Beercentennial Man – Part 3

Dillinger Brewing Company – Tucson, AZ
Located at 3895 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85705
Open Mon-Thurs 2p-9p; Fri 2p-11p; Sat 11a-11p; Sun 2p-9p
http://dillingerbrewing.com

Part 3 of a 4-Part story. Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.

This chapter is dedicated to my friend Bryan Raney who passed away on 7/22/2017. He was a homebrewer from California and was a big supporter of my blog. He was known as Fighting Robot Brewing on Instagram. His family’s GoFundMe page is here: https://www.gofundme.com/bryan-sid-raney-memorial-fund

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I ran into Dillinger Brewing Company’s taproom practically carrying my pal, Mr. Button. He was in bad shape after he saved my life by diving in front of a bolt of lightning shot out of the hand of a cyborg named ClassyBot that was engineered to look like me and had my memories and personality installed in his CPU. Seriously, if you didn’t get on board with the story when it first started you probably shouldn’t even be reading this shit right now.

The brewery was a little hard to find. It was tucked away off the main road down a row of storage facilities behind a pawnshop in the methy side of Tucson. I knew that one of Dillinger’s owners, Eric Sipe, would be able to help Button. The two of them were friends and they even collaborated on a coffee Pale Ale beer called “Early Brew Special.” Before he opened the brewery Sipe spent some time roaming through the U.S. and I’ve heard stories about his ability to survive in rugged conditions. I just hoped that at least some of them were true.

“Sipe, I need your expertise! Button’s heart is about to stop. He was shot by a bolt of lightning. The details aren’t important.”

“Why the hell didn’t you take him to a hospital?”

“He doesn’t have health insurance.”

“Oh right. He’s a brewery owner; of course he can’t afford that. That’s the thing about the health insurance industry in this country, it’s-”

“Woah! Don’t get political. I want people to keep reading my shit.”

“Got it. Okay, stay here and keep him alive. I’m gonna get some supplies from the car.”

Button was wheezing and I didn’t know how much longer he could hold on. Dillinger had 10 taps available so I grabbed a pour of Public Enemy, their Imperial Stout. It was a smooth beer with hints of coffee and chocolate and it was my favorite thing on tap. I had Button take sips to help numb his pain and I chugged the rest.

Sipe walked in with a car battery, jumper cables, a plunger, one of those air duster cans that you use to clean your keyboard and a deflated blow up doll.

“Dammit, Classy, Button is a good friend of mine. I can’t believe you let this happen to him!” Sipe said as he cut one of the jaws off the jumper cables and started assembling something.

“He risked his life to save mine. He’s a hero.”

“I know he is. But he wouldn’t be in this condition if it weren’t for you. Before you came around, Arizona brewers didn’t have to deal with killer robots or evil space hamsters or whatever the shit else you brought with you. We just want to make beer! Why can’t you let us just make beer without all this bullshit of yours?!?”

I had nothing to say. Sipe was right. I was a lightning rod of bad luck and maybe I was endangering Arizona’s craft beer brewers just by being around.

Button grabbed the lapels of my suit jacket and wheezed even louder. It seemed like he was trying to say something but he could barely breathe. Sipe tied his wrists together with the deflated blow up doll and shoved the wooden plunger handle longways into his mouth, forcing Button to bite down on it.

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“If you wanna make yourself useful you can bring me a few glasses of water.”

I did as I was told. Sipe held the air duster can upside down and sprayed the water with a white gas that came out of the spout. Apparently turning one of those cans upside down creates a cloud of homemade liquid nitrogen. It froze all the water I poured.

“Put the ice onto Button’s head and neck.”

“What the hell are you even doing, Sipe?”

“I’m turning my car battery into a defibrillator.”

“What the fuck? A car battery is too strong. That’ll cook his heart!”

“You think I want Button to die? I’d gladly trade his life for yours right now!”

“Damn, dude. That’s harsh.”

“Besides, have you seen my car? It’s a piece of shit. It’s literally falling apart. Things fall off of it while I’m driving. The battery is so weak; I haven’t been able to drive over 20 miles an hour in years. It sucks royal dick! Also, I’ve done this before out in Louisiana to a guy I met at an underground gator wrasslin’ ring. It’s a thing were me and bunch of ex-cons wrassled gators and people in the audience bet on whether you live or die. Spoiler alert: I’m still alive and a shitload of Louisiana gators are fucking dead. SO I THINK I KNOW WHAT THE HELL I’M DOING!”

Sipe shocked Button’s heart. His body was still for a half-second that felt like an eternity. The silence was broken by a loud gasp. Button sat up and started coughing. He somehow got himself up on two legs and stumbled away from us toward a table in the middle of the taproom.

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“You’re an asshole, Classy,” Sipe said. “You almost got Button killed. You bring death and despair with you everywhere you go. I don’t know what you’re even doing here. You should just fuck off and leave us Arizona beer people alone.”

Before I could say anything Button broke a leg off a table with his bare hands. There was a sharp edge at the end of the wooden leg and he stabbed it right into Sipe’s stomach, hard enough for it to come out the other end. Sipe slumped onto the floor like a ragdoll.

“What the shit, Button! You just murdered Eric Sipe!”

“That’s not really him,” Button said now that his voice was pretty much back. “It’s another robot. I could see it in his eyes when he was standing over me. Plus, the real Eric Sipe would never say any of that shit to you. He admires you as much as I do. This robot is trying to make you doubt yourself. It must have detailed files on all of your insecurities.”

