The Case of the Missing Beer

The other day I bought two beers from 7-11 for $45 taiwanese dollars each, about $1.50USD. Is this expensive for crappy beer? Probably, I never bought beer in the United states.

The total came out to $90 NTD, and I handed the young new 7-11 worker, who wore a surgical mask to protect him from colds and pollution, the pink bill that was folded in one corner. With my gym bag, my drawstring pouch, and my iPhone attached to my hands, I didn’t have much time to smooth out the bill. So I just handed it to him. He handed me back my $10 coin and I spent the next forty five seconds trying to get my headphones untangled from my gym bag so I could stuff everything into one place.

It was a Tuesday night. I had work the next morning. I don’t drink beer often, but why not? Sometimes you just have to relax and knit and work on your writing. I don’t subscribe to Hemingway’s write drunk, edit sober, but I had some intense editing to do. And I hate editing. If I could only write first drafts from now until the end of time, and submit them and have them be perfect, my life would suddenly be devoid of any problems.

Although I couldn’t see half his face because of the surgical mask, I couldn’t help but feel judged by the young 7-11 man selling the foreigner two large cans of beer at 8pm on a Tuesday night.

I went to a friend’s house with my laptop. I drank the beer.

And then I woke up at home with zero memory of the night before. I had written about 700 words. About ten minutes of writing.

I called my friend. “How much did I drink?”

“Only the one beer,” he said. “You took the second home.”

It was Wednesday. My longest day at work. I played games, sang songs, colored. I had no hangover. I drank 1.5 gallons of water and had three cups of tea from a brand new Taipei cup I bought at starbucks. I thought, what happened to the other beer?

“Are you sure I didn’t drink it?” I asked my friend.

“When we left my house you bought spaghetti at 7-11 and then I put you to sleep,” he said. “No way you drank the beer.”

I remembered the empty container of spaghetti. There was a vague memory of pouring half a can of parmesan cheese over it.

For some reason the missing beer bothered me. Where had it gone? I spent good money on that beer. I came home from work. I cleaned my room. I looked in the fridge. I checked the recycling and my trash. I called my friend and asked him to look in his house. I checked my drawstring bag and my gym bag. I got out my book to read and promptly fell asleep at 7pm with my lights still on.

On Thursday I woke up, went to work, and bought two beers from 7-11. I drank them both. Through some laws of medicine, physics, and probably dinner, I was tipsy but not drunk, and certainly not to the point where I couldn’t remember the night before.

I came home with the world spinning and got into bed. I looked under my bed. I checked my sheets again. I went through my underwear drawer. I talked to my roommates.

That second beer had vanished. Poofed. As though a wraith had come and stolen it in the middle of the night to place on someone’s forehead.

This issue bothers me far more than it should. Where is my beer? Where did it go? Did I leave it outside? My friend swears he was with me from ingestion of first beer to sleep that night. He says I took it home. It wasn’t in his fridge, or my fridge, or in my room, or in the recycling or garbage. It had simply vanished.

Losing periods of your life is weird, especially when it’s due to something so little like a single can of beer. It’s a scary, weird, paranormal experience, like someone has gone through and wiped clean a whiteboard with all these memories on it.

Now there’s chicken in my fridge. I opened the fridge this morning to make breakfast and sitting on the eggs was a package of raw chicken. I blinked at it, wondering, is that my chicken? I’m the only one in my house who cooks. It would make logical sense for it to be my chicken. I vaguely remember buying chicken some days ago, perhaps the day I bought the beer. At the same time, I’m not quite sure. It’s a phantom memory, a memory placed after the fact. Logically it would make sense for the raw chicken to be mine, so I remember buying raw chicken.

I spent five minutes staring at the chicken. What do I do with it?

Did I trade in my beer for chicken?



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