|The author (dry-humping the emerald felt off the pool table) w. playwright Patrick Mullowney, experimenting with alcohol shortly after my 21st birthday, July 1998.|
I’ve attempted to institute this fast at least five times before and every time I consciously endeavor to go even (a commercial break) three days w/out slamming a beer something happens which I call ‘When God Gives You Manna from Heaven Don’t Bitch About Being Hungry,’ (all you brilliant formative young emulating scribes out there please don’t plagiarize that proverbial fortune-cookie maxim since it’s the title of an upcoming story). What When-God-Gives-You- Manna-From-Heaven-Don’t-Bitch-About-Being-Hungry means is that I could be stranded on an errant ice floe drifting somewhere in the arctic ocean ready to succumb to dizzying spells of hypothermia and a penguin will magically flap out of nowhere dressed up like a waiter and will hand me a Corona and the moment I pop open the beverage I find myself in the Caribbean being massaged by a scantily clad (and astonishingly well read) Playboy Playmates wearing Mouseketeer ears and all is right in the world.
It was day number three and I was in my apartment writing when my ears register a reverberating thud on my door which turned out to be the campus police telling me that I had to clean up that “circus mess” outside or the entire house would get a ticket. I ask him what he is talking about. He tells me to follow him. When we go behind the house I discern that the frat boys had placed thirty beers cans in the snow arraying them so that, from looking at the configuration from an overhead perspective, it looked just like a giant phallus.
I tell the police officer that’s not my phallus. The police officer tells me that he doesn’t care whose aluminum phallus it is as long as it gets cleaned up pronto.
I go downstairs and knock on the frat boys’ door and when I realize they are not home and probably just came back on New Years eve to party I decide to clean the ‘circus mess’ up myself. At first I thought most of the beer cans were empty but it turned out ten of them were un-opened.
I unscrewed the cap and alighted the stem of antebellum sour mash into my olfactory organ, taking a gravid sniff before closing my eyes.
vegetables, plastic silos of Gatorade and rice and asked me if I had forgotten something.)
Tiffany is hard core working class, skinny as a Virginia slim who loves cheap domestic long-necks and country music and dogs. I can tell that she has been having a typical Monday in America. I can tell like all the rest of us that she is struggling to make sense of shit--struggling to make ends meet, struggling to find companionship (she refers to her boyfriend
as "dad" whenever he calls).
"Why are you giving up booze?" She says.
I tell her that I am only giving up booze for forty days and that the ultimate goal is to cessation of all alcoholic products during the work week.
Tiffany continues to check out my item. When she bends over placing the items into the
stationary cart at Sav-o-lot on Proctor I can make out the color of her bra strap.
"But you seem happy." She says. "If it makes you happy all the time it can't be all that bad."
I turn around and begin to pack my groceries in a box once used for tuna fish before shooting
a smile back at my checkout friend, whose place of employment is much worse than that of my own.