Vote The Classy Alcoholic for Best Blog in the Tucson Weekly:
Tucson was a wasteland. The Classy Alcoholic made his way through a dust storm wearing a mask over his face and a bandolier across his chest that held six beers. The last of his stash. It had been several months since The Virus started spreading but he wasn’t sure exactly how long he spent in hiding. Time no longer existed the way it used to. He got news here and there of the outside but his sources started slowly falling away until there was complete silence. The small portion of the population that hadn’t died from infection was staying indoors and making only limited supply runs. Bars and breweries were closed and the alcohol had practically run dry in town. The only local “businesses” still open were food trucks selling snake and tarantula meat cooked by campfire with the option of getting them in tacos or in quesadillas. And they both tasted like fucking shit.
The Classy Alcoholic would’ve been perfectly happy staying indoors avoiding the pandemic as long as he had enough booze and easy access to pornography. But his legendary stockpile of beer, wine and liquor that people thought was more than a single person could ever drink in a lifetime ran out way before his life did. So he had to make the trek outside to scrounge whatever he could.
He heard a rumor from the last of his friends on the outside that some craft beer kegs were being hidden in safe houses around town. Once he made it past the dust storm he saw what was left of Historic 4th Avenue. What used to be a hub for bars and restaurants ended up being a dead zone full of buildings with boarded up windows and graffitied dicks all over their walls. The Classy Alcoholic opened an IPA from his bandolier and drank. Five beers left.
He spent what felt like hours crashing through the wooden boards and searching the remains of the bars he used to love looking for any sign of leftover drink. He was getting discouraged until he broke into the shell of a former restaurant and found a single keg hidden behind some cardboard boxes and a shitload of dead rats. The keg was clean while everything else in the building was covered in dust and cobwebs. It felt cold to the touch. The Classy Alcoholic shifted it around and it was obviously full. He was about to cry at the beautiful sight until he realized how suspicious it was that a cold keg was sitting here in such good condition. He heard a rustling behind him. He wasn’t alone.
A figure in a dark hood leapt out at him with a wooden staff and bashed him on the side of the fucking head before he could move away. He could already feel the blood dripping down his cheek.
“Holy shit, it’s you!” The Mysterious Stranger said. She pulled down her hood to reveal a woman in her 40s with completely gray hair. “I didn’t realize who you were, Classy. What are you doing out here? Did you run out of booze and pornography at home?”
This was all a familiar situation for The Classy Alcoholic, actually. He got bashed in the head without warning plenty of times by his ex-girlfriend Rosario Vargas when she was in a coke rage and he was also used to people recognizing him without him remembering who the hell they were. It happened enough times at beer festivals that he became an expert in pretending he knew the people talking to him until they said something that jogged his memory.
“Ran out of booze. Not pornography. I keep that shit on physical media. I’m basically a doomsday prepper but for porn. I’d say it’s nice to see you but it’s never nice to see people who bust my skull open.”
“That’s not what you said about Rosario Vargas.”
Fuck. She knew who Rosario was. That means he and The Stranger had some deep conversations about his ex. Which meant she wasn’t just, like, some rando he met at a bar once. Unless he met her when he was sad tequila drinking because Rosario left him for prison and he was desperate to tell anyone how fucked up he was about it. So she could either be someone he truly bonded with or someone he drunkenly bonded with for a brief part of the night. Either way, he still had no idea who she was but there was no way he was going to admit that.
“The world is on fire. Everything is sad enough right now. I don’t need reminders of Rosario on top of it all.”
“Fair enough. I know you’re not always in the right space to talk about that.”
Fuck yeah, he nailed that shit.
The Classy Alcoholic was lucky that their conversation was interrupted before he had to come up with more ways to pretend he remembered who this woman was. The sounds of jeep motors and gunfire broke through the growl of the dust storm outside. He saw the panic on The Stranger’s face as they got closer.
“Stay down,” she said as she tackled him to the ground.
A barrage of heavy bullets flew over their heads as shards of wood and glass rained over them. A beer can flew through the open window of the restaurant and landed right in front of the Classy Alcoholic’s face.
“Dope, free beer!”
“No, you idiot, get back!”
The Stranger pulled him behind the empty bar as the beer can exploded like a grenade and made both their ears ring. The Stranger yelled something that The Classy Alcoholic couldn’t hear but she grabbed his hand and led him toward the exit in the back of the building. They both ran as far as they could away from the wreckage.
“Who the fuck are those people?” The Classy Alcoholic asked as soon as they were at a safe distance.
“Wow, you really have been out of the loop haven’t you? Those are The Torpedo Boys. They’re the real reason why craft beer and other booze is in such low supply around here. They’ve been stealing and hoarding it all for months. Here, check them out.” The Stranger handed The Classy Alcoholic her binoculars so he could get a closer look at the people who attacked them.
He counted ten guys that were bald, shirtless, and pale as fuck. One of them had six fingers on each hand. Another had two noses on his face. Another had a third arm growing out of his goddamn chest.
“What happened to them?”
“I honestly don’t know. They’ve been raiding the city for months and they used to have to right number of limbs at some point. All I know is that they’ve been rounding up all the booze in town and taking it to the old military base in Sierra Vista. I hid the keg here because I need it for The Pipeline. But these damn Torpedo Boys always find my hiding places.”
The Classy Alcoholic had no idea what “The Pipeline” was but he would never admit that either in case it was a dope new bar that he didn’t get invited to the opening of.
“How did the can explode that way back there?”
“The Torpedo Boys have so much beer they started making it into grenades and using it as bait. It would’ve work on you if I hadn’t saved your ass.”
“They’re using beer for evil? Those motherfuckers! If these guys are hoarding beer in Sierra Vista then I’m going there and taking it back. Are you coming?”
“Of course. I desperately need that keg.”
The Classy Alcoholic cracked open another drink from his bandolier. It was a spicy red ale brewed with chiltepins. Four beers left.
“Oh wait, I have a question,” The Classy Alcoholic said. “That ‘Torpedo Boy’ name…is it supposed to be, like-”
“Yeah, it’s a dick thing.”
“Okay, right, I totally thought it was a dick thing.”
TO BE CONTINUED…