What the bums are drinking this week (special edition)

Friday night I stopped in a liquor store on South Main where my friend Shane works. Because Shane and the owner both know me, I was allowed behind the bulletproof glass where all the liquor is kept; they pass the money and the purchases through a slot in the window.

A few minutes after I got there, one of the local bums came in. This guy is perhaps the sorriest case I’ve seen – about 50, torn clothes, shoes that are so worn out that the soles are hanging on by a thread. Now if I were in his situation and I came across a few dollars, I’d head to Payless or Family Dollar and buy some decent clothes. But that’s because I don’t think I like a bum. He took his proceeds from a hard afternoon of begging straight to the liquor store. Here’s the conversation that followed:

Shane: May I help you, sir?


Shane: Dude, you’ve come in here every day for the past year asking for Night Train, and we’ve told you every day that we don’t carry it.

Bum: Hunh. (Stands there for about a minute and a half)

Shane: So do you want something else or not? Make up your mind, there’s a line behind you.

Bum: Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh. THUNDERBIRD! (I could tell from the state of his clothes that he was a Thunderbird drinker)

Shane: You want the pint or the fifth?

Bum: Uh. Uh. Uh, how much is the pint?

Shane: The pint is two dollars, and the fifth is three. (This store sets its prices so they come out to even dollar amounts after sales tax. Trying to get a bum to understand that a $1.99 bottle is $2.16 with tax is an exercise in futility)

Bum: PINT!

(Shane takes a pint of T-Bird out of the cooler and sacks it up. Just as he is about to hand it throught he slot, the bum says:)

Bum: FIFTH! I want a fifth!

Shane: You do this every day, man! You tell me you want a pint, and then just as I’m about to hand it to you, you change your mind. (puts the pint back in the cooler, sacks up a fifth) That’ll be three dollars.

(Bum hands him two dollars)

Shane: I said THREE dollars, you ignorant son-of-a-bitch! A PINT is two! You ordered a fifth!

(Bum stands there for a couple more minutes)

Shane: You idiot, if you want this fifth of cheap wine you’d better give me another dollar! I’ve about had it with you! You either hand over another dollar or I’m about to kick your ass out of here!

(Bum pulls out dollar. Looks at it. Looks at Shane. Looks at dollar again)

Shane: Do you want this or not? (starts to put the fifth back in the cooler)

(Bum hands Shane the dollar)

Shane: Here. Take it. Now get out of here!

(Bum stands there and looks at Shane)

Shane: I said get!

(Bum stands there and looks at Shane)

Cop, who happens to also be in the store: Time to move on, buddy.

(Bum walks out)

That was hilarious. Makes me want to work part-time in a liquor store just for laughs. Maybe I’ll ask Shane if there are any openings where he works.