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[personal profile] pixietastic
Tip; the bartender on your way out the door.
Tip; your hat as you pass by him on the street.
Tip; the cab driver as he drops you in front of the bridge.
Tip; the bottle back and feel it's amber solace slide down your throat.
Tip; be sure to take off your jacket and boots.
Tip; as you stumble up to the platform, grab the railing.
Tip; over the edge as you fall into the dark.

Some days it feels like there is no other answer, just the bottle and the dark.

His last text message to her read: "Let love reign always, no matter the cost." When they found his body in a crack house two weeks later she wasn't surprised. Another of the drunks he'd worked with spared her from having to go down and identify the body. The two of them were really the only friends he'd had.

"You couldn't have saved him ya know," her partner offers the night of the funeral.

"I know," she replies; the tears starting again, stinging against the mascara that trails across her cheek bones, "but I could have tried harder."

Things are different after, she tries harder to keep her distance. He's not the only one, there are more, they come down daily for their liquid courage injections, don't want too much blood in their alcohol streams. One of them had a stroke a few weeks ago, came in to confess over a series of tequilas and vodka & waters.

She suggests a wager, to see who could be sober the longest. Bet a thousand dollars she didn't have on it. He's a competitive drunk and he accepts, they'll start next week, no the week after... It goes on.

In the DJ's jeep on a Thursday night ride home, she confesses to the wager and the DJ replies, "If he quits drinking we all lose. That guy spends a hundred grand a year in the bar. Your little bet could ruin us all!"

The lump rises in her throat as she counters, "We all lose if he drinks himself to death too. He's already had a stroke; he's got a fatty liver and an enlarged heart, the doc's only giving him six months if he doesn't smarten up."

"Yeah but, I mean, he can't quit drinking..."

She bites her tongue thinking loud enough that she's sure her friend can hear her. I can't have another one die on me. I'm at four since September. I can't do this anymore. Her tears are whipped away by the wind in the jeep and he kindly pretends not to notice.

The radio kicks in, breaking the silence as they bound over the potholes in the west end of town, some crass pop tune ringing in her ear drums as they turn the corner onto her street.

She jumps out of the jeep. "Thanks for the ride love, see ya tomorrow." She slams the rickety door and blows him a kiss, stumbles into her darkened house, reaches into the cabinet, mixes the vodka with some water.

Some days it feels like there is no other answer, just the bottle and the dark.


This was my week ten entry for LJ idol: topic "“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time” please read/comment/vote when available, there are some really talented writers out there.

Date: 2014-05-30 04:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kickthehobbit.livejournal.com
This is heartbreaking, but so good.

Date: 2014-05-31 01:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamsreflected.livejournal.com
thank you, it was a difficult piece to write but ultimately quite cathartic.

Date: 2014-06-01 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayaso.livejournal.com
Excellent! I loved the phrase "just the bottle and the dark," as well as what you did with "tip" at the beginning. Great work!

Date: 2014-06-02 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamsreflected.livejournal.com
Thank you! and thanks for reading and commenting.

Date: 2014-06-01 01:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bleodswean.livejournal.com
This is amazing. And moving. And perfect. I loved every word. Did you write that bit in the beginning because DAMN.

Date: 2014-06-01 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamsreflected.livejournal.com
yes this is all original. Thank you very much this comment made my day!

Date: 2014-06-01 04:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
A really gutting and powerful entry, and the thought of trying to hold the tide back from your friends while you walk along the edge of it every night yourself... even scarier.
Edited Date: 2014-06-01 04:58 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-06-02 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamsreflected.livejournal.com
thank you for reading and commenting. I never would have imagined that I would have ended up here however briefly my stay may be.

Date: 2014-06-01 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whipchick.livejournal.com
The language in this was really compelling and flowed so well!

One thing caught me - the DJ being a huge exaggerator didn't seem in keeping with the rest of the piece (100 grand at $8/drink is 34 drinks a night). I'm probably the only geek around who would actually do the math, but it stuck out from the tone of the rest of the piece :)

Great ending. The spareness of your language creates such strong emotion.

