

“Yes I am,” he confirmed. “Still got to get these loaded for the evening delivery though.”

“”I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a few questions about Williams, you see I have a death certificate to write and I need some final information to submit to the coroner to get this whole sorry business closed.”

Gregory shrugged, “yeah come on over, but can you give me a hand as I’m a bit behind.”

“Sure,” said Dr Webster as he slipped through the gate, closing it behind him. “If we can’t help each other…”

“So what do you need to know?” asked Gregory.

“You say you found him on gantry floor having fallen from the top, or at least that’s what you assumed.”

“I assumed he’d decided to finish off the barrel from the brewery tour, wandered around the site doing his lock up checks under the influence and lost his footing.”

“Well there was only low-level alcohol in his blood stream, but I believe he might have been under some influence.”

“How do you mean?” queried Gregory lifting a heavy wooden crate.

“Let me help you with that,” said Dr Webster as he supported the box. “I know you are a labourer but you must know that the brewing process produces a large amount of Carbon Dioxide, so I think that sent him dizzy.”

“I see,” said Gregory not really following.

“Gregory, why is this box to be put in a chiller while in transit?” queried Dr Webster.

“Oh it’s the Matheson’s Old Ale, it’s a specialised beer and it needs to be keep chilled while travelling else it ferments too much.”

“I’ve not seen one of those before lets have a look,” said Dr Webster beginning to break open the box.

“Sir, those ales cost 5.50 a bottle at wholesale price.”

“Ok I’ll pay for two bottles at commercial price then,” he quipped. The box was filled with straw and paper nursing six bottles with what looked like a soda syphon on the top. He picked one up and examined it, the logo was fairly standard but it was the syphon that raised his curiosity. “Gregory there are some glasses there, lets try the beer.”

“Ok, but make sure you do pay for the bottle.” Gregory handed him a glass and the doctor squirted a bit of the beer into the glass and took a sniff.

“That’s an unusual nose here,” he offered the glass to Gregory. “It’s a very pale Pale Ale too.”

“My god that smells foul,” Gregory said. He then started panicking. “That means I’ve left the crates out too long and ruined the batch. Jim’ll sack me for this.”

“The beer isn’t wrong Gregory,” said Dr Webster reassuringly. His body then became more stern and his expression hardened. “It’s petrol loaded under pressure.”

“What?”

“Of course,” mumbled Dr Webster not to anyone in particular, “one of these little flame throwers near the pressurised gases in a cellar would burn the place out in a matter of minutes.” He looked at Gregory, “I need to tell me where the first delivery of this ale is so I can get Arthur and Parton to get them in the act.”

“Oh you won’t be going anywhere,” said a voice from behind them. “Either of you.”

They turned to find Jim and two others standing in front of them, Jim had revolver pointed at them.

“I see you have discovered the secret of our special brew,” he stated coldly. “It’s a pity you and that you will not be able to split a bottle with your friend Fransure.”Said Jim coldly. He motion to his lackeys, “right lock them away in the store room.”

In response to the Daily Prompt: Bottle

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