Go Buffs!

The Brewer’s Backstory” – Episode 9

August 2003

The Brewer's Justice cover

Coming January 2016!

Julia Peters sighed and dabbed her eyes with a tissue before wrapping her arms around her son and kissing his cheek. Her smell, so familiar, opened a floodgate of images for Brad. That morning she kissed his scraped-up, pre-schooler knee before she cleaned and bandaged it. The afternoon in second grade when she held him and told him that Sam the retriever had dug under the fence and been him by a truck and that, yes, it was okay to cry.

Brad didn’t care about the people coming and going around them in the dorm hallway. He pinched his eyes shut and held his mother. When she was ready, she pulled away and looked into his eyes. “Brad, please don’t drink too. Above all, don’t drink and drive. And, please don’t let anybody pressure you into brewing up here at CU. Come home on weekends and brew all you want with Dad.”

He smiled and squeezed her arm. “I’ll be fine, Mom.”

“I guess this is it, buddy,” Jim Peters said, giving his son a short hug and a couple of shoulder pats. “And yeah, come home every now and then and we’ll brew.”

After a year of dreaming about this day, all Brad could think of now was that when his parents walked out the door, his last link to Life Before College would disappear with them. He knuckle-bumped his dad. “See you around.”

He turned and walked back into the room he and Eric Villarreal would share for the next nine months. In the hall near their open door, a pony-tailed girl struggled with a large box. “Shit!” she cried as she lost her grip. The box hit her foot with a dull thud and sent her sprawling.

Eric reached her first. “You okay?”

The girl smiled and let him help her up while Brad tried not to grin. In some ways, his best friend hadn’t changed since seventh grade when, after summer vacation, they discovered that all the girls had developed curves. While Brad and almost all the other skinny, immature guys could barely talk to females, Eric was chatting up eighth-grade girls and getting their phone numbers.

“Where can we take the box?” Eric asked, motioning Brad to do the lifting.

“Two doors down,” the girl answered, leaning on Eric’s arm. “You’ll have to move some stuff aside to get in the door.”

After Brad had deposited the box on the bare mattress of one bed, she gushed. “Thank y’all so much. I’m Gina, by the way.”

“What part of Texas are you from, Gina?” Brad asked.

“You-ston. How did you know?” Her almond-shaped eyes grew even larger.

She had way too much in common with Vanessa, native Houstonite and Belmar’s prom queen last year. When they were sophomores, Brad had helped Vanessa get through chemistry and breaking up with the senior boyfriend, quarterback of Belmar’s varsity football team. Once she had her grade up to a C- and the attention of the star basketball player, their relationship had fizzled. The only thing she’d left Brad was a permanent attraction to girls with Texas accents and ponytails.

A knock on the door interrupted the conversation. “Zeke, come meet my new neighbors,” Gina said to the stocky blond guy who looked like he should have been in Hollywood waiting tables and auditioning for reality shows.

“This is my cousin,” Gina said. “He’s the reason I came to CU.”

“Hey guys,” Zeke said, pumping Brad’s had. “If y’all don’t have anything going on tonight, we’re having a little Welcome Buffs party over at my apartment.”

“Zeke’s twenty-one and can buy all the beer he wants,” Gina said, “but tell, them Zeke, how often you buy beer.”

Zeke shrugged. “Why buy it when you can make your own?”

“Oh, yeah,” Brad said, already liking his new life.

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