William suddenly craved a glass bottle of Coca-Cola; the kind that’s fogged up from frosty and fresh coolness and allows the bubbling liquid to slide smoothly past your lips onto a salivating tongue. Oh how delicious and refreshing it would be right now! He didn’t have one, of course. It was one of those nights where 28 year old unmarried men can sit peacefully on their sofa and completely forget about a little something called The World Outside. He was contently resting towards his television, watching an episode of Glee—a musical and cheery television show that he caught every Tuesday night which absolutely delighted him—when the craving hit him. It evolved as so: “Drink! Soda! Coke! Glass bottle! Glass bottle of Coca-Cola! I need it!”
He needed it! If it had been one of those nights where his sister and her husband weren’t home, he might very well ignore the craving altogether. On Tuesdays, if nobody was home, during episodes of Glee William really loved to put on his secret footy- pajamas and frolic around during commercials. Don’t tell anyone though, it’s a secret! This wasn’t one of those nights though, and so he needed it; He needed his glass bottle of Coca-Cola! And no, it absolutely could not be a boring fountain Coke, a can, or even a plastic bottle. Don’t question William’s craving. It is what it is.
Since he needed it, he had to venture out into The World Outside. He left the house alone and stepped up to his silver Honda Civic. “Nah,” he said. “The convenient store is only right down the street!” William was a wonderful man that didn’t much like gas pollution if he could avoid it: a trait that seems exceptionally appealing to kind, sensitive women. He had a lot of those traits actually. He had always held doors open for women, listened to everything they said, and responded genuinely with empathetic responses. He didn’t even fake it, William really cared.
He never really had good luck with women, though; Still unmarried and still single at 28. It’s not that he was bad looking, but maybe his facial features lacked that sort of drawing charm. It’s a shame, because William had quite the potential as a husband. He always envisioned himself bringing flowers to his would-be wife at the perfect situations: A French Bouquet for the lovely lady working at register 14 or a dozen roses for the beautiful princess at the secretary desk on the 3rd floor. He would help cook and clean, he would take care of the kids, and best of all he would file their taxes. “If only!” William would say. “If only…”
William’s innocent quest for romantic love wasn’t at the forefront of his mind right now. That spot was occupied by one thing and one thing only: The slender, shiny, classic bottle of Coca-Cola. What a strong craving it was! He walked steadfastly in the direction of the convenient store, ignoring the cloudless night sky, its magnificent shining stars, and the perfectly rounded crescent moon. He didn’t even notice the budding purple and pink flowers in the shortcut through the park. He was so focused and determined on the carbonated drink.
It didn’t take him long to reach the store and he scampered right in, not noticing the death stare of the girl behind the counter and her lazy hanging lip beneath an open-mouth frown. He reached the back aisle of refrigerators and searched for his treasure. Pepsi, Sprite, Coke…Coke! In a can…plastic bottle…bigger plastic bottle… no glass bottle!? Nope, there wasn’t a single glass bottle there.
He approached the girl behind the counter, who didn’t move and inch. “Excuse me, where do you keep the glass bottles of Coca-Cola?” he asked.
Her eyes rolled, “Coke? …you’re kidding…” He wasn’t kidding. “Over there, with the rest of the drinks…” William went back to the refrigerators, thinking that maybe he had missed something. Of course, he had not. There were only cans and plastic. No glass bottles. He thought about just grabbing a can. “Yuck, I don’t want that metal taste.” He thought about just grabbing a plastic bottle. “No no, I want the glass one. Plastic just won’t do.”
And then he overheard a melodic beauty of a female voice at the front counter ask, “Excuse me, you don’t happen to have the glass bottles of Coke do you?” It was such a soothing voice: Rhythmic without out any lyrical substance, bold but exquisitely pleasing; it was a real pleasure of consonants and vowels. Almost as if William had found himself in a musical episode himself, waiting to be carried away by the forces of beauty and romance.
But this trip was about the Coca-Cola! William rushed over more quickly than the counter-girl could roll her eyes again sigh, “Seriously?” He was ready to aggressively rant that they did NOT have the glass bottle and that it was a very large disappointment to him and then angrily voice his complaint to the counter-girl, who assuredly wouldn’t care, but was speechless at the sight of the woman. She had short vibrant brunette hair that framed an absolutely doll-like white face. “No…uhh…glass” was all he could blurt out. Her fine figure rested in the aura of a moonlight and fluorescent bulb medley.
