"Well, are you in or not, Wheeler?" Cliff asked once more as he handed Philip and Robert their beer.

"Um, sure...why not?! I guess having one won't hurt."

"Hey-hey, alright! There you go, son. Enjoy!"

Wheels didn't respond as he took the beer into his hand then watched as Robert, Philip and Cliff cracked open their cold brews and began to take huge swigs like they were literally dying of thirst somewhere in the desert.

"Mm m-hmmm, now this is the life!" Robert declared as he took another swig. "Nothing like downing a cold one after a long, hard day's work."

"You're tellin' me!" added Philip.

"Hard work, Rob? Pfft, more like hardly working!" joked Cliff.

"Ha-ha, wise ass! Very funny. Cliff, you should be the one 'round here to talk about 'hardly working'." Robert retorted sarcastically.

"Hey, who's the boss round' here, huh?"

As Wheels silently observed the three grown men drinking and conversing among themselves, he suddenly remembered a time not too long ago, back in Junior High actually when his friends, Joey and Snake had tried in vain to buy their own case of beer for Lucy's post exam party with a very obvious fake ID that Joey had bought somewhere unknown for five bucks!

"This isn't going to work!" Snake said, now wearing a trench-coat as he, Joey and Wheels approached the local Beer Store after school.

"Sure it is, trust me! OK, tie time." Joey said gleefully as he began to place a tie upon Snake's shirt, tucking it neatly into the coat before quickly removing his signature, trademark fedora and plopped it on top of Snake's head to finish the 'adult' look. "Alright, there we go...and perfect! You got the ID?"

Snake pulled up the trench-coat to reveal the card inside his jean pocket.

"OK Snake, just act like you're twenty one, flash the card and everything will be fine!" Joey assured.

"You look great, Mr. Bertram!" declared Wheels as Snake began to make his way towards the store's entrance doors, but then suddenly stopped.

"Wait a minute guys, what kind of beer should I get?"

Joey and Wheels looked at one another before turning back to Snake.

"I don't know...just get any kind. 24 of anything, who cares what kind?!"

Timidly, Snake finally entered the establishment and walked over to the first counter he saw, reading the sign up above that said 'refunds'.

'Well, obviously that's not the right counter...' Snake thought to himself as he then walked over to the other counter to the right, trying to keep his confidence and composure in check as he approached the cashier who was busy handling another customer. 'OK, Archie...this is it...'

"Thanks a lot!" the customer before Snake exclaimed as he took his case of beer and headed out.

"Hi." Snake began with a smile, hoping the cashier didn't take any notice of his young features and just suddenly reject him right there and then.

"Hi." the cashier replied, clearly looking extremely skeptical.

"Um...can I have a 'two four' please?"

"Can I see some I.D?"

"I.D? Yeah...sure. Most people don't believe in twenty one. Guess I just look young. Must be the freckles."

Snake handed the cashier the I.D card which he thoroughly glanced through before eyeing the young man who stood before him.

"Sorry, can't help you." the Cashier finally said, pointing to a sign behind him saying: 'alcohol will not be sold to minors' before handing Snake back the I.D.

Now feeling foolish and flustered, Snake took the I.D and began to walk out of the store, waving bye as he went.

"Well, where is it?" Joey asked when he and Wheels saw Snake exit the store empty handed.

"Told you it wouldn't work!" Snake barked back, shoving the fake I.D into Joey's chest.

"You didn't use it right!"

"How do you use it right? It's too fake!"

Sensing a soon to be full blown argument, Wheels tried to calm the situation down by suggesting they just go off to Lucy's party and forget about the beer all together.

"No, we said we'd bring beer!" Joey objected.

"No Joey, YOU said you'd bring beer! WE have nothing to do with this." stated Snake, pointing between Wheels and him.

"OK then, fine...we'll get somebody else to buy it for us."

"Like who Joey, huh?"

"How's about that guy over there in the white car who just pulled into the parking lot?"

"Joey...there's no way." Wheels doubted, shaking his head.

"Just watch, my friends." Joey began as he then took his fedora back from Snake and walked over towards the white car.

