Archive | August 9, 2012

Flash Fiction: Why I Prefer Pepsi

(sept 2008)


This was for a collab contest on Barb & Friends. Anyway, no one dies, no one gets hurt, no one tortures anyone… Just a down home, feel good, supposed to be funny kinda story :p This proves I can write other things. Now that I have shown I have depth I am going back to death >:)

Why I Prefer Pepsi

The old shed sat back from the house, only a few yards from the cracking “trash-fire” that burned every Wednesday.  I and my cousin Annabell made our barefoot way to the dilapidated building, fighting early afternoon mosquitoes as we went.

“The smell always makes your eyes water,” she explained to me and nodded towards the column of smoke issuing from the tin chimney spout. “If it don’t it ain’t a good batch.”

I nodded my head in time to her words, trying to soak in as much as possible. I had a lot to learn and only a few short weeks until I had to go home.  Mom had said that spending my summer with our far away family would be educational, and Annabell was trying her best to see that it was.

The shed door stood open and Uncle Bo was sitting inside, one foot propped up on a dented gasoline can and yesterday’s newspaper gripped in his meaty fist.  My cousin Annabell was right; the smell coming out of the still was noxious at best and nearly knocked me over.

Uncle Bo didn’t bother to look at us as he said, “Ain’t ready yet.”

“But there ought ta be a whole bunch from the last batch,” Annabell argued. “We only have ’til Grandma gets back. Ya know she won’t le us have any if she’s here.”

“There was some left,” he agreed. “But ol’ Lady Cole was round this mornin’ and she traded some food stamps for moonshine. Ma’s gone inta the store ta get some vittles with ’em.”

Annabell did her best pout but Uncle Bo ignored her. When she saw she wasn’t getting anywhere, she tried again, “What about Granny’s secret stash? Ya know she always keeps a bit hid out.”

He shook his head again. “Heck no, Granny done took that with her! She needed it to start the trash fire, because we’re outta kerosene!”

Annabell continued to cajole him, but she didn’t get far, so instead she crankily imitated grandma, “When ya gonna fix this shed. It’s ready to fall in on us all.”

His answer wasn’t very convincing. “Ya’ll know I got a bad back.”

Before Annabell could express her disbelief, the neighbor woman, Miss Casteel, came wandering in. Miss Casteel had been a “miss” for about six months. Her husband had died a mysterious death and she was now working on making the most of her figure and stupid men, or so Granny  said.

As if to prove our matriarch’s words, Miss Casteel casually draped herself over an old barrel and gave Uncle Bo a lazy smile. “Well hello there. And how are you today?”

The man nearly injured himself to drop the paper and sit up straight. “Why hello, what brings you all the way over here? I’d offer ya some moonshine but we’re plum out, ‘cept for what I keep tucked away.”

“That’s okay,” She said quickly. “”I dare not drink. You know bad things happen around me when I do.”

Though Annabel and I had perked up at the idea of something “tucked away”, we quickly lost interest in the conversation. Miss Casteel was just trying to get Uncle Bo to fix her leaky roof, and he was dumb enough to agree; now that his back had been miraculously cured by a flash of deep cleavage.  But when he started hinting about coming round her place for dinner, the climate changed from hot to chilly.

“Hell, Bo, I’d rather have the moonshine!”

Uncle Bo was crushed, but Miss Castel sashayed home as if she didn’t notice, and maybe she didn’t.

It wasn’t five minutes before we saw Uncle Bo draw out an old coke bottle full of something brown. He took a hard swig, then lowered it slowly, his eyes on us. “I reckon ain’t no harm,” he muttered and held it out. “Who cares now anyway?”

Annabell grabbed the bottle and took a big drink from it. She smacked her lips, her eyes wide, and handed the coke bottle over to me. I stared at it for a full minute before I could bring myself to take a sip.

The taste of it took my breath away, but it didn’t burn until it hit my stomach.  Then, the burning felt like I was dying. Still, under Annabell’s watchful gaze I forced myself to take another flaming gulp. My head soon started to get really light and the burning went away. In fact, I couldn’t even taste the stuff anymore. With out a flavor, the moonshine wasn’t bad at all.

By the time Granny came back Annabell and I were having a good time.  I was sprawled on the dirt floor, shaking the empty flask and giggling. “Oops, now we need some more? You got any?”

Granny stared from one to the other of us and then kicked the chair out from under Uncle Bo. He hit the ground hard, and it set me and Annabell to laughing. She told him in a feisty manner, that she wasn’t giving him any more moonshine if he was gonna give it to kids.  Then she turned her fury on us.

After a lengthy lecture, none of which I remembered later, she hauled us both out of the shed by our dresses and set us to weeding the garden. We were too drunk to stand up right, and then with the hot sun beating down on us it wasn’t long until we were both too sick to crawl. When Granny thought we’d had enough she hauled us in the house and sent us to bed without supper; not that we minded much. The thought of food just made us both sick.

To this day I can’t look at coke bottles without thinking of that burning moonshine and getting queasy.  Needles to say, I prefer Pepsi.

Song playing at the moment – Drag – Placebo

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