Date: 2014-06-02 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamsreflected.livejournal.com
I really wanted to thank you for the concrit, I appreciate the perspective and am far to close to it to see how that would look like bravado or exaggeration. Were I to re-write this as fiction I would probably leave out the remarks made by the DJ with regard to amount of money spent as it seems confusing to those not immersed in the horror that bar culture can be.

Bonus story: The man in question and I actually drew up his bar budget one day over drinks (so take it with a grain of salt) and we figured it was between 120-140 grand a year (Canadian) which is about $4-500 a day, not at all hard to do when you factor in strippers ($40-80 a dance) drinks (he's famous for buying rounds for everyone including dancers and staff that easily total 100-200 two or three times a day) and gambling (video-lotto terminals are so much fun between drinks and dances but they only pay out at a rate of about 60% so it's really easy to lose a lot and quickly). He's a really interesting man, is the owner of several major contracting firms, two electrical companies and about 20 rental properties so he's not strapped for cash clearly, but my god it was sickening to think that he spends in a month more than what I make in a year.

Date: 2014-06-02 02:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whipchick.livejournal.com
Aha! That makes so much sense!!! And yeah, I can see where I missed that he spends it "in the bar" rather than purely on alcohol. I think I misread this thinking "bar" rather than "strip club," where yeah, it's totally possible to drop that cash :) Maybe just a quick hint about what kind of bar it is? (And duh, slap my head, I know you've written about your work before, but I just didn't make the connection this week.)

Date: 2014-06-01 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karmasoup.livejournal.com
I lived for years with a man who could have easily spent that kind of money, not because he was drinking 34 drinks a night on his own, but because he was a socially awkward extrovert, using the alcohol to try and connect with people. He'd buy large rounds of shots for people he barely knew, several at a time, several times a night. Between booze and pool and darts, he'd easily drop $200 a pop when he was just by himself, but it could get up to $300 - $400 when he was trying to "make friends." He once spent $1200 at a strip club.

This would be a hard row for anyone to hoe, and you've captured the agony well.

Date: 2014-06-02 02:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamsreflected.livejournal.com
It's amazing to me how many people try and make friends that way and how easy it is to end up accidentally drunk because people want you to be their friend and confidant. Thanks for the comment and the understanding.

Date: 2014-06-01 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] onda-bianca.livejournal.com
Love the beginning "tip" bit.

The whole thing was quite sad, but very well written.

Date: 2014-06-02 02:36 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-06-02 12:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] solstice-singer.livejournal.com
It's sad that so many people feel they have no other option. Life can be awfully bleak.

Date: 2014-06-02 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamsreflected.livejournal.com
life can LOOK awfully bleak, but so much of it is what you make of it. There's always another option, but certainly some days it doesn't seem like it. Thanks for the comment.

Date: 2014-06-02 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kittenboo.livejournal.com
I love that repeated line, the last line, it pulls everything together.

Date: 2014-06-02 02:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamsreflected.livejournal.com
Thank you I'm really glad it had the desired effect!

Date: 2014-06-02 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cheshire23.livejournal.com
Some days there might be no other answer.

Date: 2014-06-02 10:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] i-17bingo.livejournal.com
This brought to mind the bleakness I felt almost exactly ten years ago when I returned after a month to the corner pub I'd frequented for over a year, to discover that Annie, an old lady and a drinking buddy, had passed away. I looked around the bar that night to all the other regulars and saw my face in all of them.

Scared the shit out of me.

Date: 2014-06-02 12:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternal-ot.livejournal.com
A beautifully heartbreaking piece of writing...you captured the essence very well...Loved every bit of it..esp 'the bottle and the dark' and *Applause* for the Tip...Good work..Kudos!

Date: 2014-06-02 02:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kajel.livejournal.com
Powerful and really well done.

Date: 2014-06-03 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talon.livejournal.com
You are the best. *hugs*

Date: 2014-06-03 01:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] helenix.livejournal.com
This is good. Really good.

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