Initiation Rites

— Warren Stoddard

He made his way down the dimming streets of Dublin, walking fast, looking over his shoulder, trying not to look suspicious.  It’s just two, he told himself repeatedly.  Even if he got caught it would be no big deal, just some young teenager trying to steal a little alcohol.  His wrist would sting for a bit, but it would be no big deal.

He opened the door to the corner store, the shopkeeper leaned back in a chair and stared at a newspaper, paying him no attention.  But the boy darted his eyes to the reflections of the lights on the tile floor and lengthened his gait to the back corner of the shop.  There they were, row after row of amber bottles lined up like a parade, boasting their labels written in gibberish he did not understand.  Mickeys, Olde English, Guinness; how was one supposed to make sense of it all?  What had they asked for again?  God, he hoped he didn’t screw this up; this was his shot.

He pretended to look at the selection of soft drinks, occasionally snapping his eyes between the alcohol and the disinterested shopkeeper, still reading his newspaper and leaning back in his chair.  Fuck, he knows doesn’t he?  The boy hopped in front of the door to the refrigerator and hurled it open.  He was torn between the Mickey’s and the Olde English.  Fuck the English, he thought; and his decision was made.  He grabbed two green-labeled bottles of Mickey’s and cradled them in his arms.  How was he going to get this past the shopkeeper?  He walked slowly past the man, as if he was a slumbering dragon who would be woken only by the sound of his gold clinking under unfamiliar footsteps.  He turned his back to him to shield the bottles from his view.  He pushed the door open with his foot and dashed outside.  The shopkeeper flipped to the next page of the news with a yawn.

The boy streaked and stumbled through the streets and around corners until he reached the river and turned left and followed it until the town became shadowy, dark, foreboding even.  He slowed his pace to a springy sauntering step.  He turned down the alley with a cheerful and prideful grin on his face as he was greeted with familiar devilish smiles and open arms by a tall, imposing, and unwelcoming audience.  And then the flashing of brass.



Warren grew up in Dripping Springs, Texas and moved to San Marcos when he was eighteen. He is currently an undergraduate at Texas State University in San Marcos where he studies English. Warren is also an avid motorcycle enthusiast and rider, as well as an apprentice for a Harley-Davidson mechanic. In his free time he enjoys traveling, camping, hunting, hiking with is dog, construction projects (breaking things and putting them back together), and wrenching on his 1968 Shovelhead.