High Time For a Pint (Original Short Story)

I got a craving.

***

Anna exited her Government 311 final with an inward scream of joy. That was it: no more government electives. Ever. Lost to her prickly teacher in the throng of other juniors, she breathed a loud sigh of relief.

“Hi, Anna,” someone said, falling in step beside her.

She turned in surprise. “Hey, Candace.”

Candace was a proper poli-sci minor. Anna had been so grateful to spend the semester next to someone who took such good notes.

“How’d you do?” Anna asked,

Candace shrugged a little. “I think I messed up the matching section. I knew I would get that last lecture mixed up. Like, who gives that much information after the bell rings?”

Anna inwardly rolled her eyes. She had definitely butchered the matching section. And both essays. And probably the modified true or false. But to Candace, getting an A- was doing badly on a test. Anna would pass this class. She was satisfied with that.

“So what are you doing tonight?” Candace asked, tucking her hands into the pockets of her navy blue pea coat as they stepped into the windy afternoon sunlight of an early December Friday.

“Netflix, probs,” Anna replied. “Can’t wait to take these shoes off.”

Candace looked down at the black suede flats. Silky black ruffles graced the toes. “Those are really cute.”

“Thanks. I had to buy them for my roommate’s wedding this summer. Cute, but a half-size too small. It was an emergency.”

Candace giggled. “I know the feeling.” She pointed at her own slouchy boots. “I had to get these while I was on a trip because the only shoes I brought ripped open.” She looked up at the crisp sky. “So you taking any government next semester?”

“Nope. Maybe I’ll see you for a history elective.”

“Maybe,” Candace said, hugging her. “Merry Christmas!”

Anna waved and called over her shoulder, “Merry Christmas.” She headed toward her apartment building, which was across the street from campus. Her roommates had already left for the night. Friday, the last day of finals, meant clubbing until at least two in the morning. Anna just wanted a pint of Mayfield’s with her now-married roommate who had graduated a semester previous.

Birthday Cake with Beth would be perfect right about now, Anna thought as she peeled off the offending shoes and tucked them into the shoe organizer on the outside of her bedroom door. She then padded into the kitchen in her skin-colored invisible socks and pulled out the apartment’s collection of syrups ad toppings. She had just set the sprinkles on the counter when the doorbell rang.

She slipped up the hallway to look out the peephole, expecting her drunken roommates although it was barely dark outside. All she saw was a red scarf and a few strands of golden hair.

“Anna, are you in there?” said a clear, familiar voice.

Anna’s heart thudded as she undid the lock and slowly pulled the door open. “Beth?”

Beth was warmly dressed against the December wind, red scarf wrapped tightly up to her chin. She held up a pint of Mayfield’s. “I heard you’re done with finals. I brought ice cream.”

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