Lond Ho Adventures

Lager Quest Part 4

Bill took two steps towards the glass doors when he was stopped by an arm across his chest, an arm belonging to his roommate, Hunter.


Hunter had a strange feeling, a sudden, strange buzzing in his head mixed with what can only be described as the heebie-jeebies.

Bill stopped, looked down Hunter’s arm, then over at Hunter, “Well?”

“Lets go out through the ‘Dirty Deli.’”

The ‘Dirty Deli” is what Bill and Hunter called “The Derby Deli,” a tiny bodega located on the main floor of the Lond Ho complex. They called the place the “Dirty Deli” because it was, well… dirty. The place had a strange smell to it, something like burning paint with a hint of organic decay. None of the shelves looked like they had been wiped down in at least ten years, or at all – especially the upper decks – all of which were covered in a thick layer of greasy, grimy dust. There was even a single, lonely, 1970’s era box of pineapple Jell-o that had been sitting there since Bill and Hunter moved in to the building eight months back, and possibly much, much longer. Occasionally Hunter got it into his head that he should purchase the ancient .95 cent item just to see if it was still good, if it would still make for a delicious, light tasting treat because like everyone knows, there’s always room for Jell-o.

“What?? Why?” Bill needed to know.

“I just have a feeling… someone, or something is out there, waiting for us…” Hunter replied.


“I don’t know… the feeling is elusive… fleeting, and strange.” Hunter had an odd, faraway look about him.

Bill let an exasperated breath escape his lungs. He supposed he could argue with Hunter and waste precious, potential drinking time or, he could just say nothing and follow Hunter, who was already on his way towards the side entrance to The Derby Deli. He opted to follow and say nothing, it would be easier all around, and after all they were on an important mission and could afford no further delays.

“Are you purchasing something or just passing through?” The short, balding East Indian owner of the store, Devindra Alahan, called out to the boys mere moments after they strode through the door and into the claustrophobic confines of the bodega.

“Uh, that depends,” Hunter said over his shoulder as he hustled towards the front exit, “do you sell beer?” He asked, knowing perfectly well that Devindra sold nothing of the sort.

Devindra chuffed “Oh, very funny! You think if I had the opportunity to sell booze in this place that I would choose not to?”

“Don’t worry,” Bill said, “if Ralph Klein is elected you’ll be able to own a liquor store of your very own, free of government interference, very soon.”

“We can only hope!”

The boys passed through the front doors of the shop to be greeted by the cool April air. Across the street in a small strip mall stood the liquor store, a small shining light in the darkness of the spring night.

“Hey guys!”

Hunter and Bill stopped in their tracks. The voice belonged to Kelli Spelling, a girl that worked at the Buy-Way with Bill. A girl that always seemed to show up when Bill and Hunter were on their way somewhere, and under a time-crunch. Bill had always sloughed this off as pure coincidence, but Hunter wasn’t so sure. The boys spun around as one and put on some smiles for the girl.

“Hey kid!” Hunter said by way of greeting. Kelli hated being called “kid” as she was nearly thirty, the oldest of their group of friends, and had a decent job as store manager of the Buy-Way, but she put up with it because it was Hunter. She put up with a lot from Hunter that she absolutely would not from anyone else, not that he ever noticed.

Bill was nervously checking his watch, and looking across the street to make sure the “OPEN” sign was still lit at the booze-a-rama. “Hey Kelli, we were just on our way to the jar store and we’re kinda pressed for time so-“

Kelli cut him off, “Oh yeah? I was just there, grabbed a couple of bottles of wine for me and Rachel. You know me though, one glass and I’m tipsy! Not like Rachel, oh no it takes a lot more than one glass to get her drunk being she’s such a lush and all. We’re gonna watch a movie or something…”

The clock ticked closer to closing time and Bill was starting to worry he would be spending the rest of his life having this conversation.

“…or maybe just watch the news, even though Rachel hates the news, but I bought the wine so screw her right?” She let out a quick sharp, “ha” then continued, “Hey maybe you guys wanna come by and hang out or something?”

Hunter found himself looking down at Kelli’s hemp shopping bag, distracted by the way the bottles inside were clinking together as she spoke and gesticulated with her hands. It looked to him like there were about three more than a “couple” of bottles in the bag.

“Yeah, no we-“ Hunter pointed back and forth between Bill and himself, “-got plans, but maybe-“

“Time waits for no man Hunter.” Bill growled.

