Bellerose, Long Island, one of those pretty little suburban stuccovias peopled by the families of well-to-do New York brokers, writers and wholesale produce merchants, is aflame with a blaze that the local fire department started and can't put out. The burning questions in Bellerose are, "Who threw that?" and "How near was the beer?" The incendiary episode occurred last week, when the full membership of Bellerose Valiant Hose and Chemical Co., No. 1, comprising the entire fire-fighting force of the community, gathered at the bungalow club house of the Bellerose Women's Club for its first and probably its last, annual beefsteak dinner and stag social meeting. The club house is new and although a modest edifice, it is the pride of every feminine heart in Bellerose, for it was built with a tithe of the bridge winnings of the members and a great deal of affectionate effort was expended on the decoration of the walls and the sewing of the Chintz curtains which adorn the windows.

There were misgivings when the Bellerose husbands, all members of the fire department, asked permission to use the club house for their dinner. Some of the women of the club apparently knew the festive tendencies of their respective husbands, and so it was with a sense of uneasiness that the women's club extended the hospitality of the premises to the brave, bold, flame fighting, fire-eating fire-men. There was beer at the beef-steak dinner, and, of course, beef-steak. For you may make plum pudding without plums but there must be beef-steak at a beef-steak dinner. The menu said the beer was only near beer. However, when the entertainment began, indications were not lacking that the beer was nearer than the Constitution contemplates. In the light of what happened, the members of the Bellerose Women's Club have concluded that the beer must have been positively contiguous, if not of even closer proximity.

Three high school boys took the platform and began to sing, "Sweet and Low."

"You mean `Sour and Low,' don't you?" yelled a voice from the midst of Bellerose Valiant Hose and Chemical Co., No. 1, which sally was regarded as rather promising humor for near beer.

As the youths sat down one of the firemen announced that he was going to lead the orchestra and if this infallible symptom wasn't convincing proof that the beer was ultraneighborly for these times, there was corroborative evidence in what immediately followed. That which immediately followed was a two-inch porterhouse which sailed through the air and struck the pretty pastoral painting on the wall with a squishy sound and left a gravy stain as big as a two-inch porterhouse.

"Police!" yelled a voice, and at this signal Patrolman Murphy, the village guide, who meets the Bellerosebuds at the station when the 12:42 arrives at night and distributes them to their respective doorsteps, charged into the Bellerose Women's Club to give succor to the firemen. His police dog, Sheik, who is really a combination Beagle and Airedale, with a trace of Holstein cow, combining the best elements of each, and who passes for a police dog because he belongs to Patrolman Murphy, was at the heel of the brave officer.

Another porterhouse crossed the room, but owing to an unfortunate oversight, the one who threw it neglected to remove the plate from the steak. The missile struck Patrolman Murphy in the nose and altered it from aquiline to retrousse in somewhat less than a trice. "Here, Sheik!" cried Patrolman Murphy. "Help, Sheik!" But Sheik, faithless to his duty, had grabbed the steak and departed.

The further proceedings of the evening are matters of controversy and can only be stated as matters of common report, which has it that the Bellerose Valiant Hose and Chemical Co., No. 1, paraded to the home of an austere widow [sic] of very grim New England predilections and with band accompaniment, rendered such vocal explosion as "Red Hot Mamma," a chanty which was deemed singularly inappropriate in the circumstances.

The Bellerose Women's Club held a special meeting and addressed a flaming resolution to Bellerose Valiant Hose and Chemical Co., No. 1, accusing the firemen of fracturing the law of the land in the clubhouse. The husbands of Bellerose held a fire department meeting and a counter resolution was sent back. The resolution of the Women's Club accused the fire department of fracturing the United States Constitution in the clubhouse. This strikes the firemen as a rather snippy attitude, considering that most of the girls pride themselves on their artistry in achieving the correct proportions of Vermouth and gin in a Martini.

And so the conflagration rages and nobody has yet been able, or willing, to answer the hot issues in Bellerose, Long Island, to wit: "Who threw that?" and "How near was the beer?"

*Pegler, Westbrook. "Beer Not `Near,' Town All Upset. United News 19 April 1925: n.pag.