Needle Magazine – Spring 2014
Five Bucks Buys Some Goddamn Vodka by Heath Lowrance
The first big mistake I made that day was giving my money to Timmy Webber to hold on to. It was a five dollar bill some college chickie gave me that afternoon because she thought I was panhandling when all I was doing really was sitting there on the curb wondering where I was going to get some money for another pint. Manna from fuckin heaven, right?
So I was shuffling my way to the liquor store—I say shuffling not to be cutsie but because walking hurts my hips like a cunt and I can only shuffle—when out of the store comes Timmy Webber with a big fuckin smile on his face and a fifth—a fifth!—of Arrow Vodka in his gnarled hand.
Now Timmy, everyone knows he’s got what you call anger management issues, especially when he’s drunk, which (like me) is most of the fuckin time. When I think of him now, I think of a red face, thick lips twisted in rage, his little blood eyes bulging. The guy, he’d fly off the handle over anything. He always wanted to fight somebody, even though I’d never seen him win one. He sure got the fuck beat out of him on a regular basis, though. He’d spent so long acting like the world was against him that eventually it was.
But just then he was mostly sober and so not in a blind rage. He saw me and said, “Clint, Clint, Clintie!” and tucked the bottle in his coat. “How you, my man?”
“Well,” I said, shrugging. “You know.”
“You got a bottle, huh?”
“Hey, fuck you.”
“I’m just saying, you got a bottle.”
“Fuck you, Clintie.”
“Jesus, man, what’s your damage?”
“This is my bottle and I ain’t sharing it, so fuck you.”
I shrugged again and went to shuffle past him. “I don’t need you,” I said. “I got my own money.”
The A-rab who owned the store came out in the doorway right before I got in. He crossed his arms and said, “You two clear out. I don’t need that kind of language here, I have customers, decent people.”
I said, “I’m a customer, goddamnit. I got money. I wanna buy a pint.”
“Go somewhere else.”
“What the fuck!” I said. It hurt my chest to raise my voice, but I was pissed. “Take my money and give me a pint of Arrow!”
“Get out of here before I call the police.”
“You… you’re prejudiced, you asshole!”
“Get out! Every time you come in I can’t get the stink of you out of my store all day!”
Even though the A-rab was talking to me, Timmy was starting to take it personal. He stepped up, face turning bright red, said, “Hey, fuck you, you fuckin camel jockey, I’ll kick your—“
The A-rab punched Timmy in the face. Timmy stumbled back into a parked car, clutching his nose. Blood streamed between his fingers. The A-rab said, “Leave before I rip your stinking heart out, you piece of shit.”
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