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Ode to the Brown Paper Bag

by Alejandro Zepeda

I was trying to hit the beer jackpot at the local Wal-Mart, searching for the perfect microbrew to start my weekend. Why Wal-Mart?  I don’t know, but I was there, trying to forget the stressful week of running around cleaning hospital operating rooms. And it was all going according to plan, when somewhere between the Stout and PBR I found out Dominic was dead. I wasn’t expecting it, the whole him dead thing, and especially not between the Stout and PBR.  But he was dead, at least, according to Kat's text message-- Kat being a friend and not a feline.

Beer comes in handy in moments like these, were one feels the need to flush out any remorse for not finding out in a timely manner. I mean, I was just finding out after three months that the guy is dead. So the perfect craft beer was not appropriate, not for this incident. No, moments like these require a different kind of beer, from a special kind of place.

I left the Wal-Mart and walked down the street to 7-Eleven, bought a 40oz of malt liquor, rapped it in a brown paper bag, and dropped some for my homies as I walked. It’s all ceremonial, get drunk enough and you'll end up dropping some for your homie's homies.

I called Kat-- the friend, not a feline-- to confirm the story. I wasn’t going to do this over text message. It’s best done by phone call, it’s easier to drink and talk. The brown paper bag requires this extra dedication, it’s ceremonial, and you do your part.

“You’re sure he’s dead? He does things like this. Him and his distorted sense of humor.”

He was dead, she was sure. She had seen the funeral home website with a goofy Christmas picture of him and his dog looking like a creepy 1950s catalog ad. He perversely held his finger to his lips, tempting you not to laugh at him. She sent the link for the site.  He was dead alright, but the picture was amusing. I took an extra-long drink from the 40oz, then took another for whoever picked the picture, they deserved it. He proclaimed himself a Twitter whore and used that picture for his profiles. It was only appropriate to take another long drink for that.

I looked up his Twitter account. He was a prolific Twitter whore with his hourly rants. I wanted to read the last post he made, if there was a real answer to what happen it would be there, and I did find a clear timeline of the events that led to his final demise.

March 12th 2013

7:31 a.m. YEAH WE CAME TO BLOW YOUR SYSTEM

7:48 a.m. It’s an off day

11:32 a.m. If I make it through today without killing someone or burning something down, I’ll be really surprised.

1:31 p.m. Some people will just always be ungrateful even when you give something better than your best.

4:59 p.m. Tempted to overdraft for a 6 pack

7:20 p.m. Haha Everything I do is at my best, and my best isn’t even as good as other people’s worst.

7:46 p.m. Got the deep down madness chaos in my brain let my blood flow, let my blood flow through you maaan. You got no business questioning a thing

8:50 p.m. Hit a new high and new low tonight at the same time.

8:53 p.m. Bi-Polaroid.

9:04 p.m. I'm not drinking alone on spring break. My dog is here.

9:12 p.m. When its 11:11 and all you wish is that something good will happen but all you get is <….

9:20 p.m. The planets just aligned in my bedroom and I told them to fuck off for another day.

His Twitter rant ended. He was dead sometime after that, but not between the Stouts and PBR, which I’m sure he would have preferred. No, he was dead elsewhere. So I took a long drink for that other place from my 40 in the brown paper bag, walking the streets like a hobo, telling the aligned planets to fuck off for another day, then somehow it was another day, thanks in part to the 40 from the brown paper bag.