Foster’s Lager

5% ABV from an oil can (25.4 fluid ounces)

I’ve lived in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan for around the last 4 years. My previous location was on 47th and 9th and though it wasn’t a nice building by any means, it was filled with quiet yuppie professionals. That I never saw. And I truly mean never saw. In fact, on moving-out day I finally met my next door neighbor for the first time after living ten feet from her for two years. Too bad, she was cute. Now I live some five blocks north and one avenue west. Still Hell’s Kitchen, but my building is completely different. Not aesthetically by any means, it’s still the same kinda craphole walk-up that would be a projects in any other American city but which is a several-thousand-dollars-a-month-apartment in Manhattan. No, what’s different is the freak show populus of my building. You see, I now run into my neighbors all the fucking time, and, bluntly put, I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m the building’s only college grad and its only resident that earns money in a way that is neither a government handout nor an illegal black market payout.

I see these people so fucking much that I can quickly recite from memory who lives in my building.

Next to me on the fifth floor lives a man that appears to be 125 years old (estimated). He’s looks like Juan Marichal and wears a priest’s collar at all times along with a tiny American flag on a stick jutting from his lapel hole as if he has just attended a parade. He always sits on the stoop eating massive styrofoam containers of cheap pork-fried rice. A few weeks ago I saw some EMTs gurney him from the building. Two days later there was an NYPD sticker sealing his front door shut and I haven’t heard from him since. Hmmm. I wonder if he’s on vacation?

4A is the Jamaican drug dealer. How do I know he’s a Jamaican drug dealer? Because as I was moving into the building he said in a thick Jamaican accent, “Me name is Sean. Knock on me door if ya wanna buy any weed.” Every night around midnight I see various fatassed white girls arrive at the building lugging McDonald’s take-out, ready to service him. I suspect Sean stole my weight set when I moved in. I didn’t watch it for a few minutes and next thing I know it was filched. His biceps have been looking bigger since then, come to think of it.

4B is an enormous Dominican family that somehow crams themselves into a two-bedroom. They have two smoking hot daughters that are always prancing around the building in decolletage-revealing tanks. I’m afraid they’re like 12 though so I always avert my eyes when I have to do-si-do pass them on the tight stairwell.

4C seems to be Eastern European. The hulk of a man wears cheap and shiny suits, shades indoors, and looks like he probably deals arms. I always hold the door open for him when we pass, no need to get on his bad side.

3B are two old Puerto Rican women that live together and seem to be of some relation. They wear nightgowns at all times, have wispy mustaches, are constantly returning from the store with big pushcarts full of groceries, and always offer me lemonade and homemade empanadas in their mumbly, highly accented voices. Somehow, I can always decipher what they are saying, unfortunately I’ve never accepted their offers. Maybe I should. I always smell terrific cooking odors wafting from their pad and I do love me some fried meat patties. Nice broads.

2B is a fabulous homosexual couple whose entire life seemingly revolves around walking their gay little Italian greyhounds. They always stare at me with a disdainful “bitch, you ain’t all that” look when we pass each other.

2C is the building’s super Chester. An absolute ogre of a man with a hunchback that Quasimodo would be jealous of. He always looks like he’s about to snap and probably hates me because I don’t separate my garbage, simply tossing it all onto the pile. I’m a jerk, what can I say. I think Chester would be a lot happier if someone took him out of his misery and put a bullet in his head. In my building, the odds of that spontaneously happening have got to be pretty decent.

And, in the big apartment on the first floor lives Cecil, the “mayor” of the building, a guy who knows everyone. He spends most of his time in the foyer working on his bicycle. Every time I return or leave my apartment I must pass this man who looks like he’s from the order rodentia with his tiny little features, his gnawing incisors, and the thin wisps of air on his typically hatted head which are tightly pulled into a pathetic greasy ponytail. Every time I return or leave my apartment I must pass this man with a body and a clothing style best befitting Keith Richards: thin but surprisingly sinewy and veiny heroin arms fully revealed by a gross sleeveless T. His lower body covered by dirty black denims and cheap Avia sneakers. Every time I return or leave my apartment I must pass this man who is constantly working on his upturned bicycle, meticulously cleaning its parts (though it is still always grimy), torquing things with a wrench, and oiling its various movable areas. And, every time I return or leave my apartment I must pass this man who flagrantly smokes cheap cigarettes and poorly-rolled joints right out in the open of our building’s hallway, the smoke in one hand, an oil can of Foster’s in his other hand. More importantly, a huge paper sack of more oil cans at his feet near his toolbox.

Did I mention that Cecil must clearly suffer from some disorder as he talks nonstop, all day long, to…himself. When a person passes him, his self-contained rants somehow seemingly branch out into some sort of borderline conversation with the person near him, but his eyes remain vacant, as if he thinks you may just be an image in his head, some acid flashback.

Cecil is always nice to me, he somehow knows my name though I only told him once, and luckily I only get roped into a “stop-and-chat” (more like a “stop-and-listen”) with him once every month or so. And, though I’ve been passing him several times a day, every single day for nearly a year, yesterday for some reason he finally offered me a beer from his Foster’s sack (maybe he’s a VB reader and noticed I lacked a review!)

At first I was hesitant to accept the man’s cheap beer. Not because I was scared that this quasi-freak could somehow taint a sealed can (unless he had some sort of tiny syringe that could penetrate the aluminum surface–oh lord), but moreso because I had heard that Foster’s was an absolutely abominable beer. You see, I’ve never actually had one! However, I didn’t want to insult Cecil and, yes, I did need a review so, carpe diem, let’s drink some Foster’s!

The can is the circumference of a whale cock and quite hard to grasp. It took a bit of strength to pop the can’s top. Wow. A putrid first smell. Smacked me right in the face before I’d even brought my nose close to it (not that I wanted Cecil to see me sniffing my beer like some fruitcake that has a blog in which he snarkily reviews beer). Taking a picture of the can was no piece of cake either.

My first sip missed my mouth and went right down my chin onto my shirt. The oil can’s big mouth is so large that I couldn’t wrap my face around it. I needed a straw almost. Foster’s tastes like really bad malt liquor. Tastes like a BAD imitation of Budweiser in fact. Now that’s not something to be proud off.

I can taste the recyclable aluminum in this so-called lager. Very undrinkable. Usually macros are, at the least, so watered-down that you can drink them quickly and easily. Not so in this beer’s case. How do I know? Because I tried to chug the oil can in record time in order to get out of the uncomfortable situation I was in as I stood and drank with Cecil while he explained to me the problem with his bike’s gear shifts as well as detailing how Chester owes him some money that sonofabitch. Unfortunately, each big gulp of Foster’s pelted my uvula with stings of carbonation and bitter flavor. Eventually I got it all down, though it punished me for the rest of the night with some absolutely filthy belches.

I’m glad I waited 29 years to finally have this terrible beer. And, I can’t imagine having another one in the next 29 years. It’s really terrible.  Oh, don’t worry, I won’t do a trite mocking of their commercials

“Faw-stah’s. Awwwstraaaylyan for sheety bee-yah.”

OK, yes I will I guess.  Couldn’t help myself.



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