Seeking Perfection

They danced. It had been a long time.

He slung her around him, circle after circle, arms held high, more pretending than anything. It had been years since the last time he made this kind of effort. Dancing had never been his thing. He could hold a rhythm, but not with his feet, which always gave up shortly after moving arms and hips joined the equation. The sum of the effort never added up to anything good.

But today he gave it a shot because it’s rare to earn a wide smile like the one plastered across her face. All teeth. Lots of white. It’s a kind of honesty that can’t be ignored. He sought it out every day and when he saw it, he never wanted to take it away from her.

Or himself.

So they danced, no matter how long it had been or how sluggish his feet shifted back and forth.

1-2. 1-2. 1-2.

He counted the numbers over and over, desperate to stay steady. Anything to keep her smile from disappearing.

The music faded. They did, too. Laughing and holding hands, they forced their feet to carry them, respite just a few steps away.

In its waning hours, the sun held strong, even as their bodies did not.

“What a perfect day,” she noted, still smiling.

“Almost,” he replied, pouring them a drink.

beer glass perfect day


Find other “Quick Drink Fiction” pieces.

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

It’s My Relationship and I Can Cry if I Want To

broken heart stalker
I think about you all the time.

I can’t shake it from my head … I wonder about who you’re with, what you’re wearing. I can picture you in that flashy, new negligee I bought you. You haven’t seen it yet, but it’s sitting safely in a cupboard at home.

I’ve got a spot for you right next to it.

It’s not like I’m utterly consumed by you. It’s kind of the other way around. HA. It’s more like I enjoy “intense research.” You know what I mean? Of course you do. You understand me so well, sometimes I like to think you were made just for me.

It’s probably true, you know. We share so many friends. They talk about you almost as much as I do. But I don’t know if they’re as committed to you as I am. For others, you’re du jour, a fad. They’ll pay attention to you for a while, but I know that what we have will last FOREVER.

I get emails about you every day. Well, they’re email alerts, but it still makes me feel like we’re close. I love it when they ping my inbox overnight. I get so excited to see them – and read about you – when I first wake up. But you can’t actually email me, can you? Gosh, that would be so GREAT. It makes me jealous that so many other people get to spend so much more time with you than I do.

Have you seen any of my recent posts? They’re all about you. I think they can be kind of wordy and nerdy, but to you, they probably read like poetry. Sometimes I blush at how rhythmic it all feels, thoughts and words flowing in waves from my brain to my fingertips to a keyboard. You’re the perfect muse – inspiring me as I type away. I could STARE AT YOU FOR HOURS.

I love talking about you, even though sometimes you can be ice cold.

I love reading about you, even though people all over enjoy your company without me.

But most of all, I love writing about you, even though you never comment on my posts.

I love you, beer, but sometimes this whole blogging thing makes me feel a little too OBSESSED.

unpaid investigatorThis (intentionally over-the-top) post is part of multiple essays from Mid-Atlantic beer bloggers focusing on how we feel blogging has impacted our relationship with beer. Make sure to check out these posts, too:

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

header image edited via

The Fighter

a boxer

Outside, he’s as pretty as he ever was. Inside, he feels like shit.

The bleeding never stops. Oozing almost daily, it’s an open wound wrapped with gauze and holding back the slow crimson trickle of his innermost weakness.

But eventually, the bandages are soaked through and have to be changed.

His cut man – the one standing between him being a beaten man on the floor and his want to come back for one more round – never leaves his corner. In the ring, the job would be simple: swab, ice, dab, pack, repeat. But now The Fighter’s partner has a much more personal role: open, pour, lubricate, numb.


His cut man has no Name. His cut man has many names: Bud, Johnnie, Jack. Beaten and bleeding, he’d sometimes he’d forget which one to call after stumbling to his partner for help. But then he’d get patched up and move along.

The magic of the cut man is that he is supposed to be able to fix anything. In all his incarnations, he offers novelty and originality – new ways to stop the pain and hold back the bleeding.

The tragedy of the cut man is that his handiwork is temporary. As hard as The Fighter tries, each visit with the cut man is fleeting. He must reenter the ring.

Physically, The Fighter is in fine shape, but inside, where the cut man does his job, he is falling apart. He is alone in his battles, only joined by others in his daily trial of recovery.

His bottle. His glass. His cut man.


As someone who is passionate about something that can be so destructive, sometimes I question my own relationship with alcohol. My adoration for the craft, the people and the product is unquestioned personally, but there is always an inkling of self-doubt.

I fight with the threat of forgetting my place, of letting an emotional connection become a physical one. I have succeeded, but it is a battle of both memory and foresight. Others have fallen. I cannot.


session_logo_all_text_300This post is a part of The Session, a monthly collaborative blogging effort with beer writers from around the world.