It was a close one; William nearly lost himself and his own self-control, letting his body be carried away by ageless breezes of flower scents and chocolate covered strawberries; perfectly timed and ever awaited kisses; arm in arm spins on rooftops with euphoric smiles and bursts of laughter; and dances of lovable hugs that would permanently imprint themselves in eternal memories. It was a close one, he almost forgot about the cola.
“Oh,” she responded. “That’s a shame; do you normally carry the glass bottles?”
“What? Oh, no I don’t work here.” He regained his composure. “I was actually looking for the glass bottles myself. I just have one of those cravings, you know!”
“Yes! Yes I know exactly what you mean. See, other stores have told me just to take the plastic bottles. But that’s not what I want. I’m glad that someone finally understands my craving!” She smiled with her head nodded to the side in delightful astonishment. She was so happy to find someone with the same inexplicable desire for a glass bottle of Coca-Cola; the classic bottle!
The only proper thing to do now was to ignore the rolling eyes of the counter girl and to allow this coincidence, or destiny if you will, to take its run. “Hmmm,” William said. “Maybe you’d like to come along with me, then, and try some other stores?”
She was taken aback by the offer, pressing her lips together and perking her eyes wide open. But she was pleased, just altogether shocked and confused from the uncommon offer of cooperation from a complete strange. She blushed accordingly, an adorable blush of creamy skin that was apparent to both William, who hadn’t realized the power of his gentle offer, and the counter-girl, who sighed even louder now and walked away.
“You don’t have to!” said William. “I just thought, er, that it would be easier with two people. You know, to have a partner.”
“Oh! No, I’d love to,” she replied. “Sorry…I just…Umm…well, my name is Kim.” She smiled, still blushing.
William bowed his head as he was accustomed to do while meeting a lady and said, “Pleased to meet you, Kim. I’m William.” They locked eyes now, for the first time, William’s deep brown meeting her light blue. “Where should we start?”
And so they left the store. Kim had alarmed William that she had already checked every convenient store in this side of town. She too had come here by foot, though her reasoning was a bit different; she wanted to get some exercise. “Well I hardly think you need exercise,” William had responded mechanically. Kim took it as a compliment, since it was one, but William hadn’t even realized what he had said; he was busy scanning the streets for ideas for their quest. He didn’t notice how she shyly tried to cover up her smile. “Oh!” he said. “Why don’t we try one of those old-fashioned burger joints? You know, the kind that have pictures of Elvis and play 50’s tunes. I’m sure they’ll have it!”
“Oh, yeah you’re right!” Kim excitedly responded. “Good thinking!” They began to scurry down the sidewalk now, weaving in and out of small crowds of people. William was very quick, his ambition for success presenting itself in this simple task of ordinary travel. Kim could hardly keep up, so much so that William eventually took her hand and dragged her along. Not long from then, they found themselves in front of Late Night Johnny’s Burgers and Fries, hand in hand. Finally William became aware of the possible romantic implications of holding hands. He met her eyes again, his dark brown to her light blue, and they smiled as they walked in the front door.
Right when William went to ask a peppy-counter boy if they had the classic glass bottles of Coca-Cola, a loud vibration shook the entire restaurant. It was a moment of sudden fright for William and Kim, but it was saved by the cheers and whistles of customers. The lights dimmed, the counter-boy had disappeared, and a song began to pound from speakers all around. The song was “Rock Around the Clock”, a popular song of the 1950’s by musical artist Bill Haley, and the employees of Late Night Johnny’s Burgers and Fries had appeared on the counter, enthusiastically dancing. These dancers were having a blast as the customers cheered them on, they spun each other around, jumped up and down from the countertops, and even sang along to the song “We’re gonna rock, around, the clock tonight.” And so on.
Kim had brought her hands together and jumped up straight in amusement, but William was all business; watching the dancing antics of the employees and impatiently waiting for the song to end. When the restaurant’s explosion of energy did die down at the end of the song, a couple of cowbells began ringing and suddenly the song had kicked back on, from the beginning. People cheered even louder as the employees began, cheerfully, to dance and sing yet again. William took action by grabbing the peppy counter boy by the arm. His voice had to compete with the booming music, “Can you please help me? I was wondering if--”
The boy interrupted, “After the song!” And he returned to dancing.
