Monday, June 04, 2007

Six Bottles of Beer on the Wall

The fridge contained an odd assortment of sundries and condiments. It was the kind of fridge that would belong to a crazy but lovable beach-dwelling, hard-core rocker character in your average back-to-college style comedy. The fridge was, indeed, living monument to stereotypical irresponsible bachelorhood.

The inside of the fridge was a chaos, as if designed by the mind of a frog in a blender. Top shelf, near the front, was the resting place of the pickle jar with one and a half pickles in it. Behind it, to the left, the box of baking soda that had long ago gone solid, and was now technically chalk. The second shelf was home to the ketchup and soy sauce packets, the coffee shop creamers, and a crisper that had long ago fused shut. The lower shelves were mostly given over to a variety of fungus that had sprung into life on the remains of a fried egg.

But the center shelf, the center shelf was clean. The second shelf gleamed white porcelain bright, like George Hamilton’s teeth by black-light. In the center of the second shelf, this most cleansed – and therefore sacred – of shelves, there rested six bottles of beer. And each and every one of them knew that one of them had to die.

“I think it’ll be Left.” One from Left sounded soft spoken, and nervous. He was certain that Left was Next. Because if Left were to be Chosen, then that Act would transcend One from Left into Left, and therefore put him most certainly at risk of being Next.

“Fuck that,” Two from Left sounded rash, rude, and loud. Rosie O’Donnell on a sugar rush. “The One who Chooses is right handed. He’ll go for Right.”

“I think he should choose me.” One from Right sounded bored and amused. Like he was at a party, instead of inside a fridge.

“I hardly think you need to worry,” chuckled One from Left. Two from Left responded with a resounding raspberry.

“Like the One who Chooses would choose such a loose and disreputable beer!” She laughed.

“Why not?” One from Right asked. “I’d drink me.”

“Can we please keep down this blithering drool?” The center beer, who from some reason was known as One from Two from Left (to the Right) – rather than the much more obvious and less torturous Two from Right – had a voice that like an ice knife that could cut through life itself. Of all the beers, it was she that was the eldest, the most wise and knowing in the ways of the One who Chooses.

One from Left, Two from Left, and One from Right all stammered out hasty and embarrassed apologies.

“Now, what has gotten you all so worked up?” Asked One from Two from Left (to the Right).

“I worry about the Choosing,” said One from Left, “and am wondering who is to be Next.”

“I understand your concern,” replied One from Two from Left (to the Right), “but you must know these are as fool’s questions. For in the end, no talk or tears can bring the Nature of the Choice to light before its time. In the time of the Choosing, then we will know.

Time passed, but soon enough, the door of the fridge opened, and a soft, cleansing white light rained down from above. The white light turned green where it traveled through the pickle jar, casting a darkened emerald shadow upon Right. Each bottle of beer grew still and silent, waiting in breathless anticipation.

The hand of the One who Chooses began to descend slowly, with ominous determination. It paused for a moment, hovering in the middle, before coming downwards. It was then that all could see that One from Right had become Next.

“About what I expected,” muttered One from Two from Left (to the Right). “It’s always the one that doesn’t get it that gets it.”

Quick as he was Next, he was Ex. The hand of the One who Chooses withdrew, taking Ex into the Hereafter. Right rolled over into the empty spot left by Ex, and remained Right.

Left remained Left. All was as it was before, and soon enough the Five forgot that they had ever been Six.

Quietly, they wondered who was to be Next.

(c) Asher Hunter (Garry J. Sled) 2007

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