It was the fourth of May. My Life’s Little Instruction Calendar had given me this little piece of advice: “Life
is like a minefield; the direction of each step has consequences.” The day before it told me never to eat anything
from a dented can. Not advice that I’d argue with. These tidbits of wisdom would range from the petty to the utmost
of seriousness, so it was easy to take each instruction to heart and just as easy to discard it. All that aside, May fourth’s
advice should’ve been branded into my flesh and the stink of burning human flesh left to wallow under my nose. I crumpled
the small piece of paper and chucked it into the garbage.
It was Friday, and I woke up as easily as is possible with a raging hangover. Synapses crackled and popped impotently and
the only thought that managed to emerge went along the lines of, “Aagh, FUCK.” Another morning routine. “Routine”
would suggest something that you are used to, or get used to. Not this routine. There was no “getting used to”
this, at least not within the last year or so, but I still managed to forget that every night. And this was no run of the
mill hangover. This was the sort that made you realize alcohol isn’t just happy juice, but also a poison, and a potent
one at that. Most cunts I know seemed to shrug off their hangovers with a tall glass of water and an aspirin. Not me. I
seemed to be of the sensitive type; acutely aware of the ravaging I had placed on my sickly body. A vice was cranked as tight
as possible on my head and a sickness crept through my bones.
Through all this I managed to get out of bed. As it is with every Friday, the knowledge of the upcoming weekend lifted an
invisible load from my shoulders and I rolled and stumbled my way out of bed. My alarm clock shrieked and shrieked from across
the room, inconveniently placed to ensure my waking. Its screams reminded me of the dirty old porno from my dad’s collection,
a womanly high shriek that was all pain and no pleasure. Now, instead of some dirty amateur whore piercing the air with her
screams while a cock repeatedly pierced her asshole, it felt as if there was a giant cock piercing my head with every alarm
beep. In one ear, but not out the other.
I wrapped my blanket around me and stumbled towards the bathroom. The blanket was dry. I didn’t empty my bladder
while comatose the night before, and now the cheap swill raged and pressed at my bladder walls. With all the pressure of
a fire hose I let loose and horribly strong-scented, neon-yellow urine splattered and rushed down the bowl. Relief was fleeting,
however, as the torrent raged on. I sustained my upright posture by shifting all my weight to the forehead pressed against
the wall, as the yellow excrement sputtered, stopped, started again, and finally died out. All the while, my abdomen held
tight and flexed to increase the outflow.
After a brief moment of relief, an unrelenting ache flowed back throughout my whole body. Seconds seemed like minutes and
minutes like hours. In this kind of spatial reality the “I” and “Me” are the only subjects that hold
any real significance. With self-reflection at such a high, even slight bowel movements garner enough attention to be considered
decadent, but these were anything but slight. An acidic fire burned and spit at my stomach walls, pushing all occupants southward
and my stained briefs seemed to move in slow motion as they slid around my knees. I caught a fleeting glimpse of the word
“Hanes”, fractions of a second before my ass hit the rim of the toilet bowl. The fucking toilet seat had been
positioned vertically to ensure the least amount of urine splatter, and now my ass cheeks hung, spread open, centimeters from
the surface of the water. My feces exploded in an orgasmic relief, engulfing the full of the toilet bowl, and it was over
as fast as it had begun. “Pissing out of your asshole,” my friend had so eloquently put it. “Trust me,
with that swill you drink, it will definitely happen.”
Deflowered and wholly relieved, I rested my head between my knees and pondered the appropriateness of lighting a cigarette
at the moment. I felt as if some sort of virginal innocence had been lost and a cigarette was in order. A lack of smokes
and my ever-present hangover engulfed that urge for the time being.
As my deranged bodily functions relieved themselves, I felt another monkey on my back, coming on strong. Now, the suffering
reared ITS ugly head in MY head and self-loathing came on triplefold. A little self-pity, even in extremely small doses,
would have done wonders. But every thought of innocence had been stamped out by time, experience, and reality; basically
rendering any one coping skill useless through a process of gradual depletion to the extent where I had no self-esteem. My
confidence and self-worth were useless invalids. But where there is lack of mental capacity, there are pills and chemicals
to take its place.