An old man stepped out and made his way towards the trunk, opening it up and proceeded to heave a heavy, yet empty case of two four onto his shoulder with ease.

"Um, excuse me Sir." Joey began, tipping his fedora before continuing. "I was wondering if you could get us a case of beer if we give you the money?"

The old man instantly replied "No" as he then slammed the trunk down and made his way towards the store.

"Just watch, my friends..." scoffed Snake when Joey returned back to them. "Just watch!"

"Shut up, Snake."

Hours had now past and it was officially night-time.

Neither Joey, Snake or Wheels had a bite to eat for they...well Joey anyway, had been busy walking around the entire parking lot asking nearly 19 people to buy them some beer to no avail.

"Come on Mister, are you sure you can't buy us the beer?"

"No...now go away kid, I'm busy."

"Sure don't look busy to me." Joey mumbled as he once again walked back towards his friends, rejected.

"I knew he wasn't going to get it!" Wheels stated.

"Come on, Joey...I'd say we give up." prodded Snake.

"Yeah...we've already asked nearly 20 people...and they've all said no. I don't want to miss out on Lucy's party."

"Not yet...just one more guy, alright? I don't want to let everyone down."

Just then, a familiar vehicle caught Joey's eye as it sped past the corner of Eglinton and Bayfield and quickly pulled into the parking lot, coming to a screeching halt in front of the store.

"Hey, there's Paul and Clutch. I'm sure they'll buy the beer for us!"

Before Wheels or Snake could get another word in otherwise, Joey approached the beaten up blue car that seriously looked as thought someone had taken a paint gun and just went straight to town on it as Clutch quickly hopped out from the driver's side.

"Excuse me, Clutch?"

"Joey, right? What do ya want?"

"Um, my friends and I were wondering if you could get us a case of beer if we gave you the money?"

"Sure...what kind do you want?"

"Any kind is good!" replied Joey as he handed the money over to Clutch.

Both Wheels and Snake couldn't believe it as Joey walked back to where they were standing by the phone-booth.

"He's gonna get us the beer!"

"Alright!" Snake cheered, giving Joey a high five.

"Um, Joey, how do we know he's not going to get the beer and then take off?" asked Wheels suddenly, damping the mood instantly.

"Wheels, that's ridiculous...he wouldn't do that."

"How would you know? They have a car."

A few minutes later, Clutch came out of the store with a case of twenty four in hand and began to make his way back to the car.
"Where's he going?" Joey asked as he, Wheels and Snake quickly followed.

Clutch placed the case on top of the trunk and opened it up, taking six bottles out and handing them over to his pal, Paul who still remained in the passenger's seat.

"Six?" Joey yelled. "There was only Twenty Four."

"Yeah...it's my commission. You don't think I'd do it for free, did you? Besides, without me...you boys would have zip, so why don't you guys just run along and have yourselves a party!"

"It's not just for us, you know? It's for Lucy's party!" Snake huffed. "But thanks anyway."

As the boys were finally making their way to Lucy's, now with eighteen beers in their possession, they decided to stop and have a bit of a rest for the case was still rather heavy to carry.

"Hey, you guys care to have one?" Joey asked as he pulled a few bottles out.

"Here? Now?" Snake asked, uncertain.

"Why not? We deserve it! Here you go, Wheels!"

"Um...no thanks Joey."

"Aww, come on Wheels...don't be such a party pooper."

"Joey, I said no."

"OK, OK...here you go, Snake."

"Uh, maybe we should just split one?"

"No way, besides...it'll be less for Wheels to carry anyway!"

Wheels watched, rather uncomfortably for a bid as his two friends knocked their first drinks down before zipping up his coat more and brushing his hands together to keep warm, even through it really wasn't that cold outside.

"Brrr...it's getting kinda cold."

"Wheels man, stop being such a wuss and have a beer!"

"How many times do I have to say no, Joey?"

"Why not? What's the problem?"

"My parents were killed by a drunk driver."

"Wheeler, hey...earth to Wheeler! Yo, Wheeler..."