The song ended, the cowbells rang once again, people cheered, and the dancing continued. William grabbed the counter boy again, a little more aggressively this time. Kim watched nervously, her hands brought to her mouth.
“Can please you tell me if--”
“I’ll help you if you start dancing!” the counter boy interrupted again.
“But I just want to know--“
“What, you can’t dance?”
That comment was just enough to anger William, but he simply could not resist the opportunity to dance, especially in order to shut-up this punk of a counter boy. William jumped on the counter, slid to the right, slid to the left and began dancing; like he had done so often alone in his footy pajamas at home. People watched in silent curiosity. William was a terrific dancer, full of energy and awe-inspiring quick footwork and well timed twirls, but nobody had even seen a customer at Late Night Johnny’s Burgers and Fries jump up onto the counter. Kim could hardly believe what she was seeing.
When the song ended, there was a small moment of silence in which everyone, customers and employees included, stared at William. Then the cowbells rang, people boomed with their cheers and yells of encouragement and the song started again. Now Kim had jumped onto the counter, much to the surprise of William, who hadn’t started dancing again because he felt foolish. And then he heard her voice, singing along to “9, 10, 11 a clock, 12 a clock, rock” In such a moving and energetic way, her voice pleasantly trumping the loud pounds of the speakers all around, that his feet, hips and arms just began moving on their own. And there they were, Kim singing loudly and beautifully, and William dancing openly on a counter-top at Late Night Johnny’s Burgers and Fries. They both completely forgot about their craving for a glass bottle of Coca-Cola in this moment.
This was the last time the song played, because it had gone on far too long anyway and people understood that. William and Kim laughed hysterically when their eyes met again after hopping off the counter; his dark brown to her light blue. And in this glorious moment of connection between a charming young man and a beautiful young woman, the peppy counter boy slid in to ask what it was that he could help with.
“Oh,” William responded, suddenly remembering the important task at hand. “We were wondering if you had the classic glass bottles of Coca-Cola.”
“No! I’m sorry!” He responded. “No, we all serve fountain soda, actually.” The cheeriness fell off the faces of William and Kim. “Is there anything else I can help you with?
“No, that was all. Thank you.”
“Well come back anytime! We’d love to have you here again, and I think all of your news fans would also!” Kim openly giggled at this and they walked out.
William met the view of the streets with a stern face. He thought hard about what else they could try to find a glass bottle of Coca-Cola: “If no stores had in, and no old-fashioned burger joints had it, who could?”
“You know, Will,” Kim’s soft voice peeked in. “I’m starting to think that maybe they don’t make the glass bottles anymore.” She kept her distance a few feet behind, afraid of seeing a face of crushed disappointment.
“Yeah, maybe you’re right,” he sighed. “But I think I’m starting to realize something also.” He turned to Kim, a smile on his face. “It’s just a craving, it will pass.”
“But Kimberly, I had a good time tonight.” She blushed and played with her foot, tapping her heels at the sidewalk. “It’s no glass bottle of Coca-Cola, but would you like to come over to my place and hang out, maybe watch some television?”
She smiled widely. “There might be re-runs of Glee. I don’t know if you like that show...”
William laughed abruptly and offered his hand to Kim, “Absolutely. And we’ll stop for some soda on the way there.” They walked hand in hand, smiling, and constantly darting looks at each other; his dark brown to her light blue.
They did stop for soda on the way home; at the familiar convenient store with the familiar counter-girl. William walked right up to the counter, peered right into the counter girl’s eyes and requested, “2 bottles of Coca-cola, please!” The girl sighed, but decided to ignore the absurdity of asking for such service at a convenient store. She fetched two 16 oz bottles.
William and Kim walked the short walk to William’s home, admiring pretty flowers and a breathtaking night sky along the way. They saved their drinks for later, when they sat down at William’s sofa and did catch the re-run of that night’s episode of Glee. They turned the caps simultaneously, heard the fizz of a freshly opened bottle, and took a large gulp. “Ahh!” they both said.
“You know,” said William. “I think this is exactly what I wanted all along.” He looked at Kim, who looked back at him; his dark brown to her light blue.
© Copyright 2016 minusthematt. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Romance
Short Story / Literary Fiction
Short Story / Literary Fiction
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