Warning there is the occasional use of adult language and adult humour

Bottles & Cans - The Tasty Adventures of Beerman

Part 1 - Living the Dream?

Bert Brewsett follows a dream 

and gets a little more than he bargained for

T-shirt artist, Pat Printon, finds a batch of curious, old looking fabric printing inks in an antique shop. He buys them, takes them home and decides to use them to block print a beer design on a T-shirt to sell on his online shop TastyTees.co.uk... But the inks were not just old, they were from another dimension!


Bert Brewsett is a quiet sort, and quite good at a lot of things, but best summed up as being ‘an almost kinda guy’. He almost swam across the English Channel once, but choking on a ripe French turd, he was pulled out of the water just metres from the shore. He was swimming with his best friend, Fergus Fingle. Fergus, of course, finished the swim. 

Bert was almost voted in as independent MP for his home town, there was only one vote in it; beaten by Fergus’s mother!  Bert almost got married last year, until he found out his bride to be had been cheating on him with Fergus’s brother, Finigan. Bert almost fell out with Fergus, but couldn’t really blame him. He almost finished an engineering degree, almost finished the London Marathon (slipped on someone’s puke, fractured a hip with half a mile to go). He was runner-up time after time, but he swore soon he was going be a winner.

All text and images © Stuart Catterson

Bert stood looking him self up and down in the mirror, feeling increasingly happy with what he saw. Quite still for some time, then with the thought of ‘OK I’ll leave it on for the day’ and he patted the logo on the front with satisfaction. That was the game changer, the pat on the motif made something happen that made Bert think he must be dreaming again. The pat caused the front of the shirt to ripple like a pool of water (or was it a pool of beer) that had had a pebble dropped into it. While the pool rippled a real pint of beer drifted forward from the ripples and floated just in front of the shirt. 

Bert didn’t know whether to be delighted or horrified. He was certainly shocked, but instinct took over and he grasped the handle on the side of the pint and lifted it up to eye level. It looked perfect, then to the nose, he took a little sniff. It smelt perfect. He took a little sip. Again it was perfect. ‘OK I’ll wake up soon,’ he told himself unconvincingly, he knew deep down this was no dream. Something profound was going on.

He put the perfect pint on the little draw unit by his bed and heart racing, sat by it looking to see if it would disappear or something. Nothing happened. He looked down at the T-shirt, but that just seemed normal. Well, apart from the fact he was looking strangely athletic. He never was a slouch, but?! All that aside, what was the next move?

He wondered if patting the design on the front of the T-shirt would it make the same thing happen again. It did. And again, and again. Bert’s thoughts were racing, bouncing off the inside of his skull. ‘OK, let’s ring mum and dad,’ and starts tapping in the number. ‘No, wait, what am I going to say? Fergus? Again... And say what?’

‘I know! I’ll ring Katie ,’ (Bert’s Ex) ‘she sent it, maybe she knows what’s going on. But, but what if she doesn’t, and I sound like a mad man. Maybe I am a mad man?! I could contact the people at Tasty Tees? But what if it’s nothing to do with them.’

Well, Bert did call Katie, and he probed around the issue enough to conclude that she knew nothing about the shirt’s bizarre properties. He tried hard to sound sane, but worded a still strangely peculiar email to the people at TastyTees.co.uk. He got a quick, polite reply which again indicated that they knew nothing of the powers of the shirt. He even phoned his parents, Fergus and his aunt and uncle just to say thanks for the card and to listen for anything out of the ordinary. Nothing. He was on his own.

Bert had a bedroom full of perfect beer. Which by the way never seemed to go stale, flat or change in temperature. Unless he patted the front of the shirt nothing untoward happened. He worked on accentuating the positives. Surely, this can not be construed as a curse. Even if it was way beyond his understanding of the laws of physics.

‘Calm, calm, calm’, thought Bert, as he scanned across the many pints of perfect beer on his various bedroom surfaces.

Bert spent the biggest part of the day trying to make sense of the strange happenings. Eventually, a little numbed after succumbing to temptation and drinking a few pints of that perfect beer, Bert reached out his hand and pointed at one of the beers on the bedside cabinet. He just lined up his finger end for a while, then by chance, he twitched and the print leapt into the air following his finger movement. ‘Whooooo, I have control over the beers I pat from my chest!’ 

