Happy Earth Day

April 26, 2011 at 4:20 am (Drunk and disorderly, Sweet sticky things, That's not funny...)

It was about halfway through the bus ride when I made the decision. I had the next two days off, almost three, enough time to get normal enough to be back to work. After all the crap I’d been dealing with,all the aggravation welling up inside, it was time to release some steam.

I walked into the library liquor store. “Hi, fifth of Evan Williams Black Label, half-pint of that cheap gin there, and two baby bottles of Wild Turkey, please.” The backpack was a bit crowded, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. I went to the mall and ordered a four-shot espresso mocha. I wouldn’t be hitting the joy juice until after work, and would probably be up all night, so might as well rev the motor.

As I sat sipping coffee and watching the girls go by, my phone rang. It was Meg. We hadn’t talked in a while. She’d been seeing some guy, and I’d been coming to grips with my ending-relationship status. “Hey, it’s been too long.”

“What are you doing? I just kicked out Karl for the last time. Wanna come over?”

“I’d love to, but I have to work. Actually, you might get a kick out of hanging out with me after work.” I told her what was in my backpack.

“Don’t do it! You’ve been so good, don’t blow it now. Come over and we can have movie night.” She has always been a solid member of my support group.

“I’d love to come by. I’m gonna drink whether you join me or not, so might as well have some fun, eh? See you around ten.”

The hardest part of the next four hours would be getting the goddamned clock to move a little faster. Patience…

Meg’s eyes widened as I popped a baby bottle of Wild Turkey, saluted and said, “Here’s mud in your eye, sweetheart.” I downed the bottle in one gulp, and pulled out the fifth. With a bit of teamwork and a funnel, we refilled the baby bottle, which was stashed for surreptitious consumption on the road. I took a big pull off the fifth, and offered it to Meg.

“What the fuck.” She swigged from the bottle, passed it back, and we shared a glorious whiskey-soaked kiss. There’s a lot of love in Meg’s kisses. I sat next to her on her bed, and we crammed as much nonsensical drunken babbling as we could fit into forty-five minutes. At 11 PM, I had to be out of her room, so we kissed goodbye with plans to hook up in the morning, when my scheduled bender should be in full swing.

After stopping at Kelly’s for a beer, (which caused a few wide-eyed stares) I made for the bus. Soon I was home, backpack emptied and chaser obtained. Coke Zero for the diabetic, please. I took the doubles glass from the mantle. We ain’t fuckin’ around tonight. I lost the work shirt and pulled out the new, 2X-sized Motorhead tee shirt. It fit! It would remain my uniform for the entirety of this drunk.

I sat up, doing what I do when I stay awake drinking all night. I laughed a lot, cried a little, waxed nostalgic. I pulled out music I hadn’t heard in a while, more trips down memory lane. About 7 AM I curled up for a nap. I awoke about ten with dry mouth and an out-of-body feeling.

Oh yeah, I got drunk last night.

I poured a shot, and commenced with the onslaught of eye-openers. The whiskey was half-gone, but I was up and fresh. It was a new day and I didn’t have shit to do, other than enjoy myself. I texted Meg. “You up yet?”

She buzzed right back. “Yes, come over!”

As I began prepping for an inebriated bus ride, the house phone rang. Library? School update? No, it was my cousin.

My big sister had just died. Happy Earth Day.

And so began the usual barrage of calls to relatives, e-mails etc… I covered the bases, then told Sis that I was heading out for a while. Meg said something about movie night. I packed House of 1,000 Corpses and Shakes the Clown. Good drinking movies.

I made another stop at the liquor store for more bourbon, and a bottle of rum for Meg. I rolled into her place about noon. I shared my bad news. She held my head on her lap and listened as I poured out stream-of-consciousness thoughts of my sister and family. She’d seen neither of the movies, so I put in House of 1,000 Corpses. It was well-received, seeing Karen Black really excited Meg. I told her stories about all the times I’d viewed the film, and how it borders on obsession.

