Posts Tagged ‘Old Monk’

I found the monk, but then I lost him again. I will admit that I succumbed and procured the Monk from outside the city limits of Manhattan, from across the Brooklyn Bridge. From a small store that seems to only have an online storefront.

In part the reason I did not share this information had to do with the fact that I was protecting my source, for fear there might be a run on the Monk. Little did I know that the forces of rum would be so powerful, that my precautions would not protect my secret treasure trove. Just this past week I came to the end of my precious brown gold and decided it was time to re-order. (Continued below)

I went to their website and found that the Old Monk page had a big sign splashed across the image saying “OUT OF STOCK.” I refreshed the page thinking it was just a temporary misunderstanding between my computer, the cookies and their web page. But upon finding the same result again I decided that the problem must surely be the browser I was using. I switched browsers, fully expecting to get the opportunity to fill my shopping basket and hit the satisfied customer button, but instead got the same message again. I slowly accepted the fact that the Monk was indeed no longer available at my secret hideaway. I emailed the company, desperately pleading for a date when the Monk would be back on their e-shelves. Then came the answer below:

Thanks for contacting us. Unfortunately, it will not be for a while as it is no longer available.
Kind Regards,
Customer Care Team

The words “it will not be for while” were enough to make this grown man cry but upon reading the next few words the devastation was complete. What did they mean it was no longer available? Was this some sort of cruel joke? What had caused this run on my rum? I checked with the store during my initial order if they had a good supply, and they had assured me they did. It was in this moment of panic, staring at my last, almost empty bottle of Monk that I had a flash of inspiration. It struck me that the great flaw in my original search had been that I was looking in all the places that New Yorkers of Indian origin or foreigners with a taste for all things Indian, shopped. These people never lived in India, and are not Indian so would not know or love the Monk the way an Indian does. I realised that my best bet for finding the Monk lay in searching the vicinity that housed Indian’s visiting New York for a period of time longer than a vacation. Those who would need of the Monk to survive.

I called the first liquor store that came up near the United Nations and had the most wonderfully joyous conversation with the owner. I ended the call by saying that I would stop by the next day to pick-up all the Monk he had; and he assured me once again that he had a special connection with the distributor, and would never run out…

I feel compelled to confess something that I have been holding back from all of you but also know that have I done so purely to protect you.  But recent events have forced my hand and I now feel I must come clean before someone or something else is struck by the curse.

It all started about two months ago, around the time I published my first post. I was in midtown to meet a friend for coffee.  As I got to the agreed venue early, rather than sit and wait I decided to take a stroll.  I had hardly gone a few paces when I came across a liquor store that I had never seen before.  The reason this is significant is because it was located around the corner from where I worked for a number of years and also where I passed by every morning on the way to my last job, just earlier this year.  Yet for some strange reason I had never noticed this store staring me in the face.

I walked in with eager anticipation, feeling like there was some divine sign telling me that the Monk was nigh.  The store was empty and there were no salespeople or clerk behind the counter.  I said “hello” rather loudly and still neither heard nor saw any sign of life.  I raised my voice and repeated my words.  This time I heard a little shuffle somewhere in the back and then heard a door close.  As I turned to look, from around the corner I saw a little old lady slowly walk towards me with a big smile.  She said, “Can I help you?”  I told her I was  looking for a rather elusive brand of rum and did not expect her to know it much less carry it.  She asked me the name of the rum and I said “its Indian rum called…” and she cut in to say “Old Monk” before I could complete my sentence, taking me completely by surprise.  I looked at her in shock as she was clearly not Indian and looked like she might have been Eastern European.  She smiled and said it was fine rum and one that she had carried for many years.  To my delight, she went on to add that said she tried to convince many a customer to buy, over every other run, but had been rather unsuccessful; and as a result it was only very recently that she stopped carrying it.  Great, I thought to myself, yet another sign from the Universe – just not the one I was looking for! However, all was not lost as she offered to order me some, saying she knew how to find the rather elusive distributor. I jumped at the offer and asked when I should come back to pick it up, she said in about three weeks should be fine.

In the last five weeks I have walked by the store more than four times now, all at different times of day and different days of the week, on my way to coffee, breakfast, lunch, and dinner meetings.  For some strange reason the store has always been shuttered.  There is no explanation or sign. And there is no indication that they have gone out of business, been evicted or shut down by some city agency, and I cannot imagine that they just decided to take a month long vacation. Most strange; and even stranger that this should have happened in the same week that the old lady has asked me to return to pick up my Monk…

This could end up being the shortest blog I have ever written or the longest one.  Personally I would much prefer something in the middle.  The purpose of this blog is quite single-minded, it is meant purely to chronicle my journey, through the people I overhear or meet and places I visit during my search across Manhattan for the rather elusive Old Monk.  I started this quest about one month ago fully expecting it to end in less than one week.  I did not in my wildest imagination expect that it would have lasted this long.  This especially in the age of the information super highway where information about every possible person, place or object is available at our fingertips – all we have to do is Ask  (I don’t Google and will not until they have sufficiently explained why they need to store our “search” information and habits for up to 8 years).  So here we are on the 1st June 2010 and I am still no closer to finding the monk than I was at the beginning of this quest but I am a little wiser.  I no longer rely blindly on the information provided on that search results page – in this instance it has proven totally inaccurate and utterly useless.

Since I have purposely failed to fully clarify the objective of this quest, I am sure there are many who feel that I should start (and probably end) with a visit to the Capuchin Monks of New York City.  Admittedly, that would be great advice were it not for the fact that what I seek is not an old bald man but an old rotund bottle – a bottle of rum.  Not just any rum but a damn good one.  Indian rum to be precise and I can confidently that say it is the best rum I have ever tasted.