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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When it grains, it pours

Spilling a full bag of grain, finding a pool of liquid malt on the floor, duets with singing fishesall in day's work at Siciliano's Market.

Steve & the singing fish,
a don't-miss duet.
By Steve Siciliano

Sometimes you just have to laugh, and if you’re really lucky, a singing fish will serendipitously appear to help you chortle at the curve balls life throws at you.

On the Friday before the homebrew party the store immediately got busy as soon as I unlocked the door—a couple of fellows from Chicago looking for Michigan beers, a steady stream of customers coming in for cigarette tobacco, pipe tobacco and cigars, a nice lady from Rockford with a long list of beer making equipment and ingredients, a constantly ringing phone. I helped the Chicago fellows with their selections, tended the till, ran back to the warehouse for a carboy, answered the phone (yes, you can still purchase a ticket to the home brew party, credit card number please) ran to the cooler for hops and yeast, and answered the phone again.

With the Chicago customers patiently waiting, I finished ringing up the Rockford’s lady’s purchases, ran her credit card, answered the phone (yes, you can get a ticket to the home brew party, credit card number please), then ran into the west wing for her sack of two row. When I hefted the fifty pound sack on my shoulder it split in two and an avalanche of grain cascaded to the floor. I stood stunned for a few seconds then gingerly hoisted another bag to my shoulder and carried it to her car.

Now that's a mess
While I was totaling up the Chicagoans’ purchases the Rockford lady returned with a credit card receipt in her hand. Could I please explain what the $35.00 charge was for? In the process of trying to do three things at once, I mistakenly had her sign a receipt for a homebrew party ticket.

Liquid malt on the floor,
a sticky situation.
Katie came in at nine and I related the events of the last hour while we swept up the grain. Probably because I looked like I had just gone three rounds with Floyd Mayweather, she suggested that I take a break. On the way to the warehouse, I dug kernels of Briess two row out of my ear canal. I sat down in the warehouse, lit my pipe, then immediately let out a loud string of swear words. A beer ingredient kit on the top shelf was leaking liquid malt which had oozed over a number of kits below it and was expanding in a brown puddle on the floor. While I smoked my pipe I stared at the gooey mess and felt as if I was an ancient Greek who was being tormented by an angry Olympian god. It was when I was telling Katie about the mess in the warehouse that a customer walked in with the singing fish.

Let me assure you that it’s not every day that a customer walks into the store with a singing fish. The weird morning had just gotten weirder. I watched in disbelief while he plugged the cord into an outlet and it was then I laughed. The song that the tail slapping, mouth moving bass was singing? “Don’t worry, be happy.”

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