Immediately, I had a purpose, and all my wallowing receded into the near background. Three small, blue, circular pills had
to be found and I ditched the blanket and underwear, immediately delving into the task. My brain raced and my face flushed
blood red with concentration as I frantically sifted through empty cellophanes, cigarette boxes, and prescription bottles.
A moment of anticipation was mixed with dread when I grabbed my limp pants off the floor to inspect the pockets. My pair
of black jeans hung from my hands, sopping wet with piss, and in that moment I knew exactly where my magic pills lay. I turned
the pocket inside out with my forefinger and thumb to reveal three blue pills that were no longer small or circular. They
were bloated with my urine to at least five times their normal size. My apprehension and horror disappeared leaving only
morbid anticipation. I froze for only a second.
They went down slimy, chalky, salty and (mercifully) a little sweet. My joy ended abruptly though, when I realized they
were stuck halfway down my throat and there was no liquid refreshment in sight. Half choking, I picked up a near empty beer
can. With my head tilted backwards at a near ninety-degree angle I held the beer can upside down letting the liquid filter
through the cigarette butts. I held back a cough while lukewarm beer and ash glided down the back of my throat and hit the
small dam of pills. A few seconds gave way and I could feel the pills floating happily towards my stomach.
My head still pounded as the happy chemicals had just started to make their way through my stomach lining, into my blood
stream, but were not quite there, so I struggled with the notion of not taking an all-refreshing hot shower before leaving
for school, but I couldn’t risk running into my mom coming back from the gym. Especially coming back from the
gym. Endorphins would be naturally coursing through her body, she would be feeling a great sense of self-accomplishment,
and the caffeine filled green-tea, not coffee, would all combine in a horrible mix of peppiness, faux-concern, and incessant
talking all aimed at me. No, a shower was out of the question. I had to come up with a means of gratification that was even
stronger than a hot shower.
It was a quick sprint/stumble down the stairs, through the living room, and into the kitchen. I checked behind all the cereal
boxes, only Cheerios and Wheaties, behind all the pots and pans and woks and even behind the rice cakes, but I couldn’t
find one drop of liquor. I’d have to mention here that vodka is virtually free of any toxins compared to other alcohols,
and that one glass of red wine a day was good for the heart. That held only promise for the future, and I needed relief now.
The medicine cabinet was full of aspirin, vitamins, and Tums. Just fake medicine, fake relief, just fucking placebos as
far as I was concerned. There was one bottle that glimmered with hope and I, just a mere sixteen years old, unscrewed the
childproof cap and stared down into my only hope of relief. Purple, sticky, syrupy liquid stared teasingly back at me. This
would not be the first time I had choked down Nyquil in desperation, but a faint whiff of the goo crept into my nose causing
my mind to run wild in memory. The conjuring of past Nyquil experiences flooded my mouth and tongue with the same horrible
taste and I had to re-swallow food and stomach acid that had crept up my throat into my mouth.
Eventually the Nyquil grudgingly slid down my throat and I managed to keep it there. An eternity under the water faucet
followed, but no amount of tap water was going to wash away the wretchedness in my mouth. I brushed my teeth for three minutes,
but decided to stop when I ran the bristles across the back of my tongue and almost vomited. That seemed to be the end of
my morning processions and I was almost out the back door when a brilliant idea reared its way into my head. I spun clockwise
and sprung towards the spice cabinet. My eyes flashed across the small bottles as fast as my hand could move them, scanning
each name then moving on. Oregano, nutmeg, ground cardamom, lemon peel, celery salt, and fancy tarragon all instantly registered
in my brain and then were just as easily discarded in a search for potency. Thirty degrees before the rack had made a full
spin my eyes caught and fastened on 5 small bottles of extract: imitation almond, imitation lemon, pure vanilla, imitation
rum, and imitation orange. I decided to go with orange, after checking all 5 of the bottle’s alcohol content, orange
being the highest. I happily tilted my head back and fiery liquid poured out of the tiny bottle neck into my mouth only to
be horrified at the sensation that spread off my tongue and around my mouth: a horrid mix of orange and fresh mint toothpaste.
Spitting, I put the remaining miniature bottles back. I decided it was time to head out for good.