The Mead Case: A Roseman Tale

rosemen cover


Sergeant “Lifter” Lifson stood pensively as the “citizen” continued his tirade.

“. . .  and that’s not the half of it,” the man continued. “You Rosies took your sweet time in getting here.  Don’t you realise that I have a business to run here.  It’s not as if I don’t pay my fair share of taxes, not the mention the “donations” I make to the Watch Benevolence Fund. You just ask your Inspector Cruikshank about that one . . . .”

Lifson, an “original” member of the New Watch or what were more commonly known as the “Rosemen,” finally interrupted the man.

“Sir, I understand you distress.  I do need to know more about the actual case, though.”

The man, a wine and spirits merchant, took a breath.

“Very good Sir,” Lifson began. What exactly is missing?”

“Why, nothing,” replied the man, still rather red faced from his shouting.


“That’s just it,” said the man.  They didn’t take anything, they just broke in and left a barrel of Golden Mead.  Same damned thing happened last year.”

“Last year?” Lifter queried.

“Yes, same thing happened a year ago. In fact it’s the anniversary.”

“So it’s trespass you’re concerned about?” Lifson asked.

“Well that and feeling of not being safe in one’s own business,” the merchant said.

“Do you need us to dispose of the bar . . . ?” Lifson began.

“No, in fact it’s good stuff, I had it tested,” the man interrupted.

“Okay, Sir. I have taken some notes and I will get back with you after I have made some inquiries.”

Sergeant Lifson left the shop and took a quick look around the door and windows.  Cases like this one really made him despair.  “I this why I joined the watch?” he thought to himself.  Things were so different back in the old “Crestman” days, policing was real back then,” he mused.

Then he saw it, the glass hadn’t been smashed as he would have expected.  No, it was melted.  The pane had a hole straight through it, and the glass was blistered around the edges.

He made his way back to the watch house, and went to the case archive.  Sure enough the same shop had indeed been broken into the year before.  Though he noted that no mention of the mead was made in the report.

He read a couple of more pages and saw that a similar “burglary” had occurred at the Weasel Tavern, sometime after midnight the following day.

That was it, he would get Watchmen Binman and Fuller and they would stake out the pub after closing.

The proprietor, a man who bore a striking resemblance to the image on the shingle above the door, was not very supportive of having three Rosemen in his establishment after hours.  His objections centered around them helping themselves to drink, though his real concern was the inability to open out of hours.  The possibility of a barrel of free “Golden” wouldn’t be unwelcome either.

In the end, an appeal to the man’s civic duty, and a mention of a visit from some Trading Standards men, seemed to win him over.

The lights were doused and the tavern doors locked just after midnight.  The three Rosies settled in for what could be a longs night.

About one in the morning, a hissing sound could be heard from the ground floor.  Lifson crept down and positioned himself behind the bar, while the two other watchmen readied themselves at the top of the stairs.

A strange glow came from a window pane, as a wizard of sorts placed the end of his staff against the glass.  The pane began to heat and bubble and the shaft pressed through creating an opening. After a minute or so for it to cool, the wizened man put his arm through the hole and opened the latch.  He then climbed through the window and went to open the front door.

From the corner of his eye Lifson saw four similarly dressed men enter the public bar. A grinding noise accompanied their entry, as they slid a barrel of mead into the centre of the room.

Lifson shrank back into the shadows as two of the codgers went to the upper shelf and helped themselves to some costly shots. Then the taller of the two whispered something and the bottles seemed to refill themselves.

At that moment, Lifson blew his whistle and all three watchmen sprung from their hiding places.

“Stop in the name of the King,” Binman bellowed.

Four wrinkled faces turned to him in puzzlement, then the men slowly raised their hands into the air.

“What do we have going on here?” Fuller demanded.

“Well, um, we  . . . ” one of them began.

He was interrupted by the tall figure, who clearing his throat said, “We were trying to get a little refreshment, Constable,” he said.  “You see we drink the same blasted mead for 51 weeks a year. It gets so, so damned monotonous.”

“And?” Lifman interjected.

“We make the stuff ourselves, bees you know, but you can only take so much of it,” the conjurer continued. “So when the head of the order goes on his annual holiday, we make some trades.”

“Usually when people trade, they discuss it with the other party first,” the sergeant said in an earnest tone.

“Really,” said the tall man with a true look of astonishment on his face. He turned to the short plump wizard and said, “You didn’t tell me that part.”

The short man just shrugged, as if he hadn’t known either.

“How are we going to deal with this one, Sarg?” Fuller asked.

“No one’s going to believe it, no matter how we write it up,” Lifman reflected.  “You guys get out of here, and never “trade” again. For now, your superior and our inspector don’t need to know about this.”

“Are we still going to get overtime, Sarg?” Binman asked.

“Yes, just put in your notebook that it was ‘youths’ that were involved, and that we warned them off.”

“Youths, Sarg?” Binman said quizzically.

“Well they looked young for wizards to me,” Lifman said.

“That’s good enough for me,” Fuller said nodding.

“Just when you think you’ve seen everything . . . .”  Lifman trailed off.




