“…90, 91, 92, 93…”
Dan stops counting and looks out at a sea of whiskey barrels before him. He
has an easier time counting them if he climbs up to the top.
“…94, 95, 96, 97…”
As the Head Whiskeydaddler it’s his job to make sure his team has hit its goal
for the day. Or in this case, its goal for the night. Which in this case was…
“…98, 99, 100. Okay, we got 100, boys!”
Dan’s booming voice bounces around the warehouse filled with barrels of
bourbon and rye. A loud
bounces back to him along with the heavy sound of daddleboots on the timber floor
trailing off in the distance. They know that means their work is done and they
can go home.
Dan laughs to himself and smiles, gazing admiringly at the perfectly stacked
barrels, aligned with mathematic precision and care. And they didn’t have
any breaks or leaks, which is tough to do even for the best team of daddlers.
He feels a tug at the leg of his thick denim pants and, sensing a familiar
presence, looks down to see the face of Whiskers, the distillery cat, staring up
at him placidly, arching and stretching with a low purr.
“Yes, old friend, it’s been a good night for both of us.”
Whiskers had presented him with no less than seven “gifts” that night: mice
that she had found while patrolling the grain bins.
Dan lightly taps his chest and opens his arms: a sign to Whiskers who leaps
up, grasping Dan’s leather braces before bounding onto his broad shoulder,
with his striped tail curving around Dan’s muscled neck. As the two begin
making their way across the sea of barrels the distillery’s steam whistle sends
out a shrill note. A new day is about to begin in Peoria, Illinois.