Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Short Story (part 2 of 5)

[Here's part two of my story. Part one is here if anyone is interested. Part three of five will be posted next Monday.]

Between the four of us we’d had a bottle of Gordon’s and a twelve pack of Pabst. Both were vile, something moonshiners wouldn’t touch. I’d had the majority of the gin and thought everything was hilarious, especially the fireworks and the lighters in the fire pit that would explode with a comfortable, luminous pop. We were stupidly drunk every time we were at Kent’s house, doing the stupid things stupid young kids do while drunk. I’m sure it was annoying but time is the least thing we have of.

“Let’s--take a shot,” I spat.

“To what!”

“To Vin!”

“We did that before.”

“Then to his last drinking adventure!” Up until recently, we’d been binge drinkers. Liquor would settle in our bellies in the form of shots or entire cans of beer at a time. As a result, we learned how to gauge our drinking through our mistakes. I, for example, learned not to swill a half bottle of gin in twenty minutes. Kent and Pablo learned not to take more than two shots in a row. Han never learned. Vin, well, he learned to never drink again, an exaggerated response. Han, Vin and I were at a friend’s house when we were twenty and we, for whatever reason, probably good weather, decided to get drunk. Han passed out an hour after arriving and Vin accepted challenges to chug beer and martinis. Eight or ten challenges later, Vin was rendered a crawling mess, unable to raise his head above ankle level unless it was over a toilet. I remained sober, drove him home and he vowed never to drink again. Pansy.

Han finished his cup of gin after our last shot and he was sick thirty minutes later. He threw up on the grass next to the wall of foliage far behind Pablo. I walked over and he looked up at me and insisted that I go have fun with the rest of the guys while slobber and tears crawled down his face and onto his crossed legs. He was belligerent and in my drunken state I had to try hard not to laugh.

I went back to my seat and Kent, putting a burning log to his face, lit a cigarette. I followed suit but with my lighter and exhaled breath thick with smoke and coughed.

“How long have you had that cough?” Kent asked.

“Around a month.”

“Are you gonna get it checked out?”

“Yes,” I lied.

“Yer gon’ die of lung cancer, Frank!” Han yelled through sobs from the grass outside the warmth of the fire. He may as well have not been present at all. He would always tell us stories about cancer of the throat, and how you’d lose your ability to talk unless you had a voice box or spoke with burps or some stupid garbage like that. He knew it got on my nerves. When he pissed me off enough, I would blow smoke in his face and we wouldn’t talk for the rest of the night. It would be awkward sober, but drunk I was impervious to emotion.

Kent’s phone rang, “just us four. Absolutely, whatever beer you want. Yes, twelve is fine. See ya.” His phone clapped shut, “David’s on his way. He’s bringing more beer.” It was midnight and Han was sobering up beside us around the fire. His eyes were red and glossy. I had another beer and didn’t remember anything after it, not even David’s arrival.


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