Button and I watched the corpse, waiting for it to move. But it just laid there without even a twitch.

“Button…I think you straight up killed a real dude.”

“No. Look, it’s not bleeding.”

RoboSipe laughed, softly at first then loud enough for it to echo through the taproom. He pulled the wooden stake out of his abdomen. It left a hole in his stomach large enough to see through. But his fake skin started healing and the hole in his body closed up.

“I guess y’all figured it out. I’m not Eric Sipe. I’m ClassyBot. But I gave myself a few upgrades since the last time we saw each other. I’m now made of mimetic polyalloy. That’s liquid metal, dumb-dumb!”

ClassyBot morphed into a silver liquid blob. His features then solidified into a familiar face and body. He grew out his hair into some shoulder-length, blonde locks. His shirt disappeared and he popped out a nice set of greasy, sexy washboard abs. He became Mike Mallozzi, the owner of Borderlands Brewing Company in Tucson.

“You’re a total dickbag, Classy!” The Mallozzi doppelganger said. “You got me stabbed the last time we went on an adventure together. I tried to help you save the day and you left me behind like a hamster stuck in a fanny pack!”

“I’m sorry, Mallozzi!” I said. “And I’m also sorry about Pancho the Hamster! To be fair, Pancho went into the fanny pack because I left a whole bunch of beef jerky in there and I didn’t know hamsters ate fucking beef!”

The Liquid Metal ClassyBot morphed again into The Classy Lady, the beautiful, blonde woman I fell in love with during my adventure in the town of Cottonwood last year.

“You could’ve saved me, Classy! We could’ve been together even now. But you let me die. I knew I couldn’t count on you.”

Before I could say anything the ClassyBot morphed into another woman from my past. It became Rosario Vargas, prison neck tattoo and wooden leg and all.

“You let me down too, Classy. I really could’ve used that big bag of drugs but you were too much of a coward to fit that whole thing into your butthole like I asked. You’re worthless. WORTHLESS!”

Fake Rosario took advantage of catching me off guard and tackled me to the ground. She turned into the silver liquid goo. I felt it covering my entire body and face. The liquid metal was suffocating me and the room went dark…

Then the light hit my face and I was able to take a deep breath. I stood up and saw myself standing next to me. ClassyBot had morphed into me with the same color suit and dress shirt. He didn’t even have the scar and eye patch on his face from before. He looked exactly like me. Button had the sharp table leg in his hand, ready to stab one of us.

“It’s me, Button!” ClassyBot said. “I’m your friend. This other guy is the fake robot. Stab him!”

“Don’t do it, Button!” I said. “He’s not the real me! I’m the…um…actually, whatever. I kinda lost the will to live a few years ago. So you should just go ahead and stab me. I don’t give a fuck.”

“You got it, Classy!” Button said as he penetrated the robot imposter with the wooden stake and stuck him into the brewery wall. Button grabbed the air duster and sprayed it upside down at ClassyBot. The homemade liquid nitrogen froze his entire liquid metal body while his robot head that looked just like me growled and shook from left to right.

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“Looks like the robot version of you really wanted to stay alive,” Button said to me. “It’s the best way to tell the two of you apart.”

“Rest in pieces, bitch!” I said as I kicked the robot’s frozen body and crushed it into a million ice pieces that scattered everywhere. The severed robot head rolled around the floor like a soccer ball…until it spread some tiny little spider legs out from under its chin. The head jumped up onto Button’s face and latched itself onto his mouth like an Alien facehugger.

I tried to pull it off him but its little metal spider legs were gripping his cheeks hard. I could see the frozen pieces of liquid metal on the floor gradually melting because it was 105 fucking degrees in Tucson this day. The liquid metal came together to recreate ClassyBot’s body. But without the head.

The headless robot grabbed me and threw me across the taproom. Button stopped struggling and passed out. The ClassyBot head attached itself back onto its body and picked up the unconscious Button in its arms.

“Let’s go check out your new brewery,” ClassyBot said to Button as it ran out of the Dillinger Brewing Co. taproom. I was too slow to catch the robot because I was injured and also fucking fat.

I was about to leave when I heard a muffled yell and a crashing sound.

There was a man kicking the fence separating the brewery’s taproom from the hall leading to the area where they kept the brewing equipment. I opened the door and saw Eric Sipe on the floor, bound and gagged. He had a bit of blood streaming out of his nose and the side of his mouth so I knew he was human. I untied and ungagged him.

“Holy shit, are you okay, Sipe?”

“No, I’m not okay, Classy! I had a liquid metal cyborg knock me out and tie me up. Then it stole all my memories and downloaded them into its CPU. You know it made itself look like my mom? I used to trust my mom. Now I can’t ever sit across from her at Thanksgiving dinner without wondering if she’s a fucking robot! Before you came around, Arizona brewers didn’t have to deal with killer robots or evil space hamsters or whatever the shit else you brought with you. We just want to make beer! Why can’t you let us just make beer without all this bullshit of yours? And who broke my goddamn table?!?”

“Oh. Um. I’m really sorry about that. But you should know those space hamsters weren’t actually evil. They were just pissed that one of their cousins died in a fanny pack. I’m gonna write a whole story about it on my blog if you-“

“GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!”

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To be concluded…

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