Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Carpano, faced with an empty bottle of vermouth, braved the snow for more. Hoping to dissuade him, his wife offered margaritas over martinis, but he could not be deterred. Outside was much rougher than he’d anticipated. The snow had mixed with ice, a thick blanket encasing cars and trees. A bitter wind, needles of ice. Halfway there, he realized he’d made a poor decision, should’ve listened to his wife, the one with sense. Hands frozen, face tingling, feet struggling to gain traction on icy inclines. No cars or people moving on the streets. When he reached the store, it was closed. His heart sank, as vermouth and chance for brief warmth were gone. Briefly he pondered breaking in, but saw another figure cloaked in coat and hood approaching. A man, disappointed the store was closed. They looked at each other. Vermouth, said Carpano. Pimm’s, the man said, his face puffy and red. The man held his hands under his arms, stamped his feet for warmth. This stuff should end tomorrow; until then, cold turkey, I suppose. In the distance, a crash, as tree-covering ice shattered like glass, sprinkled to the ground. Carpano thought about his wife, at home, warm, awaiting his return. Plenty to drink there. He walked home, seeking familiar footprints.