Sunday, May 12, 2013

Day 13: Beer Machine

It was chrome. It was antique. It stood saluting us like a stationary British Beefeater remaining unflinchingly stolid amidst a fury of fusillading camera snaps at the Tower of London.

It had a tail. It was plugged in. It was well chilled. It stood next to the chimney at my neighbor Duck McCover’s house. It belonged to my best bud David Hale who bought it at an auction out in Hanna City and lord knows how the hell he managed to transport it inside the front door since the herculean task alone must undoubtedly be akin to being a single-handed pall-bearer at Pavarotti’s funeral or lugging a Steinway piano fraught with delicately wrapped delft china figurines through the proverbial camel-humped eye of a biblical needle.  

  We lusted for what was stowed inside.

Sometimes when no one was looking it emitted a high-pitched buzz.

We would drink all night only to come back at four in the morning and find it waiting for us, arms crossed, tapping its foot, looking down at its wrist into its metaphorical watch asking us how we could possibly forget about her.

Of course we didn’t. We never could.

So in recompense we dug into the side of our pocket’s feeding it whatever clattering flecks of currency we could muster.  We then pummeled our fists into one of the various illuminated vertical buttons adorning her label and watched in awe as it gave birth.

There was the faithful, reverberating ker-klump’ There was reaching into the birth canal with the icy grace of a gynecologist’s finesse, groping the newborn in paw, holding the canned libation up to chin level before cracking open the top in a coppery mist of alcoholic suds echoing in glory.
Status: It was the beer machine.

Physiology: It was always cold and always full of beer.

In November 2006 my best friend David Hale did two things that irrevocably altered the discourse of my narrative existence.  He covertly schemed to have the love of my life surreptitiously travel from out of state to surprise me  at Starbucks in campus town, “Suddenly I turned around and she was standing there, with silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair.” Big Dave also, due to an insatiable auction fetish, bid on and won a vacant Pepsi machine at a Podunk auction out in Peoria county.  He was staying with my friend Duck, two houses down from where I was crashing on Bradley avenue.

For some reason we got the idea to fill the vacant Pepsi machine with copious amounts of cheap beer. When yer a hardcore drinker nothing amuses you more than a moribund Pepsi machine filled with beer that, upon inserting dual quarters, a beer plops out.  While the girl of my dreams got married to an actually semi-cool dude and moved to Europe, the beer machine continued to devoutly put out on a nightly basis, sometimes three or four times a night. Sometimes twenty times during the weekend.
We filled it with cheap beer, what we called ‘canoe’ beer.  Beer you would fill in a cooler while paddling down the Turkey run or Current river in Mo. Called canoe beer because if your  vessel tipped you wouldn’t feel nostalgic if your high alcoholic Dogfishhead drowned. Beers like Blatz and Old Style and Strohs and Stag. Always PBR. Usually a Hamm’s an occasionally an Old Style.
And we drank. 2007, the year of plopping quarters into the beer machine as if it were an old payphone or a legalized slot machine. 2007 when I had all the talent in the world as a writer yet didn't believe in myself. 2007 the year I drank because I was certain if I could outdrink everyone she would somehow come back to me.
 2007.The year of vending away your dreams.

This is not canoe beer...

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