I recently found an old Word file with over 300 pages of orphaned story fragments and my first novel. It’s over 228,000 of old memories, lost friends and enemies, and empty hallways that lead to no where. A lot of it is meant to stay in the dark, but some of it wants to go places. And until I figure out where they should go, this place will have to do…
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We aren’t drinking as much as we used to, though when we do, we aren’t exactly half ass about the deed. We take it all very seriously, like flying a plane or whittling a stick. We have a liquor cabinet with expensive good looking bottles, an ice tray that’s always prepared, a refrigerator full of beer, and on top of all that, we are armed with the Knowledge. It’s not like the Old Days, back in the Beginning, when beer seemed magical and out of reach and you’d drink blindly and indiscriminately. It’s not like that anymore. We know that’s there’s a difference between the vodka on the bottom shelf and the top shelf; that the hangover is designated for the uninitiated; that vomiting is simply your body’s way of making more room for you to drink; that if you break the seal too early you’ll be pissing all night; that you can’t be called an alcoholic if you don’t deny it; and that if you do it the right way, the drinking will simply make you a far better and more entertaining person than you already are. The question you need to ask yourself is: Are you ready for that level of responsibility?
We simply know what we’re doing.
We know what we’re all about.
It’s the Party itself that we’re not too sure about.
Maybe the Party was always here, maybe not; none of us really know the details. We only know that it’s here all of the time, wandering from one room to another like a desert nomad in search of an oasis of alcohol and beer, rustling the bed sheets, rummaging through our cabinets and blowing the speakers.
We found some old pictures of the house, before it was renovated into what it is now; probably dating back to the 1940’s or so. There are some clear indications that the party was here back then, but then again, maybe we’re just seeing what we want to see, I don’t know.
All we know for sure is that the Party is unending.
And it’s getting bigger.
We found the children in the backyard sometime in the afternoon. We would have discovered them sooner but we didn’t want to believe that the carnival music was coming from the backyard. There was a large tent set up by the trees, shreds of cotton candy drifting in the grass, and balloons rising to the sky.
A clown walked by and gave me a balloon in the shape of a giraffe. A little girl tugged at my jeans, big eyes looking up at me; I gave her a smile. She reached for the giraffe and I handed it to her. She walked away happily without so much as a thank you.
I saw Travis across the way. He was surrounded by a group of children that ran around him in a drunken circle, chanting some kind of a lullaby. We traded a look of surrender.
We’re used to the Party, it comes with the house, we just hoped that it would never involve children.
A magician appeared; he told the children to gather around. For his first trick, he did this thing where he made the house disappear, just flashed his hands quickly, made some sort of deformed sound effect with his pursed lips, and–POOF! It was gone, just like that.
All that remained was an empty lot filled with the greenest grass I’ve ever seen in real life. I remember feeling stunned initially, then this feeling of relief swept over me. The house was gone, no more, and with it, everything I owned. For a moment, I felt like I was rejuvenated, that this was a new beginning for me. I was a new person. The magician stripped away everything I ever had and reduced my life to its very core.
The children were cheering and clapping their hands madly.
I made my way around them to get to Travis. I wanted to tell him that this was it: we’re new people now. From here on out, there would be no more bullshit, that we were free. I was going to say, “ Hey, man, what do you want to do now? Want to make a boat and try for Puerto Rico? Or do you want disappear to a mountain somewhere? Whatever, man, let’s do it. Let’s not let this life dictate us again. Let’s try it again and do it right this time…” I guess he was thinking the same thing because I could see this soft smile on his face, this feeling of levity and exultation. But before I made it to him, I saw the smile vanish; his eyes were looking at something behind me. I turned and saw that the house was back as if nothing had happened.
The children cheered again.
The magician then revealed a rabbit and pulled a hat out of its ass.
The children were horrified; soft, wet cries cultivated slowly.
I might’ve been too had I not seen the look on that rabbit’s face.