by Raji Singh
From the Archives of the Fiction House…
I brew up stump juice with the passion of an oenologist. That’s a fancy-schmanzy name for a winemaker. As with the nectar of the vine, there are endless styles and varieties of the juice-de- stumpe. To make merry with your senses is but the drink’s only desire: Infinite bouquets waltz the olfactory; tantalizing piquancy tango the taste buds; biting textures fandango live-ely down the throat; this slow, close dance caresses your heart. The resulting rhythmic, “thump-thump”, resonates hypnotically in your thoughts.
Tenille tells me, often, kindly. “I’ll buy my vino at the store, thank you. Just be sure, Raji, that you keep your juice-de stumpe in the basement well above the childrens’ reach.”
A vintner practices vinification; a stump juicer – stumpification. To participate in this fine art one need only a hollowed out stump, preferably one naturally age-weathered, and of hardwood origin – oak, or softer omega 3 rich walnut; and, yeast, a small fire, clear water (rainwater before the days of acid rain), plus any number of ingredients Mother Nature has borne.
For residents of the Fiction House, brewing the combination beverage-elixir-aperitif is a culture and tradition dating back over 200 years – from the forest outskirts of Paris, to the Lindian Woods – from the mid-west Flint Hills, to Kentucky mountain hideaways. Each region’s unique wood, climate, and water, creates different tastes.
Our Fiction House pride, joy, and specialty are the Kentucky stump juices. They are clear, rich, and potent – whether they’re the alcoholic or non-alcohol line.
Doubtless, the culture of brewing stump juice dates back thousands of years. Archeologists for Fiction House Publishing continually find evidence of its practice among humankind’s ancient ancestors from along the Nile, and among our Phoenician sister and brethren. Phoenician sailors took portable stump juicers along on their boats – to brew it in transit. On the Silk Road, accounts of smoking camel backs, are prevalent – ‘demonstrator’ stump juicers used by traders to help market the liquid, the juicer, and ingredients.
By next week, the Archeologists will have their research complete. Then I will be able to introduce everyone to the Ancient Mariner. He was one of the highest-respected residents of the Fiction House. He is the seaman who took in my great-great grandfather, James Thaddeus ‘Blackjack’ Fiction when great-great granfa was an orphan foundling. (Mariner too, had been a foundling.) Mariner’s stump juice recipe – via Dr. Benjamin Franklin.
NEXT WEEK: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HAPPENS ONTO STUMP JUICE AND THE WORLD IS FOREVER CHANGED.
(Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. They are completely different stories. My novel is available at Amazon, (Kindle and Trade Paperback) and Barnes and Noble.)
©2014 Raji Singh