The Rosemen first developed as minor characters in The Sisters Tales, but some story lines began to emerge in their own right.  Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s prompt this week gave me some great ideas to work with.

Sunday Writing Prompt “5 by 5”

Anniversary, Blistered, Despair, Grinding, Something Seen in the Periphery

The Mistake

Anton, the maitre d’ was a stickler for decorum. So it should have been of no surprise that he had a fit when Simone came across as rude to the Taylors, regular Friday night customers.

It wasn’t that she had been blatant in her disapproval of the couple’s public embrace.  Her mistake was more of the “clearing of her throat to get their attention” kind.

Nevertheless, the damage had been done. It looked like she would be back to night shift at McDonald’s come Monday.


Secret Keepers Weekly Writing Challenge

(5) Words: | KIND | RUDE | FIT | EMBRACE | MISTAKE |





The Prairie Sky’s Welcome

The Hunt Train wasn’t far into Nebraska when the prairie gave them a reminder of who was in charge. They had settled up well enough, and the livestock were tended to. Then late in the evening all damnation cut loose.

The storm started with some thundering, then sheets of rain lashed the wagons. This was followed by the most spectacular and fearsome show of lightening most had ever seen. One strike hit so close to the Tolbert’s rig that the entire wagon frame shook.

Henni shivered, and was just reflecting to her husband that the weather was never like this in Philadelphia, when the prairie sky took the cue and let down a torrent of hickory nut sized hail. Some folks retreated under their wagons, and others had to be content to wrap up in rugs and blankets and wait for the sky’s fury to pass.

Such was the prairie sky’s welcome for the newcomers.



Secret Keeper’s challenge


Please see other Oregon Trail Tales: The Business and Gladiators

The Visage

wooden pew end man


Brother Antony was prostrate in front of Father Abbot. He had yet again shown vanity, having been found with a looking glass in his cell.

He was to be punished. But what penance would be suitable for one so caught up in his own appearance that he neglected his spiritual exercises?

It was known that Antony was a skilled woodcarver. The Prior suggested that it might be a way to humble this man, so enthralled with his own beauty, if he were to spend his waking hours beautifying the chapel instead. Surely this would bring glory to God.

Antony laboured for weeks carving the stalls of the choir. Finally the task was complete, and the Abbot came to inspect his handiwork. Antony stood eyes down. Finally, the Abbot showing approval, and asked if he had learned his lesson.

Antony nodded, silently gazing at his own image near the Abbot’s feet.

(150 words)



Crimson’s Creative Challenge 3


Quiet Yard


Sharon's photo.jpg

                                                       Quiet Yard


Open to all – day by day.

Quiet yard, hedged in ewe,

An invitation is always there,

But its visitors, are but a few.

. . .

Cool stones there await the feel,

The warmth of breath upon their faces.

But seldom are they so tempered;

As people rush to other places.

. . .

But alas the day, will surely come,

when all – these gates shall pass.

But warm breath shall not be shared,

having already having loosed the last.




I challenge you prompt

Prayer Among the Candles



Prayer Among the Candles

“God, go with you” had been uttered –

Now I stood alone,

In a dim corner of the cathedral –

To face God on my own.


I stood by the flickering tapers,

Far from all the rest,

And there I offered up my prayers,

Or tried my very best.


I was filled with the memory,

of things for which I should atone,

“Grant me mercy,” was my only plea –

As He smiling, nodded from His throne.





Haunted Wordsmith Challenge

Memory, best, “go with you”

Hong Kong

imageedit_1_8033079557 (1)

American Warship and Chinese “Junk” Meet in Hong Kong

Today’s prompt from Sammi Cox has given me an opportunity to reflect back on some journeys of my youth. The word prompt set one of my old photos in mind, The Meeting of East and West.

Here then is my take on the challenge “Fringe” and the word count of 34:

Hong Kong

Forty years have passed now,

And so has old Hong Kong.

Two worlds there came together –

Meeting at a fringe.

East and West entwining,

Cultures flowed and merging there-

And were forever together hinged.




The Track Set

three line tales, week 145: a steam train crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct

photo by Jack Anstey via Unsplash

We really knew Granddad had too much time on his hands,

when he dug up the garden and constructed a valley like water feature;

just for his model trains.





  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post (& check the link shows up under the weekly post).
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.

Autumn Has Come


Autumn has come. Yes, it was the fall of the year, but it was much more than that. The bench where they had courted so many years before, had like them seen the creep of time. The smooth subtle skin of their faces, had with time grown lined and less pliant. So too the bench, weathered and stained, exposed to yet another year of blowing winds and rain. It had once been bright and welcoming in its freshly lacquered sheen. Now it too, like they, faced the autumn of its days.


I have over the last couple of weeks taken part in several writing challenges. They have been a great little diversion, and allowed me to explore areas of writing such as flash fiction and poetry which I don’t generally delve into. I like the ability to play with language, and to get a feel for meaning.  Maybe such indulgences are part of the aging process (much like the short piece above). I will continue to keep my main focus of my blog on my core loves of the spiritual, cookery, and travel however. Thank you all who have been so kind in your comments towards my verbal self-indulgence.


Writing prompt from: Mala Burt