Im vaguely aware that I’m staring at a television set. I can hear voices coming from the TV but I have absolutely no motivation to process the information they are relaying. There is movement in my peripheral vision but again it means nothing. I feel numb! As the cerebral cortex begins to fire back up I hear an excitable commentator describing a goal… its football! It quickly flashes to another team, the centre forward picks up on a beautiful 20 yard pass right onto the toe end and with one deft touch strikes it sweetly into the top corner as a stranded keeper looks helplessly on. I know how he feels. I look down at the table Im sitting at. A nearly empty half pint glass of Guinness and a slither of Whiskey sit in front of me, I look around the room. It takes a couple of seconds but I recognise the place, I’ve been here many times. Its a fucking plastic shithole, one that barely passes as a bar and has even less credentials as an eatery. Its got zero character and is populated by part time drinkers and a couple of regular losers. All congratulating themselves on getting a good price for beer thats 3 month out of date and tastes like piss. Hence the Guinness… even in blackout Im adverse to these cunts spanking my arse whilst singing nursery rhymes.
The TV shows the Premier League Table, the games are from Saturday. I remember leaving a bar not too far from here late Friday afternoon and picking up drink from the shop downstairs to where I live. Its fucking happened again! My phone says 2pm and its Sunday. It shows messages, one from my Mother asking how I am, and a couple from last night that I’d sent to one acquaintance and a lust interest. Mostly garbled Codshit, but I can make out the words ‘Fuck’ and ‘Me’. Neither message had received a reply. At 9pm last night it shows a call to a drug dealer, I be fucked before I phone that for any info, the crust in my nose says I owe him money. The Whiskey chases the dregs of the blackstuff and I make my way to the door. Its pissing down with rain, and half an inch of it lyes on the pavement. My clothes are bone dry. My knuckles are still covered with skin and I see no blood, not mine or anybody else’s. Still that feeling of dread… how, when, what the fuck. I’ve gotta stop drinking. I can physically feel my mind, its caught in a game of ‘tug of war’. Im frightened its going to snap and the intensity of the mental pain has been a constant for months now. I doubt I can take it much longer. As I feel the water lashing onto the back of my neck I see it spiralling down the plughole of my shower. I have no idea what I’m doing here!The ‘tug of war’ happened ages ago before I got sober, before I moved somewhere else, before the blackouts ended!! Feeling my face scrunched into the tiles and knowing that I’m crying Im also aware that I’ve lived this moment before. I know what happens next. Very shortly Im going to promise myself that no matter what happens I won’t take a drink today. But before I finish getting dry I will get a can of cider from the fridge and start the whole insane cycle over again. As I do everyday! I step out through the bathroom door… Into that night club in Bleaker Street Manhattan. I know behind me is the Women’s toilets and that Canadian girl who dragged me in there on the stroke of 12 bells New Years eve, God knows how many years ago. I’d came here with Jimmy ‘the can’ and he’d done one after I had been led off by that sweet filthy little slut. He’d said nothing to her friend so I toured the 3 floors looking for him before getting severely pissed off after been pushed around by some fuckwitt Puerto Rican. I’d have glassed the bastard if it hadn’t been for his friends eyeballing me from behind his back. His turf I suppose! I know where I’ll find Jimmy. He’ll be outside that IRA Bar on East 30th Street falling about wearing a Leprechaun hat. A limo will pull up full of rich girls. When they get out one of them will walk up and kiss me full on the lips. My cock will twitch at the thought of the Canadian chicks pussy still on my mouth! I step out of the club through the door but it aint Manhattan! Feeling the heavy glass ashtray smash into his face and my shoulder ligaments tear, I see his monkey suit mate leg it. I can still feel my fingers round the rim and the clean cut sharp face points forward. I’m gonna do the cunt, ram it straight into his throat, he deserves to die! Look at him lying there snivelling, 20 stone of pure pussy! Big shot eh tough guy? Wasn’t that half an hour ago was it! My 7 year old son’s face flashes through my mind, just a split second, but it buys this ugly sack of shit another day on the planet. Im screaming as I pelt the leftover glass across the street and into a wall. I can see party goers running for cover… I’ve left my car round here somewhere! The Wig is staring at me. He looks terrified as I stub a half smoked cigarette into the back of my hand. Its his turn and he doesn’t look too enthusiastic. I can see Magoo and Sick Mick running from different ends of the bar, tops off, meeting in the middle to jump mid air, timed to perfection, belly bouncing each other. The Wig is going a funny colour as I smell his burning flesh. Im getting out of my mangled car and jumping into my alcoholic girlfriends motor, we are laughing as she passes me a tin of beer, I give the finger to a gentlemen standing at the bus stop over the road. He takes out his phone as we speed off in her car, mines a right off!
