A LITTLE MORE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


A powerful short story for an anti-drink driving campaign.

Submitted: October 13, 2017

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Submitted: October 13, 2017

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A A A


The heavy thrum, thrum, thrum of the rain against the window is hypnotic. I’m staring at the paper on the desk and nothing is coming to me. The persistent splash of water on glass is all on which my mind can seemingly focus. I don’t know when I will see the wife so I have a chance to get some real work done. However, where my thoughts should be swirling around my head, an empty void sits, unwilling to co-operate with me.

I know what I need to do to get started. The bottle of whiskey sat in the kitchen has been silently calling out to me for several hours. I know I should keep a clear head, but temptation calling me is difficult to resist. One glass won’t hurt. All the great writers used to drink to help their creativity. Hemingway, Capote, Fitzgerald… masters of their art. It surely can’t hurt to be like them? Just a bit, to get me started.

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My tumbler is topped off with a dash of water, even though the glass was almost full. The first sip tastes harsh against my throat but the burning is fleeting. A warm blush oozes from my chest to my cheeks and I can already feel the dopamine kicking in. I want more, slug back another mouthful and greedily gulp it down. I look back at the glass and realise I only have a small amount left. I return to the office and put a full glass down next to the letter. Time to get to work.

******************************************

The rain hasn’t abated, but at least I have managed to commit to reading some of the words on the paper - so to speak – in the last ninety minutes. The bottle of whiskey now has pride of place next to my monitor, my glass long since discarded to the kitchen. My drinking haze feels good, the first time I have felt like this in a long while. A quick glance at the clock tells me it is still early evening. I’m certain I can get this finished tonight, provided I can keep my head from sinking completely into the mild fog in which I currently reside.

******************************************

I get distracted too easily. I’m aware of that. I must have spent at least an hour messing about on my phone. Come on. Concentrate. Maybe not. There’s always tomorrow. It’s not like I have a deadline to hit. I have a genius idea of drinking some absinthe. It helped Van Gogh. Genius is probably the wrong word though. Stupid maybe a better one. My whiskey bottle is empty now and my bladder is most definitely full. I have been fighting the need to go for a piss for about 20 minutes. Don’t want to stretch my legs just yet, but this is a battle I am going to have to concede defeat.

Whilst upstairs, I check in on my daughter’s nursery. I catch myself in the moment, staring at her cot intently for 10 minutes.

******************************************

I almost feel lighter after relieving myself. I wonder if there is any more whiskey anywhere? A quick search of the kitchen cupboards tells me what I already know. The idea of nipping to the shop skips through my head, a quick summation of the timelines involved and potential consequences plays out in detail over the space of around 3 seconds. I look guiltily at the baby monitor, the sound reactive lights across the top, dancing in time to the rain outside. It’s a difficult decision whether to venture out but if I am quick, I can be back in a couple of minutes…

******************************************

A quick check of my pockets – phone, wallet, car keys – and I am set to go. If I race, I guess I can be back from the shop within five minutes. I have a quick listen to the baby monitor, and can feel a level of anxiety coiling itself around my spine and down into the pit of my stomach. What’s the opposite of deja vu? The unease is palpable, but I need to press ahead. It will be okay.

******************************************

As soon as the car door closed, I knew I had made a massive mistake. The rain was even worse than it sounded, a continual cacophony more than a hammering. Worse even than the night of the accident. My overcoat of alcohol was nowhere near enough protection, sobriety rapidly replacing inebriation. Sometimes, I think I am much smarter than I am. I say to myself “Never again”. Then I make a decision for a little more and realise I have much less intelligence than I like to believe.

I need to get back inside quickly. Fumbling for my keys as I place them in the lock, I can hear crying. My heart pounds against my chest, as the lock fails to turn. The panic transmits to my hands which makes the simple process of turning a key become a herculean task. Finally I manage to get the key to turn but the door itself seems to have become heavier. A push from my shoulder finally forces the issue and I stumble into the hallway.

******************************************

The house seems darker than when I left it a moment ago and a foreboding fear has begun teasing my hair upward away from my skin. I try to focus on any sound other than the pounding rain, listening for the crying I could hear from outside. But all I can hear is the waves of water on the roof. I want to move but am frozen to the spot, staring into the abyss of darkness at the top of the stairs. The last time I came back so drunk after driving I was also alone. I wanted to scream then and I want to scream now. But nothing, not even the involuntary movement of breathing, is seemingly possible. The only movement within my entire body is my rapidly beating heart.

******************************************

There is no more crying, no more rain, and no more footsteps. A deathly silence has replaced it all. I look at the half full absinthe bottle ruefully. I know before I have any more, I need to start reading again from the first line: “Do you accept responsibility for the accident that killed your wife and unborn child?”  

I sit back from the desk and I realise I am stuck in this nightmare. The crying I could hear was my own. The tears on my face a telltale sign of my despair. The opening line at the top of the letter a reminder of the fact I used to have it all. Not too much mind, just enough that was precious. But now? I am a widower and my future child is also gone. Drink driving because I wanted a little more. I now have less than a little. I have nothing.


© Copyright 2018 Thom Goddard. All rights reserved.

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