Clearing the Sentries

Rune leaned forward, looked inside the refrigerator. A fence of brown and green beer bottles, at least five different brands, were lined up at the front of each shelf, other items obscured behind them. To the left, behind a pair of Budweiser sentries, was a plastic bottle of brownish black liquid, a few bubbles visible on top. Root beer? Rune reached behind the beer bottles, tried to grab the bottle of soda without disturbing the sentries, as if he were a thief trying to grab a diamond without tripping an alarm. He grabbed the soda bottle by its thin nick, lifted, judged having just enough room to clear the brown glass peaks. Woman’s voice on sing, didn’t know her name either, she was good, guy was better guitar player than singer. Pulled forward, wrist clearing the peak — his forearm brushed against a green bottle, it tilted right, pushed into other green bottles, shit!, the bottles were tumbling forward like dominos, Rune raised his right elbow to stop their fall but his hand came forward, knocked the Bud sentries forward, he caught them with his left hand.

“Jesus.” Ring Nose, behind him. “Why don’t you just move stuff?” She knelt beside him, grabbed the green bottles from his right elbow. Rune put the Buds on the floor, moved other bottles to the side, pulled the soda bottle towards him. Turned it over. Coke, dammit. He didn’t like colas. Wasn’t going to ask Double-J if he had any root beer.

He caught a scent, something he hadn’t detected before in the apartment. Lavender, sweet but not overpowering. Alluring. He stood up, and as he faced Ring Nose, he realized it was coming from her, lying gently under the pungent smell of stale beer and tobacco smoke.

Ring Nose smiled, a green bottle in her left hand, brown in her right. “I’m Jezz.” Brown hair spiked, dark lipstick and eye shadow.

“Rune.” He inhaled, the scent of lavender filling his lungs like nitrous oxide. She nodded, and returned to the couch, Rune following her like a puppy.


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