And so Bert continued to experiment with his new found powers, as if he was looking at a touch screen on a smart pad. He pinched at one of the beers and sure enough it shrank to the size of a thimble. And pinch-out! (as you do when you want to zoom into a picture) and in the time it took to pinch-out, the pint was now the size of a barrel. All the pints standing close by were pushed from the cabinet and they spilled out all over the carpet. Bert’s first thought was ‘command z’,  but there was no way to do that, instead he pinched the spilt beers so hard they actually disappeared; nothing else was effected, even the beer spilt on the carpet disappeared. Time to clear up, thought Bert and he pinched every remaining beer into oblivion.

It was late now and Bert thought maybe it was time to sleep. He patted one more beer out and left it on the cabinet by the bed so that he could see it first thing when he woke up the next day. Just to proved it wasn’t all a dream. ‘Surely it must be a dream,’ he thought again. He reached for the edges of his dream shirt to pull it off, but found there was nothing to grip. The shirt was now a part of him. Head spinning, exhausted and confused he fell fast asleep.

Sunday morning (no alarm) Bert slept until he was awakened by a phone call...  He woke up as quickly as he ever had. Body really still. Eyes suddenly wide open. An all over feeling that something was very, very different. He thought yesterday was out there, but this was a whole new kind of weird; like he was in a totally new body! 

Bert had entered a local home brew competition. Now, home-brewing was a passion for Bert and everyone that tasted Bert’s beers said, ‘Yes, you’re quite good at that.’  Well, this year things would be different; this was not about being goodish. This year, Bert pictured himself standing a-top the podium at the Little Suppton Brewers’ Club, thrusting the golden (sprayed) tankard high, grinning from ear to ear. In fact, he could picture it very clearly. So much so, he could see the printed T-shirt he was wearing in the premonition. Curiously, it was a T-shirt he didn’t own. In fact it was a T-shirt he could not recall ever seeing before. He scribbled the shirt’s motif down on the back of a handy envelope best he could, lest he forget, and pondered. ‘Hmmm, if this premonition is to come true, I will have to have THAT T-shirt.’

Bert was a dab hand at searching the web and before long he had tapped his way around a good few dozen of the biggest and best printed T-shirt sites, but, to no avail. A little fatigued, he thought, ‘I need a tea break, I’ll make myself a one of those tasty teas with the fruity flavours.‘ Tasty teas... hmm... Tasty Tees’ and before he got up to put the kettle on he rattled the keyboard with www.tastytees.co.uk and up popped a website where T-shirts were crafted one by one. Nothing mass produced here. Scanning through the gallery, a new design came forward with every click. ‘Nope, nope, nope, nope, errrr, hang on a mo’, that’s it, THAT’S IT!’  Looking at his doodle and then at the T-shirt, back at the shirt, then at the doodle, this had to be the shirt. ‘Th, th, th, the winners shirt’. He clicked on the ‘Tasty Tee’ and went through to the purchasing page. ‘Wow,’ said Bert. ‘An actual shirt from a dream.’  ‘One of a kind,’ it said ‘One in stock, £25.’ He raced over to the Buy button, but horror of horrors, the ‘One in stock’ changed to ‘Sold out’ in front of his very eyes. Some one had bought his dream shirt a split second before him! ‘Arrgh, I almost had it. Typical!’

Bert was crest-fallen, but had an idea, maybe he could craft the shirt himself. He was pretty good at most things. On Friday he was going to have a trip into town to ‘spoil himself’ on his birthday. He would swing by the hobby shop and get all the gear.  He could do this. 

On Saturday morning Bert jumped up humming happy birthday to me. He was not going to be downhearted. He scooped up the handful of cards on the door mat and marched to the kitchen to get a coffee on the go. A card from Fergus, a card from Mum and Dad, one from Aunt Annie and Uncle Glynn and one from all at the brewers’ club - it was a thing they did.  Oh! There goes the doorbell. And it’s a delivery. A small box with a card stuck to the top. It was from his ex. ‘Happy Birthday, sorry it had to end the way it did. I saw this and thought of you. All the best for the future.’ ‘

OK’, said Bert,  ‘let’s have a look at my consolation prize.’  Much ripping and scrumpling of wrapping paper ensued until - FUCK ME! Bert held the T-shirt gift in-front of him at arms’  length and gazed, mouth gaping wide at the beer motif on the front. 

