The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secrets of Marienstadt Volume 1 is finally live. Below are three samples from the three stories that comprise Volume 1. All are set in the fictional town of Marienstadt, a Pennsylvania Dutch community in the Allegheny Highlands. Featuring a rotating cast of characters inluding Oliver, Gretchen, and Father Nick from "The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood." Other characters include the devastatingly handsome Chief of Police, Henry Werner; Dean Ginther, the patrolman who loves to ticket nuns; Lola Eckert, a beautiful but bashful strudel artist; Peeper Baumgratz, who is ready for the Apocalypse; Sister Ursula, the nun with a snowplow; Mulligan Wolfe, the pig farmer who can dance, and many more.
From "Peeper Baumgratz and the Sister's Snowplow":
Henry Werner knew that being the Chief of Police in Marienstadt, Pennsylvania, was an easy job but any day that started out with a visit from Sister Adelaide, the Prioress of St. Joseph's Convent, and which was followed by a call from the State Police, was off to an unpromising start. Despite the fact that he was close to forty and had been a policeman ever since he left the Marines, one withering stare from Sister Adelaide could reduce him to a single throbbing nerve. The worst part was, she knew it.
"Henry," she said, looking at him over the top of the half-moon glasses perched on her long, patrician nose, "is it really necessary to ticket the convent's automobiles at every single opportunity? I understand that the sisters need to be more mindful of making sure there is adequate money in the parking meters but, honestly, the time had barely run out when Patrolman Ginther wrote this out." She waved the bright orange ticket in front of him.
"Give it to me, Sister," he said. "I'll take care of it." He knew that by 'taking care of it' he meant that he would pay for it himself but he preferred that she not know that.
From "The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall":
Titus had grown up hearing stories about Grampa Jubal. Grampa Jubal, the man of iron who worked on the railroad laying track with John Henry-like strength and speed. Grampa Jubal who worked in the logging camps and, with axe or crosscut saw, could fell a tree faster and more accurately than Paul Bunyan himself. Grampa Jubal who could climb a three-story ladder carrying a bale of shingles on his back, even at the age of sixty. Grampa Jubal, sire to nine children, thirty-six grandchildren, and the founder of one of the most successful construction companies in north central Pennsylvania.
Grampa Jubal, Titus thought, the lying, no good, deadbeat husband and father who abandoned his first family, leaving them to waste away from hunger and disease while he went off to see what adventures he could find. Titus hated Grandpa Jubal for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being that, though he had died before Titus was even born, he refused to stay dead.
From "The Great Dumpling War and Dance Competition":
"Well, as you may know this is the one hundredth anniversary of the re-building of St. Walburga's Church after the first one burnt down and I have a little project in mind that I thought you might consider participating in," Father Nicholas Bauer said.
Mulligan pushed his cap back and smiled. "Sure, Padre, anything I can do."
Father Nick groaned inwardly but reminded himself that nicknames were a sign of affection and blundered on. "What I would like to do is put together a book of recipes from all the fine cooks here in Marienstadt. Well," he hesitated, "that was my original plan but..."
Mulligan flashed a wicked grin. "...but the fine ladies of Marienstadt aren't about to part with their precious recipes."
Father Nick stared at him. "How did you know?"
"Hey, I've lived here most of my life. I know these gals." He took a huge swallow of beer. "Nothin ever changes. Let me tell you something, when I started my business here my own mother was scared silly I'd give away some of her recipes by using them for my stuff. I told her to keep her damn recipes. I invented my own."
"Your mother is Kuni Wolfe?"
"Yeah, sweet old Kunigunda, mother of a beer salesman, a nun, and a pig farmer. She's so thrilled." He chuckled, drained his beer and turned sideways in his chair to pour himself another.