The Last Tequila Stinger
Jeff Dupuis | Daniele Murtas
Maybe we expected the sun to rise from the west, or the north or the south. Anything seemed possible. A male cardinal’s song, his proclamation of territory and of his own sexual fitness, dominated the early morning. Brian and I were drinking, as there was little else to do, and we tried not to think or talk about it.
“Remember that girl you dated…Josie? I’d have loved to hit that,” Brian said, cracking open a tequila stinger.
“You couldn’t have handled how emotional she got, seriously,” I said.
“Yeah, you were always better with those types.”
“Thank you,” I said, tapping the neck of his bottle with mine.
We both stared out the sliding glass door for a moment, onto the once-manicured lawn that has become a grassland, rabbits bounding through the brush. Only the grass around the fire pit was cut, there wasn’t really a point to doing anything else. Brian’s pool was filled with brown water, a layer of leaves over top, the perfect breeding ground for frogs.
“If I could sleep with any of your exes, it’d be Carmella Chan,” I said. “She was glamourous, like a real estate agent, always stylish and professional, like her picture belonged on billboards and in bus shelters.”
“Cheng. Carmella Cheng. I’d have loved to have slept with her.”
“You said you did,” I said.
“I said a lot of shit when I was twenty.”
Laughing, we clinked our bottles again.
“You know,” Brian said, reclining in his dad’s chair, “Trevor tried to put the moves on Carmella at a party once, right here, in my basement.”
“When you two were dating?”
“Yeah, but, Trev was super-wasted, I’m mean, totally gone.”
“Sounds like Trev.”
“Yeah. Carmella was pissed.”
“When she told me, I didn’t get mad at Trev. I just laughed.”
“Did she expect you to challenge him to a fist fight?”
“I guess. I wouldn’t ever pick a fight with him. Remember how crazy-angry he used to get?”
“I think that had something to do with the meds he was on.”
I put my empty bottle on the coffee table, which was all but covered with empties. The case next to the couch was empty, as was the cooler at the landing by the door. I looked towards the kitchen, but Brian shook his head.
“We’ll have to go to the west end. We’ve tapped out every liquor store I know.”
“Shit,” I said, swiveling, putting my feet up on the couch. “We might have to start raiding pharmacies.”
Brian stared up at the swirling pattern brushed into the ceiling’s plaster.
“Do you think Trev made it?”
“I’d like to think so. I’d like to think that all the dudes who owned cottages are up north somewhere, fishing and barbecuing, living off the land, maybe working on expanding the human gene pool.”
The house was quiet, save for the sucking sound of Brian finishing the last tequila stinger. A soft, warm breeze came in through the screen door, but even it made no sound. I dozed off a second, then woke up to the cries of a raccoon at the edge of the yard.
“You hear that?” I said.
Brian and I crept onto the deck. I picked up the compound bow we stole from Canadian Tire by the mall up the street. Brian smirked, his hands on his hips. I lined up the shot, drawing back the bowstring.
“I make this shot, you have to build the signal fire today.”
The raccoon ambled around a game trail, reaching his little hands out like a beggar, his dark, bare fingers disappearing in the weeds and grass. He pulled his hands back to his mouth and buried his snout in them. I’d become quite good at nailing raccoons, and though he was far off, the wind was gentle. The raccoon found something in the grass he liked and sat for a moment.
“Think we’re all that’s left?” Brian said, just as I let loose the arrow.
“Brian, dude, you completely ruined my shot.”