Our family had been making superior moonshine as a sideline for five generations. But then The Shortages struck and the price of booze soared. We were suddenly making a fortune, but we reckoned it only a matter of time before the bad guys wanted in.
Two immaculately tailored gentlemen paid us a visit. Grandma signalled for us boys to disappear and went to greet them. They were inside quite some time, and then Grandma led them up through the orchards to where the still sat in a deep-walled valley in the icy cold waters of a stream that came straight down from the mountains.
Once they had gone the old lady shrugged. “We may lose some profits short term.”
She was right about losing profit, within six months the big guys’ cheap rotgut had undercut us so far that we just stopped selling. Though we did keep producing and stockpiling,
Then the sickness started. First a trickle, then a flood. Men struck down with stomach complaints that left them vomiting blood. At first nobody much cared, then the sons of wealthy families began to fall prey.
It almost goes without saying that the cheap rotgut was literally rotting guts. There were repercussions, and Grandma reckoned it time to reopen our bottling plant.
Ma looked the old beldame between the eyes.
“Okay. What did you do?”
“More what I didn’t do Charlaine. I mighta forgot to tell them to clean the car radiators before they made ‘em into a still.”
© jane jago 2017