Things start to get a bit fuzzy, feels like time is speeding up. Flashbacks rain down on me at an alarming rate. Im a teenager sniffing glue in decrepit abandoned public toilets. I’m fucking the fat chick from the bedsit next door up the arse, smoking heroin in a prison cell. Bizarrely I’m on that beach in the Caribbean standing in front of a wedding photographer who looks like Sonny Liston… way to go Champ, its early morning at the Nissan Motor Manufacturing Plant and I’m snorting cocaine in the Gents. Time is speeding up but its going backwards now… I have one leg over the handrail and one leg on deck. I’m Starboard Side at the Stern of Sir Percival and we are cutting through the Bay of Bisque. One hand grips the rail, the other squeezes a half tin of Heineken. The Ship is flat bottomed, built to run right up the beach and the 30 foot waves are chucking her about like Dorothy leaving Kansas. She sits temporarily in mid air as the wave rolls under, then crashes into the sea before been lifted again. One split second, wrong move or turn and I’m gone forever… I’ve never felt more alive than I did at that moment! We are crossing the street from the Painted Wagon moving in on the Beehive. 20 plus Skinheads who I can’t remember ever looking this young. We have no clue who is in the bar over the road but they are going to know we have landed. The door swings open and we pile in. I feel the crunch of violence and the invigoration it brings. Instantly its a Saturday afternoon somewhere mid 80’s. Hot as hate is we are bringing a little extra to the miners strike before heading off to the match. I feel a sharp bump to the shoulder as an angry stranger burst forward past me and flings half a house brick at the mounted policeman. His face explodes as he slumps forward into the horse’s mane, It rears up as both the pickets and the riot squad charge each other. I get swept into the crowd and begin throwing punches at either side, I don’t care its all milk and honey to me… I see Ian… little Ian, wearing that blue away top, stretched over his chubby little belly. Not the Ian I last saw, that skin and bones, bald headed, jaundiced Ian sometime back in ‘85. We are in the old street and he is chasing a ball and laughing. I can feel the knot in my throat somewhere in a different time and place. The miners are taking a beating and I feel blood splatter my face as a truncheon opens up the head of one next to me. I throw full force into my boot swing as he hits the floor… “Get the fuck away from me shitbag” I do not give two fucks for this, I want Ian back, not this boring crock of shite. “Ian!!” Damn it I want him back… I need to tell him, I should of said it that day but how the fuck was I supposed to know we would never see each other again. ‘Iaaaaaan’
“What John… What do you need to tell him????”
Who said that??
“You need anything Darl’n, can I get you another drink?”
… It’s that waitress in the bar at Dallas Airport, the one with the push-up tits and the black blouse half unbuttoned. She has been fetching me Bloody Mary’s for half a dozen rounds now. Every time I feed her cleavage a $20 bill!
“Can I get the same again, maybe a little something extra this time?” I float a $50 above her chest
“Wadda ya have in mind Sugar?”
“My cock could use sucking”
She winks and turns to the bar, as she approaches it she looks back at me and tips her head in the direction of the staff area behind the counter. I feel a surge of excitement as I get up from my stool. I’m aware I’m very sick at the moment. The illness has been rising in me for months, strangling my soul, I just got so sick of fighting it. It rose to a peak in Fresno, the fear turned into terror! I had done the best I could with what I had at that point in time but it had progressed at an alarming rate. Faster than ever before and I found myself drunk long before leaving for Texas! I remember it was a pretty awesome blowjob, but don’t remember much else. I come out of a blackout just in time to order a whiskey before they announce we will soon be making a descent into Heathrow. Descent makes me laugh…Recalling lost days and nights in Tenerife stoned on Jack Dannie’s and Ecstasy. Then I’m bouncing in a bar in Magaluf, the squad is all there, sweating and laughing. Example is blasting through the sound system… “Never been afraid of the highest heights not afraid of flying, never been afraid of the wildest fights not afraid of dying” Is that right you stupid looking fucker? Hang around a while I will introduce you to a fear that shows you heights and death not be worth worrying about, in the meantime it’s your round!
I know I won’t be able to talk to this lot in the morning before sneaking off somewhere on my own and drowning the self-pity with a few quick sharp lagers.
I can see eyes, faint at first but definitely a pair of eyes. Then a nose, a chin and also a forehead. My vision is sharpening on the image! The unblinking eyes are staring at me, boring into my very existence and examining my consciousness. I can taste every drink I ever took, every drink I ever needed and I needed every drink I ever took. I quickly feel every sensation of every drug I used and as this feeling rapidly passes I sense everything is in reverse. I’m staring at myself! Me – sitting perfectly still on a cushion on the floor, eyes fixed on the wall, unblinking and undisturbed! Then I see the wall… White, smooth and featureless. My mind begins to settle down, the storm begins to pass. I can feel my heart beating gently and my breath moving through the chest in a natural rhythm. The Basu bell on my phone rings signalling the 10 minute warm-up has ended and I settle into a period of Meditation. A quick thought goes through my mind and I smile… It tricked me with the Past this time! Very unusual, it always tries to throw a spanner in the works as I settle down on the Zafu. Projection into the Future is what it usually tries to get me to grasp and attach to it. Sneaky fucker!!
The smile eases from my face as I become conscious of an overflowing sense of peace. Fear leaves and failure is no longer an option, not for these 24 hours. I will get through them sober and enjoy living in every moment. But first… I settle into thinking the thought of no thought.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“Whoever knows that the mind is a fiction and devoid of anything real knows that his own mind neither exists or doesn’t exist.” ~ Bodhidharma
“You don’t know my mind you don’t know my kind.” ~ Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Dark Necessities)
D&O in Fresno