Liquor Store Snack Selection

Published on Nov 21, 2020

  • You still think that creep's out there?
  • No.
  • Then why are you staring out the window?
  • You don't believe me.
  • I think you saw somebody. A car. Outside.
  • But three nights in a row?
  • Well they probably live here... or maybe they're dating somebody on the street and they come over to spend the night.
  • Why would they just sit in the car the whole time then? It doesn't make sense.
  • I don't know! Maybe they're an Uber driver?
  • I've never seen anyone get in the car. It just takes off randomly. And it's never here during the day. Then I would've seen what they look like.
  • Would that make you less scared?
  • Marie says nothing. The street is quiet except for soft chirps of evening birds. Marie's phone vibrates. She responds quickly by tapping her fingers on the screen several times then places the phone screen down onto the coffee table.
  • Do you think Julie and Caroline are mad?
  • No. Why do you say that?
  • They probably want to party. It's hard hanging out with them now.
  • I know how you feel.
  • But you still go out.
  • Sometimes. It can be fun. I really don't though. I mean sometimes I do yeah, but those times somehow always make it to Instagram.
  • So you're not mad that we haven't gone to out yet?
  • Nah. I'd rather chill. I just pretend my reason for wanting to stay in is because I care about you. I don't want Jules and Caroline to see me as boring.
  • See you do think it's boring.
  • I'm speaking from their terms!
  • Okay.
  • So why'd you tell us that you saw the guy in the car.
  • When Caroline asked what the person looked like i felt silly imagining myself saying I hadn't seen anyone. Here I was making a big fuss about the situation and I got scared you guys wouldn't believe me if I said I haven't even seen what the guy looks like. So I just made him up.
  • I find Marie's fake guy too descriptive. I almost blurt this out, but hold back when I can't escape what I'm actually doing, which is trying to pressure her to give me more.
  • She doesn't like it when I pry. But I can still think about it myself. Why is the fake guy she crafted so detailed? Louisville Cardinal baseball hat with wavy hair underneath. Blue checkered flannel. Defined face. Who is this guy? He might not be the actual person in the car stalking our AirBnB, but he's most likely someone real from Marie's life. She didn't just make him up.
  • This thought fills me with eerie. It's like I can feel his presence. My eyes can't see him. It's like I can imagine someone else's eyes viewing us on screen in a theater. A scene in a film where Marie and I are in our dark living room on one half of the screen and the baseball hat guy is on the other half driving his car.
  • I believe you, but it something's off. Me believing you now doesn't make sense is what I mean. Like after you told me about the guy I kept thinking about him and now he feels real to me.
  • What really?
  • I can't shake this feeling that he's actually out there. Maybe not on the street right now but he's driving on a road somewhere in the city and he's coming here. But you need to promise me that this guy doesn't exist. Because in my head he now does. Promise me.
  • I promise. I just came up with a generic description.
  • Good cause I'm kind of getting scared. I hope Jules and Caroline come back soon. Was that them? What did they say?
  • They were just wondering what beer I wanted.
  • Okay. Beer sounds nice.
  • I'm sorry I spooked you. But you believe me? About the car being out there, I mean.
  • Well I wasn't scared about the car before. I just now got scared about the guy you made up. But now I suddenly am scared of the car too. Like why would a car be out on our street three nights in a row?
  • I approach the couch and sit on my knees next to Marie so that I can lean in against the slits of the closed window blinds.
  • Isn't it kind of exciting though?
  • A little.
  • Now that you believe me it's kind of fun.
  • It is kind of fun. This reminds me of that time Motley's caught on fire.
  • We hear Jules and Caroline's laughter outside. As they approach nearer the sound of glass clinging together cuts through the sound of birds.
  • Have you freaks been sitting here with the lights out this entire time? Please don't tell me you're still scared of Freddy Kruger out there.
  • Marie flicks on the lights and suddenly the living room feels so wide. Julie and Caroline place the 24 pack of Modelo and two plastic bags on the dinner table. Jules distributes four bottles as Marie rips open a bag of tortilla chips and Caroline fetches a plastic container of Garden Fresh brand salsa from the fridge that we bought at Kroger the other day.
  • Snack selections of liquor stores have always reminded me of a certain class of men. Alone. The kind who'll often drink a tallboy or a pint of liquor with their dinner. The drink they got in a brown paper bag after work from the liquor store they always frequent between their job and home. And after dinner they'll eat a salty snack that the liquor store happens to stock. I usually imagine this being some type of jerky. Something they can justify as being somewhat healthy. There's something sad about it. The drink sizes are so impractical sizes for someone who drinks more days out of the week than not. Then why not buy liquor by the handle? Why not buy a cases of beer?
  • I imagine something deep inside these men. Something unsaid. They don't want to be this way. But on that particular evening they must. So they will buy themselves a tallboy or two to get them through .Or if they're not in the mood for beer then they'll just get a pint.. not a fifth. Tomorrow can be a new day.
  • And the snacks. Furthest thing from mom's snacks that I can think of. Stalest of chips. The driest of cookies. The flattest of pastries. The complete opposite of fresh baked pie that mom used to bake. Every snack in the liquor store is refined so that it can be as sweet or as salty as possible. That's the kind of snacks that go well with booze when you're drinking alone. I imagine.
  • You can never find high quality salsa at these liquor stores. That's why we had to get it from Kroger. But the tortilla chips from the liquor store I don't mind. Caroline, Marie, and I devour the salsa and chips so fast that Jules can't get any. She makes some comment about it and then goes and opens up another container of the same brand.
  • We put on a non-serious semi-funny movie on the TV and drink and eat. Sometimes Marie will look out the blinds. I continue to wait for the moment she whispers at us to come over and look. But she never does.