En Route to the Perfect Palmer

There wasn't a drink that Frank West couldn't make.  He wouldn't go bragging about it, but it seemed that whatever peculiar concotion someone threw at him he could whip it up.  Didn't matter what it was, hard or soft, by a proper name or some colloquial nickname, Western or Eastern, popular or obscure.

His place of employment, Dewey's, drew people from miles around because of his apparently divine gift.  Sometimes people would challenge him with minute changes, in fruitless attempts to stump the great Frank.  When a skeptic stranger would approach him with a challenge, he nodded with a shrug in acceptance.  He'd come out on top, to thunderous cheers of whatever regulars happened to be in that night.  He'd hand the drink to the foiled challenger with a goodnatured smile.  "On me," he'd say.

But one night was different.  It was about eight on a Friday night, Dewey's was packed that night.  An old man approached Frank, the regulars holding their conversation to mutter about this newcomer.

Frank nodded.  "What'll it be, sir?" he asked, as he usually did.

The little man took off his hat.  "I'm just passin' through," he began, his soft-spoken voice revealing a Southern-Creol tint, "and I heard quite a bit about the 'tender at Dewey's."

"Did you now?" Frank asked, arching his eyebrows with interest.  He'd take interest in any kind of conversation.

"Yes sir.  One thing I kept hearin' over an' over was that you can make anythin'.  Any drink."

"Hard or soft, wet or dry!" a patron cried in response.

"That so?"  The man smiled slightly.  Frank nodded.  He crossed his arms.  "How 'bout a Palmer?"

The immediate area went silent.  None of the regulars had ever heard of such a thing.  All eyes turned to Frank.  At first, he didn't react.  Then, ever so slightly, his brow creased with confusion.

"I'm sorry?"

"A Palmer.  A good ol' Arnie Palmer."

Frank leaned back, crossing his arms..  He shook his head.  "Sorry sir, but I can't say I've ever heard of such a thing."

The man smiled.  "That's alright.  I'll just settle for a water while I'm here."

Now Frank was rarely a man to be bothered, but all that night he racked and reracked his brain, wondering what on earth was an Arnie Palmer.  By closing, his mind was made up: he would find out what a Palmer was, and learn how to make it perfectly.  "And if I can't," he said to himself as he walked back to his apartment, "then so help me God."

The End

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