"You still think about them a lot, don't you?"

"Christmas is rather rough. Come on guys, drink up...drink up...drink up...drink up...!"

"Hey, Wheeler...hello, anybody home?"

"Huh?"

"What the heck were you daydreaming about at thirty minutes past eight?" asked Robert as Wheels was suddenly brought back to reality.

"Oh, nothing. I was just thinking about a time back in Junior High, is all. Um...I need to go use the restroom."

"Sure thing...you know where the keys are." Cliff replied as he finished up his beer and went back to the fridge for another one.

Wheels went into Cliff's office, grabbed the key to the bathroom and then headed out the door, round the side to where the bathroom was located right beside the air pump, making sure the beer bottle he still held in his hand was completely out of sight.

Once in the washroom, he turned on the light, locked the door and then cracked open the bottle which made a loud hiss.

Carefully, he began to pour the contents out into the toilet, making sure not to leave any evidence that he was wasting the product instead of actually enjoying it.

Once the bottle was completely empty, he then flushed the toilet, filled the bottle up with water to rinse out any remaining booze that was left in it, then filled it half way so that he made it look as thought he had been drinking it.

"Now to come up with an excuse to get out of here..." he said to himself, looking in the mirror before leaving the restroom, turning off the light and making his way back into the garage. "Hey Cliff, I'm gonna call it a night actually...all of a sudden, I'm not feeling so great."

"Alright then, Wheeler...guess we'll see you tomorrow morning, bright and early at eight AM, sharp!"

"Sure, no problem. Night Robert, Philip."

Chugging down the last bit of water he purposely placed in the bottle simply just to show he really did 'drank' the contents and to make himself look cool in front of his colleagues, not that they even bothered to notice, he carefully placed the bottle into the beer case then left.

"Well...it's too early to head home just yet...I did tell my Grandparents I would be working late...and frankly, I'm not in the mood to deal with them right now after what just went down this morning. Guess I'll just hang out downtown for a bit until near eleven or so...but what to do is the main question?"
Sighing, he began to make his way down Kingston Road towards Queen's Street East.


As Wheels slowly approached his home around a quarter to eleven, he carefully eyed every single window he could see to make sure all of the lights inside were completely off before making his way towards the backdoor.

"So far so good..." he whispered to himself as he began making his way towards the other side of the house. "Oh, shit! Spoke too soon...damn it!"

Sadly, the light in his Grandparents room was still on which meant his Grandmother was very much wide awake either reading one of her romance novels, knitting something or tending to her illing husband.

He knew that as soon as he entered the home, she would be out of her room ready to confront him about something, most likely accusing him of lying for he did say he would be late getting home that evening and yet here it was now eleven o'clock.

Little did he know that the last remaining hours of 'work' would really be kept simply for some much needed leisure time drinking and conversing which really wasn't his thing anyway, at least not with them.

If it was with Joey and Snake, then by all means he wouldn't mind cause at least they would have things in common to talk about.

With his colleagues however, not so much cause they were all grown ass men and Wheels was still a teenager.

Other than what goes on within the garage, they really had nothing else in common and frankly, Wheels wasn't really much in the mood to joke around with a bunch of inebriated adults anyway.

"Oh...let's hope she's simply passed out and just left the light on accidentally...I really don't care to deal with her nagging on me before bed."

As quietly as possible, Wheels approached the backdoor and went inside, gently closing and locking it behind him before making his way out of the kitchen, down the corridor and towards the stairs.

Nearing the bedroom of his Grandparents which was near the kitchen, he carefully past, silently thankful that their door was closed shut!

But just as he approached the stairs however...

"Derek?"

"Shit..." He cursed under his breath. "Evening, Grandma."

"I thought you weren't going to be home til late?"

"Change of plans. I'm not really feeling all that well tonight, so I signed out early."

"Alright then...goodnight."

Without another word, Eva once again closed the door and turned out the light.

"Pfft, obviously Grandma is still in a mood over this morning. Like I really give a shit." Wheels grumbled as he then made his way upstairs to his own room. "At least she didn't go on a nagging tangent!"