‘Sod breakfast, sod going into town, this is new, I got lucky, things are changing.’  And he ran upstairs to where the big mirror was, ripped off his plain red shirt and started pulling his dream shirt over his head. ‘Funny thing that,’  he thought with the shirt half way on, ‘I can actually smell beer. Not just an old beer stain, but real nice, fresh beer. Oh I’m inspired already!’ And there, the shirt was on. ‘Well it’s a little big maybe, no, not too big, just a tick, on second thoughts, it’s the perfect fit.’  It was as if it had slowly shrunk to fit. ‘Curious, you know what? It makes me look like I’m in slightly better shape. Yeah, I feel good.’

From his state of absolute stillness, he reached out for the phone and jumped up as he saw a large deep blue gauntlet on his right hand. He dropped the phone. He saw it was Fergus calling, but decided he could ring him back after whatever it was that was happening. Bert kind of exploded out of the bed to a standing position in front of the long mirror.

‘Hhhuuurreeeguh,’ he quietly squeaked in a high pitched whine as he took in the complete physical metamorphosis that had taken place over night. He was muscular everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. Yes, there as well! He was dressed in way more than the T-shirt he had fallen asleep in. His whole body was covered in a very tough, very flexible blue and brown exo-skin. He had a helmet and goggles and boots, with the T-shirt over the top. WHAT THE FUCK! 

‘Shit, what is happening to me? I can’t go to work like this. I can’t go anywhere like this.’

Panic set in and Bert started trying to rip off the whole ensemble, but it seemed to be part of him. A torrent of expletives accompanied the frantic struggle until he stood still again having removed nothing. Stooping somewhat, he raised his hands to his face in despair and then pushed them downward along the suit in a kind of  ‘get off me’ gesture. What do you know, it actually worked. Well, the T-shirt was still there, but the full body suit vanished - boots, goggles, gauntlets, the lot, and his body was back to normal proportions.

A long deep breath in and a quick hard breath out. Bert sat on the edge of the bed, head in his hands, trying to come to terms with what it was that was happening to him. Eventually, he thought,  ‘It’s OK, I’ve got this.’  He put his hands down by his sides and wiped upwards along the sides of his body. SHAZAM!!! Full body-suit, muscles everywhere. He put his hands either side of his head wiped down and it was all gone again. He patted his T-shirt and a pint popped out, put it down and pinched it away. There- I can handle this.  

Time to get going. In the shower, the shirt had a kind of ghostly quality that meant he could still shower without it getting in the way. and it didn’t hold water or odours. ‘Another win,’ thought Bert. “I just need to know how it all works. That’s it - how it all works.” Bert pulled a sweat shirt over the T, jumped into his favourite jeans and boots and ran off to his garage.

He drove out to the moors and treated his 4x4 to a little off roading until he came to a remote spot for a touch of experimentation. After a couple of hours of what would have made the biggest ever viral Youtube video, Bert found out that: 

1. You don’t pat your chest when you’re still wearing a sweat shirt or anything over the T shirt - the pint does not go through ordinary clothes - very messy.  

2. The suit seemed to be knife proof, maybe bullet-proof, but he had no way of testing the latter. 

3. All ordinary clothes disappear when you wipe-on and return when you wipe-off. 

4. The beer glasses were hard to break. 

5. He could make the beer shrink or expand, while the glass stayed the same size and vice versa. 

6. Expanding the beer in the glass and not the glass caused the compressed beer to form a powerful jet - strong enough to lift him off the ground. This was very difficult to control and efforts to perfect beer jet flying would have been hilarious if anyone was watching. Several times the suit saved him from serious injury. Eventually he could thrust forward around a hundred yards or so and land fairly well. ‘Practice that’s all it needs.’  

7. With a pat on the side of the goggles he could see through solid objects as though they were liquid. Not very clear at times, but hey?

8. He could make even the beer he drank disappear by pointing a pinch at himself. It had a totally sobering effect. 

‘OK,’ thought Bert ‘this is a win. If I’m not going mad, and this is for real, I love it. But I am no superhero, and I'm not going out fighting super villains…’

To be continued...