Gideon's Chip, Part Three
"There was an old hen," I told my bleary compatriot.
There is a joy in being drunk when you're not supposed to. It has to do
with the way which inebriation totally destroys one's ability to be
responsible. At the very least, people believe that is true and I guess
that's just about the same thing. Suddenly, you're free of all the nagging
worries. Then you throw up in an alley.
"She had a wooden leg."
Tonight I wanted my blood-alcohol to soar. Tomorrow, gun toting agents of
the mysterious benefactor would drag me away and there was a significant
chance I would not live to return home. That was how thing work in this day
and age: annoy the corporate lords and they kill you. Your body has plenty of
company floating in the harbor. Yes, I was using mixed drinks to escape the
nasty ghost of mortality that was haunting me of late.
"And every damned morning, she laid another egg," I offered.
Don't think I get drunk often. Oh, it happens every once and a while.
Usually in this very bar, in fact. Sometimes Anna's death catches up with me
- a small event will trigger my slide into that emptiness - and I will come
here. Sometimes when a month has been particularly difficult financially, I
will hop up on a stool and drown the inevitable thoughts of bankruptcy with
"She was the best damned chicken on the whole damned farm." The other man
I have, however, done this enough to invent stages or phases to describe
just how drunk I am or was. Tonight, I had hit stage three and was still
going. Stage one was, "Tilt-O-Vision". It is at this point that alcohol makes
your vision swim and you begin to feel the proverbial "buzz". Next comes,
"Hello World!". This is when you have drunk enough that everything is
exciting and every female you encounter thinks you're cute. Stage three is
entitled, "The Great Depression". Now you come down off your cloud and begin
to let everybody around you know. You share your sorrows. Stage four,
"Vomiting On Your Shoes", involved nausea, cigarette butts, and the one jerk
in the corner who is laughing at you. At this point, the whole bar seems to
be overcast with a dim psychic pall and you can't focus well enough to
"And another little drink wouldn't do us any harm." The other man smiled
and nodded. Or nodded and smiled. Something like that.
I love that little rhyme.
The other man was wearing last year's leisure suit. I told him this soon
after I met him and he affably agreed. I like that in a drinking companion.
His name was John and I wondered who he was outside the bar. Sometime before
my fifth shot, he took a pack of cigarettes out of his disgustingly brown
suit and now the filled ashtray in front of me was churning my stomach.
I told John smoking was bad for him. John didn't care.
"How do you convince somebody you're telling the truth?" I asked.
"You tell them, but they don't believe you. So how do you do it?"
The other man shrugged again. He tapped the ash off a cigarette.
"I told him I don't have it. I said I didn't care at all. But nobody
listens. That's the real problem. They're not listening to me. I have to make
them listen...How do you do that?"
John didn't know.
I was disgusted by him. Why was I sitting with somebody who didn't know
the first thing about the dog-eat-dog world we were living it? It was unreal.
I stood up and swayed. I glared at John through the smoke and alcoholic haze.
He was smoking and it disgusted me.
I went home.
I like my bar because no matter how drunk I am, I am can always get home.
There is convenient system of rails between it and my apartment building so
all I have to do is follow them. I stumbled along home. I fell somewhere,
because my pants were wet when I lay down on the mattress.
I was home.
On my bed. The mattress.
As the sound of blood rushing through my ears overtook me - I was
swallowed where I lay by a black roar - the neon light outside the window was
blinking. And blinking. It was the color of my bloodshot eyes. It blinked.