5 senses – hear, smell, see, taste, feel

Concrete nouns with adjectives in current active time-frame

Character’s attitude toward the setting (perception, filter, impression)



Irish Pub hole-in-the-wall

Narrow room, wood floor, white-washed brick walls, low plaster ceiling with wooden beam supports and uprights. Bar along the left-side, with mirrored glass behind the bottle filled glass shelves lighted with dim yellow track lighting. Wooden lacquered bar, with wooden barstools with half-backs made up of rounded dowels. The seats twist. Brass legs. Brass bell over the cash register for ringing last call and calling attention to tippers. A plastic pitcher stuffed with a few dollars labeled ‘tips’ next to the cash register.

The back of the room, a swinging doorway with a small rectangular window, opens into the small kitchen which has a small fry station, stove, oven, and heat lamp area. Coolers, including the beer cooler. Kegs are taken from the beer cooler to the bar. Three beers on tap – Budweiser, Guinness, Harp. The rest in bottles. Five types of Irish Whiskey, four types of scotch, generic vodka, gin, and tequila. Top Shelf vodka, gin, and tequila.  An open doorway leading to the men & women’s bathrooms – one person shots – no stalls, just toilet & sink. Women’s room has supplies closet.

Small stereo behind the bar, connected to speakers that are hung from the corners of the room. Two tv’s – both on sports channels – soccer and sports news. TVs are hung on the back wall between the doorways and on the left front corner before the bar starts. Guinness advertisements and celtic sayings are on the right wall, along with some framed pictures of semi-famous locals.

Overhead lights – green tiffany style with fans – not turned on. Short row of white-silled windows, tinted, at the front with a larger neon sign advertising beer and the bar name, The Merrow’s Cup, in the typical celtic font.

Special about the pub? The Merrow’s Cup is on its own shelf behind the bar. It is a deformed conch shell that looks like a cup. The owner found it out on the beach in County Kerry early one morning. He swears that it belonged to a beautiful mermaid and has brought him luck.

Smells: musty brick, old smoke, beer, fried food

Lighting: dim. Limited natural lighting unless the sun is setting and shining through the windows.

Hear: Irish traditional, rock, and new music on the stereo

Taste: beer is fresh and wholesome. Food is fresh, savory.

Atmosphere: (from owner’s perspective) – Homey, comfortable place for locals to hang out and have a pint


What’s happening in the pub?

Time: afternoon

It’s a slow afternoon, not much happening. Soccer matches on the TV. Bartender reading a novel. Locals who know the owner come in and say hi, step behind the bar and go through the kitchen. Cook is doing prep work for dinner, and ready for anyone who wants lunch.


The bartender likes working at the pub, even though afternoons are boring. The evenings, especially Friday and Saturday nights, get lively and he makes a lot of tips. He’s studying to be an oceanographer (marine physics) and goes to school in the mornings. The slow afternoons allow him some study time. He is a little lonely, and occasionally goes home with one of the waitresses but never with a customer. The relationship with the waitress is on-again/off-again (more off than on), and she only invites him home for sex. Her husband is away with the NATO peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan . The bartender likes the locals, having grown up in the area, except for one bloke whom he thinks is an arrogant twit (aggressive if he’s been drinking), kind of a bully, he gets along with everyone – even the waitress’s absent husband. No hard feelings about diddling the man’s wife behind his back but then again the man doesn’t know. The owner is a solid Irish immigrant fellow in his 50s (our bartender is 30) who is a fair and even-tempered boss. Likes to drink a little too much of the profits, but that’s not for the bartender to judge. Other than the mermaid story, he’s not the least bit fanciful. His wife, Irish also, is sweet and caring, always brining in flowers for the tables and making soup for employees if they’re sick. She occasionally cooks Sunday brunch for the pub, and makes a great shepherd’s pie. She teaches piano and works at the grade school.

The bartender has mixed feelings about tourists. At the start of tourist season, he thinks they’re great, and it is very interesting to meet new people from all over the place. By the end of the season, he’s had enough of them as they are demanding, loud, and tend to be rude – even though they tip. He loves the ocean and dreams of getting a sailboat and sailing around the world.


The town – small seaside CT town, given to fishing and tourism. Has a nice beach. About 2500 people live there. Tourist season is the summer and fall when the leaves come out.


