Nick thinks of beer. No, he dreams of beer. Hungover, ghost of six beers past churning in his corpulent stomach, that word sings, beer. Beer. En route to classes, a graduate student he thinks about beer. He conjures the amber ale of 90 Shillings, the bitter sour of a La Folies from New Belgium. He tries not to conjure beer, but after another lecture from his father, full of dissection, bad son, weak, too artistic, the beer calls. Drink me, I accept you. I will never demand things. Nick obliges. Father’s mustache bristles, demanding, do this, do that. Don’t drink. Don’t be this.
Nick plunges into beer. I like beer, his mind whispers.
It whispers louder after rejections, story after story discarded, emails reading THIS PIECE IS NOT FOR US striking him, electronic fusillades. He thinks of drinking, drifting astride hoppy euphoria, darkness of things sliding from him for a time. He spends many a night at the bar, until well after midnight, when closing time and the coming morn are all too close, drawing like a sort of freight train. Nick leaves the bar, beer glasses around him a reminder of what he’s done. I can stew in it tomorrow, he promises, although he can still feel idiocy on the way home.
Nick feels shame some days, looking at himself, as if from some plateau above. He vows to become something better, more responsible, more fit to attend to obligations. As he tries to withdraw, he is wounded by the forces around him, father, classes, career. Beer sneaks back into his consciousness. He promises to have one last beer, to shake it off, then another. Promises again. Nick promises, until promises are so empty they don’t matter. Come on in beer, his consciousness whispers in defeat.
—About the Author—
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A recipient of two Honorable Mentions from Glimmer Train, his story, “Strangers,” was nominated for The Best Small Fictions. Mir-Yashar’s work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as Maudlin House, The Drabble, Door Is A Jar, and Ariel Chart.