Natty Boh

maryland gothic
  • your headlights flash on yellow “watch for deer” signs. they stand at the edge of the road and watch you drive by. their eyes follow the lights of your car until they fade into the distance. 
  • there are lacrosse sticks laying around in your garage. no one in your family has ever played lacrosse. there’s a photograph of you as a child, grinning through your mouth guard with the rest of your team. you’ve never played lacrosse.
  • you’re in ravens country now. you’ve never seen a real raven, or at least you don’t think you have. the closest it gets is the crows picking at roadkill. you’re in ravens country now. the sky is tinted purple. there’s a tapping noise at your window. 
  • it’s dark out, and you’re driving home. there’s a deer in the middle of the road. you swore it wasn’t there a moment ago, and you slam on the breaks. you can feel the impact. you pull over, flashers on, and run to look at the damage. there’s nothing; no dent, no blood, not even a scratch. you search the road and the ditch beside it for the body. there’s nothing there. you swore you felt it hit the front of the car. 
  • you’re at a party. everyone is drinking national bohemian. you thought you grabbed a can from the 30 you brought, but maybe you were mistaken. you’re drinking natty boh. you can’t remember what brand you brought with you. your friend stashed behind an armchair, but when you go to retrieve it, there’s only a case of natty boh. 
  • you’re driving to ocean city. it’s a friday in the middle of july. the traffic on the bay bridge is at a standstill. you haven’t moved in 10 minutes. the car is in park. you’re running low on gas. you thought you were at least halfway across. the map said you were halfway across. the cars in front of you stretch on forever. the car in front of you is no longer running. 
  • there is a blue crab silhouette bumper sticker on your car. no one in your family remembers buying it or putting it there. it starts to fade, so one afternoon you peel it off. the next morning, a new one is in it’s place, bright red and yellow. no one in your family remembers buying or putting it there. 
  • you drive down the street. you’re in rural baltimore country, and this road will eventually take you into the city. you drive past lurid, over-sized blue signs. “make america great again,” they scream. you keep driving. you keep driving. you must be close to the city now: the cars around you whisper #feelthebern and #imwither. there’s a rainbow flag hanging on someone’s front porch. 
  • you’re driving to the inner harbor. your phone’s gps is taking you on a route that is new to you. you drive down a grim looking street. the buildings are dilapidated, the rusted metal playground empty. the signs are all too faded to read. you turn the music off anyways. 

Marylanders worship no god other than an ancient being that was here long before humanity, an elder one, a being that is the synergy of Baltimore Oriole, Blue Crab, Raven, and Terrapin.

Sacrifices to it are made every full moon, and it only accepts offerings of Natty Boh and lacrosse equipment. All Marylanders, by law, must keep Old Bay in the house, as it is His essence in pure form.

For third place, the story I picked is ‘Brewery Tour’ by @jhoomwrites

I’ve seen the text post that this is based on floating around on Tumblr, and I honestly love what you did with it! The banter between Dean and Cas via their little postcards is adorable, and the ending was hella cute! 

I don’t follow you yet, so you get a follow back from me as promised! And of course everyone should take a looksie at your blog and AO3! Congratulations on a job well done!

It’s a frosty January morning when Castiel pulls his robe tight to go out and check his mail. He hastily grabs the contents and darts back inside before the chill can settle in his lungs. Briefly carding through it, there’s nothing of interest. Only junk mail, it seems, so he tosses it into the recycling.

A postcard, tucked in between a flyer and a large coupon book, slips free and flutters to the floor. Castiel barely gives it a second glance, reaching down to throw it in with the rest. However, something makes him stop to read it first. On one side is a picture of the Sam Adams Brewery, on the other is a brief note.

Hey,
I used to live in your house. I’m drunk in Boston, and it’s the only
address I know.  
Happy Holidays.
- DW

There’s something oddly sweet about the sentiment, so he decides to keep the card from this mystery DW. He pins it to his fridge, held in place (fittingly enough) by a magnetic bottle opener. And there it would have stayed, forgotten. Except that Castiel can’t stop thinking about the unknown sender. It nags at him until he gives in. Such a well-meaning message deserves to be answered, and he’s determined to do just that.

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I am in Texas for a professional development conference. Tennis fans will identify the mustache as belonging to the iconic John Newcombe. Baltimore folks think the Natty Boh guy must be on holiday.