Tom decided that once quitting time came, he was off to The Old Ice House for a frosty beverage, which would be the best dark brew they had to offer. Today had been a hot bitch at work and he was a man in need of some cool relief, an ice cold beer would really hit the spot. He really didn’t want to drink alone tonight so he hollered down the line at his buddy Rich and asked him if he’d like to go with, or meet up there at six.
The place where they worked was a factory in Idaho and the job was making cheese at The Snake River Cheese Plant near downtown Blackfoot. Unfortunately for Tom and Rich, the air had quit working on the assembly line and as a result, they had to work double time to get it packaged and into the waiting refrigerator trucks before it could start degrading. Now all Tom could focus on was getting the job done and heading to the Ice House for a slice and a cold brew. It was their favorite pizzeria and their motto was “the only thing better than the pizza is the view.” The restaurant was situated lakeside and boasted some of the best views in town.
Rich met Tom ten years prior when he moved to Idaho from Kentucky and they had been fast friends from the get go. Rich had been sort of starting over since his wife of five years walked out on him and Tom was in a similar state himself. For Tom though, it was he who had called the marriage quits six months before meeting Rich, so they had something in common that drew them together, Tom had been like Rich’s leaning post and in turn Rich was a great listener. Tom got Rich on at the plant after meeting him one night at the Ice House and hearing of his situation. They were known around the job as mutt and Jeff since Tom outwent him by a foot or better.
Luckily, it was Friday night and the special at The Ice House was a large mug for two bucks and a specialty pizza was fifteen for a large. That suited Tom and Rich just fine and Tom could feel his stomach growling at the thought of it as he pulled into the parking spot closest to the front door. He barely had time to exit the truck when Rich pulled in next to him. They walked up to the restaurant like brothers, Tom clapping Rich on the back as they entered the front door. The place appeared to be hopping already, Rich found them a seat at the bar while Tom checked in with the hostess.
Carol was the bartender on duty tonight and as Rich got their beverages drafted, Beverly the hostess had steered Tom to a table by the window. It was just like her to put the men in their favorite spot, even as busy as the place was. They were some of The Ice House’s best customers and besides, she had a bit of a crush on Tom and always made sure he and Rich were happy. She had heard the men’s stories and loved the bond they had formed with each other, it made Tom a kind of hero in her eyes. The men around these parts were a rugged sort and she was not used to seeing guys with close relationships like these two had forged. Sometimes, when it was slow, she would sit and have a soda and listen to them talk about their lives.
As Tom took that first sip, Rich could see the pleasure on his face as he wiped the foam off of his lip and laughed. “Needed that did ya?” he asked and all Tom could do was nod in agreement. “Pizza is coming” he finally said, and the men sat in silence for the next few minutes, not needing anything but their beers and the view, relaxing together as they looked out over the lake, reflecting on their day and how good that pizza was gonna taste once it got to the table. After all, it was made with the very cheese they worked so hard to get off the line day after day. After a minute or two, they simultaneously picked up their mugs and clinked them together, toasting the fact that another day on the job was over and they still enjoyed each other’s company. “Here’s to friendship,” they both said as the waitress set the pie down in front of them and winked at Rich saying, “Yall enjoy that now will ya.” Rich just looked at Tom and said, “she wants me.” Tom laughed and said, “too bad she can’t compete with this pizza” as he sunk his teeth into his first slice.
This story was composed only from the word prompt “beverage”. I hope you enjoyed it.