I am just an old man with no kids, well unless you count my bottles of liquor as my children. I have a disease, my liver and life is a disease. I allow the alcohol to poison every aspect of my body, letting it seep into every pore and crevice of my body in hopes of wasting away on this goddamn stool. I have lost count how many times my night has ended with me sitting on this stool drinking. I have often thought that when I die my funeral will be held here at this very bar, I have lived out my life here so why not have it end here. I will probably drink myself to my death on this stool anyways.
I have alluded to becoming a patron saint of the drunks, but I haven’t gone to church in years. My faith has gone along with my self realization of happiness. Pitilessness has filled me and I cannot control my hands as they shove down more and more alcohol down my throat. In the attempts to find happiness I have found illness and addiction.
The bar closes at midnight and it is a quarter to midnight, I can probably squeeze in one more drink. But only if the bartender has forgotten how many drinks I have had. Well I have forgotten how many drinks I’ve had. But that’s okay because I still have a couple bottles at home, it has become a habit to come here. I walk the same road to the bar, the same walk way to my apartment and I come home to everything in the dumps. When I was young everyone said to me “you’ll always be changing, you’ll never stop changing.” But they were wrong, once I hit 65 everything stayed the same. I lived a life of schedule, and everything became a step. Going around and around and around in circles dragging on.
“Eddie I have to close the bar down,” Frank the bartender said.
I looked up at him and nodded “I knnow.” I slid off the stool, the floor was lopsided and I stumbled to steady myself. I took slow steps attempting to stay up. At least I could walk.
I staggered home walking down the empty streets. There was an old story that ghosts would come out at night to spread terror to the people out wondering the roads late at night. But I have yet to see the ghost, except for in my mind. My mind reeks of emptiness and the past continues to haunt me, my dead youth is the ghosts in the walls of my cranium. I passed a group of young women in short dresses, they were all huddled together and laughing, I made eye contact and quickly walked away. Only the lovers and the lonely walk the night at this time, destined to find silence and solitude in their future. The lovers never last, and the lonely only get lonelier. The street lights were dull which wasn’t helping my inability to find the ground. Everything was swaying and I felt myself fall, but I was unable to put my hands up to stop myself from hitting the ground face first. The gravel pushing against the side of my cheek and palms of my hands. I didn’t have the energy in me to push myself off the cement and onto my feet, but I didn’t want to wake up somewhere else other than my bedroom floor. I felt the cool wind against my back and as I began to fade I heard footsteps.
Black and a dull pain that was rising slowly to more than a dull pain. An escape soon turns to the reality of laying somewhere unfamiliar.
There was a steady beep and a click of heels slowly fading away. I opened my eyes to see fluorescent lights and white washed walls. The hospital. I could tell by the pattern of the ceiling. The dots were so unregular and very annoying to look at, but there was a least 200 black dots in every tile. It is not a personal achievement of mine, it is one of the many flaws. I sat up, the lights and windows blurred together and it hurt. I leaned on the the stiff pillow and looked around, everything was the same. The walls turned into glass and the glass made it feel like a zoo with the blinds pulled shut. My heart beat was the undertone of the room, steady and calm. My arms were hooked up to tubes, I was tangled up in my health. My clothes were folded up neatly on the chair next to me, calling at me to put them on and go home.
It almost makes me laugh at how sad everything and usual is. I could probably be a character in one of Charles Bukowski’s poems, an old drunk man falls down once again and ends up in the hospital. I wonder how make times Charles Bukowski went to the hospital, because I’m sure he ended up in the hospital multiple times. I’ve often thought Bukowski and I have much in common, but he has become famous for his failures. I have just lived, and that is my punishment. Living.