Just alcohol

I remember little of the end of the New Year’s Eve house party I attended, but images posted on Facebook suggest I was as drunk as my physiology told me the next morning.  I’d dashed from the lounge, which was occupied by other dormant party remnants, across the hallway to a bathroom where I clung to porcelain for dear life.  First heave saw red gloopy port, mixed with takeaway chips.  Maybe a splash of liquified pizza from earlier.  This accounted for the first two or three hop and skips from sleeping bag and makeshift cushion bed.  One of my temporary room-mates kindly made me a cup of tea.  The handful of sips I took promptly came back up.  Then thick dark yellow syrupy gunk, the origins of which I couldn’t accurately account for.  I decided to try being vertical for a while, showered and changed.  Returning to the lounge, I found that the other souls had stirred.  They dealt me the usual sympathy-cum-mirth often afforded to hungover zombies.  The nearby smell of frying eggs turned my stomach, magnetically pulled at my stomach-lining.  I couldn’t stay there, although I still felt dreadful: stomach grinding, head as if pincered between crocodile jaws.  I don’t think you should drive right away, someone told me.  Go for a walk.  I agreed, having had similar thoughts, and walked the short distance to the town’s high street, perusing newspapers in Smith’s.  Standing there disinterestedly scanning front page headlines, it came again.  Possibly provoked by the confusing mix of warm store heating with bracing cold air outside.  Tongue began sweating, palpitating, mouth warm and expectant, stomach churned.  A wind-up toy being wound up, I panicked, jogged for a sidestreet a few yards away, racing my body acids, turned the corner, planted a hand against a wall, heaved.  First nothing: dry, then the yellow stuff again.  Blinded with tears, I turned away, shamed by the presence of a couple of respectable looking passers-by, who looked oblivious to me – as you would.  Catching a reflection in a shop window, I felt dirty, disgusted and tramp-like, albeit momentarily improved. 

On ignition, the engine instantly began chugging, the metal shell rattling around me, my guts following suit.  They moaned further with prolonged movement and groaned on leaning through roundabouts.  I was as nervous of braking and only minimally sending my stomach lurching forward, as I was of stealthy burps and the ongoing havoc they could reek.  Through controlled slow breathing I successfully reeled it in.  For at least three quarters of my 40 minute journey anyway.  Thanks to a passenger window lowered to allow a funnel of raking cold air, and the enforced rare absence of music for the sake of my arrow-spiked head, most of the journey was manageable.  Ten minutes from home it came again.  Tongue sweat (if that’s possible), mouth warm, slow grinding stomach, the eerie premonition of tightening volcanic body heat.  I found a lay-by, pulled in, leapt out, stepped towards some bushes.  Nothing.  Tears, spit and bile.  Nothing else.  Calm breathing.  Ok, we’re good.  I moved away again.  No more than several hundred yards before it was back again; more threatening this time.  I panicked, unsure where the next safe lay-by was, then it quickly presented itself.  Take Two saw tangible product: the yellow bile again, the icy cold hand of death on the back of my neck as I bent double at the side of the rural A-road, a failed and broken man.  Again I felt marginally better. 

The afternoon was spent dozing and shivering alcohol out of my system. But slowly recovering and realising no, it wasn’t impending death.  Just alcohol.  Nothing more.


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