“We gotta go! Laters yeah?!” Hunter called out over his shoulder as the boys turned and began to hustle in the direction of the crosswalk.

“Definitely see you later!!” Kelli called out to the boy’s backs and continued on towards her flat.

An angry orange glowing hand stopped Bill and Hunter at the curb. They looked fitfully across the street at the bright lights of the liquor store and its inviting “OPEN” sign. They could have just crossed at this point, there were no vehicles in sight, but Bill and Hunter had long since learned their lesson about crossing against the lights downtown. Bill was knocked into the windshield of a BMW 323 when the ass driving it was more into the conversation he was having on his car phone than he was watching the road for little things like red lights and pedestrians. And just a fortnight previous, Hunter was knocked down, and had a sleeve almost ripped from his coat while crossing with the light, in a crosswalk by some bearded hippy bozo in an ancient pick-up that was turning right while looking left. This guy not only refused to take any responsibility for the incident in which he was clearly in the wrong, but threatened to get back in to his truck and run both Bill and Hunter down for daring to show the slightest bit of annoyance at the situation. Only when he smoked his tires fleeing the scene did the boys notice there were no licence plates on the truck.

Bill stretched his watch arm and exaggeratedly shook down his sleeve and looked at his watch; they were down to the short strokes with only seven minutes until closing time.

The light finally changed and the walk sign lit up, the boys stepped off the curb and into the crosswalk anticipating with every step the cool, refreshing beers that would soon be theirs. Half-way across the orange hand appeared again, blinking a warning to hurry up and cross.

The huge GMC Yukon sped around the corner like a lumbering T-Rex, or some big, black nemesis, its grill a massive rectangular maw filled with razor sharp metallic teeth. The onyx leviathan turned towards them and glided over the pavement as a shark would through water. Bill and Hunter stood frozen for a second that felt like hours as the black SUV bore down on them. Hunter was the first to act, shoulder checking Bill to the curb before diving after him.

Time and space warped and seconds stretched out even further as Hunter looked up at the black SUV as it passed, catching only a glimpse of the douche bag yuppie, car-phone glued to his ear, eyes looking straight ahead apparently not even noticing the two young men in the crosswalk he very nearly slaughtered. The boys felt the rush of displaced air across their faces as the great beast of a truck blew through the spot where they both were only seconds ago.

Bill stood up first and let loose a sailor worthy string of expletives at the quickly vanishing tail lights.

Hunter stood and brushed the dust and road salt from his black coat, a rage coming over him. “I don’t know what’s worse about this situation; nearly getting killed, or the fact that that cock-sucking yuppie douche bag was so fucking engrossed in his phone conversation he didn’t even notice us!”

Bill twisted his neck from side to side and brushed some grit from his sleeve, “Well, we are both wearing black…”

Hunter was having none of it, “No excuses! If I ever see him again I’m putting a D-cell through his window!

“Never mind your D-cell revenge for now! We have work to do!”

The boys strolled across the strip mall parking lot, passing two prostitutes standing like scantily clad sentries in front of the 24hr Macs Convenience store. Bill and Hunter’s destination was close now, just past the Laundromat on the far end of the block of stores. They stopped and took a moment to glance up. The words Alberta Liquor Store were shining brightly in the darkness of the April night. They made it. Finally to spite all that had impeded them, the lovely golden elixir would within minutes be theirs to savour.

“After you Bill,” Hunter said extending his arm towards the door.

“Thank you sir,” Bill said as he reached out and pulled on the handle.

The door didn’t move. Bill looked down at his hand and pulled again, harder this time. Incomprehensibly it refused to budge, the door was locked tight.

“The fuck?” Bill said trying the door a few more times to no avail. He viciously pulled back his sleeve and looked at his watch. It read 21:55, exactly five minutes before closing time. A full five minutes left in the hours of operation and yet the doors were locked! This was unacceptable!

Bill squinted, cupped his hands around his eyes and peered through the glass door into the store. He was certain he spotted movement inside, and he was right! When the Iranian looking cashier came into view of the door, Bill rapped loudly on the glass to get his attention. The cashier nearly jumped out of his apron, a look of horror plastered on his face. He stared; frozen on the spot some ten feet from the entrance and screeched so loudly the boys had no trouble hearing him even through two layers of laminated glass.


Bill pulled back on his sleeve and poked at his wristwatch some three of four times. “Its not closing time yet buddy! Open up!”

