Marty took the pill, washed it down with his whiskey. Kept drinking the whiskey until it burned. “Ah, yeah!” He closed his eyes, and waited, even though he knew, when he closed his eyes, his mind wandered. And he thought of things. Things he kept trying to forget. Like the rent payment. The car payment. The credit card payment. The power payment. The grocery bill. The list was endless. “Fuck, they’ll charge you to breathe before you know it.”
Sometimes, Marty thought about what he was doing. Washing down an unknown, undefined chemical concoction he bought with his last $10 bill, with the contents of his last bottle of whiskey. “Pills and whiskey never mix, right?”
It was OK, though. It was OK. Because. The whiskey burned on the way down. It gave him something to focus on, standing up to the burn. Seeing how much he could take. The first time he’d tried, he managed one swallow, and almost choked. Now, he could drain almost half a bottle in one shot.
“Lord, kill me now,” he thought for the billionth time. “Just kill me, and set me free.” His eyes still closed, he tried to detect the change in his feelings, in the things he felt, the whiskey and drug would bring. It only took a minute. Maybe two. Before he felt that flush, that sudden rush, like every nerve in his skin had come to life. Like he could feel the wind blowing, the sun shining on his face, the heat of the concrete sidewalk through his shoes.
Instead of being numb. Instead of wishing the ache in his head would stop. That ache nothing could ever kill. Except the whiskey and the pills. Instead of feeling empty, like he was waiting for his body to die, so he could stop worrying about everything.
Instead of feeling like his guts were twisting around a pole wrapped in barbed wire, as he bit his tongue so hard he drew blood again, so he didn’t say anything to the boss. As he nodded, and lied, “I’m on it.” As he did whatever he had to do to hang on to his job. “I’ll stay here until it’s done.”
Gods, he hated those words. That meant he’d be there hours. Sometimes all night. Getting the work done. Doing what he had to do to keep his job. Calling home and telling his wife, “I’ve got to work late.” Listening to her bitch and moan about it. Funny how she didn’t care about anything but the money he made. Take away her house, her car, and she’d leave him.
Everything was money. Everything was that damn job.
Marty knew he was a walking dead man. One with no dreams. No hopes. No laughter. Only pain. Only emptiness. Like the guy at work who died in the car wreck. Marty worked next to him for six years. Then one day, he was dead. A week later, someone else was working next to Marty. Just another human resource. Another person who’d do whatever it took to hang on to the job.
“Enough thinking,” Marty opened his eyes. It was time to enjoy the escape. The precious moments of time where he would be free from everything.
“Woah, dude…” He almost lost his balance. Everything was wavy. The street wasn’t flat. It looked more like corrugated cardboard. The buildings too. And the cars. And the people. “This is so cool.”
He slowly walked along the sidewalk, careful not to bump into anyone. Not to step off the curb, into the street. The distraction was exactly what he needed. He knew, as long as it lasted, he wouldn’t think about anything, feel anything. All the shit in life would stay away from him.
Until it faded.
Until he needed another pill, and another shot of whiskey. To escape the hell of life once more. “Maybe one day I’ll get lucky. And this will kill me.” He knew he wouldn’t mind being dead. At least he’d be free.
Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 39th week. You can read about her small fiction challenge here. This week, I knew what I wanted to say. Don’t know if I said it, but at least I tried. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.