It all began with orange juice laced with vodka. He probably first tasted it on the day he was conceived, before his brain had even formed beyond a one celled organism it tasted the feeling of being drunk, tipsy, altered. His mother was swirling a glass of vodka with a splash of orange juice all on the rocks when she first felt the pangs of a contraction. And when her waters broke one could not be sure if it was water or vodka that splashed onto the hospital bed. She was well drugged and felt almost nothing, just the sensation that she was missing something, perhaps that vodka and orange juice or one of the cigarettes from her three pack a day habit. She was born in a family in which the sweating pushing swearing violence of childbirth was hidden, fine well bred women didn’t do such things. And from that moment on, this her oldest son was a resentment to her. She never forgave him for the smudged mascara and the smeared lipstick, for the days away from her vodka.
He learned to sail, to play tennis, to speak proper and to behave like a gentlemen at the club. But along with the exclusivity of his belonging there was a sense of never belonging at all. One night while his mother in her diamond tennis bracelet and vodka perfume left him home alone in charge of his younger siblings, that she also resented. His father in his boat shoes and izod shirt and pressed slacks, stood at in the door way while mother smoked her cigarette impatiently in front seat of their Lincoln Continental, take care of your brother and sister and call us at the club son if you have any trouble. Okay dad. And as soon as they left, the son walked to the ice box, took out a beer and took it to the sofa in the den he cracked it open and savored that first fizzy taste. When his parents returned three hours later he was well into following mother’s path if not her footsteps, though his drink of choice would always be beer.
It was only one short year later that he stood crying at the exclusive sleep away school that his grandfather had attended. His mother was disgusted with the snot and tears that had managed to get smeared on her coral suit, and his father was embarrassed by this teenaged boy showing emotion that no one of good standing would dare show in public. But nonetheless they drove off leaving their son with his Samsonite luggage. The idea was of course that boarding school would cure his drinking habit, but all it did was add marijuana and mushrooms to his diet of pain killing medications. The beer was easy to get, the drinking age was still 18 and of course many of the seniors were willing to buy beer for the underclassmen, for the right price.
He met a girl from a very good family and secretly they became engaged. His whispered I love you’s I want to marry you that came with the rock hard erection of youth, but was like a youth’s erection not just savored for the one he loved but was willing to rise for any occasion, or woman no matter whether she was his secret fiancee or not. So when he went off to college he was engaged and told every female this small fact as he was unbuttoning his Levis, don’t get attached. By the end of his freshman year he had decided to drop out, because he wasn’t earning enough money to pay for his case a day drinking habit. He moved in with his fiancee, but within a year she had left him. If you asked him why he wouldn’t be able to tell you, but he knew it was for his drinking. In a pique he returned in the autumn of what would have been his junior year and tried to woo any number of the females he had fucked almost two years before, trying to sleep with at least one, and sleeping with at least two others in the course of a long weekend. He returned home, packed his bags and moved to a Texas. He called his female friends whenever he was drunk, telling them about the amazing life he was living, the famous musicians he had met, songs he had written and given to this singer songwriter or that, he met a woman and married her and she supported him while he windsurfed and drank his way through a short lived career as a silicone chip designer. She worked for a big name computer company in a big position, they spent all their money on fancy guitars, sound equipment, a house in a good neighborhood and crack cocaine. Soon he was spending all of his credit card advances on crack cocaine until one day when he purchased a large enough amount of crack from an undercover police officer that he found his yuppy behind in a jail cell and that is when the DT’s started. When he was released from jail his wife had left him for another man, and everything he had was gone. All he had to do was wait for the court appearance on a felony drug conviction, but instead he skipped bail and took a bus to the fine state of Idaho, where his sister was living. On the way he had seizures, that were the harbinger of what was to come.
It was only a few short months in Idaho before the other thing he had inherited from his mother came to be in his life. It didn’t help that he had destroyed his stomach, his liver and any large number of brain cells but the seizures had also weakened the latent brain aneurysm, his boss knocked on his door but he was naked on the floor paralyzed. Three days passed before his boss finally called the police. He spent the next several months in rehab, not the kind that took care of his drug and alcohol addiction, he always was able to find someone to bring him a tall boy, or a six pack of beer to hide in his dresser drawer. His sister finally stopped talking to him because his incessant begging for her to sneak him alcohol wore on her so much she could no longer stand it. If you asked him way she stopped talking to him he would tell it was because she didn’t want to take care of a cripple, but the biggest crippling he had was that beer habit. He retained much of his charming well bred sociability but half his brain was gone, along with the dead hand and mostly dead leg. His liver had abandoned him so long ago that it was no longer even getting junk mail.
He lives in a two room house, under a box wood elder tree, the floor is littered with boxwood elder bugs. He drinks Black Velvet and beer, while smoking marijuana, his friends are all women who have lost custody of their children, who take pride in their Christianity while drugging themselves to death. He drinks the cheapest beer he can find or Budweiser, taking his public service check, stocking his cupboards just enough to keep the social workers from committing him, and spending more or less the entire check in less than a week drinking himself into an oblivion until the money is gone. The remainder of the month is spent, eating frozen pizza drenched in Lowry’s Seasoned Salt attended church services, and watching the same shows over and over again on rabbit ear television. He carries a can of Raid in under his dead arm, spraying spiders and box elder bugs, what difference does inhaling the neurotoxins matter when he is already walking in the cemetery? Four legged cane in his one good hand. A once handsome smile on his face.
This kind of drinking deadens the pain of a life pissed away in a dirty beer can because he is too drunk to limp his way to the toilet. He pisses in beer glasses at the beer garden, pisses his own pants because he is too drunk to realize he has to pee. He falls on the ground outside his door step because he has forgotten how to unlock his door, he owns nothing it is only his pride that makes him lock the door. He sells his seizure meds, and the pills that keep his atrophed muscles from hurting to buy more alcohol. His female friends the ones who suffer and cry over the loss of their children as they swallow the handfuls of pills he gives them. Stealing his money to buy more for themselves because he is too drunk to notice that it has cost him 50 dollars for a 12 dollar 12 pack.
It is easy to block out the pain of your life. To drown yourself in your piss drunk life. It is easy to blame others for letting you down, your mother for drinking to much vodka. He lays in his bed, between binges of drinking, and his once spectacular erection is now but a flaccid lump in his boxer shorts. He does not cry, he just listens to talk radio all night long, and hopes for someone to stop by in the darkest hours, with a six pack, or a fifth of BV.
This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to a real person is completely accidental.