walked to the gas station to buy beer. tecate was the nicest thing they had. i only got it because i didn’t want to drink budweiser. no offense to budweiser. three dudes buying beer at the register eyed me up. i heard one of them say to his friends “americano” and “tecate.” i smiled at him. i didn’t mean to. in a not-unfriendly way he said, “you know what the fuck i’m saying?”

i said, “not really, i just figured you were talking about me and my beer.”

and he said, “yeah i told them the american picked out a good beer.” (who knows if this is true.)

i said, pointing to the wall of refrigerators in the back, “well i figured it was just slightly better than all that shit.”

he asked me how old i was and i told him. he said i looked like i was still in high school. he had me show him my ID.

he said, “take care brother,” and then he left.

i cracked open a tall boy on the sidewalk and headed home. it was 25 degrees outside. i tried to drink the beer as fast as i could because my hand was getting stuck to the can and it hurt. after a few minutes both my hands were purple. i put the empty can back in the bag and beat my hands against my chest to get blood flowing in them again. i remember the protagonist from ‘to build a fire’ doing that when he was freezing to death. (spoiler: he freezes to death.) anyway it didn’t work. i walked as fast as i could. most of the houses i passed still had christmas trees lit up inside dark rooms.

i didn’t realize i was talking to myself but i guess i was. a woman standing on her porch overheard me mumbling about something. her dog barked at me and she called for him to come back inside. i was having an imaginary conversation with someone that will probably never happen because i am weak.

my hands are moving again. i am inside. i am going to sit on the couch and drink this stuff and continue to have conversations with myself that i wish i could be having with other people.