The Secret Life of Alcoholics*

“What are we going to get for Alex’s birthday?” Di asked. Alex is one of our housemates.

“I was thinking of getting him two boxes of Stella Artois. Do you remember how we were at Sainsbury’s that first week and how wistfully he looked at those boxes? We couldn’t carry them home last time.”

“That’s a great idea!” Di agreed. “Let’s go tomorrow afternoon.”

The next day, we left the house at 4 PM and rode 15 minutes down the road to the big supermarket. We found the beer easily. The special price for two boxes of 20 bottles was still available.

We took the boxes through the checkout and opened our backpacks to put them in.

“Uh oh.” I tried to rearrange the box to fit into my 30 L backpack but it was just too wide.

“It’ll fit in my backpack, I think,” said Di. She unzipped hers for the other box. Our hearts sank as it quickly became obvious it wouldn’t fit. “Maybe it’ll fit in my bike basket…”

We wheeled the boxes outside to the bike parking lot. Di picked up the box and carefully placed it into her basket. “I hope it doesn’t break the basket,” she murmured.

It didn’t fit.

“What are we going to do?”

We looked at each other and had the same idea at the same time. “We’ll have to take the bottles out and carry them,” Di said.

“I think we should put them in our backpacks, not in the basket,” I cautioned. “I reckon there’d be some law against riding a pushbike with 20 bottles of beer in the basket…”

We spent the next five minutes reloading the bottles into our backpacks. Then, with 10 kg of beer and glass on our backs, we gingerly hopped onto our bikes, turned on our lights (it was getting dark) and rode onto the street.

I laughed all the way, even as I struggled up the one hill in Cambridge. My bag tinkled with every pedalling motion. Rider after rider overtook the two of us. We did make it home without an accident.

*Don’t worry, mum, I’m joking.

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