Episode 1

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(Show notes:

Content Warnings for this episode include alcohol, mentions of death, and bar violence.

Image credit: Photo by H Wong on Unsplash 

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The jukebox blared over the sound of the crowd in Keegan's Pub, announcing the unofficial start to another weekend. The first chords of some nineties country song - in rotation since it was a chart topper - blasted out into the small, crowded bar and blended with the sounds of clattering dishes and rowdy conversation.

It was just another work night for Noah. For the past few hours, he'd been behind the bar, chatting with regulars, pouring beers and mixing the occasion cocktail. The controlled chaos of the bar kept him going, boosting his energy as he dashed back and forth between tasks.

"Hey, what can I get you folks tonight?" he asked as a young couple made their way up to the bar.

"Sam seasonal, please," the woman responded.

"What do you got on tap?" the man asked.

Noah scanned the taps. "Uh, Sam, Sam Octoberfest, Bud, Bud Light, Guinness...and that's it."

The man let out an unimpressed huff. "No craft beer?"

Noah shook his head. "Not on draft. In bottle we've got-"

The man cut him off. "Fine. I'll just get an Octoberfest."

Without a word, Noah turned to the taps and poured the drinks. He brought them back over to the couple and set them down on the heavy wooden bar.

"Tell your boss to get better beers on tap," the man said, picking up his mug and taking a long sip. "No one wants to drink from the bottle."

"Sure thing," Noah replied, sure that his sarcasm was about to go right over this man's head.

It did. The man nodded in satisfaction, took another long sip of his beer, and turned to leave.

"You gonna open a tab?"

With a dramatic sigh, the man turned back around and tossed a credit card on the bar. Then he and his date were gone.

There was nobody waiting for drinks for the first time all evening. Noah took a breath, stretched a little, and ran a hand through his short, dark hair. It was heading toward midnight and the atmosphere inside Keegan's was still rowdy and celebratory. Last call was coming shortly and he knew things would die down after that.

"Hi, Noah."

He looked over at the end of the bar. Iris Davies was standing there. She was a little younger than Noah, maybe thirty years old. Tall, blonde, and willowy, she was New Winslow's resident psychic and magic shop owner. He didn't see her in here often, but knew her from around town.

"Iris!" Noah called, making his way over to her. "Got any messages for me tonight?"

"From your dad?" Iris replied, her voice soft and sad. She looked up at Noah. "No, but I'm always available to schedule a séance or try to contact him."

Noah's stomach filled with ice. "Jesus," he said in a strangled voice. "Iris, I meant like lotto numbers."

Iris blushed. "Oh! I'm sorry," she said. "When you said 'messages' I just assumed that you meant..."

"No, no, it's fine. I should've...it's fine. Can I get you a drink?"

Iris shook her head. "I'm all set, thanks. But I wanted to tell you to be careful of that man over by the jukebox. He's going to start some trouble."

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