|ALCOHOL by Peter Foster|
My relationship with Alcohol has been generally agreeable. While I realize that it can twist minds, create violence, and ruin lives, I’ve been able to avoid that and merely suffer from the “acting like a silly arse” scenario. From the fairly common: throwing up in a cab and being kicked out in the middle of nowhere, to taking a lady out to dinner and then blowing it by making ludicrous observations. My “every meerkat can play the trumpet” comment didn’t go down especially well.
For me, the onset of inebriation makes everything glitter and shine so that the possibilities of creative endeavour become almost endless. A bottle of red wine gets things going nicely, helping along a sublime mix of artistic planning combined with a hint of madness. Perhaps the sibilant voices I sometimes hear are merely the hissing of ruptured water pipes and not the gentle mocking of demons surrounding me. Lovecraft made insanity work for him as he conjured up his evil Mythos, inhabited as it was by hellish creatures wanting to destroy humanity.
(There comes the sound of blood-red wine pouring into a slender, crystal glass...)
The whispering gets louder as wine is swallowed. The sun slips down; its final shafts of light dappling the encroaching darkness with a watery gold wash as I sway softly, enjoying the sharp clinking of glasses as celebrations echo around me. My eyes half close as pallid faces, eyes dull yellow, peer at me from the long grass while blood-splatters trickle down their porcelain skin. I am insane and these creatures understand, their mouths curving up appreciatively as they begin to suspect that we are similar. Jagged nails grip withered rose bushes, faces twitching in delicious pain as the thorns tear flesh.
The clip-clop of high heels arrests my attention, and there she is: skin flashing seductively; her hair a tumble of curls and crimps. Full red lips partially hide razor-sharp incisors which make me shudder excitedly. My head drops and I rest heavily on a rickety beer garden table, a glass tipping over, as I try to gather my thoughts.
I slurp more wine, finally draining the bottle as her cold breath touches my glowing face. With a snigger, I pick up a bottle of quality red although I know not where it’s come from. Soon I’m filling the glass and then begin to sup deeply. The weakening sunlight seems to spin around me, shimmering weirdly as skinny, cadaverous shapes move and twist in the hazy background. She smiles as she loosens the belt around her stylish dress, the soft fabric falling open to reveal her large, pale breasts and slim waist. A glinting silver choker merges with her alabaster skin and her small, yet strong hands yank my head up to hers—for she is tall—and she kisses me forcefully before pushing my head down. I indulge her frantically, ignoring the soft laughing of the creatures around me, and she groans as she stares upwards into the sinister trees. More wine is imbibed and I feel like a god, clutching my face as I scream my immortality to the evil stars suddenly gazing down. She falls to her knees and I glance at the red lips around my nether region and raise my shaking arms to punch the air, tears slipping from my watery eyes.
Half empty glasses surround me and I stare at the sunken faces peering up. I shift position on my throne, feeling the cold steel sending goose pimples spreading over my skin. The blood squelches beneath me and I glance at her as she views her minions, blood dripping down between her engorged breasts. Her crown of bone is splattered in crimson, her eyes enraptured as her skinny cohorts whisper to her, their wavering voices gaining power.
I come to, my breath in unsteady gasps as I prop myself up as I try to remember. Delicate leaves fall onto me from the gold-brown canopy above, the boughs creaking in melancholy protestation. My tired eyes widen at the ribs poking through my tattered clothing. Old, dried blood covers me as does a layer of crispy, disintegrating leaf matter. As I struggle up, a number of opened and empty wine bottles—dozens of them—clink together and roll away. With a soft snarl, I crawl along the floor, parting the bushes and easing myself through. After reaching the High Street, the screaming starts. One female shopper, too slow to retreat, utters a whimper as my fevered face finds her bare legs, my yellowed teeth sinking into her smooth skin. Her uneven screech pleases me as I tear a section of flesh from her, the youth falling to the floor and thrashing around. My heavy breathing becomes more excited as I claw my way up her torso, finally biting off a thumb and snarling savagely -
(I’m sure I can hear laughing from somewhere...)
—before swallowing the small lump of meat. I rip her ears off and raise my face and look into the shop window. My bloody reflection stares back at me and I can hear more screams—and the first sirens. My jagged teeth gore her neck, my throat gulping down the torrent of blood.
I pluck a bottle of wine from her blood-splattered cloth shopping bag and my eyes widen. Chateauneuf-du-Pape! Soon I’m gulping down the Alcohol, my crimson, puckering lips tasting blood and booze and I start to cackle hysterically at the semi-circle of terrified faces staring at my emaciated form. I stagger to my feet to hold forth:
‘“What a piece of work is a man. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties. In form and moving, how express and admirable. In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god...”’
I’m swigging more Alcohol as the first bullets strike me, shattering the bottle and puncturing my frail body. Blood and wine merge in the listless air and I fall onto the dead girl, my dying eyes resting on the advancing policemen, their guns still smoking.
A dribble of Alcohol escapes my mouth to be replaced by a surge of blood, and I smile a last crooked grin as my memories of youth, vigour, and lost dreams begin to fade.