A black sky and no stars, something I’m accustomed to seeing. Fire escapes, garbage cans, dumpsters, dirty gold windows with beige blinds allowing the light from an age-old lamp to shine through. I see it all the time. Another thing I’m accustomed to seeing is my legs sprawled like I’d been jumped by gang members and stripped clean. In fact, I probably have been stripped. Let’s see, okay, wallet? Check. Keys? Check. Killer hangover? Check. Sanity. . . work in progress.
Alright, I take a deep breath and fight my body to obey me in the motion of getting off the dirty ground someplace in Brooklyn. I crack my neck and almost fall over, leaning on the nearest wall for support. My vision is still blurry but getting better as I stumble, stagger, and nearly fall a couple times making my way out the alley onto the sidewalk. The dehydration is killing me. I need some food or I’m not gonna make it. I look around to see what the hell’s open at three in the morning. Down the block, I see a McDonalds, then a Popeyes, then a Burger King. So, God knows I exist after all. I check my wallet to see if I have any money left, ten bucks. It’ll do.
* * *
I walk into Popeyes and there’s little to no people there. God, this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I walk up and order a two-piece chicken with fries and biscuits with a side order of mashed potatoes then give them the money. I take my order number and stagger over to the nearest table and nearly faint as I plop into the seat with reckless abandon. The amount of sweat coming from my body is ridiculous. I feel like Michael Jordan in the flu game, except there’s no Scottie to help me to the bench.
“Order 543.” The cashier calls my number and I fight another battle with my body to get up from the seat.
I get to the counter, take my food, and she gives me the change. Thirty-seven cents. I shove it in my pocket, go back to the table, and demolish the food in less than five minutes. The sweat from my body is getting more insane, like a dam that’s been welled up too long and is about to explode. I fight my body a third time and manage to stagger out of the place. What the fuck did I drink tonight? I manage to make it out to the parking lot and the soft, cool breeze feels like the meaning of existence as it graces my face with its refreshing presence. I see a motel right across the street, I drunkenly make my way there.
When I get to the check-in booth, the guy says there’s a room open for sixty bucks a night. Last time I checked, I had about two hundred bucks on the card, and the drinks came up to about . . . $130 . . . $135, shit. Alright God, do your thing. With sweat flooding down my body, I try to get my wallet, but I can’t feel my pockets. I reach for my wallet repeatedly but it keeps slipping away. From the look on the guy’s face, I can tell he can’t bear to see me like this. He gave me a room key and told me to pay in the morning; I thanked him like a three-year-old when their parents take them to Chuckie Cheese for their birthday.
I fumble with the keys when I get to the room. It takes all my concentration and then some to slip the key in the lock. When I get the door open I stagger and stumble into the room, having as much trouble closing the door and locking it as getting it open in the first place. I walk drunkenly to the bed and plop down and knock out immediately.
* * *
I wake up the next morning with a worse hangover than the night before. There’s a banging on the door that rattles the entire foundation of my being. Room service is here to clean the place up. I roll off the bed and hit the floor with a thud. When I manage to get up there’s a reservoir of sweat on the twin bed. I don’t think I can keep drinking like this. The same thoughts always come to my head when I have hangovers, but I know I’m gonna go drinking again tonight. . . it’s in my nature.
I make my way to the door, let the lady in, go down to the check-in booth, pay the guy and head home. About that last one, I don’t know where the hell I am in the first place. I walk up to the nearest cross street and it says Pennsylvania Ave. I live on Chambers Street, what the fuck am I doing this deep in East New York?
Anyway, I walk down Pennsylvania toward the B83 which takes me to the train station. The bus comes like God ordained it to and I hop on for one stop. I get off and go into Pennsylvania train station, take out my wallet with less struggle, swipe my Metro card, and hop on the train that conveniently shows up when I ascend the stairs. I sigh deeply as I know this is gonna be an hour ride. I look for the nearest seat and sit then go to sleep.
* * *
I wake up as the train approaches Chambers street. When the doors open I get up and get off. I finally have at least eighty percent control of my body and am able to move with some spring in my step. When I get above ground, I make a right and hit the local pizza place to get me a slice. I eat on the go as I walk up a block toward BMCC then make a right, go up two blocks then make another right and go to the middle of the block and I’m home shitty home. I walk up the miniature flight of stairs, get my keys out with little to no trouble, and go inside of my two-floor, two-bedroom, two-bathroom slice of American soil. I know what you’re thinking but it’s not the case, I don’t live by myself. With the bullshit check my job pays me? Yeah right!
I throw my keys down, take my coat off, go up to my room, and get my stuff so I can hit the shower. After I cleanse myself of the sins of the night before, I dry off in the bathroom then go back to my room. I close the door and throw my towel on the bed. I do a double take as I notice something under the towel. What’s that? I look under the towel and see a beautiful, violet gemstone. It shines radiantly in the light and I can see myself in its reflection. Amethyst? I examine it and wonder where it came from. My roommate doesn’t own jewelry, and neither do I. I see there’s a chain attached to it which means it’s probably a necklace.
Curiosity gets the better of me so I put it on. I don’t know what to expect honestly, to gain a superpower like on one of those shows on Netflix? Not. I rub lotion thoroughly over my body, put deodorant on, then underwear, socks, clothes, shoes. The sun’s still up so I figure I’ll go catch a movie after I check my bank balance. That oughta be fun. Turns out, my bullshit job comes through for once. Direct deposit hit my account last night while I was fighting the Trojan-Hangover war, nice. I go downstairs, grab my keys and wallet, look in the mirror to make sure the Amethyst chain I’m rocking looks right then head out.
* * *
The movie was a waste. Three hours of pure garbage. The ending was predictable, the plot line was cliché, the narration throughout was shitty, just an overall poor movie. The only good thing was that it wasted enough time for the sun to go down. The bars are opening up and I have a card full of cash . . . time to have some fun. I go to a bar around where I live this time, I didn’t wanna have to go through the aches and pains of getting up to Chambers from East New York again. The smells of cheap booze, failed marriages, rejected raises and mediocrity fill the air. Ah, my people! I walk in like a celebrity. Patting guys I know from work on the back like we’re friends when we really aren’t, giving girls I’ve had one night stands with the nod like they’re gonna get some action tonight but really aren’t and my man, the bartender! Keeping people drunk and stupid since the beginning of time! I sit on the creaky bar stool and feel on the worn-down, wood bar table where many drinks are sent back and forth.
“The usual?” He asks me as I give him my card and tell him to run the tab.
“You bet!” I smile at him, feeling revitalized and ready to get shitfaced again, “let me start with three shots of Jack, I’m feeling good tonight!”
The whole bar went “Aye” as they put their drinks up to toast my bold start. The bartender returns with the shots of Jack and two more shots of scotch. I didn’t order it, but the bartender knows what I really want when I feel good. I down the shots of Jack like apple juice and the scotch follows soon after. There’s some heat in the chest, but nothing I can’t handle. I wait about five to ten minutes but strangely, nothing happens. I feel as sober as when I walked in. I know the bartender didn’t cheat me. I can detect fake booze from a mile off in the middle of a snowstorm. Besides, it makes no sense. One could look me in the eyes and tell I’m older than twenty-one.
“Give me the five and five,” I tell the barkeep, we have our own little language I come here so often. “It isn’t strong enough.”
“Five and five, comin’ up!” He throws the towel over his shoulders and brings back five shots of spicy Jack Daniels and five shots of scotch.
Tell me what you think in the comments! I read and reply to all of them and welcome feedback for improving my stories, poetry, and insights. Thanks for reading!