The Bar

Here’s a funny story: an owl walks into a bar and asks the badger if she can see the manager. The badger, stumped, looks up at the unfamiliar patron and asks, “Why? What’s the matter?” Now, owl is a bit of a solonaut. A lone rogue. An introvert. But nevertheless, the owl looks badger in the eye and simply says, “Food.” Badger’s taken aback at first at the strange coupling of the requests but calmly breathes and continues to wipe the inside of a large ornamental jar before slowly responding with “There’s plenty of that here partner, if you know where to look.” The owl clicks its beak and rattles its claws on the bar stool. “I like challenge.”

By this point, the rest of the little bar has gone deathly silent as the creatures look on at the spectacle that was unfolding in front of them. A rat swishes its tail on the wood floor and an ancient fox coughs a rattling bark, breaking the silence before all eyes were back on the owl and the badger.
“Food.” The owl repeated. The badger smiled with his long face down to his paws and then slowly pushes a small bowl of nuts and corn towards the feathered customer. Everyone gasped... What was going to happen now? The owl swivelled its head this way and that, unsure of what to make of the situation but certain that it would not be losing face tonight. Badger looked on confidently. He knew what the real game was about, he’d been around The Wood long enough that was for sure.
Owl leaned towards the bowl. Craning, peering into what could have been a symbolic trap to any other animal. The room was now still very much focussed on this curious event. Others struggled to hold their breath from making a sound but still uncertain of what was really going on behind the veil of dialog between the barman and the newcomer.

The barman lifted a paw and silently spoke quickly two unrecognisable words that tumbled out in front of him, hitting the owl deftly on its dish-like face sending her reeling back before flapping for the door.

The talk in the room resumed and all was again normal.
A small figure tugged at badgers apron politely.
“What did you say, Badger?” Squeaked a young mouse.
Badger laughed, slowly and warmly. A large smile spread across his striped face before he turned down towards the quivering creature and simply said “Honey Mead.”
The mouse giggled uncontrollably back to his family’s table while the old badger continued to chuckle to himself.