by Michael Davidson
The only thing sweeter than carrying a cold and unopened 24-ounce can of Steel Reserve onto a moonlit beach is carrying a cold and unopened 24-ounce can of Steel Reserve onto a moonlit beach in pleasant company. Two rounds of Maker’s Mark doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t necessary. Reserve is all it takes.
With Reserve in hand, the night is sure to be memorable. Yeahhhh.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. There are at least three other people I know by name who feel the exact same way about Reserve as I do. I do not need to name these people. They know who they are and they stand behind their tastes.
Without having to talk, Locust and Rob lead the way to the lifeguard tower fifty yards to the north. It looks to me like there’s someone sitting on the stairs, but as we get closer it becomes perfectly clear that the tower is ours. Domination.
Or is it serendipity?
For a few seconds, all I hear are the waves interfering with each other and our brown bags crinkling around the edges. The aluminum cans shine promisingly under a moon that is full enough to throw light on our 211 happiness.
That’s the sound.
It sure is.
That’s the three of us in chorus, celebrating life. After the first sip, we stand in silence before the frothing Pacific. Spume takes flight. Big ideas take over our minds. We are unnamed leaders of this country, at least that is what we were educated to be, leaders with big ideas, ideas bigger than this ocean,
but not quite as deep.
The Reserve gets our tongues slippery. We start talking giddily, wildly, beautifully.
What are easily the biggest ideas of the century are coming out of our mouths, right here on this lifeguard tower that we clearly dominate. Ideas so big they will never see the light of day. I love our ideas, Dear Lord, I am their biggest fan.
I think about the bioluminescence on that night we took the Toyota Dolphin up to the hills of La Jolla. What a magnificent night.
A sudden urge to urinate and create the glowing concentric circles grips me. Never in my life have I created something so geometric, and to think how short it lasted!
Tell me the path to permanence, Dear Lord, and I will follow. If I have to, I may even put down my can of Reserve, but that’s a lot to ask for. Know that.
What ever happened to the zipper tie, Morse?
That’s Locust asking about one of our big ideas that lack depth. I lick the lip of my can to season the tip of my tongue and say
What about it? I carry our blueprint in my wallet.
Have you looked into getting a patent?
Nope, but I think I can get a hold of the prototype you sewed.
You should move on that, Morse. It’s only a matter of time before someone beats us to it. We had that idea four years ago.
I have the date written on our blueprint. September 1999.
Exactly! Five years ago. Five years! You can’t sit on an idea like the zipper tie for five years and expect to win.
Rob has his hands pocketed in his sweatshirt. His Reserve balances on the railing. He shakes his head, purses his lips, and rains on our parade
Sorry, fellas. I googled zipper ties the other day and found the patent.
Fuck that. Fuck that right now!
You can fuck it all you want, Morse.
What was the date on it? Tell me what the date was.
Are you serious? Fuck!
And the worst part about it is that you guys had it all figured out. It was as if someone saw your blueprint and acted fast. Their sketch matched your prototype to the tee. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I really couldn’t, but they had the zipper right there in the middle of the tie, the windsor knot permanently tied, and a loop to slip your fat head through and tuck under your collar.
Silence follows. Silence with a lot of swallowing. Silence with a lot of defeat.
I am disenchanted. How many more ideas can I count on, Dear Lord, do you plan on sending any others my way?
But deep down I know that this was my chance for permanence: the zipper tie.
I lost. Give me another try.
We have an idea that comes to us, Dear Lord, and for some reason we ignore this idea because we think we are the only one in the world who has this idea. You bless us with an idea, Dear Lord, and we see the brilliance of it, in fact, we are blinded by the shine, and yet we sit on it until someone else has the exact same idea and capitalizes.
Locust is the first to finish his Reserve. Rob comes next.
I hear them rattle their cans to confirm that the dregs have indeed been reached.
Off in the distance, pallet bonfires mottle the sands.
The ten-foot flames are like voluptuous sirens singing their song of seduction. Locust hears them the clearest. He says,
You guys feel like taking a walk over to the nearest one?