Earth Day afternoon was filled with shots of whiskey. Meg burned out her blender making rum smoothies. I chopped frozen bananas with her killer knife, admiring its grip, heft and sleek look. She cooked me dinner, which we ate in bed. After that, we started watching Shakes. We curled up, and the next thing I know it was almost 11 PM. Again. Time to go…

The time spent between leaving Meg’s and getting home was a blur, as were the late hours. When I awoke Saturday morning, I felt icky. There were about three shots of whiskey left, and the half-pint of gin. I drank the whiskey and began the pilgrimage to the bus stop. It’s half a mile away on Saturdays. I fought the urge to yarf all over the bus, nodding into slumber. It was one of the closed-window buses, and the driver insisted on blasting the heat. Bu the time I got downtown, I was woozy from all the motion. A teenage girl with nicer clothes and backpack than mine was panhandling people as they got off the bus. “Excuse me sir, would you be able to spare–”

“Do I fucking look like I want to give you anything?” I snapped. She shooed away in a hurry.

I stopped for a takeout box of beef teryaki from a food cart. It smelled delicious and nauseating at the same time. I took a few bites, and decided gin would make me feel better. It didn’t last long enough, so I fetched beers from the Kwik-E-Mart downstairs. I’d been meaning to try some of these Lagunitas…

I pulled more magic out of my backpack. Art East had found a bootleg Tool concert on the web, and burned a copy that would play on DVD systems, so we sat and rocked to Tool circa 1994. Saturday was way more casual. Meg decided one of my oversized tee shirts and black panties were her outfit for the day. We opened the curtains to let the sunshine in. It was a glorious day outside, but neither of us felt like dealing with that much brightness.

I made two beers last all day. We napped, hanging out quietly like two partners-in-crime. It was comforting to feel the embrace of the booze, and the embrace of a kind-hearted woman who went above and beyond to make my day as perfect as could be. I took the occasional puff of her cigarette, just because. I saw two of my favorite movies, got to watch my favorite band in concert, spend two days laying around with an underdressed vixen, and blow off some much-needed steam. When it was time to go, we hugged, kissed, she flashed her boobs at me just for fun. The guard’s smile/smirk said it all when I signed out with one minute to spare. Disheveled didn’t begin to sum up my look.

I wobbled down the street, stopping at Rialto for one last taste of guilty pleasure. I counted out seven ones to the bartender, took my shot of whiskey and pounder of High Life to a seat facing the Avenue. I watched the regulars shuffle by, some stopping to chat. Mostly they left me alone. I called the ex-wife to let her know my sister had died; a young-sounding male told me she was asleep. At 11:30 on a Saturday night? Good for her.

I found a bench near the bus stop, and texted a thank-you to Meg. “I had a wonderful time, even with all the sadness. You are a cherished friend.”

“Where are you?” she texted back.

“Sitting outside the jail, waiting for a bus. Watching a woman walk by, looks like two cats rasslin’ in a bag.”

My phone rang. Meg: “What? The woman has cats in a bag?”

“It’s a compliment about her ass. Some asses look like a bag of grapefruits.”

She laughed, and we said good-night for real this time.

As I rode home, I realized drinking still wasn’t for me anymore. Sunday morning, with the hurting head and every move and sound amplified, reinforced those thoughts. I drank about three quarts of water, then some coffee, and was barely functional all day. Instead of regrets, I was glad. I got a lot of anger and anguish out of my system, revisited old friends, bonded with a new one.

And now I can begin anew.

I will miss you, big sister. Your passing gave me the perfect excuse to regress for a while.

Always the thoughtful one, weren’t you?

1 Comment

  1. Jeff said,

    My condolences regarding your “Big Sister”! On a much happier note, Shakes the Clown, arrived via e-Bay today…
    This is one GEM of a flick!
    I still don’t know how I missed this one for so many years.
    And………My copy of Shakes came from London.
    Again, My cyber-friend…My condolences, and I hope you have a brighter week ahead!

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