Fantasticoe -- 2013
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Oh Light Beer

Justina Spear

            Just like it is illegal to hunt from an aircraft, it’s illegal for horses to eat fire hydrants. But then it comes to recent Iowa Laws that are just ridiculous. For example, the illegalization to consume light beer. That’s where my friends and I have a problem. Being twenty year old college students, what are we suppose to do on a Friday night? I’ll tell ya. Weekend after weekend we have resorted to staying in and drinking vodka because for one: we can’t get into the bars because we obviously aren’t twenty-one, and for two, light beer has been eradicated in Iowa. The dumbest rule yet.

“Another Friday night!” I said sarcastically

“Less than a month!” Ann said over excited.

            Down to two of my friends from our grade left to turn twenty-one, plus me, and we all have our birthdays within a month. First it’s Robert’s, mine, and then Ann’s is at the end  of September. Even though light beer is now banned, this law is so recently progressive that my friends and I had our first sips of Bud Light, Busch and even Miller around age seventeen. So when we turned twenty years old with out light beer, it was definitely a bitter moment with the abolishment. That was our only ticket to appear twenty-one and to achieve the weightless feeling making us float. It was a way to appear sober. Without it, it‘s like we have targets on our backs, or signs that say, “Hey over here officers! We‘re drinking underage!” Then our minds began turning and our Friday night quest was in the midst of beginning.

“I don’t want to choke down this terribly mixed fruity drink anymore. We are getting our hands on light beer tonight.” Robert said sternly.

“And how do you think we are going to manage that?” Ann questioned.

             As they continued to bicker back and forth, I began to reminisce how sore-free our legs were through our later teen years. We never had to use them when we could hover above the ground under the influence of light beer. We weren‘t questioned at the doors of bars, in-fact, they didn’t even ID us when they spotted our feet inches off the ground. And the best part about drinking light beer underage, no hangovers. Another reason why I can’t wait to be 21. I snapped out of it and completely off topic I said,

“Remember that one time when we were what? 19? And the cops stopped us when we were gliding around? We just showed our fakes, and then we were on our way.”

Robert and Ann smiled as they tilted their heads upwards as if they were reliving the good times. Then coming back to reality, Ann said miserably.

“It sucks now because we can only float with light beer!”

            I felt the wheels begin to turn as I smirked. “Remember when they made fireworks illegal in Iowa?” my smirk grew bigger.

“We can just head to Missouri and do what everyone else did with the fireworks! Let’s go smuggle some beer!”

            We began emptying our pockets, digging for change before we got to my small maroon ‘95 Oldsmobile that was parked out front. We climbed in and both Robert and Ann began counting our money as I pulled on to First Ave to start on our two and a half hour long pursuit. Leaving in such a hurry, we hadn’t grabbed anything to keep us preoccupied, making this trip to seem like forever. As I drove Robert and Ann played eye spy, like we all did in middle school. Is there enough room in the trunk? God I hope so, I want to stock up... Two hours had passed, surprisingly quick. “Hey guuuyysss look uppp,” I said in a sing song voice. Our eyes gazed up where a billboard shined in big block letters, “MISSOURI: 2 MILES.

            The car brimmed with hoots and hollers. Slow claps began along with the common chant, “Beer, beer, beer, beer!” We pulled up to the liquor store. I reached my hand back behind the seat waiting for Robert to drop our accumulated money in it. I cupped it with two hands and then shoved it all in my pocket. I walked in casually heading straight to the back where I saw Bud Light, my favorite. My mouth began to water and my hands began to sweat when I decided to get a cart. As excitement rose in my stomach, I could easily notice a knot growing larger, which diminished my excitement quite quickly. I loaded up three cases of Bud Light and three of Busch Light. It was a struggle to push the cart to the cashier as the front wheel kept flickering left to right. I finally pushed my cart up to the check out and shook out my arms. Not realizing what bad shape I’m in. I’m sure she sees this all the time… I’m gonna get caught..

“Good evening,” said the cashier. I responded with, “you too.”

“Your ID?” She asked looking at me suspiciously.

            I fumbled with my wallet before locating my fake. I handed it over, as I felt a bead of sweat start to form on my forehead. She continued to eye the card, then glanced at me. I began fidgeting, which I noticed, leading me to stand there awkwardly. My arms were dangling by my side as I looked at everything but the cashier. I noticed out of my peripherals, her eyeing me roughly three or four more times before she then handed it back. With her eyebrow raised, she started scanning the barcodes and snapped, “you must be thirsty.”

“Sure am,” I said, feeling better that my fake had worked.

            The ID was my older sister‘s and it looked just like me. Long blonde hair, blue eyes, and I was short enough that the cashier probably couldn’t differentiate between 5’2” and 4’10”. The cashier told me the damage, I paid, and hustled out of there as fast I could manage while pushing the cart filled with six twenty-four packs of light beer. I loaded up the trunk that was thankfully not filled with much of anything, and the drive back to Iowa had begun.

