Harold was laid off from his Law firm. He didn’t want to go home and face his wife and daughter. After spending the last 5 years looking strong and responsible, shattering that image was too hard to do at the moment. Instead he went to BevMo.
“Do you have any MacAllen 16?”
“Let me check.” said the counter clerk. She was wearing the dark green polo shirt with the apron to suggest that she was doing hard work that involved things that would dirty herself. Harold couldn’t imagine what would get you dirty working at BevMo. Dusty wooden crates were probably the biggest threat, and even that didn’t seem to call for wearing an Apron. She typed in and scanned her finger across the computer terminal.
“Yes. Indeed we do. I will walk you to it. Follow me.”
So Harold followed the young lady across the store to the very back, where they kept the more expensive whiskies locked behind glass.
“That was Macallen 16 you said?”
“Yes. What’s the price tag?”
“Looks like it’s…” She looked at the bottom of the box and found it. “$59.99. Should I ring it up?”
“Hmm. I’ll take the Macallen 10 actually.” said Harold.
“No problem.” She put the Macallen 16 back in the glass and locked the door. “Follow me.” She said before walking down an aisle to where the more affordable whiskey was shelved. “Here it is” she pointed to the bottom corner of the shelf. “Is that all? You want me to ring you up?”
“Yes. That would be splendid.” said Harold. The bottle ended up costing him $35.00. He asked for a paper bag so that he could hide it while drinking outside.
After leaving BevMo he decided we wanted to drink at La Cienega and Stocker, near what appeared to be an abandoned oil drilling operation. There is a saying that loneliness loves company. Perhaps the abandoned oil rig provided such company.
At 2pm. It was a hot dry Los Angeles afternoon. By 3pm it was overcast. By 4pm it was drizzling and Harold had finished about half of his bottle. At this point he was intoxicated enough to do what he pleased uninhibited.
He climbed the fence, oblivious to the minor cuts incurred from rubbing against barbed wire. He then proceeded to stagger towards the black rusted oil pump nearest him. He admired its height. Much bigger up close than from far away. Then he slipped into the mud. He didn’t get up. Instead he began to think about the girl who helped him at BevMo. She was so young to be working at a liquor shop. Yet her situation was more stable than his own.
It began to rain harder. But Harold didn’t feel the cold as a result of his intoxication. He started to think about rain. It seems to be a contradiction. Los Angeles was a desert, perpetually stealing water from its neighbors by muscling its way into land and exercising the water rights. Yet every once in a while, usually in October-November it would rain hard. For days. Yet nobody collected any of it. So much fresh water going straight into mud.