on a coffee table in Chuck's apartment
will refill with beer when emptied
Legend says that Zeus gifted his son Perseus the sword Harpe, with which he slayed Medusa. Legend says that Daedalus gifted his son Icarus a pair of wax wings and he fucked 'em up instantly. And in the future, legend will also state that Dionysus gifted his maybe-son, my buddy Chuck, a bottle of beer that never runs out, with which he slayed many evenings and wrecked his house, his lawn, our party reputations, and his (admittedly slim) chances of working at NASA.
The journey into depravity began when Chuck group texted me, Dan, and Jess the words "coke to ny houdr RIGBTN OW," a secret code we struggled to decipher. Dan and I headed over but Jess was (fortunately for her) unavailable, because she was too busy looking for proof that Las Vegas doesn't exist.
The first thing we noticed when we got to Chuck's tiny house by the highway was that the house had been painted camouflage. Well, it had been painted green and brown, and only the lower half, because I guess Chuck didn't own a ladder. Parts of the front lawn were also painted brown. In the state Chuck was in, I'm honestly impressed he had the awareness not to paint the rest of the lawn green.
Dan kicked Chuck's door open, shouting "I'LL PAY FOR THAT!" as the doorframe splintered into pieces around the latch. Chuck was laying face down in the living room, underneath his coffee table. There was an opened, full, bottle of beer on the table above him. His clothes and hands were speckled with green, brown, and pink paint. I don't know what he painted pink.
"I will be persecuted for my discoveries," Chuck slurred, "just as Galileo before me, and Christ before him." I asked what he discovered that could be as groundbreaking and controversial as the discoveries of heliocentrism and of the Christ. His fingers twitched upwards towards the beer bottle on the table, which was no longer on the table but rather in Dan's face.
He emptied the bottle and asked, "What?" Chuck moaned a sound that surely couldn't have been an attempt at words as Dan stifled a belch that turned into a hhuh? Chuck channeled all the strength he could muster and yelled out, "The BOTTLE FILLS UP again, when— when you— after you drink it, when it's empty."
I looked back at the bottle and sure enough, it was once again filled with beer. Despite never leaving my sight, somehow I didn't notice it filling up at all. Later, we would "carefully pour out" the beer and closely watch the empty bottle, and despite our faces being mere inches from the glass, we could never actually see it filling up. There was always just this moment where we realized the bottle was full again.
Dan grabbed the bottle and pounded the thing as quickly as humanly possible and set it back down. It filled up. Dan picked it up and drank it and put it back down again. It filled up. Dan picked it up and put it to his lips and I grabbed his arm to try and keep him focused but he resisted and pulled and spilled beer all over our faces and while both of my arms were busy fighting the mother-lifting-a-car strength that had manifested in his right bicep he moved the bottle to his left hand and emptied it again.
"Why you fighting?" Chuck asked.
"'Cuz Dan pounded the beer four times before I could stop him," I snapped.
"Ahhh, shit," he said.
Dan told us it'd be fine because he worked best at four beers, more of a diss to his sober self than a compliment to his drunk one.
Noble Charles slithered out from under the coffee table and pushed himself up the wall snail-esque-ly. He started philosophizing about the implications of this, an infinite source of alcohol, the economic and entrepreneurial implications, the scientific implications, the social implications, about Galileo, about Gremlins, mostly about Gremlins 2, about goblins, about ghouls, and about grinches. We missed most of it because Dan and I had started passing the beer back and forth.
Suddenly Chuck sprinted towards us, but since there was a coffee table in the way he tripped and somersaulted forward, tucking his head, somehow landing ass-first on the table, feet flat on the ground, elbows on his knees, hands clasped in front of his face. He held his finger in the air and said confidently, "Ideans."
"Buck-a-brew party," he said. The words sludged out of his mouth like canned cranberry sauce. He repeated himself three times without anyone asking him to before continuing. "Throw a party, charge $1 a beer, we got infinite beer! Infinite money! Buck-a-brew!"
"Froo brew!" Dan interjected. "Charge admission, brews are froo—free, they're free. Free beer. Brew. Frow brow. Frow brow!"