The mermaid wants her cup back. It’s magical and allows her to return to her home. She’s been stuck in the land of the non-swimming humans since the day she lost it (some 15 years ago). She’d been out partying on the beach that night and got drunk and left it behind when the sun came up. Some guy found it before she could get it back. And bam! Stuck on dry land. It’s taken her this long to learn the language, survive, and track it down. While being a human is not as bad as she once thought it was, she really hates wearing shoes. She has great capacity for alcohol but fruit juice gets her very drunk. She’s a sloppy bold/amorous drunk, prone to singing and speaking in Dolphin (high squeaky noises). She’s made money by doing menial tasks and watching people’s fish tanks. Worked in an aquarium once was fired for swimming naked with the exhibits. She talks to seagulls. She sleeps on the beach. She is thin, not terribly tall but has long legs, lightly tan, waist-length flowing rust-colored red hair, and dark blue eyes that can look expressionless, like a dead-fish or starring down into a deep well. Still waters run deep. She doesn’t like crowds or loud noises. She’s blunt. She needs her cup before x time? She’s dying?

Sea Nymph, Lorelei, Siren, Naiad, Kelpie, water sprite

She asks for the cup but the bartender wont give it to her (why would he? It belongs to his boss.) She says it’s hers. He says Oh, yer a mermaid are ya? She says yes. He just smiles and shakes his head in disbelief. What can I get ya? She says the cup. He says that’s a good idea – we should make a drink called that. In the meantime, he suggests a sea breeze instead. She curls her lip but accepts the drink anyway and sits at the bar, starring at her cup (which is locked up in a display case). The bully comes in and loudly orders a beer. The waitress comes in and flirts with the bartender. The bully laughs at them and the bartender looks embarrassed/abashed. Bully says sleeping with her is almost as lame as that phony cup. Sea Nymph wonders if it is a fake. Maybe it’s not really her cup after all. Bartender checks on her, notices that she’s discouraged. Asks why. She asks if that’s the cup that was found on the beach. He says oh- you’ve heard that story. You must know Seamus. (Seamus is her nemesis) Yes, she says, I know Seamus. You should ask him to see the cup. I will. Where is he? On vacation. He’ll be back next week. Why can’t you show me? (flirt flirt). Nah, I couldn’t. It’s not mine to show. (Lorelei appreciates that) (I don’t have the key.) Bully- we can always break the case. Lorelei thinks yah – maybe this guy will help me. Bartender says shut up, Bart.


Somehow Bartender gets tangled up in Lorelei’s quest. Falls in love with her, and she with him. She has to decide to stay human or go back to the sea. Bart the Bully, Veronica the barmaid, Seamus the absent owner, Mary his absent wife. The Cup. Maybe Bartender gets sucked in to her world. Maybe he followed a girl from Ireland to the US , and she dumped him and he stayed – drifting until the next worthy cause to chase after (Lorelei). Has been going to school off and on for a long time, but hasn’t found what he really wants to do with himself. And he finds that with the mermaid. He heads off to help her save her world (or something). “To die for a cause somewhere”


Lorelei’s view of the pub:

A dim tunnel that smells of human sweat, smoke, and stale beer. Musty. The buzz of the lights hurts her ears a little, as does the squeaky violin from the stereo. Luckily the room is mostly empty – just the man behind the bar and the cook in the back. She can sense them (like sonar). If they’d turn off the music and the lights, it might be pleasant in here. The name of the establishment is encouraging. The last tidbit of information she’d had from talking to the old lady in Eire said that the cup had come to this shore and was the prize of some inn keeper. Hopefully this was the place. She’s tired and sitting down sounds like a good idea. The shoes on her feet hurt. She’d really like to go dip her feet in the surf, but the fishermen working on the docks don’t like her. She attracts too much attention from the gossiping gulls. The menu has fish but it’s fried as usual. Why don’t these people eat it raw like it’s supposed to be eaten? And what’s a shepherd’s pie? Do they make it out of shepherds? Bottles – so many bottles on the clear shelf – like they’re floating in mid-air. And the figures on “tv” look like darting fish if she squints. Must be a game – kicking of the ball is familiar. Maybe all cultures have that – although her culture uses a closed giant clam. The dolphin’s like to play catch. Ah – is that my cup in the case? Fellow – yes you – stop reading. What cup is that up there? That’s my cup. Give it to me. Oh all right, I’ll take your silly drink – at least its pretty – and some of that fried fish. I can’t get at the cup without making a scene. Don’t want to be locked up again. That’d be bad. Maybe I should charm it away from him.