I stopped at a convenience store to score a paper sack of Hurricane, the cheapest malt liquor on hand. Christ in a can for less than two bucks. Two guys in line picked through change to procure Swisher Sweets but fell short. I wanted to help but couldn’t transmit the right words. Soon I tumbled toward the club, clutching my paper sack, planning on slamming it in an alley. A gentleman doesn’t guzzle his cups in public.
In an alley I sat on a broken picnic table painted yellow. Sipped bitter malt liquor. Listened to cars and people nearby. Those out with friends in hopes to fuck off. Me back here in my little spot. Alone but accepting of that fact. Of the idea that my joy and strength, whatever they may be, emanate from within.
Down the same lane sat an abandoned alley shitter. A remnant of new apartment construction. I’d used it before as a drunken place of contemplation. A dark hovel to think in before stepping back to the world. A spot to sip booze and shoot ooze. Those old paths of pleasure. Now I decided to slip to this burrow once more.
Within the blue walls I swished the last of my liquor. If only I had another can to slam. Its effect a salve on this environment. On a mind in search of fun. In search of a drop of meaning in the swirl world of life. A mind guiding one not lost but still drifting. Still slamming cans. That liquid a salve but no salvation.
Soon I perspired sweat and booze, each compounded by this tiny box and Texas heat. By the general ick of it all. Clothes sticky. Hands clammy. Trash at my feet. Empty alc and cig packs caked in wet tp and mud. Trinkets that other scum bums had left as litter.
I noticed how they shot orange piss all across the plastic. Noticed the awful smell of decay. Of trash and feces performing unholy alchemy. Then I added to the mess. Took a liquid shit. Runny puppy turds. The gut spunk of rotted six-row barley brewed then slammed from a can.
When it came time to clean I spun the roll but it held no paper. Just an empty tube. The same kind I gutter fucked as a sex-starved teen. I thought of the time I shit blood in a porta-potty, smashed my head on a dumpster, and then fucked a stranger all in one night. This eve I wished I could but knew it wasn’t in the cards to go so far.
I thought of my ever recurring conflict. How I can stake a claim of solitary contentment. Of no impetus outside myself. And yet I still fill with the thought of others. Of fucking a stranger so they’ll slip off in my arms. So I’ll own an echo of comfort for all the times no one’s there. These thoughts not often but often enough. Thoughts that ring ’til they hold no power. ‘Til it’s time to spin the stranger wheel once more.
In the heat of the box I thought of how those minuscule moments of connection are the ones my mind so oft clicks back to. How with each encounter I wait for the other to tire. To disappoint. To disappear. Thought of how I imbue others with power they didn’t ask for. How I chase the fleeting thinking it’s permanence. If only I could sip more liquor. If only I wasn’t slathered in shit.
I shined my phone light ’round the shitbox in search of something to clean me. I thought of dumpsters and how I might pilfer newspaper or perhaps its cardboard cousin. Thought of the time I shit in a disease nest porta then wiped with a glossy ad for concerts. I’d do it again but hoped to treat my bum better.
My flashlight scanned to the paper sack holding my now empty can. That Hurricane building to gale force in my bloodstream. I pulled the tin out the paper then went to work. This act the MacGyver reboot that no one asked for. A broadcast that thank Christ only I could see. I felt no choice to but to chuckle at the absurdity of it all, thinking “Oh gab, the places you land.”
As I cleaned I gave thanks to the liquor gods who decreed that all gas station booze be stuck in a sack. That paper is paper and booze is booze. That the world forgot this spot. That I could sit here alone. Be in peace. Drunk in the dark in an abandoned alley shitter.
I knew I’d soon leave but for now embodied the box. As I made myself clean the booze filled my blood. Swallowed me up. That can a cradle. One whispering words of unending pleasure. A promise to never end. I knew they were lies but for a blink of time it was bliss.