As it happens, there’s a creative writing contest whose deadline is fast approaching. Aaand, I think I have what it takes to be competitive in said contest. Forgetting that Wednesday is when I normally write for the blog, I scheduled all the rigorous work for tomorrow. Whoops. So here I am today, my audience, writing a little note to you.
Upon the inception of this blog some six months ago, I anticipated writing about my most-keen interests – chief among them being Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As of yet, however, I have still not done much (anything?) on traveling, or on writing. All this ado, all this painful ado, and what I’m skirting around trying to say is here’s the first page of a creative writing story I’ve been working on these past few weeks. It’s completely unrelated to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. So you may disregard this at your leisure.
Briefly, it’s a story about the last night I had with a group of friends in Toronto – a group whose composition, I should mention, includes an elephant, a pig [not present], a Colombian woman who sometimes turns into a lion, and a Serial Reprobate who once got into a knife fight in Madagascar (an actually true story).
“All The Animals pt. 2”
From where we stood, the city’s grand tower seemed to erupt from atop the brewery, and stab directly into the low, overcast evening sky. Yet, framed in the fading yellows and melting oranges which accompany the onset of night, the building looked sleepy in its red brick facade, like an old and smokey textile factory from some earlier New England era. Just adjacent ran an incomprehensible tangle of train tracks, forking off as they jumbled and jangled toward westward destinations. Zooming whispers could be heard in the distance from the highway stretching, following the Atlantic waters pressed against the South shore of the city. This industrial part of town, the buildings, sidewalks, train tracks, and roads seemed empty, seemed austere.
But, but, BUT all that deserted, funereal, industrial emptiness was left behind as Our Merry Posse stepped inside the building and beheld the tinny esoteric wonder, the striking beauty, the celestial and nebular elegance of Brewery World! Shielded by a series of twelve-foot glass walls, a hundred-hundred miles of steely piping funneled a thousand-thousand happy, gulping gallons of hoppy, heaven-nectar into one enormous copper still after another! Sublime sight, o’ beer-making instrumentation! It glistened too, too holy and precious before our lustful eyes. Would we be able to drink it all?
After surrendering our funds, the clerk who manned the register undoubtedly had caught the smell of mammalian longing, the desperation to imbibe. He reassured us that the tour would begin shortly. In accordance with his directions, we shuffled toward the only unguarded length of copper piping. There, we waited.
A minute or two later, our tour guide appeared. He parted the small crowd, making his way to the front, and began a perfunctory greeting. The gentleman was short, dark, an altogether strange-looking man, with a large nose. My best guess, he was the bastard Canadian descendent of an Aztec from Guatemalan jungles. In his eyes and mien was carved the story of his genes, a story written twenty generations ago about an ancestor wreathed in feathers from exotic birds, the brandisher of the onyx dagger who would hack, pry, rend through white bone and yellow marrow, who would make ragged, jagged holes in search of still-beating hearts to feed hungry fires and Sun Gods.
The Priest reached underneath the makeshift bar, and from the depths pulled out a plastic cup. With his other hand, he grabbed one of the eight taps fixed to the shimmering copper and released a single, pitiable mouthful of beer into the artificial chalice. “In the context of beer sampling, this is what you would call a taste,” explained José, raising said cup to heights such that all his now-captive audience could witness – not dissimilar, I suspected, to the way in which his ancestors once raised excised vitals.
But before the audience members voiced their dissatisfaction, before the boos and hissing rained down upon him like a hail of arrows, he raised his hand in a calming gesture. Sensing a pelting with rotten fruit and vegetables on fast approach, The Pagan addressed us further, “We will not be enforcing the standard. So if you want to have ten full beers in this ‘Product Knowledge Session,’ you have my blessings. But remember, that’s ten beers in one hour. I don’t think anyone has ever done it. Not that that’s a challenge!” our Pulpiteer added, recognizing his mistake.
Too. Fucking. Late. It was too late. Before he fired off that last sentence, The Chad and I had already exchanged I-goddamn-well-dare-you glances, eyebrows raised. The Birthday Elephant, Hanno, swooped and looped his trunk under his mighty head to scratch his chin, and consider the proposition with us. Tonight would be the continuation and the finale of the 28th birthday festivities. Every member of Our Merry Posse had to drink as much as they could – irrespective of consequence. Why? Because the number 28 is precipitously close to the number 30, an age whose associations need no further explication. Because the core members of this large group are scattered across at least four countries. When will another opportunity arise to so fully celebrate someone’s birthday? And because, “What Would Khanzir Do?” Tonight, it was ‘now or never’ as we all solemnly resolved to drink far, far too much in the hour we were allotted.
Thanks for reading! I’ll greet you next week, my audience, with a ‘proper’ entry. Leave me, O’ Lingering Holiday Indolence!