            Another two hours later, we couldn’t resist the beer eyeing us in the back. With that thought, I heard a, “Psht” and then I heard slurping as I peered at Robert through the rearview mirror. I began to laugh as I said, “hand me one!” We had been drinking for nearly an hour by the time we arrived at the outskirts of Cedar Rapids. At this point of the drive we’d already felt much lighter, contemplating if we should head straight downtown. Determined on getting into the bars, I steered straight to Hazard County Saloon, the only country bar around here.

            Cedar Rapids being full of one ways, I made squares attempting to find a parking spot. As we drove down the streets, the sidewalks were sprinkled with smokers and glowed with neon signs. I parked a block away, and as we stepped out, we looked down and were silent. Looking back up at each other, our faces were masked with our smiles from ear to ear. We high fived each other, like it was the cool thing to do. We got our composure and began gliding down the sidewalk.

            Arriving at the door, I heard the distinctive words of Luke Bryan singing, country girl shake it for me girl, shake it for me girl, shake it for me. Starting to bounce my hip with the beat, we waited in line before we then stood in front of the bouncer. He was a big man, clearly more muscle than fat, who appeared older with spiked white hair. He grabbed my ID and peered at me over his dark rimmed glasses. He handed it back and he reached for my hand to stamp it. Continuing to float in, I stopped after passing the bouncer and waited for Robert and Ann. Glancing around, my eyes began to widen. There was a large wooden dance floor and a stage that was filled with people line dancing, “stomping” in synch with out their feet even touching the ground.  Everyone got passed the bouncer, so we decided to dance the night away.

            While dancing, I couldn’t help but notice a large TV on the wall playing the music videos of the top rated country songs. The DJ was placed in the corner, raised above the crowd in his own cubby. People were laughing and swinging there arms unknowingly bumping each other. Nobody seemed to care though as their drinks splashed from their cups on the slippery wooden floor.

            Robert grabbed my hand and smoothly spun me in a circle, ending the song with a dip. He lifted me and brought me in close and we began swaying. I looked over and saw Ann dancing with a tall guy that I later find out to be Steve. She looked happy, and that’s when I noticed it. Her feet were almost touching the ground! As I looked down my own feet were barely off the ground too! I peered at the clock which read, 1:00AM. We had to go chug more beer in order to camouflage ourselves as “of age adults!” Grabbing Robert, we drifted past happy dancers dodging arms and legs as women were being basically thrown around. We stole Ann out of Steve’s arms and hustled past the bouncer. We B-lined toward my car before we heard an, “Ouch,” sneak up from behind us.

            Robert and I whirled around to see Ann on her hands and knees looking up at us with a blonde curl lying across her nose. The light beer was wearing off. As we began to help her up, I noticed Robert’s eyes wander toward the street. Paranoid, I cranked my head in that direction to find cops meandering in their vehicles finding people…people like us. I looked ahead where I spotted a dark alley. As Robert and I glided quickly, barely off the ground, Ann remained on the sidewalk, not even noticing we left. She was hidden by cars along the road, and we convince her to crawl and stay low. Fading from floating and sober to drunk and stumbling, in Ann’s case crawling, she appears to be moving rather slow swaying from side to side.

“Ann, hurry up!!” I said in a loud whisper.

            She then looked up astonished, appearing like she had amnesia. She nodded and began to pick up the pace. She made it around the corner and Robert said, “Don’t. Move.”

            We hid in the shadows, motionless, pressed up against a cold brick wall. Ann was still on her hands and knees. Remaining as silent as people off of a float could manage, my breathing was heavy, and I could hear my heart thumping through my chest. I noticed in my peripherals the cop decelerating. He squinted his eyes in our direction, then continued down the road returning to a regular speed. “Drive on officer! This law is as stupid as the one where men with mustaches aren’t allowed to kiss women in public!” Ann said completely drunk, which actually sounded like, “Ociffer ride on, men mustache kiss not allowed women public, ahhh.” The ahhh part being Ann puking. Now, if we were twenty-one we wouldn’t have to deal with this!

            After a few short minutes, Robert peered around the corner. No cops. We still had about a block to go, so our race back to the car had resumed as Robert and I slung Ann‘s arms over our shoulders. After floating roughly half a block, I felt my flip flops drift across the cement. I then made complete contact and I began stumbling. We were hammered, I thought frantically. We needed to go back to floating as soon as possible, otherwise we were in deep shit! All of us now staggering, I managed to pull on the car handle and we successfully got Ann in the back. Robert and I made our way to the front which was filled with empty beer cans. In order to sober up and drive safely, I chugged another beer hoping to get me back to the light state I was previously in. Realizing how much beer was left, Robert said, “We should save the rest for tomorrow this night has been too crazy.” Uninterrupted he continued, “then again it’s only Friday!

            Making the unanimous decision, I drove back to Coe sober where we entered the Hamptons, Room 24. We passed out with smiles, and dreamt of tomorrow’s events and a day full of happy floating.