Beer isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. This month’s topic comes from Hipster Brewfus, who asked participants to join him in Beer Fight Club in order to share thoughts on beer and why it isn’t always happy-go-lucky.

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac


Header image via  John Perivolaris.

Quick Drink Fiction: A House Blown Down

This is a continuation from my first short, short story, The Big, Bad Wolf.

His hookers knew tricks that would make David Copperfield blush.

Slights of hand that made his balls blue – frozen sacks of anticipation. Disappearing acts that made his wants and needs vanish into sweat-stained sheets.

But most of all, these whores – paid for their twists and turns, sculpted bodies and unnaturally colored hair – played the ultimate trick.

They made him believe in magic.

It was because of the way they moved. God damn, how they would gyrate. Monica was the best. A Tight Body with hazel eyes that pierced. That stared him down while she moved side-to-side. That knew what to do.

They met twice a week at the Ritz downtown. Jennifer, sitting at home, probably watching The Bachelor, was clueless. That bitch was more of a Hilton Girl anyway. Jennifer was fine to show off, sure, with her blonde hair and perky B-cup tits, but couldn’t hold a conversation if she was being interviewed by fucking Barbara Walters.

In the end, Jennifer was expendable, just like everyone else.

But Monica. Sweet Mary and Joseph. Her spells had a way of never letting go. Moving her hips, he’d get lost inside her world of illusion, nothing but a pimply-faced kid swilling Mountain Dew in his basement, working toward his level 10 chain lightning. She could make sparks fly, but only after the lights went off, visual senses dulled and erotic thrills of touch heightened.

She was an enchantress of the first order and she was the only person to cast that kind of impression on him.

Sitting alone in his kitchen, he realized their weekly visits could be over. He ran his fingers over the cool marble countertops, flat and hard like Monica’s stomach. Like the way his cock would greet her for round two the morning after, his eyes fluttering open with the foresight of stupid fucking fucks he’d fuck in the day to come.

And he did. And they did. And Monica would collect and be on her way.

So he’d be there alone, darkness wrapped around him as tight as the bed linens. His dirty deeds gave way to the lies spawning in his brain, born from release and incubating in a clearer head.

But tonight there would be no coital absolution. No magic tricks to leave him in awe. Instead, his mind raced with plans of retribution, but only for himself and what he faced.

He’d get out of the hearings. He’d manipulate investigators. He’d find his own tricks to play.

But before the interviews and plea bargains and deals, he’s trapped in this moment. In the darkness, he’s forced to face himself.

He’s forced to face the truth.

rhinegeist-truth-beer-cincinnati-beertography-ipa-india pale ale

Quick Drink Fiction: The Big, Bad Wolf

What revs him up every time he awakes – what really petrifies his morning wood – is picturing all the stupid fucking fucks he’d fuck that day and their soon to be crying faces.

If a fool is born every minute, this asshole is the doctor charged with guiding them from the safety and comfort of their mothers to his unfortunate reality, where nobody cares about them and he will take everything they have. Then he’ll laugh and eat a big fucking steak for dinner and screw his blonde trophy wife because he can.

When he smacks his lips with his silver tongue, he is never short changed by the high-priced bullshit that flows out of his mouth. The sizable transaction that takes place every day by the mere act of moving his lips equals the gross domestic product of a small island nation. But who gives a shit about those kind of people who can’t even make an annual salary big enough to afford a fucking Tom Ford suit?

What he loves most is the taking. It’s not a physical act, but one that rises from your self-doubt, ferried along by your uncertainty and delivered by his devious ability to simply not give two shits about you. When he first starts talking, they’ll have everything. Then, nothing. A promise of bonds or derivatives or something else a pea-brained fuck wouldn’t understand except that final guarantee of Big Money. The first aid kit to all of life’s bumps and scratches.

Except for when he’s being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for 26 counts of fraud.

In a “slam dunk” case.

And his friends have agreed to speak against him.

But he’ll fuck them all like he fucked all the other sorry losers who have come in front of his path. His tongue would spin them around in lyrical circles like he was a caller at a god damned square dance.

Except his wife was gone when he got home. A note written and pasted to the hallway mirror after she was clued into what happened by Steve at the office. Bitch.

Fuck ’em all. He’s got this. He doesn’t need anyone.

He walked into his kitchen, hardwood floors clicking under the soles of his $1,400 Louis Vuitton shoes. The marble counter tops cool to his touch in the darkness.

He was home. Alone. With his fortune.

miller fortune-beer-beertography

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac