Tag Archives: alcohol abuse

El Gringo pt. 2

6 May

Please read the first installment here. 

taxi

“I told you I was not ok!” Gary slurred.

“You´re fine. You just felt a little sick in there. You´ll feel better soon. Maybe you should come to my place and relax” she suggested.

Gary was not sure about the idea. It was not that he felt any imminent danger, but he did not want to suffer the embarrassment of getting sick again in her home.

“Maybe I shouldn´t” he said.

“Why not?” she asked.

“I don´t want to make a mess in your house” he answered.

“Don´t worry. You´re fine anyway. Let´s go” she said.

He felt very dizzy as he got up. His legs felt weak. He knew he was going to throw up again and it was only a matter of time before he did.

The woman hailed a cab. She started speaking Spanish rapidly to the driver and her demeanor changed. She was more forceful, almost aggressive with the driver. The driver nodded at the instructions and off they went.

She turned to him and her demeanor went back to the soft, sweet version she used in the bar. “How you feeling? Better now?”

Gary tried to speak but decided against it. It was all he could do as to not throw up again. The waves of nausea passed over him. When the car slowed up to stop signs, Gary kept going forward, at least in his head. The car drove for at least twenty minutes before Gary realized that they were in the car for an inordinate amount of time. He was too busy just trying to keep it together before to notice. He also noticed that they were no longer in an urban area.

Buildings became more spread out and there was noticeably more green. Gary was not in a state of mind to really take too much notice or make anything out of this. The woman whose lap he was using as a pillow lit a cigarette. The waif of smoke did not calm Gary´s churning stomach.

He mustered enough energy to mutter the question “You smoke?”

“Only when I drink, dear” she answered.

Very out of character Gary said “That´s gross”

“I know dear”, she said as they went along.

“Where are we going?” Gary asked.

The woman was noticeably irritable. “My house. I already told you”

“You live far” he said childishly, slipping in and out of consciousness.

“You´re drunk. We´ve barely been driving at all” she said. She then blurted some rapid fire instructions to the cab driver in Spanish. The cab just kept on going. Gary completely passed out.

When Gary came to he was in the back of the car, stopped and it was very dark. He was alone. He could tell he was away from civilization because of the sounds of insects in surround sound all around him. His head was pounding. He had an awful taste in his mouth. Some people keep condoms in their wallets, he always kept an aspirin. He reached for his wallet but it was gone.

Part 3 

El Gringo pt. 1

4 May

*Note from the author. This will be a six part series. Please, give it a chance. It really pays off. Thank you.

El gringo 1

Since he was young, Gary had always felt the need to leave his hometown of Shelding, PA. He never felt that he fit in. The problem was that he never felt he fit in anywhere he went. He would find reasons to leave and move away in constant search of home. He spent a beautiful summer in Chile backpacking around from hostel to hostel. He thought to himself he could drop anchor for at least a year without too many complaints. He decided he would rent a small apartment in Santiago and teach English for a living.

One night while sitting at a bar he caught the eyes of a beautiful woman. Her eyes stayed fixed on his gaze and a small smile came to her lips. Gary is very shy with women, especially one as beautiful as this one but her smile seemed so inviting. It put him at ease. He thought of a way he could approach her. “I´ll offer her a drink” he decided. “I see it in the movies all the time” He reached into his pocket to verify how much cash he had on him and noticed it was all gone.

He panicked. He knew he left the house with enough cash to get him through the night. His mind raced. Where could it have gone? Did it fall out of his pocket when he bought that street barbeque? Did someone pick pocket him? To make matters worse, the woman started to approach him. What was he to do now? He could not offer her a drink. Without that card up his sleeve, he had no idea how to engage this beautiful woman. After what seemed like an eternity of avoiding her eyes as she glided across the dank bar she arrived. In perfect English and with little accent she asked “Can I buy you a drink?”

Gary was taken aback. He momentarily locked eyes with the woman and was rendered speechless. He knew he had to say something.

“Uh, sure” he mustered. “Yeah, please” he added, worried his initial response was not worthy.

A few moments went by with Gary just staring at the woman. “Well, what will you have?” she asked.

“Oh, yeah” Gary fumbled “A beer. I like beer.” These words echoed through his head. “I like beer? I´m so stupid” he thought to himself.

“I like beer too” the woman said. “Dos cervezas, por favor” she called to the barman.

“Si, senhorita” the barman called back.

Gary waited in awkward silence as the bar man walked back to the cooler to retrieve their order.

“So, what are you doing here?” the woman asked Gary.

He thought it was odd that she did not ask his name first, but he remembered he was in another country with another culture so he didn´t give it much more thought.

“In this bar?” he asked back.

“No, I mean in Chile. I can see you are not from here. You work for a multinational company?” she asked.

“Oh, because I am in this bar… because I wanted to have a beer or two…. Not too many though. I don´t drink that much” Gary was getting the cold sweats. Why did he just say that? He had no control of his mouth. The woman giggled. She was amused by Gary´s social awkwardness.

“I´m sorry” Gary said. “I´m a little nervous”

“Nervous? Why? I won´t hurt you” the woman said in a seductive way with her head slightly tilted forward as to look up and she exaggerated the movement of her lips on the word “you”.

Gary swallowed hard. He thought a little laugh would break up the awkwardness but it came out a little creepy. Then he blurted “I teach English. That´s what I am doing here”

“Oh, really? That´s nice. I can use a little help with my English” the woman said.

“Not really” Gary said. “You´re English is really good. Trust me” If Gary could, he would punch himself in the stomach at this point. He recognized that she was flirting with him but was clueless as to how to flirt back.

“Well, thank you” she said.

They just sat there awkwardly looking at each other when Gary blurted out, “Have you ever walked on the beach at night?” Really, he thought to himself? Any other good questions for her, like, have you even drunk coffee? Do you brush your teeth on a daily basis?

She was very kind and very forgiving of Gary´s lack of ability to communicate well with her. “Why, yes. It calms me” she answered, tilting her head to the side and whipping it back to the other side to take a sip from her drink.

“Yeah, me too” Gary said.

“Maybe after these drinks we could take a walk on the beach” the woman suggested.

Gary fumbled with the words “Uh, that would be great” he said before his eyes dove down to the floor. Her gaze felt like it had a force field around it. If he tried to look into it, his own gaze was only forced away.

He finally came up with a good idea. It was to ask little, simple questions about her day and just let her talk. He would nod when he thought he should. It was working. She was talking away and he was loosening up with each cold drink that he nervously poured down his throat.

A few hours and many drinks later, Gary found himself drunk. He went beyond socially lubricated and went right into slippery reality. The woman kept telling him he was fine despite the fact that his vision was blurred and his hearing was off. He felt as though he was in a packed club and not in the busy, yet quite neighborhood bar.

Gary suggested ordering a bottle of water but the woman insisted on another round of drinks. When Gary put the glass to his mouth he projectile vomited as if his body was saying “no mas”.

The woman took Gary by the hand and led him outside. They found a bus stop bench and sat down.

Part 2 Click here

The Swimming Hole

2 May

swimming

 

Terry was an eccentric man. He inherited a very large estate when his grandfather died. It was a sprawling piece of land with a main house, a beautiful mansion that was a sixties take on modernism and a garage with a two bedroom apartment above it. He made the apartment his home while letting nature retake the mansion. He only entered it to get tools from the basement. The mansion always made him feel uneasy. When he did go in, he always felt he could not get out fast enough.

His grandfather was a self made man. A Greek immigrant, he went from cleaning the floors of restaurants to building a restaurant supply empire. His name was on the donor list of every major building back in town. The mansion was the location of the most extravagant parties that the local society enjoyed for two decades. His grandfather fell ill and the parties stopped. Then the guests stopped. When people wanted to feel alive, they came from all around to drink and dance until the early hours of the morning. When he was sick, nobody wanted to go and be reminded of their own frailties.

It took over two more decades for the illness to finally claim Terry´s grandfather. The estate fell into disrepair. Terry didn´t mind. When he got the news that he had inherited the estate, the timing was perfect. He was being evicted from yet another flop house for his strange behavior and not to mention, heavy drinking.

Terry didn´t work. He didn´t have too. Along with the estate he inherited a few bonds. These mere pieces of paper were worth more than a few million dollars. He cashed them in and with the help of an advisor, invested them in a way where the principle was never touched and he could live off the interest.

To keep himself busy, Terry would come up with projects around the estate. Some that made sense and some that didn´t. An example of the former was a vegetable garden which was quite productive considering Terry´s agricultural education came from a few borrowed library books. An example of the latter would be when he tried to build a mirror system on the top of a hill that would send beams of light into outer space trying to make contact with aliens.

With the news of an impending heat wave, Terry got the idea to dig out a swimming pool. There was a back hoe in the garage that he became quite proficient in its use. He surveyed his land and found the perfect spot. It was at the foot of the hill where his alien communication system stood in decay.

Terry marked out a twenty food by eight foot rectangle and started digging. For more than three days, a few hours a day, his hole in the ground started to take the shape of a proper swimming pool. At the deep end he got to almost six feet deep while maintaining a somewhat perfect rectangle shape. On the fourth day as he started digging out the deep end, he noticed the earth was getting a little muddy. He felt it odd as it hadn´t rained in weeks. The more he dug, the muddier the earth. He got to a point where water started to bubble up. He dug a little further and more water started seeping up. It started making digging difficult and now Terry was getting frustrated. If he struck water, how was he ever going to finish the pool with cement as he planned.

Terry decided to call it a day. He put the back hoe back in the garage cursing as he removed mud from the shovel. The cursing grew harsher with every sip of rye he took, thinking the rye would calm him down a little.

He woke up the next day, feeling a little rough, with an empty liter of rye on his bed stand. He decided to walk over to the pool. To his surprise, it was completely full of water. At first, Terry cursed his fate. Then he thought to himself, he was not going to receive guests so who cares how rough the pool is. It is a swimming hole now. And he would not have to fill it. He never even took into consideration the plumbing aspect of this job so this was a blessing in disguise.

It was unusually hot so Terry got down to his underwear and decided to test the water. The first thing he noticed was that the water was cool to the touch but absolutely refreshing in a way he had never felt before. The next thing he noticed was that his hangover was completely gone. In fact, he had not been without a hangover in so long that the feeling was foreign to him. He lived his life in a constant cycle of being hung over or drunk.

Terry suffered from a terrible skin rash that when it flared up, it oozed puss and blood. He wanted to be careful not to get it wet as water sometimes led to an outbreak. Due to the viscosity of the mud below his feet, he slipped and was submerged to his neck. He sprang back up and immediately examined his should to see how the rash would react to the water. To his surprise, there was no reaction. Terry felt relieved. He sat down waist deep in the water and felt the cool refreshing water on his legs. He looked back to his shoulder to make sure the rash was not getting wet. To his surprise, the rash was completely gone.

Terry jumped up and cried “What the…..?”

Terry ran back to his house not even caring that he was tracking mud foot prints all over the floor as he made his way to the bathroom, the only room with a mirror. He confirmed what he had seen. The rash was completely gone.

This was cause for celebration so Terry went to town and bought a more sophisticated drink than his usual rye. It was gone in no time and there was little time before the liquor store closed. He set off for town once again. To avoid another DUI he took his bike. Night was falling fast.

Terry was on the dirt road leading back to his house taking nips along the way. He could have sworn he heard music in the near distance but that would have been impossible. He hadn´t a neighbor for miles around him in any direction. He was feeling pretty good and he knew that when he felt pretty good, his mind had a tendency to play tricks on him. As he approached his home, the music grew louder. It sounded like jazz. He heard the murmur of a crowd. He took another nip and shrugged it off. It would not have been the strangest aural hallucination he has had in the near past.

As he came to the hill that led down to part of the property where the structures stood, Terry froze dead in his tracks. The mansion was completely lit up. There were people going in and out the front door smoking cigarettes, with drinks in their hands. The men wearing thin ties and neat suits. The women wore skimpy dresses with collars and ironed straight hair. There was laughing and dancing.

To his ultimate shock, through the huge glass window of the great room he saw none other than his grandfather with a martini glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He was entertaining two beautiful young ladies who were laughing hysterically at every utterance he made. Terry was paralyzed. Thoughts were going round and round in his head but not one would stop long enough for him to focus on it.

His gaze wandered over to the makeshift swimming pool. It was gushing water. It was bubbling from the point where he had first seen the water with the force of a broken water main. He followed the small stream that came out of the shallow end with his eyes. It made its ways right up to the house. It seemed to touch the walls and run all the way to the other side of the house and ran off at the far end.

Terry turned his bike around and started peddling furiously for town. He didn’t make it too far. His front tire hit a rock and it sent him flying over the handle bars. He tried to brace himself as he fell but a fallen tree branch had gotten between his head and the ground. Terry was out cold. He slightly came to, dragged himself towards the bushes and laid down. He mustered all his available strength to bring the bottle to his lips. The whole night Terry slipped in and out of consciousness. A few times when he was awake he heard cars roll by with big band music playing and people hanging out the windows letting the world know they were at that moment having the time of their lives.

At sunrise, Terry came to. He felt awful. His head was pounding. His mouth felt as though he had been chewing sand the night before. He vomited where he laid a few times. He then remembered the pool. He thought that it could make him feel better again. He also remembered the scene from the night before so he was a little anxious to return to that part of the property as he had no idea what was in store from him. With the strength of an invalid, and the movements of one, Terry made his was back home. He left his bicycle lay. He didn´t have the strength to roll it back.

When he got to the apex of the hill that over looked the house he let out an audible gasp. The mansion was back in its dilapidated state. There was no sign of a grand ball. There was no sign that merriment and mirth had transpired there for years, decades even. Then his gaze went over to the pool.

The crooked rectangle, not much more than two feet deep at one end and four feet at the deep end was completely dry.

 

Heavy Question, Simple Mind

23 Nov

thinker

“Energy drinks! We need to get some energy drinks!” Brad said excitedly.

Jeff paused for a moment soaking in the irony of such and energetic person making such a claim. “You´re too damn hyper as it is, man. Let´s just get a few beers and get out of here”

I want vodka and energy drink. We can get the generic brand. It´s cheap. That with the plastic squeeze bottle of Popov will be cheaper than a twelve pack and get us much more wasted”

Jeff had to admit, he had a point and neither of them had a lot of money on them nor had many prospects for changing that situation.

“Instead of getting drunk tonight, maybe we should do us somethin that´ll make us a little money” Jeff said.

The two looked at each other and started to crack up in the middle of the supermarket.

“Let´s get the damn booze and get the hell out of here” Brad said. “I don´t want to get to the party too late, all the slutty chicks will be with someone already”

Jeff silently agreed and steered them towards the liquor section.

A few moments later the transaction was made and they were on the road mixing a strong communal drink in a discarded McDonald´s cup that Jeff found under his seat.

After taking a deep sip, making a twisted face of horror from the burning sensation in this throat and extending the cup to his good friend since childhood, he pondered aloud “You ever wonder what this is all about? Like why we are here? I´m sure it ain´t to drink cheap vodka and try to make out with girls who are probably worse people than we are”

“Don´t think about it one bit” Brad said honestly.

“Never?” Jeff asked.

“Never. Don´t cross my mind. I think we´s just here to be here. Asking why? Ain´t no point in that” Brad added.

“Ain´t no point in drinking cheap vodka and hooking up with skanky girls neither, now is there?” Jeff said. He took another long deep sip. This time there was no burning. The first sip had already anesthetized  him.

“I guess not” Brad said, getting slightly irritated.

“Fuck it. Let´s put on some music” Jeff offered, noticing the irritation in Brad´s voice.

“That´s more like it! Crank it up!” Brad said, all anger blowing out the window along with the first few puffs of smoke from his freshly lit cigarette.

The party was exceptionally good. Although there weren´t the most attractive women in the world, there were plenty of them and they most certainly weren´t the kind that use good judgment when making decisions.

Brad started sweet talking a woman who could be described as a human sausage for she tried to squeeze much more body than she should have into a younger, thinner woman´s clothes. They started kissing on the couch and Brad suggested they find a place with more privacy. She obliged and they headed upstairs.

They found themselves on the smallest bed in the house. It was the host´s four year old daughter´s room. The question Jeff proposed kept echoing in Brad´s head. What was the point of all this?

As things progressed, she asked if Brad had a condom. Of course he didn´t and she said she didn´t mind. She couldn´t get pregnant anyway. She mentioned something about a botched surgery involving a severe case of HPV.

As the woman started to undo Brad´s pants it was painfully obvious that Brad´s manhood was not as into this fine woman as much as Brad´s cheap vodka soaked brain was.

“What´s the matter hun? Drink too much?” she asked.

Brad was aloof. What was the goddamn point of all this? Jeff ruined his night. He apologized, put the rest of his clothes back on and just left the party. He didn´t even tell Jeff he was leaving.

Three months later Brad was at an AA meeting receiving a chip symbolizing 90 days of not drinking. He just shared how frustrated he was by his day at his work training program but that he was grateful that he was able to resist the urge to go to the liquor store and continue on his new path. He still hadn´t talked to Jeff since that night he proposed that heavy question. Brad was no closer to having an answer either but he felt that maybe, just maybe if he lowered his head and pushed through life, a hint would come his way.

 

Liquid Werewolf

12 Mar

werewolf

 

For Rick, reality seemed as slippery as a bar of soap in a prison shower. It didn´t help that Rick was altering his consciousness on a daily basis. He would celebrate good occurrences by “going deep”, as he put it. He would escape the bad movements by “tuning out”, as he put it. But this had to change when he met Pamela. He was in love with her and Pamela did not approve of such behavior. He loved the feeling she gave him more than that of the substances, at least for now. Of course that feeling will fade and the sudden urgent hit of the substances will call him back. Not to mention the high will be increased by his abstinence making it harder to say no. But for now he is towing the line.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon while lying in bed after a hardy fast food lunch that made them sleepy, Pamela hit Rick with some shocking news.

“Rick, what do you think about kids?” she asked.

“They are great. Far from me” he answered. His words felt like a well placed punch in Pamela´s stomach.  “Why?” he asked.

“No reason” she said, trying to hide her real emotions.

Over the course of the next few months, Pamela did everything she could to hide her ever growing belly from Rick. Besides what he said on that rainy afternoon when she tried to tell him the news, deep down she knew he´d be a lousy father. He was 35 years old and living in a room in an old woman´s house. Their deal was, he´d keep the grass cut and the rent would be cheap.  The grass was knee high.

Pamela´s belly got to the point that no garment would hide it. She was nervous. She had a strange attachment to Rick even though she knew she could do much better. In her heart she knew she had to do better for herself and her unborn child. She wanted to have a dialog with Rick and she thought that maybe a few beers would loosen him up so she picked up a 12 pack on her way to Rick´s house.

When she arrived she offered him a beer. A wave of fear washed through Rick´s stomach. It was as if a self aware werewolf saw the first sliver of a full moon.

“Oh, I shouldn´t dear, I just took a Tylenol and that´s not good for the liver” he said, proud of his own quick thinking.

“Just one, hun. I´ll have one with you” she insisted.

“Just one” he said.

That first beer went down his throat as if it were honey descending a silk lined golden tube. It tasted so good. The slight alteration in mood felt so familiar. The air smelled better. The future seemed to not matter yet so much brighter at the same time. If one beer made him feel this way, another would make him feel that much better.

“Pass me another on, hun, that hit the spot” he said. He was careful to form the words perfectly. He did not want his tongue to defy him. He knew that it was already becoming a little rebellious.

“Sure” she said as she past him another.

He drank it down even more greedily than the first. The bright warm feeling starting to turn a little dark with this beer. The future seemed to matter even a little less, though the brightness was gone. The switch was thrown.

“We really need to talk” Pamela said not knowing that the chemistry of Rick´s brain was changing like a hot summer afternoon with a storm rolling in.

“Sure, babe, pass another beer” he said.

“Ok, but take it easy, you don´t want to get drunk, do you?” she said jokingly.

He didn´t pick up on the playfulness in her words and said “What is it to you if I get drunk. We are together for a few months and you already want to control me?” he felt an old anger that has been with him for years. “I want a cigarette”.

“You smoke?” Pamela asked with a shocked expression on her face.

“Sometimes” he said as he reached passed her and pulled the third beer from the box.

“I didn´t know that” she said.

“Yeah? Well, there are a lot of things you don´t know about me” he said with a face that was not hiding the sourness he felt in his soul. He chugged the beer without even taking a breath. He reached for the fourth.

“What´s going on here?” Pamela asked.

“You told me to” he answered. This really confused Pamela.

“I have to go” Pamela gathered her things and went for the box of beer when a hand grabbed her wrist and pulled it away.

“You can leave that” Rick said.

“Ok” she said with tears in her eyes.

That night Rick went on a bender that ended three days later. When he finally passed out in a burned out house on a pissed stained mattress in the seedy part of town, Pamela had already crossed the country to lay her head on the silk pillow in the luxurious guest room of her sister´s home.