Photo Challenge: Fiction – “A Better Life” #fiction #amwriting #writing #vegas


This past week’s photo challenge was hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie

——

Credit: Nekneeraj

——

The lights assault my eyes, as they blur past me. Vegas is a beautiful city at night. I had had a table with my friends at the club with bottle service. Slowly, I remember us drinking the vodka shot by shot until the girls had enough.  

 “Were done, I’m already too drunk. I want to be able to shop tomorrow afternoon,” Megan said and her friend Kelly nodded in agreement. 

The other guys and I laughed and jeered, egging the girls on to do one more shot. They refused and went off to dance. After an hour or so passed, I saw them leave the club, removing their heels on the way. 

I noticed my good friend Ryan had passed-out on the cushioned bench around the table, parallel to me. I continued drinking, sipping my vodka shots, determined to finish the little vodka left in the bottom of the bottle. It was expensive after all to get bottle service. 

A concerned bouncer who had been watching me with deep dark eyes, set two glasses of water down in front of me. “Sir, you need to drink both these glasses,” he said. 

“Umm, no. I want more vodka. I’ll pay for another bottle,” I slurred. 

The bouncer shook his head, “You need to drink these glasses now sir. I don’t want you to get alcohol poisoning and die in my club.” 

I sighed grabbing both glasses, I downed them one at a time.”Gees, I was thirsty,” I told the bouncer.

 “I’m calling you and your friend a cab at the back door entrance,” he said nodding at Ryan. ” I don’t have to, I could just throw you out. But, I get this feeling you’re running from something, trying to drink it away. So tonight, I’ll be nice,” the bouncer said. “I get it man, but you’re a grown-up and even in Vegas, you have to have limits.” 

Another bouncer came to aid the first bouncer, guide us out to the cab. I leaned on the first bouncer’s shoulder and the other guy half-carried Ryan out the door. 

The cab driver looked nervous, “I don’t want anyone throwing-up in here,” he announced. But the bouncers ignored him. 

“Where is your hotel?” The first bouncer asked me.

I had to think a moment, everything was such a blur and it was difficult to think. I was so tired and mad at her. Why’d she cheat on me after ten-years marriage? Why’d she leave me for him?

“Um, we’re at Caesars,” I stammered, then reached into my pocket, pulling out a wad of bills; I tried my best to count out $100.00 exactly. I gave it the cab driver. He nodded, “okay where too?” The bouncers shut the cab doors and the driver took off down the Las Vegas strip.

The lights of Las Vegas were beautiful, brilliant, and blurred. But they also made me nauseous. I closed my heavy lids, and opened them as I tried not to sleep. But I couldn’t stop myself and I fell asleep quickly. 

——

Ryan was shaking me. “Come on Blaine, wake up. You’re 6’4″ and two-hundred-some pounds, I can’t lift you alone. You need to help me.” 

I blinked in the bright lights at the entrance to Caesars guest reception. It would take us forever to find our rooms because the hotel was so huge and neither of us were well enough to remember where our room was specifically. 

Ryan’s hands shook and his face was pale white. He ran and threw-up in a garbage can. He apologized five-minutes later to a man near by helping guests at the front entrance and gave him a twenty, and thinking this man would have to clean the garbage can up. 

I was slowly, stepping out of the car, but my legs nearly collapsed and I groaned in frustration. I reached into my wallet and pulled out eighty-dollars. I could count money now at least, though my head felt like someone was hammering my temples. 

“Here,” I said to a couple of men upfront working for Caesars. I gave them my cash and asked,”Help us back to my room, please.” 

Two silent men grabbed the cash splitting it and they smiled at me now. “Of course sir, do you have your keycard?” I nodded, pulling it out of my pocket. I gave it to the men and they called for two other men, one whom I leaned heavily against as we made an endless journey to my room. Sometime in there, I fell asleep. 

——

It was 3:00 pm when I awoke in my hotel room. Immediately, I went and threw-up in the bathroom several times before I felt better. I took a shower and washed away the smoke and putrid smell of vodka and vomit. I called room service to put some food in my stomach and help me recover. I ordered some French toast, coffee, and orange juice –two orders –one for Ryan as well, when he awoke. 

