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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2208872
by Slam
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Legal · #2208872
The de facto lawman of the Peat Wheel pub adjudicates a bar brawl.
Shillelagh Law

Sloane was known as the resident lawman at the Peat Wheel pub. He was doing an apprenticeship at a nearby courthouse, so everybody assumed him to be knowledgable at law. Little did most people know, Sloane was the courthouse's dustman's apprentice. While he did occasionally overhear legal matters, he was nowhere near qualified to adjudicate anything. Still, he proudly took on the role. He wasn't good at law in the legal sense, but he was a damn good improviser. He'd spend every night at the Peat Wheel silently drinking in the corner. Whenever a conflict arose, he'd be the first one anyone would consult. Just as they did on this fateful Sunday evening.

"Hey, Sloane. McCormac just drank from Mrs. Brae's cup and she smacked him over the head with a cudgel. The two are about to go at it."

Sloane didn't recognize the patron talking to him, but he wasn't surprised to see that he was known to him. He stood up from his chair, leaving his pint half full on the table. He thanked the patron for letting him know of the event and approached McCormac and Mrs. Brae. He put his hands on his hips and cleared his throat before speaking.

"Mrs. Brae and Mr. McCormac. It has been brought to my attention that the two of you have been quarreling. Will you please tell me your problem one at a time."

Both Brae and McCormac opened their mouths to start speaking, but Sloane pointed towards McCormac with an open palm and Brae crossed her arms as she let McCormac speak.

"I was just enjoying a bit of porter when this unruly harlot smacked me over the head with a stick! She should be arrested for assault, she should! Go on! Put her away!"

Sloane nodded his head as he listened to McCormac. McCormac was known to be consistently drunk. Intoxication was his default state. It had been years since anyone had seen him sober. His red nose shone under his bald head. His foul breath assaulted Sloane's senses with every word he spoke. His short stature made him look like a child throwing a tantrum as he stomped and screeched in protest.

Sloane hushed him before he could continue rambling, and beckoned Mrs. Brae to speak.

"That cup of porter was mine! This oaf stole it right off my table as I was having a conversation with someone else. He deserved more than a smack over the head. He should compensate me for the drink he stole. That was expensive, you know!"

Mrs. Brae was a respected woman around these parts. Her husband was a local farmer. After he died by falling off a ladder, she took on his business and was much better at it than the late Mr. Brae. She was large in every sense of the word. A smack over the head from her would indeed hurt a man.

After listening to the two parties speak, Sloane spoke his mind.

"It is clear that Mr. McCormac did indeed steal the cup of porter from Mrs. Brae."

Mrs. Brae proudly nodded.

"However, nobody could dispute that Mr. McCormac was inebriated at the time. Therefore his judgement was clouded."

Mrs. Brae raised her voice in protest.

"Of course he was drunk! He's always drunk! That doesn't excuse him!"

Sloane was quick to silence her.

"Mrs. Brae, please. Let me finish. The law dictates that while Mr. McCormac can not be held liable for his mistake, Mrs. Brae can not be faulted for punishing Mr. McCormac. I assume that Mr. McCormac can not afford to compensate Mrs. Brae for the cup of porter he drank?"

Mr. McCormac nodded in shame. Mrs. Brae was quick to demand justice.

"Something's gotta be done then! I demand satisfaction!"

"Aye, Mrs. Brae. There will be ample opportunity for the both of you to make amends. The court is at a deadlock, so more decisive methods must be used. This trial will be going into a combat ruling. Both of you will face each other in hand to hand combat. Shillelagh law will be enforced. That means no knives, swords, guns or broken bottles. You may appoint somebody else to fight in your stead, but both parties must agree to the replacements."

Mrs. Brae smiled. Though the terms seemed fair to the uninitiated, it was clear that Mrs. Brae would destroy McCormac. This was clearly Sloane ruling in favour of Mrs. Brae. However, McCormac was not aware of the gravity of the situation. In his drunken stupor, he was confident that he could best Mrs. Brae. Neither side decided to appoint another fighter, and tables were pushed aside to create room for the brawl.

Both combatants were searched to make sure neither side was carrying a hidden weapon. Mrs. Brae tightly gripped her shillelagh while McCormac squared up, unarmed. Sloane counted down, and the battle erupted. McCormac pummeled Brae's abdomen, but his pitiful punches were useless against her mighty belly. She grabbed McCormac by the collar of his shirt and smashed her cudgel on his head. The stick slammed against his skull and a loud crack was heard. McCormac fell to the floor, but the shillelagh didn't have a single crack on it. McCormac's limp body was carried away, and the trial was over.

The tables were placed back to where they were, and Sloane and Mrs. Brae sat together. Mrs. Brae ordered two cups of porter for the two of them. Another case was solved, another skull was cracked, and all was well at the Peat Wheel pub.
© Copyright 2019 Slam (slamalama at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2208872