It Smells Like Beer In Here

I was just getting into a groove. I was about to write a piece about grabbing a squirrel by gripping its soft little body with my bare hands, then when it struggles and scratches my finger joints to bites and pieces, I would grab on to its tail and sling it into the air—twirling its body around my head like a lasso, then fling it forward and watch it flail in the air then bounce on the ground and run away.

I was just about to use that image to sit back at the typewriter and lose myself in the tapping typing twirling whirling, then my phone rang. Jason called to tell me that he locked the keys in the car, which was still running—he had just stepped out of the car to drop off some clothes at Goodwill, and the door closed behind him. So instead of writing about flinging a squirrel across the lawn, I hopped on my bike and raced to rescue Jason. Ten minutes later, the car was unlocked and I was on my way back home, thinking about writing again.

When I returned, my typewriter was waiting for me right where I left it, mid-page wound around the roller. I unpacked my bike-things, took a breath, and retraced my thoughts. Nothing worth writing happened. I tried going back outside to sneak a cigarette like I was doing when Jason called, hoping that being back outside would bring back the squirrel. I only had one cigarette left, so I lit it and decided to walk to the corner store and pick up a new pack, and maybe I'd see a squirrel along the way.

The corner store was a mess. A customer had just dropped a forty on the floor in front of the counter. There was beer and glass everywhere you needed to step, and a man was sweeping it all into a dustpan with a broom—liquid and glass. The man at the counter, who presumably dropped the forty, looked frustrated and stormed out. A small lady in front of me started talking nervously to anyone's attention—something about her son who was standing against the ice cream cooler, waiting for his crazy mom to get what she needed. She was the next in line, so she stepped up to the counter and into the beer puddle. She didn't seem to mind the man sweeping at the beer and glass around her feet. She got a phone call as she was turning to leave, and explained over the phone how she was just at the store and had bought a beer because she needed it after a day like today. Stepping back through the puddle to gather her son, I was next in line. I stepped up to ask for cigarettes, while a man behind me exclaimed, "It smells like beer in here."

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