I saw him lying on the bed and I tried to shake him awake. I thought he only needed more sleep. He wasn’t a big guy, so perhaps the vodka hit him harder than me. 

A day later, Ryan still wasn’t up and I asked my friends what we should do.

“Well, sometimes you really need to sleep it off. We’re not so young anymore, hangovers can last two-days. He’s breathing so he must be fine,” Kyle reasoned and my other friend Maison seemed to agree. We went down to the casino to play poker. 

 On the third day we asked reception to call a doctor for us. It was expensive but my friends and I were worried about Ryan. He was cold and his chest barely moved, his breathing was so shallow. 

The Doctor was tense upon inspecting Ryan three-hours later. “I’m sorry gentlemen, your friend died earlier this morning, about the time I was called to your room. If only you’d called sooner and emphasized how badly he was doing,” the Doctor chided. 

“Ryan had alcohol poisoning so badly he went into a coma. He has no heart beat and isn’t breathing as you indicated earlier. It’s tragic but I guess you’ll understand me now when I say, watch your alcoholic intake; in Vegas especially.” 

I started to cry in front of the Doctor and my friends. I didn’t know how I could tell Ryan’s family he’d passed on. He’d been the one who said we needed a boys trip to help me get out the funk of my wife cheating and divorcing me. 

I remember him saying, “Blaine you need to get out and have some fun. Come to Las Vegas with me and the guys. Forget about your problems for a while. I’ll forget about mine too,” he said. He never told me what his problems were and I never asked, I thought regretfully. 

Now my good friend Ryan was gone. I closed my eyes imagining lights blurring past me. It wasn’t only how I felt when I was drunk. It was how I felt all the time these days. As if I had no control as all the pretty lights rushed by. 

When I did have time, I made the wrong choices. The lights were my escape, but I needed to pay attention now, to move on in my life as Ryan would have wanted. I couldn’t drink the pain away. 

I vowed for Ryan, I would live my life better. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

 

Advertisements

Poem: Etherees –  “Always Drunk at Thirty-Six”


http://www.hgn.com

——-

Hangovers must be hell at thirty-six.

It’s nice to feel a little tipsy,

But aren’t you too old for weekends,

Passed out; weekend nights binging,

No, don’t live life wasted,

Watch your intake guy,

Nice to let life, 

Be; Moving,

With the

Flow.

One,

Day you,

Need to put,

Your grown up pants,

On each foot and think,

“Do, I want to spend life —

Drinking time away when I —

Could be living life loving ’cause,

I’ve a woman who lights up my days?

When I’ve life complete, why spend it wasted ?”

There’s a reason we all get drunk, sometimes.

We’re hurt bad inside, we need numbness,

We’re trying to forget a hard job,

Covering monotony,

Or we need some courage,

To do difficult things,

Losing ourself,

In ruby-red,

Or white,

Beer.

—-

Try

We think,

How’d we get,

To this place where,

We’ve no memory,

Tried forgetting reality,

Was merely out for good times,

Spending the night laughing with friends,

Don’t remember conversations with some —

Woman, no girl who matters; booty call.

Hangover fades and you think back on her, there,

For your enjoyment, drunken fumble in, 

Some bedroom, yours — you always come,

To your place, you prefer to,

Make them leave embarrassed,

Because you’ve no memory,

They’re a night,

A moment,

You made,

Null.

—-

Void,

You hear,

Sounds so loud,

Awaking finally,

The worlds gone ink dark,

You’re wandering between,

Days, which keep fading into the —

Last day, recall being fully —

Awake, not caught in haze of rye, rum —

Shots done all night as in younger days.

—-

Maybe, you’ve never passed this stage, growing,

Past a point most people realize some–

Day in their late-twenties when,

Hangovers last two-days,

And along come their kids,

With their beloved spouse,

Socializing change,

Set example,

Fun times,

Change.

