This Bud’s for you.

It’s 2 in the morning. I am sitting on a bench in the shadows of a dark street corner, staring up at the stars and feeling the wind.

It’s been a long day, but thanks to my life partner Insomnia, I’m still wide awake. So I came out here, to let the starlight and the rustling of leaves fill my eyes and ears. To smother my incessant mental background chatter with a blanket of organic calm.

Beats lying in bed staring at the ceiling.

Out of the darkness, a guy in his twenties stumbles up over the curb and makes for the bench opposite mine, shooting me a rueful grin. He’s holding two unopened cans of beer in one hand, which he uses to indicate the bench while forming a question with his eyebrows. I start to nod but end up shrugging awkwardly at the last second, exhibiting my usual tenuous grasp on normal human interaction, but it gets the point across. Beer Guy saunters the last few steps to the bench and flops down with a prolonged sigh.

Although I have said nothing, Beer Guy decides he owes me an explanation as he cracks the first can open. “Hope you don’t mind. Gotta finish these off before…” Except I will never know the reason for his compulsory beer consumption, because he simply trails off there, assuming I understand where he is going with the thought. I suppose this is flattering, as it indicates I’ve successfully passed as someone who knows how today’s after dark society works, but in reality I’m just left unfulfilled. Before what? Before you turn into a pumpkin at 3am? Before catching the bus? Before your 12 step program sponsor sees you? Before the impending zombie apocalypse? Don’t leave me hanging, man.

Beer Guy interrupts my Before what? musings by grunting something in my direction, and I look over to see him holding out an unopened Budweiser. “Want one?” he asks, as casually as if we were hanging out in someone’s living room watching football and not total strangers on a dark street corner. “No thanks,” I laugh, and realizing the absurdity of the question he chuckles sheepishly back and quickly looks away.

Just FYI.

I return to my stargazing, but it’s immediately apparent that Beer Guy does not do well with sitting in silence. He scuffs his shoes against the paving stones and restlessly taps the side of his beer can. He begins looking around absentmindedly, peering down the sidewalks as if wishing someone else would show up. I start to wonder if he sat here hoping I was the talkative type, up for a late night chat. If so, he has chosen poorly.

The frequency of his tapping increases. He graduates to drumming the fingers of his free hand on the bench. He leans forward slightly and rocks a bit on the edge of the wooden seat. And then– we have liftoff! In one swift motion he is on his feet and disappearing down the road, tucking the unopened Budweiser under his arm as he throws his head back and chugs the remaining contents of the other.

I’ll never know if he turned into that zombie pumpkin.

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15 thoughts on “This Bud’s for you.

  1. …before my roommate realizes I stole his 6 pack.

    …before the 7-11 cashier catches up with me.

    …before I turn 21, get bored with beer, and want the really weird stuff.

    …before that stupid lion throws me into that damned closet, and I’m back in lame-ass Narnia, again.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. With apologies to Golden Earring…

    Somewhere on a lonely bus stop
    There’s a guy starting to realize
    There’s no one who’ll share a beer.
    It’s two a.m.

    It’s two a.m., the night’s half gone,
    I’m sitting here drinking, the beer’s getting warm,
    My friends are tired of my shenanigans.

    The zombies are on the loose, strangers on the bench,
    Nothing but silence, my brain’s being wrenched,
    I’ll shotgun this Bud before I turn into a pumpkin.

    Help I’m steppin’ toward another sidewalk,
    Nothing to do, feels like being stalked,
    I’m trying to escape from the morning star.
    Why can’t I save enough to buy me a car?

    Soon you will come to fear when there’s an unopened beer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my god…. My brain would just be freaking out the entire time. 😦 I don’t know how you didn’t have a more uncomfortable reaction, haha. I’d just be like “This was dumb. I shouldn’t have come out alone… what was I thinking?”

    Like

    • LOL. I dunno. My neighborhood’s pretty safe. Compared to the times I’ve exercised questionable logic and walked home from some of the sketchier parts of town after the buses had stopped for the night, a random 2am beer drinker didn’t seem like much of a threat.

      Liked by 1 person

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