Friday, December 16, 2016

Free Fic: The Perfect Gift

Dylan was growing concerned.

Christmas was only two days away and he didn’t have a gift for Ashlar yet. Well, he had a few small things, like Ashlar’s favorite candy bar and a pair of warm, wool socks. But he didn’t have the Big Gift.

Dylan hadn’t yet figured out what would be Ashlar’s main, perfect present.

He’d scoured the mall. He’d internet surfed until his wrists hurt. He’d poured over the ten thousand catalogs that companies sent him mom during the holiday season.

The problem was that Ashlar didn’t need much. He was a minimalist. He gave away last year’s coat if someone bought him a new one. He donated his old clothes and shoes. When he upgraded his mountain bike, he sold the old one.

Ashlar had six towel sets in rotation at his house, which he called a bit excessive, but necessary. When Dylan had bought him another two sets for his birthday Ashlar had given away two of the older sets. He still had six in rotation. The older towels hadn’t even become rags.

Dylan loved that Ashlar wasn’t about material possessions. He liked that their time together was focused on doing things, having experiences, listening to each other, connecting on a deeper level. He just wished Ashlar could be a tiny bit materialistic so Dylan could buy him a nice gift.

Dylan shoved his hands into his pockets and walked out of the hardware store. He’d roamed the isles, hoping something would catch his eye. He’d almost chosen some gardening tools. Surely Ashlar would like packets of seeds. They could start a little garden in the spring. But when he’d thought where Ashlar would store the tools, Dylan knew it would be yet more items that got donated.

Ashlar liked to hike, bike, snowshoe, and ramble. He didn’t really like timetables and tending to growing things that would want water every day.

Dylan sighed and headed down the sidewalk. He glanced at the storefronts as he passed them. Stationary store. No. Picture and frame store. No. Children’s clothing store. Definitely not. Bookstore.

Dylan stopped. That could be a maybe. He could buy a book, write a nice inscription, and-- Ashlar would read it and give it away. Maybe not so good.

Dylan squinted. There was a new specialty store on the corner. A liquor store. Alcohol was temporary. He trotted down the sidewalk and ducked inside.

“Hey, man,” said the guy behind the counter. “Let me know if you need any help.” He paused. “And our special today is the Hootenanny Growler.”

“Growler?” Dylan asked. He looked around. This shop had a lot of beer, not a lot of hard liquor.

“Yeah.” The man motioned to an earthen-looking jug with an old-fashioned wire top. It looked like something his mom used to can pickles. “It’s refillable. Thirty-two ounces. We usually have between three and five different on-tap beers or hard ciders available. Good stuff. Sometimes you can’t even get these in bottles. They’re special deals from the breweries.”

Dylan perked up. Special? Rare? Limited? This was the sort of thing that would go over very well with Ashlar. “What’s the Hootenanny?” he asked.

“Pogonip Tippler Brewery makes it. Double IPA. Lots of hops.”

“Will it last until Christmas?”

“Sure,” the guy said. “But it’d be better on Christmas Eve. Don’t open it until you’re ready to drink it, and then drink it quickly. You’ve got a day or two before it goes flat.”

“So, it’s not something to keep hanging around the house.”

The guy laughed. “No. But save the container. Bring it back and fill it up. Next time you only have to pay for the beer, not the growler itself.”

Dylan reached for his wallet. This would be perfect for Ashlar. One container, many beers. “I’ll take one.”

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