The closest liquor store doesn't carry my favorite cheap gin.
I have to walk a little farther to the second closest liquor store. I don't mind the walk. It's a warm, beautiful day. Besides, I don't like the other liquor store. The closest liquor store.
The closest liquor store has The German Dude.
The German Dude never makes eye contact. Never speaks. Never smiles. He has a way of making me feel like I’m about to be in big trouble.
He’s not actually German. He’s far too inefficient to be German. But he just gives off that “evil German” vibe. You know? Vee haf vays of making you tock. That kind of thing.
When you’re with him, time moves slower than the fight scene in Good Will Hunting. He scans the bottles. He puts them in a black plastic bag. With great concentration, he sticks a cardboard divider between the bottles. Now there’s no “clink” of the glass bottles when he lifts the bag and hands it over at a tortoiselike pace.
Whenever he goes through this uncomfortable process, I find myself getting lost in thought.
I think about how he makes me feel like I'm in the headmaster's office at an elite New England prep school.
I'm about to get into trouble for something…he's always so suspicious…I just don't know what I did. And it's always guilty until proven innocent with the headmaster.
The headmaster's had an added layer of cruelty the past three years because the young, ambitions Democrat governor had this absurd idea of making corporal punishment illegal. Begrudgingly, the headmaster retired the old cherrywood paddle (he calls it Lady Redemption, which is just weird if you ask me) in a glass display above his ominous desk. Oh, that intimidating desk…look at it…sitting there with its strong, quiet presence that whispers "I have history" as if Alexander Hamilton once used this desk while signing some document I’ve bever heard of.
To the left of the glass display is an oil panting, the founder and first serving headmaster of the school. He's old. His eyes are cruel. Even by late 19th century standards, which is when this school was founded thank you very much, his eyes are cruel. His face is covered in wrinkles from decades upon decades of scowling.
To the right of the display case, another oil painting. The current headmaster. This headmaster. The headmaster whose office you're in right now.
The German Dude.
No, I will not be dealing with the headmaster today. No thank you. I will be going to the other liquor store. The second closest. It's bigger, less claustrophobic.
And they have my favorite cheap gin.