Liquid Lunch | Short Story

Hand pouring a bottle of beer illustration - "Liquid Lunch" short story

“Hey, new guy,” says my manager. “You coming to the bar? We’ve got a bit of a thing for liquid lunches here.”

Inwardly I cringe. Trust me to join a company where getting steaming drunk at lunchtime on a Monday is accepted behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, I like a beer as much as the rest of them, but not on a Monday lunchtime. I just want to do my job, get paid, and hit the pub with my friends when the weekend comes around.

“Sure,” I say. Gotta fit in, right?

We go to the bar right across the street from the office. It’s empty, but we soon fill it up. There’s 26 of us — the whole sales team — and the bartender greets everyone by name like they’re old friends. No wonder; they probably keep him in business.

“This is Kev, our latest recruit,” says my manager as he slaps me heartily on the back. I try not to wince. I’ll have a big, red pawprint there later.

“What’ll it be, Kev?”

“Well it has to be The Initiator, right?” my manager says with a sick smile, and the bartender nods and heads into the back.

“What’s The Initiator?” My stomach is already rolling.

“Special cocktail for all the newbies. We’ve all drunk it at one time or another. Potent, but a rite of passage.”

My new colleagues titter and giggle and mutter and I wonder how much stick they’ll give me if I walk away to eat my ham sandwich at my desk in peace.

“You gotta do it,” one of them says. “We’ll never let you forget it if you wuss out on us.”

That answers that, I think, and I marvel at how quickly I have descended into high school politics.

The bartender returns, wielding what looks to be a milkshake glass filled to the brim with liquid shit…


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