Thursday, October 4, 2012

Short story: "Lovely Day for a Drink"

I thought about the end. I thought about the end too much so I became the end. Or at least part of the end, maybe. To say it best: a bit of the end became a part of me. Reclining under a tree one day the poisonous blackness of it all made itself readily apparent. Too readily apparent if you ask me. It waltzed up, a pale man in a black bowler hat who said jauntily:
            “My what a crushingly dreary day we’re having” adding with raised eyebrows above a crooked smile: “Eh?” I stood up. Seeing his bald, round, mottled head fuming under the canopy made me sick
            “I know…I know what you’re up to and it won’t fly one bit. Not here, not now, not with grass like…” I pointed feebly to the ground in an attempt to strike a pose “heroic” or otherwise forceful “…like this under my feet.”
            “Now now, no need for histrionics, deserved or otherwise. I’ve just stopped for a chat. For…a drink?” he reached into one of the pockets of his knee length overcoat, fingers plunging, up to the wrist, clawing deeper and deeper as if into a blind crate. Deeper still until his arm up to the shoulder had sunk into a pocket which appeared, by all external signs, to be no larger than any other. He rifled around for a moment, his face stuck writhing in a fit concentration until he broke into a smile and pulled out a weathered bottle and two jiggers. He poured out a shot into each, or rather a mess of fetid insects and arachnids fell and crawled into each, mumbling in the glasses. I stood staring awkwardly as he handed me one. I felt compelled to accept out of politeness. He held his glass up, curled centipedes and hornets roiling but obedient in their role as a swig, then looked me in the eyes. “Here’s to you, or rather: to me. Well…one in the same, really.” I brought the glass toward my face, tracking it all the while as it approached. Paused. Advanced the glass to my lips, the slithering gleaming, midnight conflagration it held pulsing hot fear through my scalp in lines radiant and ovals concentric, causing each ligament in my knuckles and spleen to pull against their tethers in atavistic fury. Tilting back  I expected an acid, stinging, pungent mouthful but the bugs tumbled out and mostly flew away, a few bouncing off my chin for a brief second before landing on the soil and sand and burrowing away to start lovely insect families within the loam. I looked up, my heart pounding, and found him leering out at me in glee, the jigger tossed over his shoulder. “Well I never drink before noon these days. And to be honest this really is swill. I hope it hit the spot for you, but don’t make it a habit! This stuff will kill you if you don’t keep an eye out for it.”

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