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The Classy Alcoholic was able to move much faster thanks to the imperial stout he slammed. He slipped and dodged the double punches from Gary, the Torpedo Boy with four arms. He tried to get his own hits in but Gary’s gigantic mutated body felt like punching a brick wall. The only way to survive was to keep his distance until Cousin Chico’s team could make their move. Every Torpedo Boy on base circled the two fighters. The pale, deformed fucks carried machetes, nooses and flagpoles, just waiting for The Classy Alcoholic to lose the match.
An explosion rocked the supply warehouse and caught all of the Torpedo Boys by surprise. Cousin Chico and his four goons ran out tossing smoke grenades and firing stolen machine guns into the crowd. The Classy Alcoholic took cover behind Gary’s bullet-ridden body until the firefight died down. He looked up to see Cousin Chico extending his hand but instead of offering to help him stand he was offering a bag of cocaine.
“No thanks, Chico. I mean…maybe later,” The Classy Alcoholic said as he took the bag and stashed it into his suit jacket pocket.
“Fucking hell, Classy, I can’t believe you survived a fight against that damn monster! You’re a beast, dude. It would’ve been a lot easier if you used some of the blow, just saying.”
One of Cousin Chico’s goons came up to him to report that Torpedo Tony had escaped in the shootout and was nowhere to be found. He brushed it off, thinking Tony was no longer a threat. Chico replaced his old Mexican rifle with one of the Torpedo Boys’ automatic weapons and he grabbed a couple of the beer can grenades for his utility belt. The Mysterious Stranger walked out of the warehouse with a beer keg on a dolly.
“This is the last one. All the other beers in there are in cans and bottles. Thank you, Classy. This means more to me than you could ever know,” she said, which was true, because he still had no idea who she actually was. “Will you come to The Pipeline with me?”
“Yes, of course. How could I say no?” He couldn’t wait to check out whatever this new bar was supposed to be.
“I’m coming too,” Cousin Chico said. “You’ll need me to get you in. The guy at the door won’t let anyone through unless I vouch for them.”
“Alright, but you’ll have to leave your guys here to protect the rest of this booze. And don’t hoard it. Open it up for the people. Put out the word that Arizona’s alcohol supply is back.”
“You got it, Classy. We’ll give the people what they want.”
“By the way, I have some questions. How did these Torpedo Boys get to be the way they are? All deformed with multiple limbs and shit?”
“Oh yeah, they’re all former military guys from this base. After the pandemic they tried to make their own nuke and they fucked it up real bad. It was hilarious.”
The Mysterious Stranger, The Classy Alcoholic, and his Cousin Chico all made their way south toward the U.S. – Mexico border until they came across a small brick house in the middle of nowhere. A Mexican man with a machine gun stood guard outside. Cousin Chico spoke to him and handed him several bags of cocaine before they could all be allowed in. Another dust storm was brewing close by. The Mexican man, who introduced himself as Freddy, opened a trap door on the ground leading to a tunnel. The Stranger smiled for the first time since The Classy Alcoholic re-met her.
“Alright, Classy, this is it,” The Stranger said. “We can finally leave all of this behind forever. Are you ready?”
“Wait, leave what?”
“The country, man. We won’t have to worry about any of this bullshit again. You can even change your identity and be whoever you want to be.”
“Wait, I’m sorry, so does that tunnel not lead to a killer speakeasy-style bar called The Pipeline?”
The Stranger’s smile faded immediately.
“What the hell are you talking about? Oh no. No, do you not remember what The Pipeline is? Do you not remember that you told me about it? Goddammit, do you not even remember who I am?”
“What the hell, Classy, you FUCKING ASSHOLE!”
Luckily The Stranger’s berating was interrupted by the familiar sound of jeep engines and machine gun fire. The last six Torpedo Boys left alive, led by Tony, pulled up outside of the small house and started unloading their machine guns wildly. A couple of them could even hold four or five guns if they had multiple hands or opposable thumbs on their feet. Everyone inside hit the ground.
“Suck my dicks, Classy!” Tony yelled. “I want that keg and I want you plopped onto this jeep like a hood ornament, bitch!”
The Torpedo Boys started approaching the house with their guns still firing. Freddy escaped through the tunnel and locked it from the other side. Chico tried to open it back up but it was latched shut and there was no getting through.
“We’re not gonna make it, Classy!”
“Yes we are. Give me one of those beer grenades you took and get ready to fire back. I need you to move faster than you ever have before so put a big hunk of coco into your face right now.”
He didn’t have to tell Chico twice. The Classy Alcoholic held out his white handkerchief and waved it by the window for Tony to see.
“Alright, I’m coming out. I’ll give myself up. I’ll send the keg first.”
The Stranger grabbed his arm to stop him.
“No, you can’t do this. I need that keg.”
“You’ll have no use for it if we’re all dead.”
“Since when does The Classy Alcoholic not want to die? That’s kind of your whole thing!”
“I mean, yeah, I’ve lost the will to live more times than I can count but the world is different now. I can’t just walk away from everything that’s happened out here.”
The Classy Alcoholic rolled the keg out the front door toward Tony’s feet. He opened the beer grenade can and took a quick sip of the hazy IPA inside before he tossed it outside and took cover. The grenade blew up the keg and most of the Torpedo Boys nearby. Cousin Chico’s coke rage took advantage of the confusion and he expertly finished off every last Boy with a single bullet each before they could run off.
The dust storm grew louder and made its way closer. The Mysterious Stranger sat on the ground and cried into her hands. The Classy Alcoholic finally had to admit the truth.
“I’m sorry, I meet so many people, I can’t keep track. I used to be a celebrity before the world ended, you know.”
“I know! You would never shut the fuck up about it. The Pipeline is a smuggler’s route into Mexico. From there we could’ve gone anywhere in the world. Don’t you realize that every other country got this virus under control and we’re the only ones cut off from traveling outside our borders? I need to get out of this shithole. I can’t live like this anymore. The Mexican militia would’ve let us pass but only if we paid them with a keg of authentic Tucson craft beer. This was literally your idea. You told me about The Pipeline a while ago and you told me to find your cousin for help. Do you really not remember any of this?”
“No, I don’t. I went on a bit of a bender when all this craziness started.”
“You and I spent two whole weeks in quarantine together at your place, you prick. Just us, every day.”
“I mean…it was a hell of a fucking bender.”
“Wow, I knew you had a drinking problem but I didn’t realize it was that bad.”
“I don’t have a drinking problem; I have a being sad problem. And I try to fix it with drinking. But I truly am sorry. If you give me some more details maybe it’ll jog my memory.”
“No. It’s fine. If that time is gone then it’s gone. At least one of us will have some good memories from this absolute shit period to look back on. Fuck you for ruining my chances to make it out into the real world. I would’ve happily taken you with me.”
The Mysterious Stranger put on her mask and hood and started to walk away.
“Wait, can you just…will you at least tell me your name again?”
“It’s Max. My name is Max.”
The Classy Alcoholic grabbed another beer from his bandolier and held it out to Max. She accepted it without another word and walked into the dust storm until she disappeared.
One beer left.