—-

But

I think,

You’re single,

Might impress on, 

Pretty women’s view,

You’re not in drunken haze,

You can hold your liquor well,

Enjoy yourself sometimes, let liquor —

Relax your soul, knowing your limit,

She sees you being yourself, not some drunk.

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved

Saturday Night to Life


I use to think the whole world was alive and vibrant every Saturday night. I looked forward to the rush of excitement, the shouts of joy, the laughter, the dancing, and a few drinks (or more). I remembering going out in a big group and loving every single song they played ( because it was my favorite) and taking my poor dance moves out onto the floor with the lights, fog, and other dancers encroaching on our space made around a pile of purses. It was a soaring feeling dancing to a hypnotic beat and loving all your friends — even though there was drama of one kind or another always. I think when the drama gets too much you start to grow up and not put up with a group mentality.

That’s when you stop getting together as a group first and start living other lives outside of school. It’s when you start to develop a career, start to not just hook up but find a lasting boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s when some of your friends become parents, it’s when your friends become engaged and get married, it’s when you can’t stay hung over the entire weekend, and it’s when things start to go wrong in life. 

Some friends you knew in high school or university die or get into serious accidents, mental health takes on a new meaning for you or those around you, and some parents of kids you grew up with become ill. You may stay home or have a job but things change. The glory of life is no longer yours in the same form it was in your late teens and early twenties. Glory comes sitting at the pub with a few good friends some nights. It comes in the birth of a child or seeing your best friend get married. It comes in finding the person you love and staying in together. It comes in lunch with a dear friend you haven’t seen for ages or an elderly grandparent in their 80’s or 90’s. 

Drama changes from little spiteful fights between girls or brawls between guys to real life problems and issues. You feel alive for different reasons, you dance in your car on the way to work, and your packs include people of all age groups. Life changes because suddenly you’re not preparing for it, you’re in it for better or worse. Now you really are an adult with much greater responsibilities, outcomes, failures, resentments, moments of pride, vulnerabilities, and happiness. 

But then some have said we never ever really leave school we just move up to different classrooms, classes, and teachers. Life is a classroom and we are always pupils. What do you think?

Nights Like These


‘ It’s Friday.’ I think. ‘ I should be doing something.’ Maybe, I’m just past this phase of having to go out Friday night or maybe I just don’t care. But it wouldn’t be quite true to tell you that.

After getting use to habitually having little energy around 24-years-old I soon became familiar with the stay-at-home-Friday-night and usually I’m not a fan of it even if half my friends are starting families.

There is an energy and quality of let-loose and be-free about Friday night’s I miss terribly. I miss the drinking, the random philosophical conversation’s at 3:00 am, and the laughter and conversation that encompass a good time. Most importantly, it’s a feeling of belonging. I am without a — you-belong-here-with-us — on Friday nights. I still get the odd Friday out but I’m much more likely to be be worn out on a Friday then I am on a Saturday or Sunday night so I look forward to those. But other times I’m kind of grateful just to kick back on Friday and watch a movie or TV, read a novel on my IPad, or just surf the fashion blogs and Pinterest.

Hey, I’d be out there in the Friday night trenches if I could, I think. But realistically you have to have had a busy and productive week to look forward to those Friday nights, to make them seem special. Instead I was out last night at Olive Garden with my boyfriend and then over at his place until late and unless I’m exhausted from what I’ve done in the day or the day before I can choose any night to be my Friday night. It’s almost as if Friday night has lost its uniqueness for me. I’m not bragging because I would actually rather have the ability to work in the week and provide a living for myself. Some people wouldn’t but that’s my simple dream. That and to have my Friday night’s back.

I don’t miss the hangovers, I don’t miss creepy people at the bar, I don’t miss convincing my drunk friends they need to take a taxi home, I don’t miss the awful food one eats at 2:00 am when only battered chicken fingers or anything dripping in sauce or grease will do, but there were some great memories, some great people, and some funny episodes. A big part of me hopes they’ll be more times like these in the future (minus the greasy food and bar related shennanigans) because as much fun as it is to come up with and write your own story, it is an equally or even better adventure to live your own stories.

IMG_0975-0.PNG