It's late and a black night falls over Franklin. While the night is dark as pitch, it’s Friday and a great multitude of the citizenry are living it up out on the town. The Barkeep’s tavern is in full-swing, with everyone itching to spend that first few dollars of their paycheck with their friends. The food is flying out of the kitchen and drink flows from the bar. Not a soul could be down tonight.
The door to the tavern slightly as a lone man quietly slips in. While most people in the tavern paid him no mind, the Barkeep is always aware of everyone coming and going from his beloved establishment. The man wears a fine jacket with a matching vest. His pants taper, revealing the man’s lean figure. Fine leather shoes cover bud feet. The man also sports a a full bushy beard that was professionally trimmed. This man had wealth and class, of that there was no doubt. However, it was strange that a man such as this would be alone on a night such as this.
He walks over to the bar and climbs onto a seat in the far corner. A waitress, who also happens to be a very fine maiden, approaches the man to inquire what his fancy might be.
“Good afternoon sir,” says the waitress cheerfully, almost maybe with a flirtatious tone, “What can I get for you?”
Before the man can speak, the woman’s nose begins to wrinkle and a look of disgust washes over her face. She quickly walks away fanning her face, all without taking the man’s order. The man slouches in his barstool.
The Barkeep, never one to forgo hospitality, sees the exchange and walks over to serve the customer. When he gets five feet from the man the smell hits him. It was HORRID.
“Good afternoon sir, can I take your order?” chokes out the Barkeep.
“Oh save your hospitable façade,” spits the stranger, “I see your look of disgust, just as plain as I see everyone else’s.”
“Well sir,” begins the Barkeep carefully, “it may be because you have a… unpleasant odor.”
“I STINK?!?” cries the man, “but I bath everyday and brush my teeth three times a day. I am the paragon of hygiene.”
The Barkeep thinks for a second and then reaches under the bar. He pulls out two tall and slender bottles and hands them to the man.
“You sir, have the beard stench,” explains the Barkeep, like a doctor giving his patient a dire prognosis.
“Beard stench?” says the man slowly.
“Yes, beard stench,” repeats the Barkeep, “It has many root causes, I’ve seen it plague many a bearded brethren. Maybe you get food in your beard, your mustache catching on soup or your soup patch catching on a chicken’s wing. Maybe you aren’t washing and drying your beard properly. You have a large enough beard that it could hold moisture and get a mildew smell to it. You could have excess sebum…”
“Sebum?” asks the stranger.
“Oil that typically keeps your beard hydrated and healthy but can stink if it builds up over time.”
“Uh huh, says the stranger, “anything else?”
“We’ll drooling in your sleep and smoking can also make your beard smell bad,” answers the Barkeep pushing the bottles towards the man. “The best thing you can do is have good beard hygiene. This is the Wizard’s wash and co-wash. Lather it in your beard to properly cleanse it. Then, because you have a long and thick beard, place your beard in your towel and squeeze to dry it. You can also use combs to pull out the extra moisture. Then, always use a beard oil afterwards to keep your face moisturized and to also keep that beard smelling good.”
The stranger picks up the bottles eagerly. “Thank you, Barkeep, for your kindness. I shall go bathe my beard like it’s never been bathed before and then I will return. Maybe a sweet lass may give me another pass.”
“With a clean beard, it’s almost a certainty,” says the Barkeep with a smile.
Narrated by Brandon Warner