ONCE MORE WITHOUT FEELING
by Ed O’Casey
Paycheck just hit the account, no more bills ‘til next month. (Balance: $935.)
The sun rises as I drive home from work — I’m confident that I'll quit drinking after one more good night. I’ve been waking with the DT’s, permanently damaging my brain.
I get home; I listen to a song I wrote. I'm relieved.
I think about Meredith; she wants to stay friends. I think about Amanda; she doesn’t even want that.
9:00 a.m.—I eat breakfast at Whataburger, haven’t had a drink all day. (Balance: $923.)
At the bar, waiting for the head to settle on my Guinness.
Andy cuts me off at 11:00 even though he knows the other bartenders will serve me. I tell him that I’m quitting, he won’t listen.
I take a shit in a stall with no door. One of the bartenders comes to check on me, at the sight of me holding my cock between my thighs, he quickly turns and leaves.
11:50 a.m.—I settle my tab. (Balance: $889.)
I pour myself another Guinness from the keg we have at the house, Grand Theft Auto is waiting.
Buying cigarettes, I try to hide the smell of my breath. Don’t want anyone to know I’m half-drunk. I think they care (they don’t).
My house is empty and boring.
What do people do on a Saturday afternoon?
I leave half a cheeseburger and most of my fries, I bring my beer to the foosball tables and wait.
Someone tells me there’s a party at Bart’s place, writes the address on a napkin.
I’m the last one out of the bar. (Balance: $773.)
The party’s out of beer, so I sneak into the liquor cabinet and pour myself some Scotch; I had my first drink this morning, 19 hours ago.
I make peace with Travis even though he knocked me unconscious last weekend, (five stitches and a trip to the ER) both sides of the conversation slur heavily.
Maybe Meredith will be impressed.
4:40 a.m.—I pass out at the wheel.
I'm jarred awake. The truck rises from the road, my CD’s and all my garbage are suspended in midair. I feel weightless for a moment: unbounded, unrestricted, free. I haven’t felt like that since this morning.
Gravity shoves the vehicle to the ground, still on its wheels.
My truck limps into the parking lot where it will be until Monday morning, both driver’s side tires are flat, the rims are cooked.
I grab my jacket and walk, realizing that I’ve had my last drink. I feel relieved.
If I can find Amanda’s apartment, I can sleep with her if she’ll take pity on me. (Meredith’s too smart for pity.)
I fall flat on my face in someone’s driveway. My forehead cracks open.
I think I’m in the right apartment complex. Not sure. I've lost my glasses.
I can’t read the numbers on the doors and give up trying to find Amanda’s apartment.
I’m standing in Meredith’s doorway, my face is caked with blood, I don’t know I’m bleeding, she takes pity on me for the second-to-last time. (Balance: $773.)
The truck is fixed; I had to borrow Meredith’s car to get to work all week. (Balance: $109.)
Meredith pleads with me not to drink tonight. I’m barely able to keep myself from telling her to fuck off.
I want to keep her as a friend, she says bad things always happen when I drink. She’s right but don’t care.
I show up at Amanda’s graduation party, not having any sauce on me. I head to the bar, promising myself I won't have more than two.
I’m the last one out of the bar. (Balance: $6.)
Back to Amanda's. The party is well over, the front door is locked so I head around to the side.
I kneel at Amanda’s bedside and mention the conversation we had about if I was single. No one knows I’m in the house, and she’s just starting to figure it out as she wakes up.
11:14 a.m.—My roommate wakes me, the police are at the door asking for me.
The officer explains that she can’t arrest me because the door I used was unlocked, but trespassing is a Class C Misdemeanor. (Balance $6.)
I haven’t had a drink all day.
Ed O’Casey studied at the University of North Texas and New Mexico State University. He teaches full time in northern Wisconsin, where he is currently learning all the contortions of hypothermia. His poems have appeared in The Boiler, Wilderness House Literary Review, Pine Hills Review, and South 85.