Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Party: Jeremy's Day.

Jeremy fondled the crisp fifty euro notes in his left pocket as he stood across the street from the off licence. Sweat poured from his brow and he reached up with his right hand to wipe the coalescing moisture away. He breathed in deeply in an effort to chase the butterflies in his stomach off. It worked, more or less. Now he was merely anxious instead of terrified. He'd been handed the fifty euro notes by his mate Paul thirty minutes earlier. Paul's parents were away so he had the run of the house for the weekend. Being sixteen, they had immediately decided to throw a rager in the free house. The money was to be their beer fund. All Jeremy had to do was work up the courage to cross the road and load up on Dutch Gold, cheap cider, vodka and a six pack of wine coolers for Lisa.

Lisa's pending attendance was the only reason he'd been talked into getting the drinks. If he could show he was cool then she'd definitely go out with him. Maybe.

Paul had been picked for the errand as he had his dead brother's ID card. Mark had died in a car accident a year ago, aged nineteen, but his ID card was still valid. Jeremy looked slightly like Mark had; they shared the same hair colour and gaunt face. Despite this, Jeremy hoped that the cashier wouldn't be too observant.

Traffic was light as Jeremy ran over the road to the shop and entered. He gazed around the Off Licence in wonderment at the range of products on display. He'd never known that there were so many enjoyable ways of killing brain cells! There were Beers and Wines from all over the world. He almost drooled in anticipation. The upper end of the alcohol market didn't interest Jeremy. Fine wines and spirits weren't what he and his friends needed. They required the refreshment equivalent of rocket fuel.
He picked up a basket and wandered over to the cider section. He decided that the best way to make his budget stretch was to avoid the top name brands and anything that advertised on television. Jeremy stuffed a couple of two litre bottles of hard cider into the basket and moved on. Beer was tougher. There were just so many brands! He saw something called "French Beer" on the lowest shelf. It was too cheap to even have a name! That was awesome. He picked up twenty four bottles of it for €18. He also grabbed a few bottles of an actual beer he'd heard of. They were for him; he'd be classy and impress Lisa with his knowledge of world beers.
"I much prefer IPA's to Dunkels or white beers!" he'd inform her.
Girls loved sophisticated men: James Bond films wouldn't just lie about that.
Next Jeremy placed a six pack of wine coolers in the basket for Lisa, along with a dozen of those vodka and lemonade drinks for the other girls who would be attending.

Now was the moment of truth: he had to go up to the cash register and get some bottles of spirits as well as actually pay for the stuff.
The register was manned by a middle aged woman of impressive girth. There was a long queue. Jeremy had been worried that the scale of his purchases would mark him out for suspicion. He needn't have worried: tomorrow was Good Friday. The Bars and Off Licences throughout Ireland would be closed so normally responsible adults were panic buying as if the apocalypse was looming. A woman in front of him had fifteen bottles of wine in her trolley.

Jeremy waited as the others paid for their purchases. His anxiety returned as he moved up the queue. Suddenly, it was his turn.
"D'ya have ID?" asked the whale behind the counter.
Jeremy fumbled in his pocket and produced his deceased brother's ID card. Shamu the Orca studied the card forensically. Jeremy tried his best to look nonchalant. The woman handed the card back.
"Fine. Anything else?"
"Yeah. Could I get two bottles of vodka and one of rum please?"
The shop assistant turned around like an ocean liner and picked the bottles Jeremy had requested off the shelf.
She scanned the pile of bottles and cans and Jeremy began bagging his haul. He paid the denizen of the deep the requested amount and left the shop as quickly as he could. As he exited he noticed a Guard car roll to a stop at the kerb.
No! Thought Jeremy. I was so close!
What would he do? The guards would bring him home and confiscate the booze. He'd be mortified. He'd never get to insert his tongue into Lisa's throat now!
Just as Jeremy was on the verge of breaking down into sobs, the Guards got out of their car and walked into the Off Licence, ignoring him completely.
Jeremy took this as a gift from the gods and ran to Paul's house. This was going to be the greatest party ever.

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