Friday, February 12, 2010

The Art Of Welding, Part 1.

After a long day at work I was finally off and it was Friday. Before I even left the office I was already on the phone.
"Bryan, it's time to open the cages," I said.
"Oh, buddy! I just left the liquor store. Jack Daniels holds the key to my cage, and you better believe he’s opening it!"
"You're fuckin right he is. I don't give a shit who holds my key; I'm drinking everything. I'll chew through the damn locks, climb out of the cage, and show everyone what a true monster really is!"
"You're a sick maniac, you know that Nick?"
"Don't fuckin sass me, son. Let me ask you something; is it light or dark out right now?" The sun had been set for over an hour.
"What are you talking about?" Bryan asked.
"Is it light or dark out right now? It’s a simple question."
"It's dark."
"Well if you ever want to see the light of day again, don't fuckin sass me!"
"You son of a bitch! I don't even have to threaten you back. The amount of drugs and alcohol you consume every week will land you in the hospital soon enough."
"Hopefully," I said. "But listen, I’ve got to run home quickly, shower and eat, and then I'll head over to your place."
"Fuck eating. Just shower quickly so you don't smell like the greasy wop that you are. You'll get drunk easier if you have liquor for dinner."
"Actually, that does sound like a good idea. Wise words from an unwise man. See you shortly." I hung up, got in my car, and drove home as fast as I could.

After a quick shower and a couple of drinks I was on my way to the liquor store. I didn't have much money so I knew I was going to have to settle for some low quality wine. I've realized over the years of my drinking career that wine is best to buy when you're running out of cash. You can purchase quite a lot for a low price, and if you drink it like there’s no tomorrow-and on some occasions hope that there actually is no tomorrow-your head's going to be spinning like a propeller. Once I made it to the liquor store I managed to find a parking spot right in front. I was determined to get in and out in less than a minute so the second I stepped through the door I started yelling at the clerk.
"What's your cheapest red wine?!"
"This way, sir," a kinky looking brunette said.
"I don’t have much money, darling. I need the most red wine I can get for under 20 dollars."
She picked up a big, nasty looking bottle of Merlot. "You can get 2 of these for around 19 dollars after tax."
"2 of those, eh? How big are they?"
"They are 1.5 liters. It says right here." She showed me the label.
"Don't get smart with me, hunny. I haven't got time for sass. I'll take both of those; bring them up to the front for me, would you?"
"Of course." She picked up the bottles and started walking to the front counter.
"3 liters should be enough to shock my brain out of orbit, wouldn't you think? Or I could inject it. Would you recommend injecting it?" I could tell I was frightening her.
"Um, what?" she said. "Why would you inject it?"
"Well, it's Friday. If you don't come close to ending your life from abusing some sort of substance in an unnatural way you basically have no reason to live. Don't you agree?"
"I don't really know what to say to that. I don't party much. I haven't had a drink in a few months."
"A few months?!" I screamed in fear as I handed her money for the wine. "It's amazing you're still alive. You probably aren't far off from staring into the barrel of a loaded gun.” I left immediately after saying that before she had a chance to ask security to escort me out.