The cashier took a tentative step forward, then Bill grabbed and pulled on the handle again. The cashier jumped back again and screamed, “WHAT YOU WANT? CASH FINISH MY MAN!”

Bill shook his head and glanced at Hunter, “Cash finish? The fuck does that mean?” Hunter was close to laughter, the absurdity of the situation almost more than he could bear.

Bill balled his hands into fists, losing patience. He held up his left arm, facing the watch face towards the cashier and pointed at it again. “Its FIVE to TEN! We know what we want, we have CASH! Let us in for fuck sakes!”

At this point the cashier fled to the back room, and moments later the lights in the store went dark, the neon OPEN sign switched to closed. It was still two minutes until ten. The boys stood for a moment, staring at the darkened store, before turning to face each other.

Bill looked disgusted, “Well fuck me…”

“We could always hit the Unicorn, like you said.” Hunter suggested.

“Yeah,” Bill said, “much as I love the ‘corn, I think our monetary situation behoves us to attempt to maximize our dollar to beer ratio.”

Hunter nodded, “Okay, then what else is open after ten?”

Bill rubbed his stubbly chin, “Therein lies the rub.”

“Fine,” said Hunter, “I hate to stand around, lets walk and think. Maybe something will come to us.”

Bill nodded and they were off, headed east on Fourth Street. Before they made it a block, a bicyclist blew past them on the curb-side. This enraged Bill, not just because bicycles were VEHICLES and therefore belonged on the ROAD and not the SIDEWALK, but also because this particular urban mountain biker gave no warning bell, and made no attempt to avoid them, coming dangerously close to knocking Hunter down. And they had enough of that sort of thing for one night.

Before Bill had the opportunity to grumble his displeasure, the cyclist crushed his brakes and spun around so he was facing the boys. He wore an old WWII style German pickelhaube with equally vintage motorcycle goggles. He stood astride his bike, staring at the boys though dark lenses, saying nothing. Believing this to be some sort of challenge, Hunter and Bill looked at each other and with a nod, prepared to give this ignoramus a beating.

“Hey there choads!”

Hunter paused, he knew that voice.

The mountain biker undid his chinstrap, pulled off the helmet and goggles to reveal the face and the jet-black, spiky “Sid Vicious” hair of none other than Hunter’s old pal Hamish MacGreggor.

“MacGreggor!” Hunter picked up the pace and jogged over to greet his buddy whom he hadn’t clapped eyes on in months.

“MacGreggor?” Bill growled, “MACGREGGOR! YOU TERRIBLE CUNT! What the fuck are doing nearly running us over in the middle of the fucking night!”

Hamish quickly lit a smoke and took a drag, “Ah, relax meaty-boy. You’re still in one piece.”

Bill’s anger abated quickly, “Ah, whatever…”

Hunter wondered briefly how Mac’s hair could stay spiky under the helmet, before they both shook hands like Schwarzenegger and Weathers in Predator, except without the huge, bulging biceps and awesomeness, and more of a skinny armed, geeky awkwardness that resulted in the both of them almost toppling over.

“So what are you two ner-do-wells up to tonight?” Mac wanted to know.

Bill spoke up, “Attempting something that by all rights would be a simple endeavour in any other Western Democracy; trying to buy beer after dark.”

“Yeah, can you believe the place by the Macs store closed like five minutes early? Its a scandal I tells ya!” Hunter added.

MacGreggor fiddled with his riding goggles and suggested, “Have you tried The Cecil? Its open until twelve you know.”

Hunter was confused, “The hotel bar? We don’t have the money to pay off-sale prices…”

Mac cut in, speaking to Hunter as if lecturing a child, “No. Not the bar. They have a cold beer store there too, across the parking lot. Remember?”


Bill remembered, “Yes, YES! The biking Celt is correct for once! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it! The Cecil! Of course!”

Hamish tossed his cigarette but on the ground and crushed it under his boot heel, “Glad I could be of assistance. I would join you, but I’m working tonight.” He pulled his goggles down over his eyes and put his helmet on over his spiky hair. “Later meaty-boys!” He called over his left shoulder as he pedaled away.

Bill stomped past Hunter, “Waiting on you now dingleberry! And time is NOT on our side.”

Hunter jumped after Bill, and the two continued on what to them seemed to be an endless quest.

Will the boys make it to the Cecil Liquor store before closing time? Find out in the next un-missible episode of Lond Ho Adventures: Lager Quest!

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