Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Payment Must be Made.

Back in the days before he learned a trick or two Mine Host would extend credit to longstanding local businessmen of good repute.

In a burst of youthful exuberance, credit was even extended to the hardworking operators of a small gymnasium and bowling centre. A couple, she a real estate salesman, he a motor mechanic, they worked evenings and the odd weekend shepherding school sports teams and drumming up informal local competitions.

A liquor licence was obtained, to lubricate the evening adult events. They purchased all their (meagre) liquor supplies from the Wayside Tavern. After some time Mine Host rewarded these loyal customers with a monthly account as an alternative to paying cash all the time.

The account, usually a few hundred dollars, was well maintained for a year or two... then payments slowed.

Concerned, but painfully aware of the rapidity with offence if taken at the mention of an unpaid account, Mine Host watched the account stretch out to three months overdue, and climb to fifteen hundred dollars.

Enough was enough, three months outstanding was testing Mine Host's youthful good nature, and the bowling & sports centre was no longer trading.

Mine Host fronted the mechanic, tactfully enquiring as to when the account would be settled?

Promises were received, guarantees, pledges, in fact everything but money was forthcoming.

Mine Host began to believe that the bill would never be paid.

The mechanic quit his job, drifted into casual labouring, eventually, with mounting household debts, he was declared bankrupt.

Though he was in work around town, he wasn't seen for some time after this. Eventually came the day when the mechanic breasted the bar of the Wayside Tavern. Mine Host hinted obliquely at the still unpaid fifteen hundred dollars.

The mechanic exploded in an indignant rage, loudly protested that he had "been through" bankruptcy, and all his debts were "cancelled by the court". This tirade was finished off with a poorly aimed swing at Mine Host, on the basis that nobody was going to get away with saying he was the sort of man who "owed money".

Mine Host stated flatly that until the bill was settled, the mechanic wouldn't be getting anything more from the Wayside Tavern. Waffle by a court notwithstanding, Legal Tender is what it takes to settle the bill.

Hotly & aggressively the mechanic reiterated that he was a discharged bankrupt and the bankruptcy process had "cancelled" all debts.
This is hardly grounds for getting all physical over suggestions that one's credit history is far from triple-A.

The mechanic remains insulted and deeply offended that Mine Host has reported a "lie" to surrounding pubs that the mechanic has booked up grog and failed to pay for it;
the bill remains unpaid;
the mechanic remains in an enforced state of exile from the pub, a state now entering its umpteenth year.

For the mechanic is, to this day, refused service at the Wayside Tavern. Still around town, presumably he is now teetotal, or subscribed to a wine club, or receiving year round deliveries of Christmas Club Beer Hampers, or perhaps he is home brewing.

But unless he ponies up the fifteen hundred, it will continue to be just him at home on his Pat Malone.

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