As I pulled into Bryan’s driveway I could already tell he was deep into the bottle of Jack. Alcoholic instincts, I guess. I walked into the basement door to find nobody inside. I looked around and noticed the bottle of Jack sitting on the living room table. I picked it up and stared at the little bit that was left in it. My god, I thought. And he thinks he’s going to out live me; not a chance.
“Put that down!” Bryan said, as he came out of the bathroom.
“Jesus, man. You’re walkin the plank a little early.”
“Well, you wanna drink with the big boys or you wanna go home?”
“Don’t worry, I got my championship belt on. I’ll be right beside you on that plank in no time.” I pulled out the first bottle of cheap Merlot.
“You dirty mother fucker. Why don’t you return some bottles so you can afford some decent wine? The bums on skid row can barely stomach that shit.”
“Those scumbags can’t stomach anything. They’d be stomaching harpoons if I had my way with them.”
“Amen to that,” Bryan said.
“I mean, really, we’re drunks but we still manage to go into work.”
“Most of the time.”
“We pay our bills.”
“So what’s their excuse for being such useless human beings?”
“They have no excuse. They can’t even speak English properly. They don’t even know what an excuse is. They never went to school, they’re animals!”
“They are fuckin animals! Fuck them!”
“Fuck them!” We both finished our drinks and poured another.
“You got any smokes?” Bryan asked.
“Oh, fuck! I knew I forgot something.”
“Did a little brunette distract you from your priorities?”
“Actually, yes, there was a little brunette. She was alright. It wasn’t the typical distraction from a big rack or a junky ass though. I was just going off about things that will probably have her terrified for the next few months.”
“What did you say to the poor girl?”
“I said something about injecting the wine. I also accused her of being a suicide case. She had it coming though, once she sassed me. I just couldn’t hold back.”
“Atta boy. Fuck her. Let her rot on skid row with the rest of them.”
“I guess I’ll have to call Doug to pick up some cigarettes, though."
"I guess you do," I said.
"I feel bad, it’s his birthday. Oh well.”
“You don’t feel bad. Don’t fuckin lie to me.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I feel worse for myself having to waste 2 minutes of my life on a phone call.” Just as he started dialing the number Doug walked through the door with a big bottle of rum and a lot of beer.
“Gentlemen,” Doug said.
“Happy birthday, man!” Bryan said.
“Nice to see you, Doug. Happy birthday,” I said as I handed him a shot of Bryan’s whiskey.
“Thanks guys. And thank you for the drink, Nick.”
“That’s what I’m here for.”
“So, got any idea of what you want to do for your Birthday tonight?” Bryan asked.
“I was thinkin we should have some drinks and go bowling.”
“Drunken bowling!” I shouted.
“There’s not much else to do tonight,” Doug said.
“I’m down for that,” Bryan said.
“So it’s decided then. My 24th birthday will be spent getting wasted and throwing balls at pins.”
“And hopefully throwing our balls into the mouths of under aged girls,” I added.
“Hopefully,” Bryan said.
“You two are fucked,” Doug said as he laughed.
We spent the next 2 hours drinking more than we talked. There wasn’t one point where all 3 of us weren’t drinking at the same time. We managed to finish everything except half the bottle of rum that Doug brought. By that point we needed a change of scenery so we went into Bryan’s garage where there were some lawn chairs and a table.
“Take a seat guys,” Bryan said.
“Pass the rum,” Doug said, as he sat down.
I walked over to a work bench where I saw a blank piece of paper and a pencil. This must be fate, I thought. I picked up the pencil and wrote “WELDING CONTRACT” as a title.
“What are you doin over there,” Bryan asked.
I held my middle finger up without turning around.
“Answer me!” he demanded.
“Come sit down, Nick, you’re drunk,” Doug said.
I finished writing what I felt I had to write at the time and sat down. I didn’t say a word.
“What is that? What did you write?” Doug asked.
I slammed the piece of paper down on to the middle of the table. I placed the pencil at the bottom. “Sign this,” I said.
Doug and Bryan began reading it.
The contract read:


I hereby swear to weld the dates February 5th and February 6th together into one night of mayhem. I will not stop drinking until I am unable to consume anymore alcohol due to unconsciousness or death. I pledge allegiance to the boys.

“Welding Contract?” Bryan said. “What the fuck is this. Have you lost your mind?”
“Sign it!”
They finished reading it and burst into laughter.
“Oh my god!” Doug shouted. “That is some hilarious shit!”
“Wow! And I thought you were going insane!” Bryan yelled.
“Let the welding begin!” I said as I held up my glass.
“Hear hear!” Doug said.
“Cheers!” Bryan said, as we touched glasses.

