Friday, December 21, 2018

Too Cold For Beer

Too Cold For Beer
Bobby Derie

It was too cold for beer.

Alice had the bright idea of keeping them in the salt water tank. As the temperature dropped, the cans had started to sting our fingers whenever we fetched them. Bernice was the first one to get frostbite, so we switched to gloves, and when Jazza sank our last one in the tank, Alice had come through again with a kind of hooked pole to fetch them out.

When it got cold enough that we had to break a rime of ice before we could fetch a brew from the depths, we started calling it ice fishing.

The outlines of people started to blur then, muffled in layer after layer of clothing, shapes only barely humanoid. Any exposed inch of skin was vulnerable. We had to strap heat-paks to our body, let the warm glow diffuse a little, and we were still cold. It was an act of will to undo a scarf, expose chapped and cracked lips for a minute to take a sip...even beer below freezing tasted warm in comparison to the air...and then it happened.

Bernice popped open a cold one, and it exploded in her hand. Her good hand, too. Instant expansion, liquid beer to beer ice. That little difference in pressure, the sudden expulsion of trapped gas and influx of cold outer air...that did it.

It was officially too cold for beer.


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