Short story #2

Chris Gioran bio photo By Chris Gioran

I pick up the bottle.

I like how the perspiration around the cool wall is so uniform, following in its own way the edge of the labels, that small step of paper that your fingers instinctively search for every time you grab the glass container. I like it as my fingers, in that very search leave a trail of destruction in that field of droplets, joining their bodies in a mangled mass that falls without grace towards the table. As long as the beer is cold, they will be replaced by willing younglings, ready to be destroyed for my enjoyment of the next sip. In this little two dimensional universe i am the usurper of Nature, destroyer of worlds. I enjoy the thought.

There is a great contrast between the cold of the bottle and the heat of my lips - the hardness of the glass and the softness of my flesh. I will win, of course, entropy always does. But it’s fun to realize the struggle, to use senses other than sight to witness a conflict so localized and intense. It’s almost masochistic, how i choose to disrupt my body in such controlled fashion, letting these micrographies of the elements attack me in ways i enjoy.

The liquid is sharp on my tongue, i can feel it trying to violate every little patch of skin on the inside of my cheeks. My mouth waters and me and the drink become one. I enjoy the taste, bitter yet with a promise of sweetness, but making no attempt to hide the purpose of its existence, the alcohol it carries with it. As it goes down my throat, it burns me, making me aware of every centimeter of progress it makes. This is the one battle it will win, the only hint of victory over me it will ever have. This fire that it puts in my belly, reminds me why i do this - the chemical escape from whatever indistinct thought haunts me. The fumes hit my head and i immediately know that this was a good idea.

The fight between the chemistry of my brain and the chemistry of the drink. One round, no time limit, no tap out, one winner. I could be fighting another man. I could be jumping off planes. I could be inhaling smoke. I could be breaking the law in a thousand interesting ways. All substitutes, the same as this small molecule called alcohol. Pick your poison.

I destroy my body in a million controllable ways. It will try to deal with whatever i throw at it. Nicotine, adrenaline, alcohol, the latest fancy drug. Doesn’t matter, it will try to make something out of it. It’s an innate thing, the desire to explore your limits, the need to know what damage you can recover from. But how can you know how far you can go unless you go too far? We keep pushing ourselves, but why? Somewhere, at the back of my head, my primitive self, my Homo Sapiens ancestor that lives in the caves tells me that you need the most you can keep of yourself to live another day. Because he lives day by day, hell, even hour by hour. But my life is planned ahead, in ways that are beyond my control or desire. Ways that allow me to destroy pieces of myself to prove that i am more advanced than my cave dwelling self. That’s what that molecule provides me with, i guess. It’s a chemical warfare agent against the primitive me. So be it.

I am enlightened now. Chemistry has begun. I feel elated, i know that whatever i was thinking before, it is now more hazy. I might even feel more happy. Why not?

I pick up the bottle.