We managed to finish the rum and decided it was time to head down to the bowling alley. I folded the contract nicely and put it into my pocket. We’d all surely die without it near us. I was in desperate need of a cigarette after all the liquor so I began smoking the ends of the butts left in an old ashtray while Bryan and Doug attempted to clean up all of our empties. I got my fix and stumbled to my car, opened the door, and sat down in the driver’s seat. Will we even make it to the bowling alley? I turned the car on and reversed over some flowers, attempting to get closer to the garage.
“You fuckin maniac!” Bryan screamed. “You destroyed the planter! You’re paying for my bowling and getting some more beer!”
I revved the engine and drove forward over a different set of flowers. “That’s for not having any cigarettes, you cheap cunt.” I said. “Now get in the car, let’s go! We got a lot of welding to do.”
Bryan hopped into the front seat and smacked me across the face. “You owe me, you piece of shit.”
“Whatever,” I said. “It’s not like they were pot plants.”
Doug got into the back seat, smoking a cigar.
“Where the fuck did you get that?” I asked.
“There was a pack of them inside on the table, beside the bottle of Jack Daniels.”
“Beside the bottle of Jack Daniels? I don’t remember having any cigars,” Bryan said.
“You don’t remember much, do you?” I said. “Well then Doug, give me a cigar.”
“I don’t have any cigars.”
“You just said there was a pack of cigars on the table inside.”
“Yeah, there was. And this is the last one.”
“You are such a fucking cunt sometimes,” I said.
“Yeah Doug, that was a real cunt move.”
“Fuck the both of you,” Doug said.

After a long discussion we decided to stop and pick up some smokes on the way. We thought the liquor store would be the best place to buy them, that way we could get some more alcohol as well. I peeled into the parking lot at the liquor store going about 70 mph without fear, missing a family of 5 by a few feet. There was nothing coming between me and those cigarettes; and the liquor, of course. I parked behind the building in case a cop was around to see us stumble out of the car. We flipped a coin to see who had to go in and buy everything, which turned out to be Doug. It was his birthday, so Bryan and I gave him more than enough cash. Doug staggered inside with haste.
“How bad is it that we’re making him do all the work on his birthday?” Bryan asked.
“I honestly don’t care. He had the last cigar, we’re even.”
“Good point. He can go fuck himself.”
“I wouldn’t go that far. We’ll see what brands of smokes and beer he picks up, then we’ll decide if he can go fuck himself or not.”
“If I see cheap beer in his hands, I’m gonna lose it.”
“If he forgets the smokes, I’ll hit him with my fuckin car,” I said.
Doug stumbled back with a bag full and got in the back seat. Bryan and I just stared at him.
“What the fuck are you guys lookin at?”
“Show us what you bought,” Bryan said.
Doug picked up a case of Kokanee and put them on the empty seat beside him.
“And the smokes?” I said.
“What the hell is this? You guys are fucked.” He pulled out a pack of Benson & Hedges Black Label; my favorite.
“Atta boy!” I said.
“We were just fuckin with you, Doug. We knew you’d buy the good shit,” Bryan said.
“Whatever. Lets just have a drink while the car isn’t moving.” He passed each of us a beer and opened one himself.
“We should shotgun the next ones,” I said.
“I bought some red bull too. We should shotgun those.”
“Shotgun a red bull?” Bryan said, awkwardly.
“I’m in,” I said. “My heart could use a little jolt.”
“Come on, Bryan. It’ll fire you up.”
“I’m already fired up! But what the hell, I’m young. Pass me one of those suckers.”
We finished our beer and Doug passed around the red bulls. I shoved a key into the bottom to create a hole.
“Lets dance!” I shouted. I opened the top and finished it within seconds. I could feel my blood shaking. I felt like screaming. “Holy fuck! That definitely wasn’t healthy. But man, its mixin with the liquor perfectly. Where’s the welding contract?”
Bryan and Doug finished their Red Bull’s at the same time.
“Jesus!” Doug said.
“My god! We’re probably gonna have a heart attack tonight!” Bryan said.
“Guys!” I shouted. “Where the fuck is the welding contract?!”
“You put it in your pocket, you drunk bastard!”
“Oh, right.” I pulled it out and opened the car door. I looked and saw an elderly Asian couple walking through the parking lot.
They both saw me and turned away with hesitation. I could tell they wanted to continue looking at me, but they were intimidated by something. Maybe the Red Bull did in fact give me wings?
They started to pick up the pace and got into their car. I got out and ran over to their window, holding the contract.
The car started and pulled out in no time. I almost lost a foot under the front tire.
“Get the fuck back in the car!” Doug yelled. “You’re going to get yourself arrested!”
“They’ll be sorry if they get hurt tonight! I don’t give away free medical!”
“Just shut up and get in the car!” Bryan screamed.

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