Now Dan and I had both had like 12 beers each in a five minute timespan, and nobody knows how gone Chuck already was, so please don't judge us too harshly, but soon we had our arms locked together and we were dancing in a circle, shouting with each stomp: "FROW! BROW! FROW! BROW!" We howled the words from Chuck's roof until I got scared that coyotes would think we were summoning them. Dan texted me about the Frow Brow Party 11 times because he kept forgetting that I was there when he made it up.
Three days later it was time for the party, and we had never been more drunk. As more and more people saw our random shitposting on various sites, and the billboard Chuck bought with the money left over from his indie film kickstarter, more and more people filtered in. Dan was sleeping in a chair with a hat full of five dollar bills in his lap. Everyone who came in slapped a bill in the hat and drew another tally on Dan's face. We were making bank.
I was trying to take in the marvel of our accomplishment by slowly spinning in a circle and looking at everybody. Chuck was busy chatting up a particularly cute broom leaned against a wall. That song about the car was playing through the speakers hooked up to Chuck's computer. Suddenly the music was interrupted by the Skype ringtone. Chuck's eyes almost fell out of his face and he flew at the computer like a giant bat person, spewing an apology out to the broom as he went. Something was up.
I looked at the computer screen as Chuck answered and, to my surprise, I saw an incredibly well-known scientist on the call. I'm not gonna say who it was for possibly legal reasons, but I feel like you know who I mean. "CHARLES," he boomed through the speaker system wired around the property, "WHAT. THE FUCK. DO YOU WANT THIS TIME?!"
Chuck struggled to set his webcam angled right, but gave up trying in order to start talking. He crouched on the floor to get in frame, and said, "Hey! It's a little late to call me back, cuz I was trying to invite you to the party, and it's happening right now "
"SPEAK UP," the face on the screen commanded. "YOU'RE QUIET AS HELL, MAN."
"O Great Scientist!" Chuck shouted. He held his hands up in respect. More people had come into the room to see what's going on with the Skype call that's now being blared out of eight separate speakers. I don't think they expected to find Chuck in prayer at a science shrine. "I offer to you this night of jubilation, celebration, and fornication! We party for you! Please, I beseech thee, see my work! See my respect! Give me a job at NASA already!"
"CHARLES YOU STUPID SONOFABITCH, YOU HAVE NO QUALIFICATIONS TO WORK AT NASA. WE'VE BEEN OVER THIS TWELVE FUCKING TIMES. SERIOUSLY, IF YOU CALL ME AGAIN, I'M GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS TO THE MOON AND YOU WON'T NEED A JOB AT NASA." The call ended, and silence filled the air.
No one knew how to react to Chuck's embarassing display of medieval groveling. It was safe to say the party was dead and buried. People began to shuffle and stumble out into the camouflage-painted yard and [went home via safe and responsible methods.]
Dan, Chuck, and I stood in the wreckage of plastic cups and completely ignored coasters. The hat full of money was planted firmly on Dan's head and bills stuck out like green clown hair. He noticed me looking and said, "Money on my mind."
"It was okay until the NASshole called, yeah?" Chuck asked. We reassured him that it was a good party, and that a bad ending wouldn't ruin our party reputations in the community. It did. We rarely get invited to anything anymore.
After another night of drinking, the three of us dragged our shriveled and dried husks of bodies outside to the big rock behind Chuck's house. We circled it, and Chuck gave one last loving look at the glass bottle that had brought so much joy and pain. He lifted it in the air by the neck, accidentally dumping beer all over his head, and then smashed it on the rock. Glass shards showered to the ground, spontaneously spewing beer as they fell. Chuck walked off to mourn while Dan swept up the glass with the cute broom from earlier.
I stood beside Chuck and put my hand on his shoulder. He stared off towards the sunset without saying a word. His wax wings had melted; he had flown too close to the Sun. Which was ironic, since NASA wouldn't send him into space.
•Chuck's indie movie was called How to Scam Suckers. He received $5,000 in funding. The film was a documentary about making the kickstarter that he received the funding for.
•That billboard stayed up for like five months and people kept showing up to Chuck's house every weekend thinking the billboard was recent.
•We maybe didn't actually destroy the Fountain of Life immediately. . . we maybe held onto it for a while. So if we seem especially stupid for the next few stories just keep that in mind.