shocktails and screams

Press play and read slowly, it’s four songs long.

It was a day like any other day, 24 hours long and ending in y.

What’ll it be?
A mixed state, and make it crappy.
Coming right up. And down. And up, but not all the way up, down but not all the way down. And up and down. And sideways, at an incredible speed. Would you like a straw? It’s the last one.
I’ll take the last straw and a pack of Camels.
Ice?
On the rocks, no question about that.
On the rocks, polar style.
Do I need to buy polar?
It’s on the house. And the garden, the street and everywhere else. Can I interest you in a packet of nuts?
Only if they’re roasted.
They’re always toasted.
I know that feel.

He shakes it (shakes it baby, real good) and pushes it and a small, square napkin across the scarred bar counter. The ice shifts and clicks and I stare into my drink, and think. That’s what bars are for, right? This bar isn’t a dive, it’s a plummet. It’s a fall from grace with a tearstained face. It’s called Where the Sun Don’t Shine and I’m a regular. The barman has nicotine stained fingers, a lined face and a thousand yard stare; so do I. I leave the straw sealed in its wrapper, pick up the glass and shake it some more, without even trying. I sip, then I tip it and my head back, and swallow the lot. I’ve never been a spitter. I wrestle the intractable bag of nuts open and stare at them too, push them away from me. I peer into the gloom, I’m the only customer. I’m always the only customer. I pay the bartender, emptying my pockets in the process, and I leave him a tip. “You’re looking a little etiolated, some sunshine wouldn’t do you any harm.” He gives me one of those oh not another lunatic looks and I walk away.

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It was a night like any other night, polluted by light and hawking up the dregs of the day into this gutter and that (Great Expectorations).

One shot mixed like that, with expert violence, will make you drunk, no matter who you are. And it goes something like this.

This tastes fantastic and I love this place. Let’s crank up the jukebox, I want to dance and oh look, shiny!
I can’t handle it, this drink is overwhelming. I can’t cope, I don’t know what to do and here I am, alone in this gloomy place.
It’s all gone horribly wrong, all of it. They should change the name of this bar to Desolation Row. Oh god I can’t stop the tears, they’re deep and now they’re here and I don’t know what to do. I just don’t want to be alive any more. Make it stop.
Oh fuck this, that barman is full of shit. All those snide and barbed remark aimed right at me. Bastard! Come here and say that to my face, my fists are so ready to kiss your fugly mug, you fucker!
I hate myself, wtf am I being such an asshole for, I don’t deserve to live and these tears will never dry up. Never. Forgive me, I didn’t mean to punch you so hard, let me pay for all the damage and buy you a pony.
It’s all sparkly now, let’s dance.
Let’s fight.
Let’s fuck.
Let’s sob.
No sleep till September!
Please, please leave me alone.

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Drink a mixed state and you can’t tell the hangover from the glass full of hell that caused it. You’re a block of ice, rattled and melting into it. You’re fucked from the moment you walked into that bar and disordered the drink. And you think you’ve paid for it, but your pockets keep emptying and you can’t forget it, even though your memory is eroded more and more. The hangover cures are all expensive and they’re all hit and miss. They’re shit and piss, lit and bliss, they’re kiss and hiss.

It was a night that jarred, I slept because the meds worked, but it was fitful and full of night terrors and night sweats. I felt too drugged, but the pain didn’t vanish.

Baby, did you forget to take your meds?
The drugs don’t work, they just make it worse and I want to see your face again.
Tea and thorazine?
Is that all there is?

Is that a conversation, or the saddest playlist in the world? If it’s not sad enough, here –

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